18 Comments

The Seven Year Dress

FRONT COVER The Seven Year Dress KINDLE(1) copy.jpgSYNOPSIS: One of the darkest times in human history was the insane design and execution to rid the world of Jews and “undesirables.” At the hands of the powerful evil madman Adolf Hitler, families were ripped apart and millions were slaughtered. Persecution, torture, devastation, and enduring the unthinkable remained for those who lived. This is the story of one woman who lived to tell her story. This is a narrative of how a young beautiful teenager, Helen Stein, and her family were torn asunder, ultimately bringing her to Auschwitz. It was there she suffered heinous indignity at the hands of the SS. It was also there, in that death camp, she encountered compassion, selfless acts of kindness, and friendship. Written by the award-winning, best-selling author of His Name Was Ben, comes a story of the resilience of the human spirit that will leave you thinking about Helen Stein and The Seven Year Dress for years to come after the last page is shut.

REVIEW: I’m a huge fan of Paulette Mahurin. The first work I read of hers was, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, which won my deepest respect to say the least.

I have great admiration for Paulette’s depth of research and her courage for taking on issues most people would rather shy away from… including myself.

Having said that, The Seven Year Dress deals with many such issues and with great detail, so much so, that I found myself having to put the book down at times, and even quickly skip over some parts. The reason being that the atrocities being described are too real… I strongly believe, these things really happened during the holocaust, and in some parts of the world, still do.

This story is not for everyone, and although the author states her reason for being so graphic, I’m not convinced that the extent of it was all that necessary… Three stars.

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About Kev

Kev is an Author & Songwriter. After years of studying, and even more years working in education, and management in the US, he returned to his hometown in England where he finally settled down to focus on his writing and music. Links to his works can be found in the widget bar, and more information about them can be found on his pages above. He would greatly appreciate it if you would check them out. Kev has a M.Ed in Secondary Education with English as his main subject area. He also did post-graduate studies in Christian Counselling and Psychopathology after obtaining a BA in Psychology with a minor in Classical Greek.

18 comments on “The Seven Year Dress

  1. I will keep this review in mind when I get to reading it. I recently got acquainted with Paulette and enjoy this genre, so it awaits me, along with The Persecution of Mildred. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear ye! I’ve still a few to get through for the Diamond Book Awards and I should be twindling down my final five within the next month! I’ll have to push them ahead of other books I have on my kindle once I’ve finished the three I’ve already started. I’ve already struck off three books completely in the last couple of days! Idk!

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  3. A question. Is the three stars based on content and personal reaction, or quality of writing?

    I ask because I’ve just completed a book which was reasonably written, but the content was vile, psychological torture based on the Stockholm Syndrome. Not nice. But is that a reason to knock off stars? Can’t decide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s an excellent question, and one I’m sure you will find various reactions to backed up by rather valid and convincing arguments. Whenever I finish reading a work and before I write a review, I try to be completely fair in my approach. I generally rate books in comparison to similar books I’ve read of the same genre.

      That’s what I did with this particular work, and I have to admit it was based mostly on the content… Although parts of it drew me in, other parts made me put it down and skip over content… that’s never a good thing. Had this happened only once or twice, I would have awarded four stars, unfortunately that wasn’t the case… I do wish I could have awarded three and a half though. When I read Ludwika, for example, I was completely drawn in despite this not being a topic I generally read or am a great fan of and even with that one I was torn between four and five, but leaned toward the five. If I could have given four and a half I would have been perfectly happy. This is the problem with the star rating. I often want to go the half mark so have to consider which I would lean to the most. It’s challenging at times.

      https://kcbooksandmusic.wordpress.com/2016/06/03/ludwika/

      If it’s a genre I like or have read a lot… that’s pretty easy. When it’s out of my comfort zone, I have to think more and that’s when the questions help me to be fair:

      How effectively is it written? Did any part of it grasp my attention and draw me in? Would I recommend it to someone who likes this particular genre? Would I read it again? Did something distract me? (ie: grammatical mistakes, poor writing style, repetition, unnecessary digression, becoming lost or confused while reading, too much/too little detail…) You’ll probably notice that I hit on at least two or three of these points in most of my reviews. Generally, If I don’t mention some of them, there’s no issue, so I’ve been able to focus more on the things that boost the work.

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      • Thanks for that thoughtful reply. I’ve not read a lot of nazi concentration camp stories, they aren’t exactly first choice for a relaxing chill-out. I did think the boy with the striped pyjamas was good, can’t remember if I gave it four or five. But there wasn’t anything graphic in it that I remember, it was all suggested. I suspect I probably would ‘enjoy’ Paulette’s book especially if her writing is good.
        Skipping is a good sign, for whatever reason. Either it’s boring, or the content is grossly distasteful/gratuitous violence that could be indicated without giving the detail. I can see slightly more justification for it in a book based on historical events to show the horrific realty. The book I read yesterday was total fiction, although there are no doubt similar enough events that have happened. Like you, I’d like to be able to have half stars as I’d be going for three and a half with this book. I rarely let content influence my reviews so it was interesting that we’ve had similar reactions to two different books.
        If I ever write a blog post on it, I’ll link back to this as an interesting example 🙂

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        • I think we’re pretty much on the same page this and in more ways than simply the topic. Paulette’s writing is excellent. I’m still a big fan and absolutely loved, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. I agree that due to the type of historical events this work relates to, it does in part justify detail to an extent. But, I still believe that in some of the cases, suggestion would be enough. However, it also depends on how strong a stomach you have for such things. Knowing you as I do, unless I am somewhat mistaken, I honestly believe that you would enjoy it a lot more than I.

          On the up and up, if you do decide to buy it, Paulette donates proceeds from all her works to a doggy no-kill shelter, and on her blog she’s always posting about rescues and re-homes… I refuse to accept freebies from Paulette to make sure I do my bit by her. Lovely person, you’ll really like her. 😉

          Like

          • Sounds fair enough. I’ve met her around the place a couple of times and I’m aware of the support she offers which is excellent. It’s interesting how many authors do give part or all proceeds to animal charities/shelters. And you’re right, that is totally commendable. But I am just so not looking for good books to read right now. I have neither the time nor concentration to do them justice. Because, I probably would enjoy her writing, I’ll let you know when I get round to it 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the review, Kev! These books are hard to read, but it is the only way to stay alert and don’t let it happen again. Our children and grandchildren have to know this part of history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree, Inese. Awareness, and ‘Lest we forget.’ But, that’s what history classes are for. I wouldn’t recommend this as reading for children, however, but I understand what you mean.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting review, Kev. I understand the author’s choice to spare no detail, but I know that can make books almost too painful to read. It’s a brave artistic choice not to soften the cruelty of what people did/do to each other, and it creates a dramatic contrast to the tremendous compassion and kindness that exists even in horrific circumstances. That said, I don’t know if I could read those sections either.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Much appreciated, Diana… I completely agree. I’ve used some detail myself, just not to the same degree. Some folks need to hear/visualise the details for atrocious realities to sink in; others get it, but find it all to be too much for them. Although it’s not on the same level, having been a victim of domestic abuse, I get things quickly,.. maybe that’s why I am somewhat more sensitive. Each to their own. I have no doubt that this review will actually intrigue some folks to buy the book.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This is a compelling story. Thanks for your very mindful review, Kev. You told me some things that are very helpful in selecting my reading stack. Time is so limited that I appreciate these details. All the best to Paulette — wishing her huge success. Mega hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Teagan. I don’t think I would be doing readers or the author any justice if I wasn’t completely honest in my reviews, and I’m really glad and encouraged when anyone finds my reviews helpful in any way. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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