Listen free for 30 days

The Hidden Village

Narrated by: LIAM GERRARD
Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Wartime Holland. Whom can you trust? 

Deep in the Veluwe woods lies Berkenhout, a purpose-built village of huts sheltering dozens of persecuted people. But the Germans can find no proof of its existence. The whole community pulls together to help the Berkenhout inhabitants adjust to a difficult new life and, above all, stay safe. 

Sofie, a Jewish Dutch girl, struggles to adapt to living in Berkenhout, away from her family and friends. As weeks turn to months, she’s worried they’ll abandon her altogether. Young tearaway Jan likes to help, but he also enjoys roaming the woods looking for adventure and fallen pilots. His dream comes true, until he is found out. Henk is in charge of building the underground huts and organizing provisions to Berkenhout, but his contact with the Germans arouses suspicions. 

Whom can you trust? All it takes is one small fatal slip to change the course of all their lives forever.

©2017 Imogen Matthews (P)2018 Imogen Matthews

What listeners say about The Hidden Village

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Bravery in Wartime.

Berkenhout Village was a collection of huts, partially hidden underground and concealed in dense forest. It was built during WWII, to protect the local Jewish population from persecution by the Germans. The author's mother lived close to this village and in her novel, Ms Matthews chose to highlight the brave efforts of the Dutch people in keeping their neighbours safe. The main character, Sofie, was a young Jewish girl who became separated from own family early on in the war and adopted the people of Berkenhout Village as her surrogate family. The village was well concealed, but the residents still had to maintain constant vigilance and keep all sounds to an absolute minimum. Jan, a young lad at the time, epitomised a wayward boy, out looking for adventure. With great excitement he stumbles across an English pilot who has been shot down. This appears to be the start of the underground movement in the area, which subsequently saves many people. This is a well written fictional account, highlighting the amazing bravery and sacrifices of the people who found themselves invaded by a foreign power. My version was excellently read by Liam Gerrard, who read clearly and at a good pace. This was written for a Young Adult audience, but I would recommend it for adults as well.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An fine reading of a gripping and moving story

The Hidden Village is a cracking good story in its own right when you read it, but when you are able to lay back in your favourite chair or drive along in your car or sit back comfortably on a train carriage seat on a long journey and let it soar over you effortlessly from the trained voice of a professional actor, it is simply a delight . Liam's reading of it, done with great skill and an inimitable interpretation of the characters, which brings them uniquely to life, is an even greater pleasure than making them up in your own head, although of course we all have our own images and sounds in our mind when we read a book. I can thoroughly recommend the Audible version, but buy it before you read it to yourself

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating insight into little known area of WWII

The story is fast paced and with interesting detail of what ordinary people went through during this extraordinary time.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An Amazing Story

This is such a gripping book, exciting, scary, moving and compelling. Felt like I was right there alongside the characters feeling exactly what they were going through! Would highly recommend for anyone who wants to experience the whole range of human emotions and a hear story that will have you thinking about it even when you've stopped listening. Brilliant!!

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Margaret
  • Margaret
  • 24-08-19

Realistic look into life during a terrible time

This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by this author and I would listen to another. I think the story was well laid out, nicely incorporating historical facts among the fictional storyline. I liked how she showed us the little things… the petty arguments, little pleasures, frustrations of teenagers, selfishness of children, naivety, pettiness and greed of the adults, selfless acts, moral struggles, desire to help and where the line becomes crossed to self-preservation. Parts of the best book made me smile, laugh, cry, all the while not losing focus on the overall tragedy that was in the wake of the Nazi regime. This is the first book I’ve listened to by this narrator ( Liam Gerrard) and I would listen to another. I think he did well with this book. He makes use of accents quite well and his male and female adult and children’s voices were distinct and believable. There are no explicit sex scenes, excessive violence or swearing. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review. Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for BarbieAlaska
  • BarbieAlaska
  • 18-08-20

narrator needs to be a Dutch person!!!

