'Hide and Seek' by Robin Scott-Elliot is an extraordinary children's story about a girl who becomes involved in the French resistance during the Second World War. Epic in scope, with absorbing period detail and a remarkable protagonist, this is one of the best books of the summer, if not the year. This needs to be praised in the same breath as Phil Earle's magnificent Blitz era 'When the Sky Falls'.
Amelie Dreyfus is playing a game of hide and seek, hiding in her mother's wardrobe. When she comes out, she discovers her family have been taken by the Nazis. It's 1942 and Germany have occupied Paris and are taking away the Jews. Left alone, Amelie has to navigate Paris and find her place to survive, avoiding a similar fate as her parents in a game of hide and seek that could mean death if she's captured. Soon Amelie finds herself aiding the French resistance and, as she grows up fast, the war will take her to England, Scotland and back to France as victory and justice loom ever closer.
'Hide and Seek' is an epic, inspiring coming-of-age novel, which thrills from the opening pages and doesn't lose its grip. Amelie is a wonderful character and her journey to become an 'adult' before her time is constantly surprising, tense, tender and fascinating. Robin Scott-Elliot has tweeted about the influences that led to Amelie's creation - the real girls during the Second World War, such as Simone Segouin, who became a French resistance fighter: (https://twitter.com/WWIIMemorial/status/1428522216988291075). Amelie's life in the French resistance and then as a spy is made even more poignant and amazing to consider its based on such real-life examples. This is a story about the true meaning of courage against impossible odds, about who to really trust, and the determination to make a difference in a frightening world. I loved the historical details and Robin Scott-Elliot keeps the plot pacy and full of peril that it is impossible to put down. Added to this, is the rich cast of characters - caring and evil - who have major and minor impacts on Amelie's growth. The ending is bittersweet and thoughtful - and will stay with you for some time.
I really suggest reading 'Hide and Seek' and 'When the Sky Falls' as companion pieces - one set in London and one in Paris. Imagine Amelie meeting Joseph and what might transpire.
Thank you to Fritha Lindqvist for my copy to review. I will certainly be reading more from Everything Words publishers.