I’m deeply grateful to everyone who has purchased, read, and taken the time to review one of my books. Profits from my books go to help get dogs like Nemo, senior Kona, Daisy, Martiro, senior Ophelia, Jackson & Helena (see photos below) out of kill shelters. So far in 2021, 61 dogs have been rescued. In 2020, 157 dogs were rescued. In 2019, 409 dogs were rescued. In 2018, 670 dogs were rescued. In 2017, we helped free 904 dogs. In 2016, 250 dogs were freed. In 2015, 149 dogs were freed.
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My books have been ranked in the best seller lists on Amazon U.S., U.K., & Australia in their categories (historical fiction, teen and young adult, and literary fiction). What an honor to be ranked #87 MOST POPULAR BOOK IN LITERARY FICTION next to Paulo Coelho; incredible author of The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage.
AMAZON MOST POPULAR BOOKS IN HISTORICAL FICTION: THE SEVEN YEAR DRESS & TO LIVE OUT LOUD
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AMAZON RANKING OVER THE HILL
RECENT REVIEWS FOR OVER THE HEDGE
Robbie Cheadle5.0 out of 5 stars *****A compelling and well researched story Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2021Verified Purchase When I saw the blurb of this book, I knew I had to read it. I am fascinated by books set during periods of war and am especially interested in how war impacts on the civilian populations in war torn countries.
Over the Hedge is a book that explores the horror of WWII and how the Nazi occupation impacted on the population of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It explores the psychology of various people and demonstrates how fear can tear societies apart and cause women fearing for the lives of their own children to perform the heinous act of handing Jewish relatives, including small babies, over to the Nazis, knowing they were destined for deportation to camps. I think this aspect of this book is closest to my heart as I consider the internal conflict of such women and wonder what I would do in a similar situation. I hope I would behave better than they did, but it eats at my mind.
The story centres around the true facts of a trio of members of the Dutch resistance who worked with other brave men and women to save 600 small children from the concentration camps. These three people from vastly different backgrounds were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, the principal of a Christian college.
Walter works for the Hollandsche Schouwburg deportation centre for Dutch Jews which is situated across the street from the daycare operated by Henriëtte. The Christian college is located next door to the day care. The Jewish families arriving at the deportation centre are separated from their children who are sent across the street to the day care for the night. Walter finds a way of altering the arrivals records of selected small children who are then smuggled ‘over the hedge’ to the college where they are taken, at great personal risk, by various students and other resistance members to Dutch families willing to care for these children. The author provides some details on a few of the children and the sad state they arrive in which makes the drama and emotion of the story much more intense.
One such child was Aviva, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl who is deaf and mute. This is a short extract:
“”Aviva …,” Johan let out a chuckle, “laughed.”
“Laughed? But she’s mute-“
“Yes. She’s quite expressive with bodily motions. Silent laughter, a new one on me. Kaat too.”
“Well, that’s good, she’s adjusting, but … it seems unusual she didn’t act fearful.”
“The affectionate dedication of a good mother can do wonders,” said Johan. “The mother must have been an extraordinarily loving women.”
Walter is a scared, worn-out shell of a man, whose own wife and daughter are in hiding in a Dutch resistance member household. He has to deal with the Nazis who are fearful of their own positions and lives and take their anger out on the Jews in the deportation centre, and later anywhere they find hidden Jews. Despite his own personal fear, Walter manages to bring some comfort to the Jewish mothers and fathers in the centre and ask their permission to help their babies. Walter lives for the babies he is able to help save. The strain on him in his untenable position as part of the conduit between life and death for the deportees wears him down over the course of the book, but Walter shows extraordinary determination and tenacity in helping save the children.
Henriëtte is also an extraordinary woman, who does a lot to uplift the spirits of the Jewish workers at the daycare and also Walter. She is a woman of excellent insight and is able to judge character when Walter’s abilities falter. Her kind and loving nature made her story all the more sad and poignant.