Story needing to be told. Thank you. The narrator takes away from the story.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 27-12-19

Not one of the better war stories

I struggled to finish but kept waiting for it to pick up the pace. It never did. There are so many good war novels that I do not reccomend wasting time on this one.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rayc
  • Rayc
  • 08-08-19

A good read

The Hidden Village. .. An enjoyable read. Not gripping though it is a good read. I was waiting for the crescendo but never really appeared. The story is good and the main characters well developed which made it good entertainment. Maybe I'm a bit harsh in my star ratings but I found it a difficult book to review. . I received a free copy of this audio book at my own request and voluntarily leave this review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for CuteAsADaisy
  • CuteAsADaisy
  • 04-08-19

WWII Resistance Historical Fiction

This was such an interesting story and so hard to put down. I do think it was written for a teen to young adult crowd due to the young romances, dialog and scenes like the young boy's first experience with cigarettes. I love all the details that the author gave throughout the story, they really helped me to picture the different scenes. It's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster like many WWII stories tend to be. I knew of the many stories of people trying to hide people but I hadn't heard of whole villages so this was very interesting to me. Like some of the other reviewers have said I do think there was enough story left in play for a squeal and I hope there is one. The narrator did a fantastic job and made it even more entertaining. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Erin S
  • Erin S
  • 17-07-19

Intriguing story and a great listen

Love, loss, drama, and the good and bad of human nature rolled into the story. This book drew me in with not only the main characters but also all the other characters woven in that all had a part to play in the outcome of the story. I liked the forest setting, which was different than other books I've read about Nazi occupation. I was pleasantly surprised by this audiobook, for the well-written characters and storyline Imogen Matthews crafted, and also for the great job that Liam Gerrard did with the narration. I received a promotional copy of this book and this is my voluntary, honest review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Maria
  • Maria
  • 01-07-19

Inspiring, educational, and a great story!

I don’t really have the words to explain how i feel about this book. It was Inspiring, moving, Educational, heartbreaking, but it also made me smile. I totally loved the characters, and the narration was wonderful. I think the narrator did really well with all the names, and accents. I also was intrigued by the history and trying to imagine the village. I never knew these types of Villages existed. The logistics of how supplies and things were brought to the Village waS fascinating. I love the way small details were sometimes described. As a blind person, I appreciated the descriptions. I totally felt for Sofie and loved cheeky Jan. It was also a bit of a mystery trying to figure out who was on who’s side. Some reviewers have said there was a lot of fluff, but I appreciated the small details, and feel that life would probably have been like that. The adults and kids were trying to cope with life as best they could and needed normality. This book was extremely hard to put down. I didn’t want this story to end. It left me wanting to know more though. What happened to max? what about Peter? What happened to Carl? Was he what he seemed to be?? How did Liesbeth and Jan and Marika get on? Did they mend things with Sofie? Please pardon spelling of the names, as this was read in audio so i am trying to guess at the way some names were spelled. Don’t know if there ever will be a sequel but if there were, I would definitely read it.. I would highly recommend this book. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Debra Case
  • Debra Case
  • 21-02-19

Seems like a book for older children or teenagers

The topic behind the book seemed very interesting, but it was treated like fluff. Cakes and coffee on Sunday's, teenage crushes, boy's first smoking experience -- treated what could have been a great story very superficially. Not for me.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for blueskies982
  • blueskies982
  • 03-12-18

