The cover of, From Stella Street to Amsterdam, suggested to me that this was going to be a fun read about a pre-teen, Henni Octon, travelling with a mature neighbour, Willa, to have a holiday in Amsterdam with a few unexpected adventures along the way. However, it turned out to be an intense read.

Willa is elderly, possibly 90. She left Amsterdam and all her family a few years after World War II. She is still traumatised by events that happened during the war, which becomes apparent on the plane journey. The plane hits some major turbulence and this seems to be the catalyst to jog her memories. Meanwhile, Henni is actually about fifteen years old and ill-equipped to process Willa’s memories.

The story is long-winded. Henni is only in Amsterdam for about a month, yet it seems much longer as there are many sub-plots concerning the different family members and specific issues related to life in Amsterdam. There is a lot of tension in Willa’s family as they don’t understand why Willa left Amsterdam all those years ago. Fortunately, Henni’s optimistic outlook and outgoing nature put a positive spin on the trip.

The book will have many illustrations upon publication which will give the impression of the story moving along more quickly. Elizabeth Honey does a good job tying up all the loose ends and provides a satisfying ending, but it was a long and demanding journey.

Thanks to Christian School Supplier for providing a free book for review.