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The Ventriloquists

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  40 reviews
In this triumphant debut inspired by true events, a ragtag gang of journalists and resistance fighters risk everything for an elaborate scheme to undermine the Reich.

Brussels, 1943. Twelve-year-old street orphan Helene survives by living as a boy and selling copies of the country’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir, now turned into Nazi propaganda. Helene’s entire world chan
Hardcover, 544 pages
Expected publication: August 27th 2019 by Park Row
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    The Ventriloquists
    Release date: Aug 27, 2019
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    3.41  · 
    Rating details
     ·  51 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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    Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    The year was 1943. Gruppenfuhrer August Wolff headed the Ministry of Perception Management administered by the Gestapo. Wolff, Germany's book burning crusader, was primarily involved in Black Propaganda. "Propaganda is 'black' if it is supposedly from one side, but is actually from the other." The citizenry of the city of Brussels was dispirited. "When the Nazis invaded Belgium taking our printing presses, our radios, our books...they took our words and thoughts, too..." Le Soir, arguably Belgiu ...more
    Karen Kay
    I received this from in exchange for a review.

    Really clunky, blocky writing and the characters didn't grab my attention.

    Abandoned at 25%.
    No Rating

    Sherry Chiger
    Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
    About three-quarters of the way through this novel, set in World War II Belgium, one of the protagonists spends a fair amount of time moaning that "I probably won't see the Americans join the war." That would be fine... if the book didn't take place in 1943. I reread that section three times to be sure I hadn't misunderstood.

    Even before then, though, the book was irritating me, primarily because of the clunky framing device and use of first-person narrative for most of the story. Gamin/Helene,
    Sherry Zaks
    Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    This book is the perfect combination of gravitas, humor, and pure, compelling plot. The true story is amazing, and yet the author doesn't just ride the plot like so many historical fiction books do. Each sentence is beautiful. Each character is perfectly lovable, perfectly hatable---or sometimes both. This tale of every day resistance and remembering how to laugh again in the face of oppression is both timeless and (sadly) so very timely. I cannot recommend it enough.
    Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A powerful novel based on an fascinating true story set in WWII-era Belgium. The characters are richly developed and memorable. Among the many elements of this book that I enjoyed is that this book presents a different way to engage in everyday resistance to power. While bravery and hope are of course important, the Ventriloquists also demonstrates how humor can be a mighty force, against even the most powerful of enemies.
    Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A young woman named Eliza, knocks on the door of an old woman living in Engheim in Brussels. At first, the old lady won’t let her in, and then Eliza mentions a name. A name the old woman had only ever heard in another life.

    Through Eliza and her notebook, Gamin is transported back to wartime Brussels, where he is an orphan at eight and a successful criminal, pickpocket and soldier for the Resistance at age twelve.

    Gamin tells Eliza, bit by bit, of the most splendid farce ever committed against the
    Seema Rao
    Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
    This World War II story was a disappointment. I hoped for a book with the magic of Hugo or at least a book with a uniform literary tone. This book felt erratic, with a few great moments, particularly in the dialogue between characters. The book was very challenging to finish, as the writing felt leaden. I wouldn't have finished it if I wasn't committed to writing this review.

    Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    Seema Rao Write : Instagram| Blog| Twitter|
    Lee Husemann
    Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
    I was very excited that this was a historical fiction WWII story but I had a very hard time trying to get into it. There were numerous characters and the story line was confusing at times. At the half-way point, I started skimming hoping that it would capture my interest but it did not. I was very disappointed in this book. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
    Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Free-speech absolutists are liars.

    You know the type—the middle-class (or upper-class) white male type who thinks of himself as an academic or a philosopher, who drones on about censorship and quotes Areopagitica* whenever his reactionary viewpoint is threatened in the slightest. The kind who, when it comes to speech that he personally doesn't like, is more than happy to shout others down and shut them up.

    The man described above will drone on and on about how he'll defend to the death your right
    Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This was a fascinating book. I am a huge fan of historical fiction--but even more so when it turns out that it is based on a true story. First, let me give a short summary.

    The Ventriloquists has been described as "Ocean's 11 meets the Book Thief." The entire novel is framed by the story of a young girl named Eliza who is attempting to record the story of Helene, now an old woman, who lived in the streets disguised as a boy in Belgium during World War II. Helene tells much of the story from her o
    Maureen Mayer
    Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    4.5 stars!

    “The only way to deal with the absurdity of evil is with equal and opposite absurdity.”

    I was intrigued right off the bat after reading the synopsis for this book. Having read many historical fictions that take place during WWII, it was refreshing to read one that doesn’t solely focus on the Holocaust. In this case, the story highlights a group of rogue journalists and resistance fighters who risk their lives to not only undermine the Reich but bring power back to Belgians and give them
    John Purvis
    May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
    "The Ventriloquists" eBook was published in 2019 (August) and was written by E.R. Ramzipoor ( This is her first publication. 

    I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in 1943 Brussels. Belgium has been occupied by the Germans since May 28 of 1940. The primary character is twelve
    Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
    Based on true events, The Ventriloquist follows a band of misfits who set out to make fools of the Reicht during the German invasion of Belgium in 1943. Each brings to the table a particular skill, and without each of them, their plan would not succeed. They've been recruited by the German Grupperfuhrer Wolff to write an issue of Le Soir, a Belgian newspaper, in which they promote the German ideals in an effort for the Germans to gain credibility with the Belgian people, thus allowing their inva ...more
    May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I found “The Ventriloquists” by E. R. Ramzipoor is based on true events that occurred during W.W.II in Belgium. Helene is a twelve-year-old street orphan, dressed as a boy, who is drawn into a secret network of journalists and resistance fighters by Marc Aubrion to deliver messages and collect items needed for their work. She sells a popular newspaper Le Soir which has been turned into Nazi propaganda. No one knows that she is, in fact, a girl.

