The Watcher

The Watcher

by Joan Hiatt Harlow


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After Wendy is kidnapped, the only way she can survive World War II Germany is with the help of a special dog and the family she never knew she had in this historically accurate, standalone companion to Shadows on the Sea that Kirkus Reviews calls “a stimulating blend of suspense and history.”

1942. Berlin, Germany. How did Wendy end up in such a place? Just a few months ago, she was enjoying her time in Maine, supporting the American war effort.

But she was kidnapped, then betrayed by her own mother, who is actually a Nazi spy. As a new Berliner—and now a German—Wendy is expected to speak in a language she’s never known and support a cause she doesn’t believe in.

There are allies, though, among the Germans. Allies who have been watching over Wendy since she arrived. And Wendy, along with her new German shepherd puppy, must confront them. If only she can find them.

Her life depends on it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442429123
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: 11/03/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 225,409
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Joan Hiatt Harlow is the author of several popular historical novels including Secret of the Night Ponies, Shadows on the Sea, Midnight Rider, Star in the Storm, Joshua’s Song, Thunder from the Sea, and Breaker Boy. Ms. Harlow lives in Venice, Florida. For more information, visit her at

Read an Excerpt

The Watcher

  • The hot July sun crept through the open window by the bed, waking me from another crazy dream. I turned the pillow to the cool side, and closed my eyes, hoping to sleep again.

    But bits and pieces of the past week flickered in my brain, nagging at me. I clamped the pillow over my head, not wanting to wake up. Not wanting to remember.

    When Aunt Adrie and I arrived here last night, I was too tired to change or bathe. So I slept in the same clothes I’d worn for days. It was a dream . . . wasn’t it? I kicked aside the quilt and looked down at my crumpled clothes. No, it hadn’t been a dream.

    I nervously twisted the ruby ring on my finger and everything flashed back rapidly—madly. Aunt Adrie gave me the ring a few days ago—when she told me the incredible truth: she was not my aunt at all. She was my mother and I was Wendy Dekker. I was not Wendy Taylor from New York State, even though I had thought I was all my life.

    I looked down at the gold ring and its deep red stone—a rare pigeon-blood ruby. In the morning sun and shifting shadows of the tree outside my window, the ruby appeared to throb like the beating heart of a frightened bird—only I was the frightened bird.

    Adrie had never asked me if I wanted to run away with her. I hadn’t been given a choice, but I did want to be with Adrie. I loved her, and I would go wherever she asked me.

    However, the next thing I knew, we were deep in the Atlantic Ocean, in the middle of World War II, with bombs exploding around us.

    Now, here I was in this big bedroom in this strange house that Adrie said was “where I belonged.” The bedroom was beautiful with Oriental rugs, high ornate ceilings, and dark mahogany furniture. It wasn’t a bit like my little bedroom back in Derry, New York.

    Suddenly my eyes filled up with tears, and I wanted to go home.

    I was wiping my eyes when the door burst open and Adrie came in. “I’ve been waiting for you to come to breakfast.” She came closer, peering at my face. “What’s this? Have you been crying?”

    “Um, oh, just a little . . . homesick, I guess.” I reached for another tissue on the nightstand and hoped she would understand and take me in her arms and comfort me. Instead she threw her hands up in astonishment. “Homesick? You are home! This room, this entire house has been waiting for you since you were born. And now, finally, you are home. So why on earth are you crying?”

    “I—I’m sorry, Adrie,” I stammered. “Everything is happening so . . . fast. I hardly know who I am . . . or where I am. . . .” I tried hard to hold back more tears.

    When she spoke again, her voice was icy. “Get this into your head once and for all. You are Wendy Dekker, my daughter. And this”—she stretched out her arms, encompassing the room—“this is your home.”

    I had no choice after all. It didn’t matter if I wanted to go back to the States. It didn’t matter if I were scared or homesick or lonesome. I opened my mouth to speak, but she silenced me with her hand, palm up, and came closer.

    “Forget the propaganda you’ve heard back in the States—lies about Germany, Nazis, Hitler, and this war.” Then, grabbing a hand mirror from the bedside table, she held it up to my face. “This is who you are,” Adrie repeated fiercely. “Wendy Dekker.”

    The girl in the mirror—with teary eyes and a runny nose—was a stranger to me.

    Adrie went on. “You are not American and you never were! You are a German girl—ein Deutsches Mädchen. Germany is your fatherland and Germany is where your loyalties lie.” She opened the curtains wide and pointed to the world outside my window. “And that city out there—Berlin, Germany—is where you—Wendy Dekker—live!”

  • Customer Reviews

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    The Watcher 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    We often lament that today’s children have little knowledge of major events of our past. What a great opportunity Harlow’s book, The Watcher,  provides for young readers; a view of Nazi Germany during World War II through the eyes of a fourteen year old.  Wendy Dekker is uprooted from her home in America by her newly revealed mother, a Nazi spy. Suddenly she is taken to Germany where she is thrust into the highest levels of society in a regime led by Adolph Hitler, a madman both adored and feared. She is shocked as she discovers the evil  acts they commit to maintain power. Wendy secretly befriends Barret, a blind boy, and his dog. Through Barret’s grandfather she learns the  true identity of her father. With the help of his amazing legacy, Wendy is able to plot a daring escape from the nightmare that surrounds her.  Considerate of her young audience, Harlow handles the horrors of Hitler’s Germany with accuracy, yet with delicacy. The Watcher weaves accurate history with mystery, suspense, tenderness, and survival. It’s a winner. June Estep Fiorelli
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I found the book really amazing! I would recomend this book if you like sad books with a happy ending.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was amazingly good! Covers can decieve you!! Only not so good thing was that Wendy didn't act her age
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    An intresting and mysterious book that gets better and better every chapter. The more I read the more interested I get.