Under the Hidden Sun
Ester is a young lady living through the difficult times of rationing and caring for her father, who is a doctor in the local hospital. She has seen some of the “spoils of war,” men who have been devastatingly hurt, and heard tales of the Resistance among the Danes. Neil Hardy is a young British pilot who fell from his plane after being gunned down unexpectedly over Denmark. He is surprised to find himself at Ester’s home in his flight to make it out of German territory and back to safety. He knows Ester from years ago when he came to visit his family in Denmark, and they became quite close. When he left, neither thought they’d see the other again. Ester finds herself in a serious predicament as she has been seeing a German man, Manfred Faust, in secret. When Neil shows up, she realizes that she really wants what she feels with him, a love that she thought was a school girl’s crush but is so much more. She makes plans to break things off with Manfred, but her request is unheard and even violently denied.
This story shows the brutal side of living in Europe during German occupation, and the historical facts to support the story are well-researched. Ester’s growth over the course of the story rivals the growing German presence, both escalating until something has to give, and violently so. Traditionally, many historical fiction novels about World War II have been set in Germany, France and Great Britain. This one is unique and surprising in that it is set in Denmark and weaves a love story around the intended capture of the Jews by the German occupation and timely medical advancements. Readers who enjoyed Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum and Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay will find this one just as satisfying.