[Book Review] The Helsingor Sewing Club by Ella Gyland

[Book Review] The Helsingor Sewing Club by Ella Gyland
The Helsingor Sewing Club
Front Cover

Inspired by the incredible true story of how the people of Denmark saved their Jewish neighbours during WW2

Helsingør, Denmark, 1943

In the midst of the German occupation during World War Two, Inger Bredahl joins the underground resistance and risks her life to save members of Denmark’s Jewish community and help them escape to Sweden.

Copenhagen, 2018

Inger’s granddaughter, Cecilie Lund, is mourning her death when a mysterious discovery while cleaning out Inger’s flat leads past and present to intersect. As long-held secrets finally see the light of day, Cecilie learns the story of her grandmother’s courage and bravery, and of the power of friendship, love, and standing for what’s right…even when you have everything to lose.

An inspiring tale of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of community.

My Review of The Helsingor Sewing Club

The Helsingor Sewing Club will stay with me for quite some time. The story is primarily about the courage and selflessness of a young Danish woman who risks life and limb to protect her Jewish countrymen from Nazi persecution.

The anguish of the characters at the mindless loss of life and the anger at the ruthlessness of the German soldiers is palpable.

The atmosphere of the book is mostly charged with tension, secrecy, and danger. Yet, it was a loss of a more personal kind that had a greater effect on me. The thought of what could have been made me as disappointed as the characters in the book.

Descriptions of how people had to make do with what they could get fascinated me. How they worked around the shortage of essentials and scraped and scrounged to save up for special occasions makes me think we’re blessed to live in a world of excess.

The rationale behind the unusual title of the book is revealed much later and only fleetingly. But it doesn’t matter. The story of how a community rallied around to help its members and stood up to wrongdoing, even if they did it clandestinely, is powerful and visceral.

This book is not for the faint-hearted. Themes of murder, suicide, separation, and persecution are explored in great depth. You should pick it up only if you’re prepared to read about it. I felt, by turns, shocked, inspired, and tearful at the dramatic events in the story.

If you’re not familiar with the culture of Denmark and the Danish language, you may find it a bit difficult to follow certain parts of the book. The author has beautifully integrated Danish and German words and phrases in the story to give it an authentic feel. It doesn’t interfere with your understanding of the overall storyline, but you may not get the details. But what’s Google for, right?

(Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of the book.)

Purchase Link – amzn.to/3nv7jR6

Author Bio – Originally from Denmark, I have lived in London for many years, surrounded by my family, cats, books and the Scandinavian hygge I try to create everywhere I go. As a linguist I love playing with words and language, and I am addicted to story-telling. I also believe strongly in social responsibility and sustainable living.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: Ella/Henriette Gyland, @henrigyland

Website: https://henriettegyland.wordpress.com/ 

6 responses to “[Book Review] The Helsingor Sewing Club by Ella Gyland”

  1. WW2 fiction is so fascinating that it is almost a genre in itself. I haven’t read books based in Denmark so the idea of reading about Danish customs intrigues me. Reading on the Kindle is such a blessing in such cases when you can easily look up stuff.

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