Johan was a brave man, who put himself at risk to help save others. I think this is the height of bravery; to act when you are afraid and do what you believe to be right. Without all three of these dedicated and selfless people, the 600 children who were passed ‘over the fence’ would have died.
Aside from Johan, there were many other Dutch people who contributed to the rescue operation and their actions gave me some comfort that even in the most terrible situations, the good in many people still comes to the fore and all is not lost because of it.
This is a very compelling story and is one that everyone should read to ensure that mankind remembers and takes steps to ensure this history is never repeated. Congratulations to the author on an excellent and well researched book.
Noor-Hal Cuellar5.0 out of 5 stars *****Truly inspiring story about remarkable individuals who helped others Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2021 As it is widely known, WWII was a period of time where humanity went through darkness and evil, however, there was light to fend off the darkness at a certain extent, from the hands of those who refused to witness evil without doing something to help.
I applaud sincerely the intent of bringing this kind of stories into public awareness, especially during these trying times when we are still going through a pandemic, when there are a lot of social causes we might need to do something to help others. Works like this one are a good source of inspiration on how when there is a will, there might be a way, and we can be resourceful in times of need.
Over the Hedge is the story of members of the Dutch Resistance who helped saving hundreds of Jewish children from a terrible fate. I truly enjoyed reading from their perspective, from the point of view of real characters who were helpful and in times of sacrifice, they made their contribution.
I loved how the author presented a perspective for each of the characters who at the end of the day were humans, who were facing the new reality they were dealt with, and how their personality is shown and the portrayal of each of them was nuanced, showing their humanity and the normal type of questioning, doubts they might have faced. I commend this book for telling the story of two Jews literally working for the Nazis, which could have been a sign of treachery during their time but it was powerful to see their own reckoning about having to endure so much pain and evil in order to help as much as they can. Also the story of Johan, a non-Jew coordinating the safe transport of little Jewish children smuggled to be saved from the Nazi is truly commendable. A Righteous Among The Nations, someone who risked his life saving others. Mr. van Hulst is a true inspiration for how one person can make a difference, even in the darkest of times.
Something I enjoyed too was the portrayal of some of the German military members who interacted with our main characters. I liked how Mahurin explored their backgrounds and it is interesting to think the motivations that caused a lot of people to support Hitler’s genocidal quest. The way the author present that information is in no way to justify their actions or look for sympathy; I can see the usefulness behind, to understand how economic downturn and geopolitical mishaps can be used for some people for their own agenda’s gain – and how, unfortunately, history can repeat itself if we as a society are not careful.
As a post-note, the author adds this quote by Simon Wiesenthal: “For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.” And I insist, stories like this can be inspirational to assess our own reality and see what can we do to help others, not to fall into inaction. Totally recommend reading this inspiring story of courage under evil, of kindness under loss.
DGKaye5.0 out of 5 stars *****Gripping Heartbreak Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2021 This is a story that will keep you gripped throughout the plight of three people who joined the Dutch Resistance and in 1943 began a rescue mission in Amsterdam to save however many Jewish children as they could from being sent to their deaths.
Walter, Henrietta and Johan’s mission at the deportation center was to move the young children who were deported from their homes to the daycare center next door, a ploy to keep the children calm while the adults were being accounted for, beaten and awaiting the trucks to take them to the trains that would ultimately land them at Auschwitz. What the SS and fellow nazis didn’t know was that the children were methodically moved from the daycare and passed ‘over the hedge’ to a college campus next door. From there, Henrietta would take care of the children and prepare them for transport by other resistance members to be taken to new homes by good Dutch people who adopted them. Humanity at its best during a dark time of history.
Walter worked in the deportation room where the rounded up Jews were first sent to ‘register’ for their ‘next journey’. Walter worked hard and secretly to remove the children’s names off the rosters, always fearing being found out. He would try and save as many children as he could by first approaching the parent(s) and offering them to save their children. Devastated parents with fear, starvation and broken hearts were elated to give Walter their children for a chance for them to live and survive, as they knew what was waiting for them ahead.
