The Runaway Family by Diney Costeloe

Broken Glass, Broken Lives, Broken Hearts

runawayThe Runaway Family by Diney Costeloe is a gut wrenching historical read. It is set in 1936 Nazi Germany and follows the fortunes of a Jewish family up to the outbreak of war in September 1939.

Diney Costeloe always writes stories that educate and inform as well as being compulsive reads. Fact most definitely meets fiction in The Runaway Family. The topic covered, the persecution of the Jewish people means there are some difficult scenes to read as Diney Costeloe has written with remarkable accuracy. Focusing on the plight of just one family means the reader’s attention to the horrors is intensified and not diluted in any way.

The novel raises the subject of God. “As she said her prayers… She thought that maybe God was listening to her after all.” However as the horrors intensify, the existence of God is questioned. “He had prayed to God every day of his life… But it seemed that God was no longer listening… How could God ignore the prayers and pleas of His people?” God’s silence does not equate with His absence however in the midst of the persecution, it is easy to see why people thought God no longer cared.

Many German Jews saw themselves as Germans first and foremost. They had relatives who had fought for Germany in the first World War “He thought of his father, wounded, fighting in the trenches… He’d been good enough to be a German then.” It came as a great shock to be so hated and persecuted less than twenty years later.

As the story progresses the persecution and the march of the Nazis intensifies. The reader, with the benefit of hindsight, wants to yell all sorts of helpful suggestions to the family, but is helpless and can only read on.

Inspite of its horrendous subject content, the novel offers hope. The reader witnesses the fierce love of a mother for her children, of a husband for his family. The love just radiates.

The children presented in the novel are all uniquely drawn and with their own personalities. I was drawn to the all. There were some very touching scenes particularly towards the end of the book.

Not all German people were Nazis and there were glimmers of hope for the future in the novel. “There were still good people who were ashamed of how their countrymen had treated the Jews.”

I can highly recommend The Runaway Family. It was a tough read through horrific persecution and at the end, I did feel like my emotions had been on a roller coaster ride. I have been left with a strong sense of unity through family though.

We must never forget the horrors done to six million men, women and children. We owe it to their memory to tell their stories to the subsequent generations and for this I thank Diney Costeloe for telling their story and preserving their memory.




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