by Katrina Nannestadt
reviewed by Mia Macrossan
This historical novel with a serious underlying theme is based on real events.
Apparently thousands of lost, orphaned or abandoned children, called Wolfskinder, wandered alone in East Prussia at the end of World War II.
They survived by living wild in the forests, scavenging what food they could from farms and houses. Many headed north to Lithuania where some were adopted, others worked like slaves for food and shelter.
In We Are Wolves Katrina Nannestad has created a little family of three children, Liesl the eldest at 11, Otto her seven year old brother and Mia, a toddler, who struggle to survive and stay together.
Liesl hates having to steal and beg for food. Otto hates Hitler but loves being German and doesn’t want to lose his identity. Mia is too young to really understand what is happening, but she is still affected by the hardships endured by the three.
This is not a grim story, although the circumstances are grim, it is full of joy and love and laughter. Nannestad writes with sympathy of the courage and resourcefulness of children, their pride in their homeland even if it has disappeared and how differently people react under stress.
Above all she stresses the importance and power of family love which survives when much else has disappeared or is changed. An emotionally story that grips the reader from the first page and doesn’t let go until the tearful ending.
Harper Collins 2020