Spellbound by History

The Hidden Village by Imogen Matthews

The Hidden Village by Imogen Matthews

Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 366

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

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Imogen Matthews

About the Author

Imogen Matthews is an award-winning author who lives in the beautiful University town of Oxford. Before she wrote The Hidden Village, she published two romantic fiction e-novels under her pen name, Alex Johnson. 
Imogen has strong connections with the Netherlands. Born in Rijswijk to a Dutch mother and English father, the family moved to England when Imogen was very young.
Every year since 1990, Imogen has been on family holidays to Nunspeet on the edge of the Veluwe woods. 
It was here that she discovered the story of the hidden village, and together with her mother’s vivid stories of life in WW2 Holland, she was inspired to write her novel.

Praise for the Author

5 star Book Review: K.C Finn, Readers’ Favorite:

I am a huge advocate of historical fiction for young adults, particularly when it’s as well-researched as The Hidden Village. Imogen Matthews has taken a truly fascinating concept straight out of occupied territory and crafted a beautiful story that removes us from the overdone fiction of the battlefield to the real places where ordinary people became heroes that weren’t venerated. A blending of religions occurs as people protect one another, regardless of their beliefs. Sofie and Jan are strong central characters who are still young and naïve despite their horrendous circumstances. The plot itself is slow and steady, but filled with tension and fascinating details of the everyday lives of people trapped in an unbelievably pressured situation. 

The Hidden Village is recommended for readers of all ages, and especially to those looking for a heartfelt emotional journey.

Book Review: Jessie Cahalin @BooksInHandbag:

As more and more refugees arrive in the village to seek sanctuary, one cannot fail to see the parallel with the refugees in Europe. Matthews gives an insight into how desperate people are driven into circumstances. The author guides you towards the uncertain ending.

Find out about Lisebeth, Sofie, Jan and Oscar as they ‘soundlessly’ creep through their adolescence, in a chaotic world.

Get inside of the hidden village and find out more about the impact of the exceptional circumstances on the very real characters and dilemmas.

The characters of this book will never leave your memory and it will make you reassess the terrors in our own world.

Sneak Peak: A Guardian of Slaves


Livingston Plantation, 1851

On schedule, Charles Hendricks’s private carriage rolled down the lane and through the gates of Livingston Plantation a few hours after sunset.

The man on the ridge leaned forward, arms resting on the neck of his mount, awaiting the outcome of his earlier sabotage of the carriage. If all played out as planned, Hendricks would take his last breath tonight.

He’d cleanse the earth of the Hendricks and Shaw bloodlines once and for all, breaking the curse Olivia Shaw had placed on his family all those years ago. Even the hangman’s noose hadn’t snuffed out her witchery.

He inhaled deeply of the cigar clutched between his teeth, the hot, sweet smoke slithering down his throat to circle in his lungs. Removing the cigar with a gloved hand, he puffed out billowy gray rings of smoke. The rings floated into the starless darkness above, shifting form before vanishing into the autumn night.

Below, the carriage began to sway violently from side to side. A warmth radiated through his chest as he watched Hendricks fight to regain control. Before his hungry eyes, the moment he’d waited for played out. The watcher lurched forward as the carriage rolled over, eager to see its demise. 

The piercing squeals of the horse shattered the quiet of the night as it went down thrashing. In the wreckage, the carriage lantern set fire to the surrounding grass and brushwood. The man sat mesmerized by the beauty of the flames as the fire took life, the drumming in his chest elevating to a roar in his ears. Squinting past the glow of the blaze, he located the form of Hendricks, pinned beneath the carriage.

The watcher released a long, slow breath of satisfaction. He’d put his plan in motion; he would become master of everything the Hendrickses owned, and he’d incinerate anything or anyone standing in the way.

His brother would delight in his achievement. Revenge would be theirs.

With a jerk of the reins and a kick of his heels, he dug his spurs into the sides of the horse, and it leapt forward, bound for home.

* * *

Some time later, the man veered his mount off the main road and bent low under the hanging vines of the cypress trees. He guided the horse onto the serpentine path on the other side.

