The Girl In the Blue Coat is a perfect example of how to write historical fiction. The way Monica Hesse crafts these characters and this story line was simply captivating. The plot twist (which you will encounter if you’re smart enough to read this book) through me for a loop, and had me retracing everything that I had read prior in the book. Hanneke’s wit and street smarts help her to navigate the Nazi-occupied Amsterdam and the heartache she deals with through the time of war. The perspective Hesse creates in this book is important to read, and is just intense enough to portray the seriousness & devastation of war, but also articulate underlying lessons about friendship, family, and loyalty. Throughout the novel, Hanneke (or “Hannie” as her father lovingly calls her & how I read her name in my head) is not only facing the hardships of war and rationing, but also the heartbreak she is experiencing through the loss of her boyfriend, Bas, who died at the beginning of the war. There are instances throughout the book where we are able to read letters between Bas and Hannie, but there are lots of things left unsaid between these two, so what better way to do my alternative book project this week than to write the words through a letter exchange I wish they would have had the opportunity to say to each other?
Below is pictured the letter I believe Bas would have written Hannie (that she ripped up and refused to read):
My version of Hannie’s letter to Bas: