Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found” as Want to Read:
The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,911 ratings  ·  319 reviews
"An awe-inspiring account of the tragedies and triumphs within the world of the Holocaust's 'hide-away' children, and of the families who sheltered them." --Georgia Hunter, author of We Were the Lucky Ones

The extraordinary true story of a young Jewish girl in Holland during World War II, who hides from the Nazis in the homes of an underground network of foster families,
Paperback, Large Print, 432 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Random House Large Print Publishing (first published August 2nd 2018)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cut Out Girl, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Budd Margolis Fantastic book, up there with Anne Franks Diary BUT there are two sexual assault cases which might be difficult at this age. Maybe for 13+ year olds…moreFantastic book, up there with Anne Franks Diary BUT there are two sexual assault cases which might be difficult at this age. Maybe for 13+ year olds but this is a parental decision. Good luck!

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,911 ratings  ·  319 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found
Angela M
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
“Without families you don’t get stories.” (Lien, the girl of this title). This sounds like something we might all accept as true, but how profound this really is in relation to this book and what it means for this story is something that I won’t forget. This is about the Holocaust, about the goodness of some Dutch families in helping to save Jewish children, about the opposite of that when thousands were turned in, about the author’s journey to discover the details of his family’s part
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Diary of Anne Frank is the source of most of my knowledge about The Netherlands during WWII which is a narrow point of view. Sure, I knew about Operation Market Garden, the Dutch resistance and that the Nazis nearly succeeded in starving the population but nothing much beyond that. The Cut Out Girl filled in some of the gaps in my knowledge by providing the cultural and political environment of the time which is always a good thing.

The author, Bart van Es, researches and interviews Lien at
Elyse  Walters
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Library overdrive: by the author: Bart van Es

Problem #1.....
Amazon is selling this kindle book for $14.99.
I didn’t want to pay that much for it. The price ‘is’ too high IMO.
My Library only had this book available ‘as’ an Audiobook.
For over two weeks I’ve been listening to this... ( sometimes sitting down taking notes while the author was speaking to try to keep myself interested.
The author ‘as’ the Audio-narrator didn’t have a talent for the job. It was very hard to stay
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ww2
In the words of Maria Condo This one is not bringing me joy and I have read 50% of the book and that has taken me a week. I think it is time to part company. I struggle with giving up on a book as some books do turn around and am always afraid I will miss out by not finishing the read.

I am not sure what the problem with this book is but I am just plodding along reading and feel I am not retaining any of the information or making any connection with the characters. I asked myself one question
Bart van Es grew up with the vague understanding that there was a girl in his family who wasn't in the family any more. No one would say who she was and why she'd left. No one spoke of her at all. That cut out girl was Lien de Jong. She was a Jewish child his family had hidden briefly during the war and then raised as a foster daughter afterwards. Wanting to uncover this mysterious part of his family's history, Bart van Es tracks down Lien, now in her 80s, to finally learn what she lived through ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bleh
I knew the 2020 good read vibes wouldn't last, and The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found is the culprit that has potentially crushed those vibes. I bought this book some time ago, not long after it was released, and after a Waterstones employee told me this book was absolutely wonderful, I thought I was on to something.

Unfortunately, that enthusiasm I did have, was pretty short lived. From the onset, as early as chapter one, in fact, I knew this book was not for me.

From BBC radio 4 - Book of the week:
The story of a man's search for the truth about his family's past

The last time Hesseline - known as Lien - saw her parents was in The Hague as she was collected at the door by a stranger and taken to a city far away to be hidden from the Nazis. She was raised by her foster family as one of their own but, some years after the war, she became estranged from the family who took her in. What was her side of the story? Bart van Es - a grandson of the couple who
Bev Walkling
Many thanks to #NetGalley and Penguin Press for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

I have always been fascinated by stories of the Second World War and as my father served with the Canadian Army in Netherlands for quite some time, I have a particular interest in stories of that time. I have also been fortunate enough to visit the Netherlands and see places like the Annex where Anne Frank and her family hid or the hidden cupboard in the home of Corrie Ten
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it

