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World War and Suffering Through a Child's Eyes - an Editorial Review of "The Last Daughter"

Book Blurb:

A compelling novel based on a remarkable true story in World War II.

In the early dawn hours of September 8, 1939, ten-year-old Dina Frydman sits at her bedroom window watching storm clouds blacken the horizon. Nightmares have kept her awake all night. She hears a distant rumble as the tanks roll into Radom. The Nazis have conquered Poland and nothing will ever be the same. Dina and her family prepare for the worst but they could never imagine what the worst would be.

From the deprivation of the Glinice and the Walowa ghettos, to the back-breaking slave labor camps, to the menacing smokestacks of Auschwitz, and the wall of death at Bergen-Belsen, Dina’s journey is unforgettable. Her will to survive is remarkable. But most extraordinary is her buoyant spirit that touches the lives of everyone she meets. As Dina travels through the gates of hell, her life becomes a beacon in one of the darkest storms in human history.

Based on the remarkable true story of Dina Frydman, one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust, The Last Daughter will reaffirm your faith in the indomitability of the human spirit.

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Editorial Review:

In the presence of eyes which witness the slaughter which saw the oppression the heart could not bear, we have taken an oath. To remember it all, to remember, not once to forget! Forget not one thing to the last generation! - Avraham Shlunsky, Israeli poet

This is a compelling true story based on the life of the author's mother – Dina Frydman – one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust, and is a timeless story of courage and faith in the midst of horror. Belle Ami plunges deep into the narrative, taking the reader on this painful journey to show the realities of life in the Jewish ghettos and the utter loss of innocence, and the opening introduction from the Israeli poet defines the theme throughout – this is the author's oath to reveal and to not forget the scarring effects upon her own mother's life.

We, the survivors, must fight to live so that the world will know what took place here. You and I must live to remember and testify for those who have perished. The Nazis mean to soak the ground with our blood and annihilate us from the face of the earth. There can be no delusions among us. We are all that stands in the way of the extinction of an entire people. Help me find a reason to live. You are the youngest, and you are strong.

Dina Frydman is ten-years-old when the story opens, living an innocent life filled with laughter and love of her family in Radom Poland. Before long, and as the news continues to blast across Europe, Poland is invaded by the Nazis and Dina's life changes in a flash. Even as her family prepares for the worst, still there is the sense of innocence as they believe, as many during that time believed, that all of this will pass quickly and that, surely, nothing will come of Hitler's taunts.

But day by day, the grim realities set in, and the family is deported to the Glinice and Walowa ghettos where, once again, they attempt to settle into a “new normal”. Dina watches her family fall apart, her former strong mother disappearing into fragility, her father and sister sent to back-breaking work for the Nazis, and her little brother witnessing things no child should ever see. Still, Dina's resilience shines through as the war rages around them and as they see more and more of their friends and family claimed by death. The story follows her for six years, through the hellish gates of Auschwitz, the sorrowful sorting of clothes and belongings during her work with the AVI, and a near tragic incident which leaves her horribly scarred – and still, her smile and fortitude bring comfort to those around her.

I am a shadow of who I was. Daughter, sister, friend – these are descriptions that no longer hold meaning for me. My young, healthy body strains under the tasks assigned to me, but these burdens only seem to strengthen my physical and mental determination.

The days wear on in a repetition of conflicting contrasts, the beauty of burgeoning summer and the squalor of the disintegrating ghetto.

Belle Ami's book is a must-read, not only for the masterful prose but for the message behind this inspirational story. We hear her mother's voice, told in first person – someone who survived one of the most horrific attempted genocides in the history of the world – and the words reach deep into the reader's heart. There is a well-known phrase by Mark Twain which reads – 'Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.' – and never has this been more evident than in this story which reads more like fictionalized narrative than a true biography, which helps the reader to settle into the storyline. Not until the very end, in the author notes, does the reader come to learn that this is a true story, and the 'truth' brings tears to the reader's eyes. When you know that this is a real account straight from the author's mother, the words brand your heart with a hot iron. Ms Ami does a remarkable job of honoring the past and those of her family lost in the Holocaust, but while speaking the truth about the horrors witnessed by a young 10-year-old girl, the author frames the entire riveting story with hope, love, faith, and heroism. For fans of books like “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” or “Facing the Lion: Memoirs of a Young Girl in Nazi Europe” by Simone Arnold Liebster, then this is one to add to your list, and needs to be among the list for teachers teaching students about the Holocaust. Very highly recommended.


“The Last Daughter” by Belle Ami receives five stars from The Historical Fiction Company and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence.


Author Bio:

I'm Belle Ami, and if you're reading this bio, then you may be a lover of historical fiction, time travel thrillers with romantic elements, and romantic suspense, because that's my passion, and that's what I write. I'm a #1 Amazon bestseller of THE GIRL WHO KNEW DA VINCI, THE GIRL WHO LOVED CARAVAGGIO, & THE GIRL WHO ADORED REMBRANDT - Books 1, 2, and 3 in the compelling OUT OF TIME SERIES—art thrillers with a time-travel twist.

My latest novel—a book set in World War II Poland, Germany, and the United States—is titled THE LAST DAUGHTER. It is a completely revised and rewritten version of my very first book: IN THE FACE OF EVIL. The story was inspired by the life of my beloved and courageous mother, Dina Frydman Balbien, who was one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust. Dina is turning 93 on June 20 2022 and I cannot tell you how emotional I am that she is able to read this book. Thank you for making THE LAST DAUGHTER a #1 Amazon Bestseller since its release in June 2021.

I'm also very proud that THE GIRL WHO LOVED CARAVAGGIO is the Silver Medal Runner up in the 2020 RONE Awards and the winner of The Book Excellence Award. THE GIRL WHO KNEW DA VINCI is the winner of the 2019 RAVEN Award and is a 2018 Finalist of the Readers' Favorite Awards. THE GIRL WHO ADORED REMBRANDT is the Finalist for the 2021 Book Excellence Award and a 2021 RONE Award Finalist.

My romantic thriller series TIP OF THE SPEAR introduces my sexy Mossad hero in a trio of international thriller novels with romantic elements: ESCAPE, VENGEANCE, RANSOM, EXPOSED. I'm also a 2018 RONE Award finalist for ESCAPE. VENGEANCE is also the Gold Medal Winner of the 2019 Readers' Favorite Awards for Espionage Thriller.

My first novel was a finalist for a major book award and launched my writing career and I haven't slowed down since.

When I'm not working on my next book, you'll find me in the kitchen whipping up something delicious for my family to enjoy. In addition to gourmet cooking, my passions include playing classical piano, kick-boxing, skiing, and travel. I call Southern California home.


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