The three worked diligently, secretly and methodically to do their part in saving Jewish lives. Intrinsically timed plans were carried out to bypass guards to smuggle the children over to the daycare, and once cleaned and fed, transported by inconspicuous vans and bicycles by other helpers, often placing the children in a suitcase or the like, with a small dose of drug to make them sleep so they wouldn’t get scared and cry. The fact that these three earth angels worked tirelessly right under the noses of the German SS patrol killers and got away with saving the lives of those meant to be killed, is astounding in itself.
Sadly, this story was written on true events. Walter and his friends managed to save the lives of over 600 Dutch Jewish children at a time when helping Jews was a crime punishable by death by the nazis. And if you are wondering what happened to these three heroes after their selfless, heroic efforts, you’re going to have to read the book.
Kimbok5.0 out of 5 stars *****Get this in our schools Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2021 The most deplorable story of all time comes to life in the pages of this book. Three selfless heroes work tirelessly to find a way to rescue over 600 Jewish children “over the hedge”. Based on a true story, this book needs to find its way into our schools. A fantastic account of how one person (or three in this instance) can make a difference in the lives of so many. Highly recommend.
Trypsin5.0 out of 5 stars *****Historical fiction at its best Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 September 2021Verified Purchase Another remarkable heartfelt story based on true events from this author. This one is centred in Holland during WW2 and focussed on Dutch resistance helping persecuted children escape from the clutches of terror. The ingenuity and the courage of the Dutch resistance in cleverly spiriting the children away from brutality is astonishing, and how they managed it is well illuminated in this story. The background is well researched, authentic, and puts the reader into the tension and danger experienced by the heroes who take incredible risks. It isn’t an easy read as some scenes are disturbing and harrowing even in these modern times. Historical thought-provoking fiction at its best.
caroline wright4.0 out of 5 stars ****Very well researched, beginning was a bit slow but got much better Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2021 I was so drawn into the story it was fascinating and well researched and also so respectful.
In the beginning I didn’t think I was going to continue but then I feel in with the writing and it flowed for me.
A few tears came whilst reading.
I was given an advance copy by netgalley and the publishers but the review is entirely my own. One person found this helpful
Gail Cook5.0 out of 5 stars *****Historical story of true courage against adversity Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 November 2021
This is a beautifully written story based on real people during the second world war.
Paulette Mahurin writes their story with great sensitivity.
I found myself dreading what would happen to the main characters and the children but unable to stop reading.
Thought provoking and sadly so real it makes the reader wonder about man’s inhumanity, while at the same time showing that good can come out of evil.
Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 stars *****Excellent read Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 November 2021 A great read for anyone interested in this topic. The content was hard in part but the accuracy of the topic was in my view extremely well written
VEH Masters5.0 out of 5 stars A desperate story of brave people Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 November 2021Verified Purchase This novel tells the little known story of how Jewish children in the Netherlands were snatched from under the noses of the Nazis and spirited away – by other Jews as well as the Dutch resistance. Well researched it shows how and why neighbour turns on neighbour as the pressure grows from Hitler for his henchmen to meet their quotas. I would have liked some insight into the Dutch families who gave the children permanent homes – and how they dealt with their neighbours. Nevertheless this is an absorbing and heart stopping read which makes no bones about the fear, terror, brutality and hunger of the times.
Sep 24, 2021Kathleen Johnson rated it it was amazing *****Shelves: goodreads-giveaways First, I’d like to thank Goodreads and the author, Paulette Mahurin, for the free Kindle copy of this book. It was a wonderful book!
I am so happy that I read this book. In the current tumultuous times we live in, it gave me HOPE! Albeit, the hellacious crimes against humanity and the hatred of certain races and religions happened nearly 80 years ago, today it is very important and relevant for us to learn from them.
I was moved by those who worked so hard to save the next generation instead of themselves. God has truly blessed them. Of that I am certain.