Informative historical fiction

In "The Hidden Village", the citizens of a Dutch community are called upon to shelter those fleeing from the Nazis. The people coming to them for help include Jewish children, downed American pilots, and German defectors. The story follows the characters through small joys, near misses, tragedy, and triumph. The characters are very real and relatable - so important in historical fiction! I would certainly recommend this for parents, guardians, and teachers to use as a learning tool. The book can be used to help teens contextualize what happened during World War 2. Please note that there are war related situations with violence which were difficult for me, as an adult, to process. This story examines a variety of war experiences through the eyes of the characters and helps the listener to consider, 'What would it be like to try and hide refugees?', 'What is the emotional toll on families?', 'Who is trustworthy?', and 'Is the sacrifice ultimately worth it?' I understand the story was written using historical accounts and stories combined with research. However, I felt like the ending (2 decades after the story) was a bit muddled and missed an opportunity to follow the characters through recovery and rebuilding. I would've been interested in a short introduction to the author's relatives, information about the real Berkenhout, and what happened to the survivors the story was based on. I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for DabOfDarkness
  • DabOfDarkness
  • 26-09-18

Educational & charming

This was an educational and charming tale about Nazi occupied Holland during WWII. ‘Charming’ probably sounds a little odd for the subject but it was mostly a light-hearted tale about hiding in the woods and pulling the wool over the eyes of the Nazis. Jan, a lad of 11 years old, plays a major role in the story and for much of it, this was just one big adventure. It was exciting running messages and supplies to the Jews hiding in the woods (Berkenhout). He slips through Nazi hands again and again. Also, he’s found a few pilots that had to bail out. Sometimes his family helps out pilots or Jews by hiding them in their attic. So I can see how it’s all very exciting for the lad. It took me a while to like Sofie. She is separated from her family and lives in Berkenhout on her own as a teenager. There, she eventually learns to help out. I’m not sure if she had a maid come in and clean once a week before the war, but now she learns to cook and clean and eventually enjoys all the tasks she takes on. I’m going to show my ignorance here but this one little thing keeps niggling at me. The characters in this story (Jew or not Jew) all enjoy pork. Ham or bacon is nearly a daily ingredient in the cooking. There’s no discussion of ‘Oh, well, things are desperate and we really need the protein so we’ll eat pork even though it’s not kosher’. So was it common for 1940s Dutch Jews to eat pork? I don’t know and my few on-line searches haven’t answered the question. A few lines in the story would have educated me and cleared up that minor mystery. The ladies in general were comforters and romantic interests. When two or more got together, they almost always talked about boys or men. I was a bit disappointed in this aspect of the story. We all know that the ladies did plenty in WWII besides the cooking, cleaning, reproducing, and flirting. The last hour of the book gets very serious and it was a definite change of tone from the rest of the book. Unfortunately, several people die or are injured. There’s also the question of whether or not a certain side character betrayed the people of Berkenhout. Unfortunately, that mystery is never clearly answered. I enjoyed the two pilots. One was a Brit, Nigel. Then later in the book there’s Donald, an American from Ohio. Both were welcomed into Jan’s house, partially because Jan and his mom (who is British) speak English. They both made a good counterpoint to Jan’s dad, who was always in a bad mood and rather gruff with Jan. After Jan’s older brother Oscar went off on a small mission for the local resistance, Jan didn’t have a steady male mentor. Both Nigel and Donald treated Jan well and appreciated his help. Liesbeth, Sofie’s best friend from school, is a small comforting presence for much of the story. At the end she plays an important role and I liked her all the better for it. Though once again, I had some questions about how Liesbeth’s generosity changed her life and how she pulled it off. So, as you can see, it was educational for me (who knew nothing about Nazi-occupied Holland before reading this story) yet it left me with several small questions. 4/5 stars. The Narration: Liam Gerrard was great for this story. He was the perfect, excitable Jan. He also had believable female voices. I know it would be a lot to ask for, but I would have enjoyed a Dutch accent for the Dutch characters… but that would have been the majority of the book so I understand why it wasn’t done. Gerrard used a light British voice for the majority of characters, which was perfect for the two British characters but it did make it feel like the story was set somewhere in the UK rather than in Holland. Gerrard had a good German accent for the Nazis and the one German defector. I also liked his American accent for Donald (who is from Ohio). His pacing was good too. There were no technical issues with the recording. 4.5/5 stars. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Essential Audiobooks. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.