    Aubrion’s team is apprehended by the Nazis and given
    Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: vine, fiction, own
    Le Soir is the most popular collaborationist newspaper in Nazi occupied Belgium. A rag-tag team of journalists and resistance fighters are “recruited” by a Nazi officer and propagandist to write a special edition to turn public opinion against the Allies. Given little choice but to cooperate (or die), they decide that in addition to the anti-Ally paper, they will covertly create an anti-German paper as well. The story itself is Helene’s recollections of her involvement in the scheme as a young o ...more
    Andria Potter
    I really wanted to like this. However a lot of the history and references even in just the first few chapters flew right over my head. While well written, and Eliza being an interesting character, I just couldn't get into the whole of the story.

    Therefore this is yet another DNF arc at 35%.

    Further review:

    The Ventriloquists started out interesting, but about forty percent of the way through the book my attention wavered and then I just gave up reading it. While I liked the characters, especiall
    Kim McGee
    Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
    Solid 3 1/2 stars
    Brussels 1943 and a group of resistance writers and fighters are picked up by the Nazis. The new Minister of Perception Management is a fan and has a unique proposal - write a paper with made up articles and news about how horrible the Allies are. The group knows their days are numbered as soon as the paper is printed so they decide to go out their way by turning the tables on the Nazis and producing their own satire paper at the same time. Their story is told by a young street
    May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
    This book was a slog to get through but I managed to read 250 pages a night for two nights. The book centers around a group of people who decide to put out a fake newspaper under the nose of a Nazi man who thinks they are putting out a pro nazi paper. The book has a lot of main characters and shifting perspectives. And not all of them were that developed. I liked the female character, Tarcovich the best but a few of the others fell very flat for me. The story is a good one but it was way way too ...more
    Marta Ilieva
    Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
    The Ventriloquists by E. R. Ramzipoor was a fascinating read. Set during the Second World War Belgium, the novel tells the story of journalists who used satire to elevate the spirits of soldiers. While some aspects of the story felt drawn out, it was gripping nonetheless. What was even better was that this was based on a true story. We oftentimes forget that heroes are not always wearing some kind of a badge but can simply be civilian. Absolutely stunning story worth reading.

    Thank you NetGalley
    Julianne Bailey
    Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: netgalley-arcs
    I wanted so badly to like this one, but unfortunately it wasn’t for me. I found the beginning to be confusing. I had to reread the first 15% of the book several times to figure out what was going on. Ultimately, the writing style just didn’t work for me. The writing didn’t flow well in my opinion. I also wasn’t as invested in the characters as I wanted to be. Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this one. I’m sure others will like it more than I did.
    Rachel Lipkin
    May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
    I probably shouldn’t review this book but to be fair I really dislike historical fiction. It’s just not a genre I can get into. BUT with that being said if you love historical fiction and WW2 novels or anything relating to the Nazi era then you’ll love this.
    Keith Orach
    Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Clunky not well paced and just does not capture the mind or interest unfortunately
    Jan 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
    Based on 15%: the style of writing is very dry, couldn’t get into the story at all. It is not an engaging read for me to continue with this book.
    Jun 12, 2019 marked it as to-read

    ARC provided in exchange for honest review. 👩🔬
    Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
    Another interesting true-event story -- An emotional WW2 story focused on a twelve year old orphan. While not filled with action, there was good character development and a very good premise. The execution was often clunky and even sloppy. Overall, decent read, and with some adjustments and maybe more editing, and improved book. Thanks for the opportunity read an advanced copy!
    Chris Marro
    Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It was well written, The story was told from multiple perspectives, but the narrative was never repeated (a.k.a each character's story picked up where the last left off) which kept the narrative fresh and engaging. I thought the character development was fantastic, and each character really came to life through the author's descriptions. The story itself was complex and rich, but never confusing. Really it was a gem. From a teacher's perspective, it's a great rea ...more
    May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
    This is the story of people working against the Third Reich during World War 2 to produce. work of propaganda. While the story is told from multiple characters' viewpoints and it could have been an engaging story, the writing sometimes let the idea down. It was an interesting story but character development was not as strong as it could have been. I was left feeling cold about most of the characters.. Good ideas, but the execution was only so-so.
    Heather Bennett
    Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
    The Ventriloquists is a bit slow, but stick with it because it is a interesting true story of a fake publication. This is not a easy read with the writing.
    Andrea Johnston
    Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
    The Ventriloquists is a fascinating, fictional re-telling of true events that occurred during World War II. The, very long, novel follows a number of characters that are a part of this resistance project and switches back and forth between each character's point-of-view to tell the story. And while the characters themselves are great and the story is interesting, I realized after the fact that my main motivation for finishing the work was that the text was expiring off my Kobo in a couple of day ...more
    Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
    This one was just ok for me. It didn’t keep me interested and I felt the plot jumped around a lot and it just didn’t hold my interest
    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book
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    E.R. Ramzipoor is a writer based in California. She also works as a content marketer, writing about cybercrime and online fraud. She studied political science at UC Berkeley, where she researched underground literature in resistance movements and discovered the forgotten story of Faux Soir. Her writing has been featured in McSweeney's and The Ventriloquists is her first novel. She lives with her p ...more