The Winter Guest: A Novel - book cover
  • Publisher : Park Row; Reissue edition
  • Published : 07 Dec 2021
  • Pages : 352
  • ISBN-10 : 0778311570
  • ISBN-13 : 9780778311577
  • Language : English

The Winter Guest: A Novel

A stirring novel of first love in a time of war and the unbearable choices that could tear sisters apart, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale

Life is a constant struggle for the eighteen-year-old Nowak twins as they raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland under the shadow of the Nazi occupation. The constant threat of arrest has made everyone in their village a spy, and turned neighbor against neighbor. Though rugged, independent Helena and pretty, gentle Ruth couldn't be more different, they are staunch allies in protecting their family from the threats the war brings closer to their doorstep with each passing day.

Then Helena discovers an American paratrooper stranded outside their small mountain village, wounded, but alive. Risking the safety of herself and her family, she hides Sam-a Jew-but Helena's concern for the American grows into something much deeper. Defying the perils that render a future together all but impossible, Sam and Helena make plans for the family to flee. But Helena is forced to contend with the jealousy her choices have sparked in Ruth, culminating in a singular act of betrayal that endangers them all-and setting in motion a chain of events that will reverberate across continents and decades.

Originally published in 2014.

 Look for Pam Jenoff's new novel, The Woman with the Blue Star, an unforgettable story of courage and friendship during wartime.

Read these other sweeping epics from New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff.

The Lost Girls of Paris

The Orphans Tale

The Diplomat's Wife

The Kommandant's Girl

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach

The Ambassador's Daughter

Readers Top Reviews

E. L. McAraMariaRuth
Another enjoyable read by Jenoff. You were really able see into the characters' psyche and draw on their conflictions & emotions. The storyline was not complicated and exciting; the first chapter leaves you on a cliff-hanger so you have to read to find out everything. Despite all their actions (good & bad) I loved all the characters. Jenoff has this ability with her novels to really lure you into the character's mind as though you can see them in front of you and understand their personality and tendencies, which I think is very hard to do, even harder to do well. A few scenes I found a bit implausible to imagine - but then I'm not old enough nor educated enough to know how desperate times might cause a person to act. The ending was if anything a little too neatly wrapped up... but I can't fault Jenoff's decisions, some of it was depressingly realistic, but from a reader's point of view you definitely felt... satisfied with the outcomes, however happy or sad they were (I'm not spoiling it)
There are things I like about Pam Jenoff's writing. It’s often set during world war two. It’s exciting. It’s easy to read without feeling ‘fluffy’. This one. Well, I liked it, but it didn’t have quite the same excitement as the others by her that I’ve read. Don’t get me wrong there was excitement there, but it was a long time coming, and whilst there was always some promise of it most of the time it was unfulfilled. Actually I would say that this story is less an excitement based story, or even a war based story as a story about people. It’s a story of the relationships between Helena and Ruth, between Helena and Sam, and the girl’s family. It’s also a story of self-discovery. Both girls learn more about themselves. Both become stronger in their own ways. It didn’t hook me in the same way as some of Pam Jenoff’s other books have, but I think it showed a more sophisticated writing style and plot than her others have. The others may have been more enjoyable at the time of reading, but The Winter Guest is more likely to stay with me.
First of all, I'd like to say I love Pam Jenoff's work and have read and thoroughly enjoyed her other books. Unfortunately this one does not measure up to her previous novels. It seems to be a "hurried up" job and shows up in many facets throughout the story. There are many grammatical errors; the book needs a good editor. The first and last chapters are a rushed attempt to set the stage and bring it all together. We never find out how Sam "stumbles" across his son while his mother was incarcerated; very strange and frustrating since her pregnancy was a focus of the plot. So many of the core principles of the story are far fetched, unrealistic and unbelievable. I have read everything I can get my hands on relating to the horrible circumstances created for so many because of Hitler. This one lacks "meat" and comes off as " light weight chick lit". I would welcome title suggestions from serious readers of this time period. And, I WILL give Pam Jenoff another chance!
"The Winter Guest" was a story of family and the hardships of WWII. Lives are intertwined. Twins alike, yet different. Finding out they were of Jewish background during a horrific time period. The story was well written. The charters true to form. The epilogue was profound. Life continued, life lost, but closure to a terrible time of life. Pam Jenoff books are very real, touching, education, and profound. Thanks for a great book.
Peggy WeatheringtonS
Good story about twin sisters set in Poland during WWII. Their father is dead and their mother is hospitalized with terminal cancer. The twins are left to care for their younger brother and sisters on a farm outside a small village. One of the sisters finds an American soldier in the woods after a plane crash and the story develops from there. It is intriguing although a little slow at times. While I appreciate the epilogue that tied up loose ends I would have prefer more of the actual story instead of a summary later.

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