Description: a young Jewish girl named Lientje had been taken in during the war by relatives and hidden from the Nazis, handed over by her parents, who understood the danger they were in all too well. The girl had been raised by her foster family as one of their own, but then, well after the war, there was a falling out, and they were no longer in touch. What was the girl's side of the story, Bart wondered? What really happened during the war, and
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book I found very interesting and tell the story of the authors foster aunt who was given away during the German occupation of the Netherlands and had several hiding houses. the book follows interviewers during a period where the story explains her experiences during the second world war as a young girl and finding later that her parents had passed away in a concentration camp.
Upgrade to 4.5

Most of us are familiar with the affecting story of Anne Frank and her family's grievous attempts to survive the Nazi invasion in Holland. This author's focus is particularly about the “hidden children” during the Holocaust. In particular, the focus is on a young Jewish girl, Lientje. She was, at the age of eight, entrusted by her parents to be hidden and cared for by others. This heart-rending tale lays bare much of what befell these children. I have often wondered what they
I am a huge fan of historical fiction/non-fiction, and particularly stories that involve WWII, and so when I heard about The Cut Out Girl I was very eager to read it. And I must say, it did not disappoint. I was drawn in instantly and could not put it down. Beautifully written. Do not miss this one.
I just finished reading the graphic novel version of Anne Frank's Diary, so I guess this was natural progression. Another young girl in the Netherlands hidden to save her life. The author included quite a bit of history about the Dutch underground that I did not know. It was a bit shocking to learn that of all the countries with Jewish populations, the Netherlands lost the most during WW2. 80%. 80%!!! I had heard so many stories about how the Dutch protected and hid Jews, that it hardly seemed ...more
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bart van Es tells the story of a young Jewish girl named Lientjie who was taken in during the War by his grandparents. He doesn't know too much about the story but is aware that at one point there was a falling out and they lost touch with her. This book tells the story of him first reaching out to Lientjie and then the process of discovering what had happened to her, his family, and why the falling out happened.

Bart van Es treats this story with the respect and care it deserves even when he
Claire Fuller
Oh my goodness, this book. When I first started reading The Cut Out Girl, I wasn't sure about the writing style: very plan, unliterary, but as Lien's life and Van es's research hooked me, the style became a perfect foil for this fascinating non-fiction story. Lien is a Dutch Jew, at a point during the war her parents hand her over to the Dutch resistance for hiding. She never sees them again. Lien was mostly looked after by Van es's grandmother, but late in her life there was a rift between the ...more
A sensitively told family story, which also paints a good picture of the Dutch political scene during the German occupation. Reading it, I learned a lot about the Netherlands during WWII, and I admired Van Es’s skill in manoeuvring what must have been something of a minefield, given that his grandparents were hiding and caring for the young Jewish girl at the centre of the account. I was deeply saddened to read of her abuse by those who were later entrusted with her care.
Daniel Sevitt
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Just when you think there are no new angles to stories about the Holocaust something comes along that is both desperately tragic but also vital and healing. Lientje’s story is heartbreaking, but it’s related here with compassion and love. It’s about families and surviving. The Dutch don’t come out of this in any great light, but it’s far less about blame than understanding.
Benjamin baschinsky
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I didn’t care for the writing style, he gets off the focus of the book too many times for me.
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a Jewish Dutch girl Lien and the various families who saved her following the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, in particular the van Es family. The ‘the cut out girl’ represents Lien but the title comes from a picture in a ‘poesie’ album she kept which was a scrapbook of poetry that people wrote in for her and about her - these were popular with girls at that time. Lien’s family were not especially religious and the author pointed out that it is really Hitler who made Lien ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
A very impressive read. I thought I knew all there was to know about the Netherlands at the time of World War II, but the book still had some new insights for me. I didn't know that we had the highest percentage of Jewish people being taken and murdered, even higher than in Germany! Due amongst others to the registration of all Jewish citizens and the cooperation of the Jewish Council and Dutch officials. If only all registrations had been destroyed early on... And apparently the resistance ...more
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bart van Es' detailed, painstaking and thorough investigation of the life of his 'aunt' Lien is a truly moving, often heart-breaking account of a Jewish child's struggle for survival in wartime Holland and her life after the war.

