Tamarby Mal Peet
When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World… See more details below
When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War - and unraveling it is about to transform Tamar's life forever.
Gr 9 Up
Mal Peet's Carnegie Medal-winning novel (Candlewick, 2007) deftly weaves suspense and painful emotion with story strands set in World War II Holland and late 20th century England. When her grandfather commits suicide, 15-year-old Tamar is left an odd collection of objects that lead her to Devon, site of her namesake river. Accompanied by a her cousin, and the two young people uncover the dark family secret that began in the Dutch countryside during the waning days of the Nazi occupation. That thread of the story involves two Dutch Resistance fighters in love with the same woman. Brutal reprisals by German troops increase the friction among Resistance factions and add to conflicts between the two espionage agents, once best friends. The story not only follows a determined teen through her anger, loss, and betrayal, but it also echoes those themes in the ravaged landscape of wartime Holland. Narrators Anton Lesser and Anna Maxwell Martin keep the tension palpable and convey the tale's complex human dilemmas. Peet describes the intensity of love and the struggle to survive physical and mental hardships with compelling imagery. Students can easily draw parallels between this conflict and contemporary issues and identify with the title character's search for self. A gripping, well-crafted audiobook for high school and public library collections.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Read an Excerpt
Tamar had not been able to drift clear of the surface of the water that rushed up to meet him. He was already fumbling with the harness release when he felt the cold shock of contact; he was terrified the chute would drag him under. He was thigh deep before he felt something more or less solid – a mass of sludge and submerged branches – beneath his feet. With a moan of relief he got free of the chute and saw it settle onto the black water like a gigantic water lily. Then he began to struggle towards the denser shadow of the bank. His flailing right arm struck something hard, and he grabbed at it. It shifted in the water. A boat? Yes.
He was pulling himself along it, looking for where it must be moored to the bank, when he heard someone speak.
"Welcome to Holland, Tamar."
He looked up. On the bank, distinct against the lesser darkness of the sky, was the unmistakable silhouette of a German soldier. The long field-service coat, the jackboots. Cold moonlight glinted from the steel helmet and the snout of a submachine gun.
Even before fear took hold, Tamar was filled with a great and bitterdisappointment, a sense of ridiculous failure. He stood away from the boat, feeling broken, and raised his arms above his head.
TAMAR by Mal Peet. Copyright © 2007 by Mal Peet. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
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