People Like Us

Paperback edition released 06/08/2020

by Louise Fein

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LoveReading Expert Review of People Like Us

A book to climb the rooftops and shout about, set in the Second World War, it highlights love and kindness in a world of intolerance and hate.

Powerful and poignant, moving and provocative, this beautifully eloquent novel is set before and during the Second World War. People Like Us highlights love, humanity and kindness in the terrifying face of intolerance and hate. Hetty’s father is an SS officer and she passionately believes in Hitler, as anti-semitism grows Hetty finds herself falling in love with Walter. Walter is blonde and blue-eyed, Walter saved her life when she was seven, Walter was best friends with her brother who has joined the Luftwaffe, Walter is a Jew. Hetty narrates her own story, creating a bond, a link to this child who is raised as a Nazi. Louise Fein builds Hetty’s world for us from 1933, I could feel Hetty growing through the years, her voice changing as her thoughts formed, hesitated, altered. Hetty and Walter are relatable, believable, touchable. It is absolutely fascinating to see this life, from this viewpoint, one that you can consider and wonder, ‘what if that had been me’. People Like Us was: “inspired by [the author’s] own family history, and by the alarming parallels she sees between the early thirties and today”. The author’s note at the end sent goosebumps shivering down my arms. As well as being a stunner of a read (you may want tissues handy), People Like Us has huge impact and deservedly sits as a LoveReading Star Book and Debut of the Month, this is one to climb the rooftops and shout about.

Liz Robinson

People Like Us Synopsis

Shortlisted for the RSL Christopher Bland Prize and the RNA Historical Romantic Novel Award 2021 'A compelling tale of forbidden love set in 1930's Leipzig' Independent 'Terrifying, yet tender. I loved it' Irish Examiner 'Heart-breaking, thought-provoking story' Adele Parks 'I nearly drowned and Walter rescued me. That changes everything.'Leipzig, 1930s Germany Hetty Heinrich is a perfect German child. Her father is an SS officer, her brother in the Luftwaffe, herself a member of the BDM. She believes resolutely in her country, and the man who runs it. Until Walter changes everything. Blond-haired, blue-eyed, perfect in every way Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew. Anti-semitism is growing by the day, and neighbours, friends and family members are turning on one another. As Hetty falls deeper in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, she begins to fight against her country, her family and herself. Hetty will have to risk everything to save Walter, even if it means sacrificing herself... Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Book Thief. Why people love People Like Us:'People Like Us is also a reminder that - even in the darkest times - the extraordinary power of love can light the way' Fiona Valpy 'A powerful, unforgettable love story' Gill Paul 'A heartbreaking, beautiful story' Jenny Ashcroft 'This is historical fiction at its absolute best' Liz Trenow 'An outstanding and heart-breaking story of Nazism seen from the 'other side': blind indoctrination is transformed into true heroism by the power of love' Sharon Maas, author of The Violin Maker's Daughter 'People Like Us is part romance, part character study, part call to arms' Lizzie Page 'People Like Us is an incredibly moving, utterly captivating, beautiful story of love, courage, and the strength of the human spirit. It was both heartbreaking and hopeful at once. The ending had me in tears' Rhiannon Navin 'A heartbreaking and thought-provoking story about forbidden love during Nazi Germany. Had me gripped to the very end' Luke Allnutt, author of We Own the Sky 'Beautiful and absorbing - a vital story of kindness, and a reminder that humanity can flourish in the darkest of times' Caroline Hulse, author of The Adults

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People Like Us Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

A moving and memorable story. A story of the strength of the human spirit and the power of love over evil.

An unbelievably gripping and haunting story. I find books about personal stories within conflicts, and the strength of the human spirit, fascinating, but to read one from the perspective of a Nazi girl, was particularly interesting and unusual. We are rarely presented with this perspective, and Hetty’s view of life, and the influences that affected her upbringing, were poignant and thought provoking. It was made more significant somehow by the chapters being dated. It added to the pressure of time and the dramatic changes that galloped through Germany in the late 1930s. The speed at which anti-Semitism grew was unbelievable. I found it fascinating, though scary, that Fein relates this period in history to the current political situation today.

The predicament Hetty and Walter were faced with was so incredibly sad and their choices so limited. There was never going to be a simple or happy ending to this story. There must have been thousands of people at this time who had to make these life changing decisions. The story was sensitively and descriptively written with believable and memorable characters.

I loved that the story was followed up, not just by a beautiful epilogue, but by a fascinating note from the author as to the reasons behind her writing of this amazing book.

Rosie Watch

A beautifully written love story set in Nazi Germany. A must for people wanting a more personal insight into those turbulent times.

Romeo and Juliet in 1930’s Germany.

Hetty Heinrich is the daughter of an SS Officer and Nazi activist.

She falls into the river and just as she is about to drown a strong arm rescues her. It is her brothers’ best friend Walter. A lasting attachment begins.

Walter is brought out in school assembly, denounced and expelled as a Jew. How can her lovely blond, blue eyed saviour be a despised Jew? They meet up again when she is walking the dog and they start to talk. She then starts to question all that she is being told.

They fall in love but no one must know. Her father would be disgraced and the family shamed. How can she continue with this relationship?

The book then takes you through the background to Kristallnacht and the persecution and imprisonment of the Jews.

A beautifully written love story set in Nazi Germany. A must for people wanting a more personal insight into those turbulent times

Jocelyn F Garvey

A beautifully written story of forbidden love in the 1930s.

Historical fiction has been a genre I have briefly dipped into before, but this book has made me want to read more of it, especially if this author writes more books. I am amazed that this is a debut, as it is written so beautifully and the characters are well developed and really carry you along with them.

It is set in the late 1930s and follows Hetty, a young German girl growing up at a time when Germany is starting to come under the control of Hitler. She is from a traditional family, which idolise Hitler and all he stands for. However, Hetty is a determined young lady who has designs on being a doctor, although this is strongly discouraged by her father. Everything changes further still when she falls in love with her brother’s friend, Walter – a blond, blue-eyed boy who is a Jew. The tensions mount as they try to keep their relationship a secret among increasing hostility for the Jewish population.

This is a beautiful novel, full of tension and emotion – I loved it!

Nicola Coen

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781789545029
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781789545005
Publication date: 06/08/2020
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9781789545012
Publication date: 06/08/2020
Format: Paperback

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About Louise Fein

Louise Fein is the author of People Like Us, her debut novel. It is a story of forbidden love and the brainwashing of a nation, set in 1930's Leipzig, and was inspired by the experiences of her family who fled Leipzig as refugees in 1933. The novel has been published in thirteen territories and has been shortlisted for the RSL Christopher Bland Prize 2021, as well as for the RNA Historical Novel of the Year award 2021. Her second novel, The Hidden Child, is set in 1920's England and tells the story of a couple who are ardent supporters of the burgeoning Eugenics ...

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