Lien was sent by her parents in 1942 to live with a foster family, the van Eses, who bravely took her in and treated her as one of their own children at the time when the witch-hunt to round up all Dutch Jews and deport them to the concentration camps was beginning.
Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)
The Cut Out Girl was an interesting story about World War II and the Holocaust. I don't want to give too much away about the story, but I do believe anyone who is interested in this time period will enjoy this book.

This book has two interconnected stories, the author, Bart Van Es's family hid a Jewish girl named Lientje, during World War II. He decides to rack Lientje down so he can understand the full story behind her life and what is was life in the Netherlands when it was occupied by the
Beth Bonini
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Why unearth the past, why drag the dusty skeletons out of the closet?

Bart van Es grew up knowing that his Dutch grandparents had been a part of the Resistance during the war; he knew, vaguely, that they had ‘hidden’ Jewish children, and that there had been one child in particular - Lien, ‘Lientje’ - who had been more like a family member. He also knew that something had gone wrong, that there was sadness and secrecy associated with Lien, and that it was a subject that the family, particularly
Jayasree B
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-kindle-lib
Any book with a WWII background is never going to be a light read. This book is about one girl who, like many others, was placed in someone else's home by her parents just so she could live. The Cut Out Girl shows us what it took to escape and survive, the heights that parents went to to make sure their children lived!
A girl whose life changed since she was young, going through different homes and meeting people - some good and others not.
Like I said before, this book is not going to be an
Vicki Antipodean Bookclub
“I am struck again by the obvious overlap between the present epoch and the last one: absurd conspiracy theories, economic recession, and a loss of faith in moderate politicians, who seem to many people to be irrelevant and corrupt. The little car pulls past container lorries that carry goods into Europe: fridges, televisions, furniture, plastic shoes. From the look of these roads nothing is left of the old Europe, but its ghost remains.”
The Cut Out Girl won the Costa Book of the Year and the
Clair Sharpe
Our March book club read and as we have already discussed it, I can tell you that everyone rated it quite highly and all found it shocking but informative.
Lien is just 8 years old when her mother tells her she has a secret. Lien must go to live somewhere else for a while. World War Two has broken out and The Netherlands is a dangerous place for Jews. Soon she is taken from her family and all she knows and goes to live with the Van Es family who foster her to keep her safe from the persecutors of
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars. A heartfelt biography that alternates between the time of Nazi occupied Holland and the present day. It is portrayed through the eyes of Lientje, a young Jewish girl, who was (mostly) hidden in plain sight during the occupation when she was sent to live with a non Jewish family. The author has a direct connection to Lientje and spent a lot of time interviewing her during the writing and research of this book and he also includes chapters about these conversations to provide clarity. ...more
Noor Keulen
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it deals with subject matters that are very interesting and important, but on the other hand I had quite a lot of issues with the execution.
The book seemed very chaotic and the writing style was inconsistent. At certain times orderly dealing out facts and at others lyrically filling in what life must have been like for Lien, almost as if the author was writing fiction (view spoiler)
Mike Sumner
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very moving account of one man's investigation into tracing his 'aunt' Lien and telling her story. A searing exploration of two lives and two families. Lien was given away by her Jewish parents in the Hague in the hope she might be saved from the hell of the Nazi death camps. Lien is hidden and raised by a foster family in the provinces during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. She was moved on many occasions - and survived the war only to find out that her real parents had not. Many ...more
Christopher Jones
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story, Incredibly moving, Incredibly harrowing, INCREDIBLY BRILLIANT ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Salt Path
  • The Stone Crusher: The True Story of a Father and Son's Fight for Survival in Auschwitz
  • Five Days Gone: The Mystery of My Mother's Disappearance as a Child
  • Love is Blind
  • Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns
  • The Librarian
  • All Among The Barley
  • Middle England (Rotters' Club, #3)
  • Old Baggage
  • You Will Be Safe Here
  • The Skylarks’ War
  • The Silence of the Girls
  • Take Nothing With You
  • Now We Shall Be Entirely Free
  • Ordinary People
  • The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton
  • The Familiars
See similar books…
Bart van Es is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St. Catherine’s College. He is the author of Spenser’s Forms of History, Shakespeare in Company, and Shakespeare’s Comedies. He was born in the Netherlands and now lives with his family in England.
“the slats” 0 likes
“as a 1970s beach club, with a retro glitter ball” 0 likes
More quotes…