Today I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in the blog tour for one of the most stunning books I have read in a long time, When The World Was Ours by Liz Kessler.
Leo, Elsa and Max have been best friends for years. Since the day they met they’ve been a team of three. But then the Nazis come, and their lives, once so tightly woven together, take very different paths.
LEO must rely on the kindness of strangers to escape the rising threat to the Jewish people.
ELSA, like Leo, is hated for simply being who she is. To be safe, she must run.
MAX suddenly finds that he is the danger his friends are trying to desperately escape as his father rise through the Nazi ranks.
Inspired by a true story, When The World Was Ours is as life-affirming as it is heartbreaking, and shows how the bonds of love, family and friendship allow glimmer of hope to flourish, even in the most hopeless of times.
For the week of the Blog Tour, readers will be able to buy dedicated and signed copies of When The World Was Ours from Bags of Books here https://bags-of-books.co.uk/
The story within the pages of this book is a very difficult subject matter indeed but I am so grateful that there are still authors willing and courageous enough to bring new life to this part of our world history. I believe that like The Book Thief before it, When The World Was Ours will become recommended and important reading for children and adults for years to come.
It is quite simply incredibly beautifully constructed. Three friends who are bound together by love and friendship, they have their whole lives ahead of them and believe that anything is possible. Their lives are carefree, innocent and filled with love. Sadly times are changing and before long even Vienna is not safe from Nazi Germany. Liz has paced it perfectly, building up the tension but most importantly creating an image of childhood and family that isn’t so far from our own. It is so easy to read about historical events and feel safely removed from them, to know they happened a long time ago by people very different from where and who we are but here Liz brings the characters firmly to life. We feel their hopes and dreams, their joy and sadness and as we watch their stories unfold, our minds wonder as to how it might feel if something like that happened to us, our families and friends.
It is incredibly heartbreaking. Through the eyes of Leo, Elsa and Max we see a world full of hate, division and cruelty. But we also see a world of hope, kindness and courage. I was incredibly moved by the events in the story. As always the true horror of what occurred – of which so many in the world were oblivious of at the time – can be tough to read, but is a very difficult book to put down and it is so, so memorable. These characters will stay with me forever, and within them there is every soul that was lost at the hands of the Nazis. Continuing to remember and acknowledge what happened is important and through this book Liz and given us the opportunity to do not only that but also open the door for further discussion with our younger generations.
Through Leo, Elsa and Max we recognise the importance of love, courage and understanding. And possibly most importantly, that we should not turn our backs on those in need and that everyone is entitled to live a life without fear or persecution. I cannot recommend When The World Was Ours enough. It is aimed at readers aged 12 and over, and no matter if you are 12 or 104, I encourage you to read this story. It is truly incredible and even more so because it is based on true events.
Thank you so much to Eve at Simon and Schuster for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for sending me a review copy. Thank you also to Bag of Books Children’s Book Shop for sponsoring this blog tour.
About the author
LIZ KESSLER has written more than twenty books for children and young people, including the internationally bestselling Emily Windsnap series. She has an MA in Novel Writing and has been a full-time author for the last twenty years. When The World Was Ours has been brewing in her heart for at least half of that time. Liz lives in the north west of the UK with her wife, Laura, and their dog, Lowen.