Monday, August 16, 2021

"The Blue Dolphin" by Kathryn Gauci

Nefeli and her daughter live on one of the greek islands. Life has been difficult since the start of the war and the death of her husband, but they have been getting by. One night after a very bad storm, while walking along the shore, she came across an unconscious german soldier who had been washed ashore after the ship he was on was sunk by the andartes (greek resistance fighters). He was gravely wounded and would surely die without help. Yet, if the other villagers were to find him, they would kill him and likely anyone who aided him. But still, Nefeli couldn't just leave him to die.


I will be the first to admit that this story was not what I expected when reading a WWII novel. This was not a tale focused on combat or spycraft, but instead it was about how the war affected those living through it.  It was the backdrop for the story of Nefeli and what happens when she attempts to save an enemy soldier's life. She is aware of the risk she takes, but cannot bear to see more unnecessary death.


This was a story I greatly enjoyed. It did not try to hide the difficulties faced during the war, nor did it glorify the actions of one side or the other. This was a personal story of one woman, a man who was considered an enemy soldier, and what can happen when kindness is shown to someone who is helpless and injured. It is a story of life versus death, as well as the story of greek culture during a time that is quite different from what many of us know today.


I would definitely recommend this book. Anyone who enjoys WWII stories, tales of greek life during the war, or historical fiction. It is very definitely worth reading and one that you won't want to put down.


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