A Train in Winter is noted as a Toronto Star Best Book, and I couldn’t agree more.
A biography that reads like fiction, A Train in Winter is a stark look into WWII’s Nazi occupation of Europe. It’s also a celebration of the courage, sacrifice, duty, and strength of a group of French women who refused to submit to the German occupation, and instead joined the Resistance.
Only one trainload of female resisters was ever sent to the German death camp, Auschwitz. A Train in Winter shares the story of those women; how each lived, and eventually came to find herself on the train; how the women banded together to keep themselves and each other alive; how they coped and became friends; how some died, and others survived to eventually welcome US liberation.
I found this story haunting, heart-breaking, and horrifying. I also found it profoundly inspiring; testament to the strength of the human spirit, and friendship, and the deep well of emotional and mental strength women draw on to protect each other, and drive each other, to survive the worst humanity and the environment can throw at them.
Like last week’s read, this book is definitely not for everyone. It is, however, one I think every woman should read.
A Train in Winter exposes the cold fragility of human life and freedom. It also shines a warm light on the innate strength within us to preserve both provided we bridge differences and dig deep to overcome inhibition and fear, so that we might live through commitment, courage, compassion, and community.
It takes courage to lead a life. Any life.