The Fortress: A Historical Fiction Novel Based On A WW2 True Story

February 7, 2019

 

A system of hidden caves beneath Bucharest’s glamorous concert hall was a shelter for homeless children and their hiding place from the Nazis

Romania, World War II. Nelu escapes from his home and finds shelter with other homeless children in the caves beneath Bucharest’s spectacular concert hall. They call it “The Fortress”.

Daniel is the son of a well-to-do Jewish family living in the heart of Bucharest. On the eve of WWII, Daniel and his family are forced to flee and take refuge in those caves with the help of the children.

Daniel, Nelu and the other homeless children, find themselves united when facing the Nazi threat. For Daniel and his family, some of the children were nothing but a concept prior to the war, but now – no race or socioeconomic differences are relevant. In this reality they are all equal, bound by the need to survive. They must deal with hunger, poverty, and the imminent threat of death.

The Nazi threat gets closer every day. Daniel and his family realize they need to flee if they want to stay alive. They all decide to escape, breaking up the group; embarking on a journey that will change so many lives. The fight for survival becomes the fight for their freedom. Some find themselves fighting alongside the ally forces against the Nazis, and some find themselves joining the Romanian forces that collaborated with the Nazi regime.

Years later, long after the end of WWII, Lonel – a young child, finds himself alone in Bucharest. He is completely unaware that the fate of the entire group lies in his hands.

Destiny is about to make one of its biggest moves. It’s up to Lonel to prevail or the struggle to survive will be forgotten.

 

REVIEW

A well-crafted historical fiction based on a World War II true story.

Reviewed By Piaras O Cionnaoith for Emerald Book Reviews

Author Jonathan Hillinger weaves a powerful historical fiction (based on a World War II true story) with fascinating twists and turns that will easily captivate the reader from the first page to the last.  The author paints a dramatic and riveting tale of abandoned street children in a very vivid and convincing way. In addition, the characters are drawn with great credibility and conviction. It’s a fast-paced novel that will have you spellbound from the opening chapter.

The book description gives a powerful preview: ‘Romania, World War II. Nelu escapes from his home and finds shelter with other homeless children in the caves beneath Bucharest’s spectacular concert hall. They call it “The Fortress”.

Daniel is the son of a well-to-do Jewish family living in the heart of Bucharest. On the eve of WWII, Daniel and his family are forced to flee and take refuge in those caves with the help of the children.

Daniel, Nelu and the other homeless children, find themselves united when facing the Nazi threat. For Daniel and his family, some of the children were nothing but a concept prior to the war, but now – no race or socioeconomic differences are relevant. In this reality they are all equal, bound by the need to survive. They must deal with hunger, poverty, and the imminent threat of death.

The Nazi threat gets closer every day. Daniel and his family realize they need to flee if they want to stay alive. They all decide to escape, breaking up the group; embarking on a journey that will change so many lives. The fight for survival becomes the fight for their freedom. Some find themselves fighting alongside the ally forces against the Nazis, and some find themselves joining the Romanian forces that collaborated with the Nazi regime.

Years later, long after the end of WWII, Lonel – a young child, finds himself alone in Bucharest. He is completely unaware that the fate of the entire group lies in his hands.

Destiny is about to make one of its biggest moves. It’s up to Lonel to prevail or the struggle to survive will be forgotten…’

Now, if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, I don’t know what will. But if you want to find out what happens, you’ll just have to turn the pages for yourself! However, I will say it was well worth the read. It’s my first time reading this author and I must say I was very impressed.

THE FORTRESS had every element a good story should have. An interesting plot, attention to detail, but best of all fleshed out, well-written and well-rounded character development. There’s an abundance of well-illustrated scenes that make you feel like you are right there in the story, and that’s something I really look for in a good book.

It’s one of those stories that come along once in a while that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader!

I’ll be looking forward to reading more from Jonathan Hillinger in the future. I would highly recommend this book. A well-deserved five stars from me.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Hillinger finished his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biochemistry, while living in Cordoba, Argentina.

Jonathan’s parents – David and Simona Hillinger, were both born in Romania to families that lived through and survived the horrors of the WWII. His grandfather – his mother’s father, served as an officer in the Romanian army. On his father’s side, most of the family was killed at Auschwitz and only his grandfather and great grandfather, made it through alive.

The inspiration for this book came to Hillinger from a street child he encountered in Argentina and many of the descriptions of the city at the time of the war, are based on his mother’s childhood memories.

Jonathan Hillinger’s articles have been published in two of the major newspapers in Israel and three of his short stories won writing competitions (Best short story Ramat Gan writing Competition, 2016 and best short thriller in 2017 by the Yekum Tarbut organization). He is also known for writing historical novels in the magical realism genre.

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