Rave Reviews Log: Historical Fiction

July 23, 2007

Shanghai Shadows

By Lois Ruby
Era: 1940's/World War II
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Ilse is 13 and an Austrian Jew, fleeing the Nazis in Germany. Her family makes it to one of the few open ports in the world--Shanghai, China, which is under Japanese control. There, Ilse, her brother Erich, and her parents struggle to make ends meet in a land where they don't speak or read the language of either the country they live in or the invaders who occupy it. Thousands of refugees from other European countries fill Shanghai as well, making it a very cosmopolitan city. But with little money or food during wartime, conditions are hard. Ilse tells of their years in Shanghai where new hardships are always just around the corner. Less and less food, no heat, no hot water, no new clothing, no hope. Ilse and her brother Erich join the resistance movement, and in small ways, try to help the war effort against the horrors they hear about in Europe, but in time, even that seems futile, especially after the family is moved to the ghetto. Then when a secret their mother has been keeping is revealed, it seems it will be the final blow that will tear the family apart. Will they be able to pick up the pieces again? An interesting look at a little known piece of history.