The trail ended at an untamed, moon-drenched meadow. The gray, weather-beaten barn’s shadow devoured the smaller building next to it—a windowless one-room cabin suffocating in the entanglement of evergreen vines. Dismounting at the barn, he lifted the board barring the doors. Groaning in protest, the doors swung open. He lit the lantern hanging on a beam near the entrance, the jagged yellow glow the lantern cast elongating his dark silhouette across the barn floor.

Whimpering to the right made him spin on his worn heels to face the handful of slaves he’d taken from the freed Negro’s plantation a few miles over. A sinister smile crept over his unshaven face. The man reveled in the sight of the slaves’ bulging eyes as they sat huddled together with their hands chained above their heads.

Filthy animals! Damn Negroes, going around thinking they can sow the same ground as the white men. The rich Negro got what he deserved.

The drunken singing of his father floated in from outside.

Grumbling to himself, the man urged the horse into a stall. He shoved at the horse’s hindquarters to get by the animal, and removed the saddle. The horse nudged him from behind as he slung the saddle over the side of the stall. Cursing, he drove a fist against the side of the creature’s head, then kicked the gate to the stall closed and left the barn, barring the doors shut behind him.

He found his half-naked father riding his horse up to the cabin. A bottle of whiskey swung in his hand as he continued to belt out a tune. “Useless bastard,” the man said, storming toward him.

He pulled his father off the horse and slung him over his shoulder, grimacing at the overpowering stench of body odor, whiskey, and jasmine. Women and gambling were his religion. Kicking the cabin door open, he carried the unconscious man to the far corner of the room and deposited him in a heap on the bed there. Straightening, he peered down at his pathetic excuse of a father. 

One quick slash of his throat, and the burden of him would be gone, the constant gibbering in his head slowed to say. End his life. Make him pay for what they did to you.

“Silence!” He cuffed his own ears with his hands as he moved away. He slammed the door, and it shook on its rusted hinges. His father’s weakness for women sickened him. Had his mother taught him nothing? Women were the demise of all men.

He lowered himself into a chair in front of the fireplace. Pulling off his boots, he stretched his legs out in front of him. The throbbing in his right foot grew worse with each passing year. Damn Virginia and that blizzard! It had claimed three of his toes. Turning to the warmth of the crackling fire, he slid his hat down over his eyes and tried to shut out the grating of his father’s drunken snores.

The Darkest Hour: WWII Tales of Resistance

The Darkest Hour: WWII Tales of Resistance

WW2. When the world falls to terror and tyranny reigns…

…how far would you go to resist?

Would you risk your own life or the lives of the ones you love?

From a young Jewish woman in love fighting her way out of the Warsaw ghetto, to a Czech assassin rising above his fears for an attempt on a Nazi Hangman’s life, to a daughter who vows to avenge her family by taking down a Japanese commander, and a French boy’s touching act of defiance no matter how small.

Come and get a glimpse of the invisible side of WWII – the Resistance, those who refuse to bow down to brutality.

Hold your breath and hope for the best in the darkest of times, when our heroes and heroines risk all to defy evil so the light of freedom will shine over their countries again.

This collection includes ten never before published novellas by ten of today’s bestselling WWII historical fiction authors.

Foreword by Terry Lynn Thomas, author of The Silent Woman, the USA Today Bestseller.

Featured Stories:

Bubbe’s Nightingale by Roberta Kagan
Catriona’s War by Jean Grainger
Reluctant Informer by Marion Kummerow
Killing the Hangman by Ellie Midwood
The Moon Chaser by Alexa Kang
Enemy at the Gate by Mary D. Brooks
The Occupation by Deborah Swift
Code Name Camille by Kathryn Gauci
V for Victory by John R McKay
Sound of Resistance by Ryan Armstrong

* All proceeds will be donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum In Washington DC *

The Darkest Hour Anthology

Links to the book:







Released: March 5, 2018

Release Date: February 5, 2019

Release Date: March 18, 2019

A Whisper of War Scheduled Release 2020

A Slaves’ War Scheduled Release Christmas 2021

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