David R. Gillham’s new novel, Annelies, is a powerful and deeply humane story that asks the question: what if Anne Frank had survived the Holocaust?
The year is 1945, and Anne Frank is sixteen years old. Having survived the concentration camps, but lost her mother and sister, she reunites with her father, Pim, in newly liberated Amsterdam.
But it’s not easy to fit the pieces of their life back together. Anne is adrift, haunted by the ghosts of the horrors they’ve experienced, while Pim is fixated on returning to normalcy. Her beloved diary has been lost, and her dreams of becoming a writer seem distant and pointless now.
As Anne struggles to overcome the brutality of memory and build a new life for herself, she grapples with heartbreak, grief, and ultimately the freedom of forgiveness. A story of trauma and redemption, Annelies not only honors Anne Frank’s legacy as a symbol of hope and perseverance, but also honors a complex young woman of great ambition and heart.
Anne Frank is a cultural icon whose diary painted a vivid picture of the Holocaust and made her an image of humanity in one of history’s darkest moments. But she was also a person—a precocious young girl with a rich inner life and tremendous skill as a writer. In this masterful new novel, David R. Gillham explores with breathtaking empathy the woman—and the writer—she might have become.
PRAISE for Annelies
“In this haunting what-if, David Gillham asks us to reflect on the quandary of how one learns—in the unimaginable wake of the Holocaust—to live again, shedding a powerful, human light on the tragedy of lost potential.”
—Georgia Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of We Were the Lucky Ones
“In Annelies, David Gillham not only explores what might have happened if Anne Frank had survived, but also draws an intimate portrait of life as a Jewish survivor in post-war Amsterdam. By turns a coming-of-age novel and a story of survival, redemption, and family—Annelies is a meticulously researched, emotionally resonant what-if.”
—Jillian Cantor, author of Margot and The Lost Letter
“I had to slow down reading Annelies to better absorb the beauty and power of David Gillham’s words. His depth of understanding of human resilience and our capacity to survive and find the light after unimaginable darkness is a gift. A stunning evocation of the human spirit and its ability to inspire across borders, languages, and decades.”—Kathleen Grissom, New York Times-bestselling author of The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything
In paperback and e-book from Berkley Penguin USA.
It is 1943—the height of the Second World War—and Berlin has essentially become a city of women.
A seamless blend of history and fiction, Gillham’s debut novel, City of Women, takes readers to wartime Berlin where it explores the transformation of a seemingly obedient German soldier’s wife. Sigrid Schröder works as a stenographer and lives with her mother-in-law in a Berlin flat. Outwardly, she leads an ordinary life, coping with the wartime drudgeries and the return of the bombers to her city. But she is trapped in a loveless marriage and secretly rebels when she agrees to help a young woman on her “duty year” who is trying to protect Jewish “U-Boats” in hiding from the Gestapo.
In this page-turning novel, David Gillham explores what happens to ordinary people thrust into extraordinary times, and how the choices they make can be the difference between life and death.