Friday, 2 October 2020

Book Review: Letters From Berlin by Tania Blanchard

Letters From Berlin
by
Tania Blanchard
 

 

 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Publication date: 7th October 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 448
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: Uncorrected paperback
Source:Courtesy of the publisher
 
About the book
 
Berlin, 1943

As the Allied forces edge closer, the Third Reich tightens its grip on its people. For eighteen-year-old Susanna Göttmann, this means her adopted family including the man she loves, Leo, are at risk.

Desperate to protect them any way she can, Susie accepts the help of an influential Nazi officer. It means she must abandon any hope of a future with Leo and enter the terrifying world of the Nazi elite.

But all is not lost as her newfound position offers more than she could have hoped for … With critical intelligence at her fingertips, Susie seizes a dangerous opportunity to help the resistance.

The decisions she makes could change the course of the war, but what will they mean for her family and her future?
 
 
My review
 
Inspired by real events Letters From Berlin, set during the last two years of Nazi ruled Germany, is narrated by Susanna an Aryan German but living with her adoptive family of mixed Aryan and Jewish heritage. This mix gives a perspective I haven’t read before.

These mixed families were protected from persecution at the beginning of the war however as conditions worsened and hatred spread the children of mixed marriages were targeted.

Letters from Berlin is a story of love and desperation. Opening on Susanna’s 19th birthday her family own a large estate in the country that supplies food to the Nazi officers which in turn provides them with a level of protection. We see a Berlin that is flourishing as Susanna is taken under the wing of a family friend who introduces her to glamorous cocktail parties and stage shows. Thus highlighting the vast difference in lifestyle of the upper-class Germans and the villagers.

Tania Blanchard shows the slow demise of Nazi Germany and how through fear for their own lives friends turned against each other. And as the Nazis started to get desperate they even turned against their own citizens. It was a time when no one was safe and the only information received was rumour and propaganda. As the story is told from the perspective of a German citizen we don’t get to see the terrible atrocities that were performed, only the rumours that were passed around.

Letters From Berlin tells how many German citizens were against the Nazi rule and longed for Hitler’s downfall. Many endangering their own lives to help Jews escape and also hiding prisoners of war. Susanna was a marvellous heroine, strong and determined, standing up for what she believed in and willing to do all she could to save her family.

Set over a short period of two years I felt the first half of the book was a bit slow however the second half delivered with raw emotion and believable suffering.

Letters From Berlin shows how the events of the war have a ripple effect, still affecting families many years later. 
 
4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
About the author
 
Photo:Goodreads
 Tania Blanchard was inspired to write by the fascinating stories her German grandmother told her as a child. Coming from a family with a rich cultural heritage, stories have always been in her blood. Her first novel published by Simon & Schuster Australia, The Girl from Munich, was a runaway bestseller, as was the sequel, Suitcase of Dreams. 
Tania lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Challenges entered: Aussie author challenge  #AussieAuthor20
                                 Australian Women Writers Challenge #AWW2020
                                 Historical Fiction Challenge  #2020HistFicReadingChallenge
 

6 comments:

  1. I wondered if this would be good. I enjoyed her first novel, not so much her second. To tell you the truth I'm a little over reading WWII stories at the moment, but will add this to the list when I start reading them again.

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    Replies
    1. It was slow to start but I enjoyed the different perspective. I know what you mean about too many WWII. I always try to mix my genres but this was my third WWII read in a row.

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  2. I read this last week and really enjoyed it! Thanks for the review

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