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A Sarah’s Vignettes Book Review: When The World Was Ours by Liz Kessler | @lizkesslerbooks | @simonkids_UK #BlogTour

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of When The World Was Ours by Liz Kessler with you today.

My thanks Eva at Simon and Schuster Children’s Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for sending me a digital copy of the book in return for my honest review.

Before I share my thoughts with you, here is what When the World Was Ours is about.

~ From the back of the book ~

Three friends. Two sides. One memory.

Vienna. 1936.

Three young friends – Leo, Elsa and Max – spend a perfect day together, unaware that around them Europe is descending into a growing darkness, and that events soon mean that they will be cruelly ripped apart from each other. With their lives taking them across Europe – to Germany, England, Prague and Poland – will they ever find their way back to each other? Will they want to?  

Inspired by the true story of Liz’s father’s escape from Nazi-occupied Europe, WHEN THE WORLD WAS OURS is an extraordinary novel which shows how the bonds of love, family and friendship allow glimmers of hope to flourish, even in the most hopeless of times. 

~ My thoughts ~

I honestly don’t know where to begin with this review. As a teenager and an adult, I have read lots of books set in World War 2 but I don’t think any of them have had an affect on me quite like When the World Was Ours. Although it is a page turner, I found I had to take breaks from reading to get my head around what I had read. Liz Kessler’s words have real emotional impact. I love reading in bed at night but I found I couldn’t read this before going to sleep as it would keep me awake or interrupt my dreams. It is something powerful when a person’s words can do this.

We first meet Max, Elsa and Leo in Vienna in 1936 when they are 9 years old, celebrating Leo’s birthday. Europe is changing and soon the 3 friends will go their separate ways. Elsa and Leo are Jewish. Max’s father is part of the Nazi regime. I don’t think I need to say any more and this is somewhat clear from the blurb above. Throughout the story, we follow Max, Elsa and Leo on their personal journeys, told from their own points of view.

The depth of research that has gone into When the World Was Ours is awe-inspiring. The emotion that the author must have felt during these times is evident as it is on the pages of this story.

When the World Was Ours is a heartbreaking, gut wrenching, raw, and powerful novel. It is about friendship, family, hope, love, and kindness. It is beautifully and sensitively written. It is appropriate for readers aged 12 years and above but this would appeal across the generations and it is necessary that it does. It is imperative that we keep Holocaust history alive to prevent persecution and genocide today and in the future. 

When the World Was Ours is a story that will stay with me forever. And that is the point. We must never forget and we must keep the truth alive.

~ Where to find When the World Was Ours ~

When the World Was Ours by Liz Kessler

When the World Was Ours by Liz Kessler was published in hardback, eBook., and audio book formats on 21 January 2021. Until 7th February, you can buy dedicated and signed copies of When The World Was Ours from Bags of Books, an independent children’s bookshop in Lewes, East Sussex.

~ About Liz Kessler ~

Liz Kessler was first published in 2003. The Tail of Emily Windsnap was the first of her series of books for 8 – 12 year olds about a half-mermaid girl, which have now sold over five million copies worldwide, appeared on the New York Times Bestsellers list and been published in over twenty five countries. Liz has written twenty-three books in total, including two young adult novels and two Early Reader series. Liz lives in Cornwall where her inspiration and most of her hobbies come from the sea.

~ Follow the tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the When the World Was Ours blog tour!

When the World Was Ours blog tour poster

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