This book is the first that I’ve heard of the ‘over the hedge’ rescue. I have to wonder if any of the children were made aware of their stories and came forward to talk about their lives?
Thank you fir the opportunity to read this book!
Diana B, Reviewer
Last updated on 28 Sep 2021
I read as many stories about the horrendous time in Germany and how badly the Jews, among others were treated. They are all heartbreaking, this is one of the better ones. Maybe if more people were to read the history of the holocaust there would be less wars today. Maybe that is wishful thinking.
Sep 28, 2021Dave rated it really liked it ****Shelves: netgalley-books, read-have, x-netgalley-2021-read The Holocaust was one of the darkest times in all of human history when a small minority dispersed throughout a continent suddenly had no protections and were rounded up and slaughtered. Out of fear, cowardice, and cruelty, few even long-time neighbors or in-laws lifted a finger to help the Jews when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. Yet, if you ever have a chance to visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel, you will find that among all the darkness, there were some pinpoints of light, rays of hope for the future, commemorated in the Righteous Among the Nations, those who risked all, like Oskar Schindler, to do what is right. It is just these pinpoints of light in a world gone mad that offers some hope for our future. Indeed, Johan van Hulst is listed in the database of the Righteous Among the Nations.
In this fictionalized account of a true story, we learn about a few pinpoints of light in Amsterdam where a few people risked their lives on a daily basis to rescue Jewish children from being sent to the death camps. The main three people involved in the rescue were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, the principal of a Christian college, but there were others involved, both Jews and non-Jews. It is called “Over the Hedge” because the children were passed over the back hedge separating the day care center where the children were taken from the Christian College. Records were altered and the children, who no longer officially existed, were carried away often, drugged to keep them quiet and still, in small baskets on bicycles. They were then placed in the countryside with Dutch families, often never reuniting with their families, who were taken away in the cattle cars to the death camps. Many of the Christian students at the school knew what was going on and never said a word.
What works so well in this book is that the fictionalized account offers us a day by day view of the terror that these people felt and how even families were torn apart by the fear with brothers turning brothers out into the streets with no protection. It illustrates how thin the veneer of civilization is and how easily it can be ripped apart by terror.
Over the Hedge
by Paulette Mahurin (Goodreads Author)
Pauline‘s review Nov 04, 2021
it was amazing *****
This book read a bit like a text book but was too emotive for a text book. Outlining the bravery of Johan, Walter, Henriette, Frederik and more during the time of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands was an unforgettable story. The horrors they faced, always a potential moment from being caught, whilst trying to understand their surrounding “normality” was an emotive read. After reading this book I searched up the main characters to find out what happened to them- did they make it through the war?
Stories like these should never be forgotten but serve as a reminder as to how easily people can excuse their behaviour when all rational thought seems to have left. And also a reminder that doing nothing can be just as evil.
Over the Hedge
by Paulette Mahurin (Goodreads Author)
Jeanette Stefanik‘s review Nov 10, 2021
it was amazing***** Read 2 times. Last read November 8, 2021.
Excellent story about a dark time. Very depressing, but then it should be, shouldn’t it. Strong character development that draws you deep into the hearts of the good guys and allows you to dislike the bad guys. Author gives fair warning that this is just historical fiction. The barest facts are true but the parts that suck you into the story are fiction. May we never forget.
Nov 15, 2021Laura Lipton rated it really liked it**** I have read a good deal of both fiction and non fiction about the Holocaust, but this book helped to fill in the gaps in understanding what happened in Holland during this period of history. In the end, there are more questions than answers about why the Germans were so murderous towards the children and how many sacrificed themselves to save others. A good read from VRO; thanks to the author for this opportunity.
Louise G, Reviewer ****
Well written and powerful, this book brings to life the characters and experiences of people finding themselves challenged to weigh up personal safety against what they believe to be right. The author strikes a great balance in their prose, avoiding overly dramatic language to instead quietly and respectfully represent a harsh reality of our times.
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