Tamar by Mal Preet
Age Rating: 14+
There are some books that draw you into a world that feels so real that you can’t question anything, because you’re being pulled so relentlessly into it. That’s exactly how I felt about Tamar, which takes creative license in describing the Nazi occupation of Holland and the allied effort.
This story centers around British spies who are helping the resistance and are supposed to relay information back to London about Nazi happenings. Moreso they are supposed to integrate themselves into the scene so they can also help when Holland is finally won over by the Allied war effort.
However, it is wrong to say that this centers around the time, because it actually created this beautiful backdrop for the characters to develop and describes what the British spies really went through, addiction, paranoia, and being bored (!) I finished this book in one go, I couldn’t sleep because I just had to finish it. It feels so real, and the author doesn’t hold back on the horrible things the Nazis did, the simple brutalities of every day life, and what’s even better, is that all these mad things that happen just become part of the story, and they don’t feel created because they just fit so seamlessly. Like the marionette shop that also serves as a base for transmissions. It’s beautiful, how Mal Preet manages to create a whole world, genuinely impressing.
The ending is so jarring, but it almost makes sense, because its so real. I feel like I’m trying to say the word real in different ways, because there’s no better way to describe this story. Maybe because it centers around a time that includes something as tragic as the holocaust and the German occupation of Holland, but also the way that each character is multidimensional, though the main characters still remain Tamar and Dart, the English spies who are sent to Holland.
Though this does in a way, center around the romance between Tamar and Maarjke, who also hosts the spy, it’s definitely not a romance novel. It is and it isn’t. And when you get to the end, you finally realize everything and understand why each character acted the way they did. It doesn’t have a happy ending depending on what you think. This book makes you rethink the ideals of romance and instead opens you up to the possibility of just life being so real and unrelenting, but also the neutrality of life and its struggles.
I think if you enjoy historical fiction, it is very accurate especially in the procedures and the coding of transmissions the author references. I do not recommend this awesome book for people who don’t enjoy possibly sad books.
LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW WHETHER OR NOT YOU AGREE WITH WHAT I SAID, AND IF YOU ENJOY THIS BOOK AS WELL.
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