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#The Girl From Berlin by Ronald Balson-Review–4.5 stars–#NetGalley

Girl from Berlin 850.jpgA Fascinating New Historical Fiction by Ronald Balson–Coming 10/9/18

 

 

In Italy, a lawyer representing a powerful company, handed Gabi, an eviction notice. He told her that the deed that she held to the land was not valid. The elderly woman was given only sixty days to evacuate. Out of desperation, Gabi’s nephew, pleaded with his American friends, Catherine and Liam, a lawyer and private investigator team, to help. The two Americans were not sure that they would be of any real assistance to Gabi until they read Ada Baumgarten’s memoir.

 Ada Baumgarten wrote about her life, as a Jew, living in Germany and Italy, under Hitler’s rule. As her memoir unfolded, Ada’s world, came alive for Catherine and Liam. Because Ada was a professional violinist, she was given more liberties than the average Jewish girl. But, that didn’t stop the Nazis from trying to remove everything that she loved from her. Unfortunately, Ada had embarrassed an SS soldier, and that Nazi, was not about to let the incident go until he had his revenge. 

The book alternates between the 1930s and 2017. It tells the poignant story about Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, the atrocities the Nazis carried out in his name, and the influence Hitler had in Europe. The Girl from Berlin is a well-written and captivating novel.  

Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4.5 stars out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Ronald H. Balson is an attorney practicing with the firm of Stone, Pogrund and Korey in Chicago. The demands of his trial practice have taken him into courts across the United States and into international venues. An adjunct professor of business law at the University of Chicago for twenty-five years, Ron has also lectured on trial advocacy in federal trial bar courses. 

During the early 2000s Ron spent time in Warsaw and southern Poland in connection with a complex telecommunications lawsuit. While in Poland Ron was profoundly moved by the scars and memorials of World War II, which inspired him to write Once We Were Brothers, his first novel. Extensive travels to Israel and the Middle East provided the inspiration for Saving Sophie, his second novel. While on his Once We Were Brothers book tour, Ron met Fay Waldman, a survivor of multiple Nazi prison camps. Her remarkable story inspired and provided the backdrop for Ron’s third novel, Karolina’s Twins. Ron is hard at work on his fourth.

#The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith–Review-4.5 Stars #NetGalley

the dutch wife..:. 850.jpgDon’t Miss Ellen Keith’s Novel–The Dutch Wife–Coming 9/4/18

 

 

The Dutch Wife is a well-crafted, riveting, and haunting novel. It held me captive from the very first page. There are two stories which run parallel in this book, with different timelines. The first story takes place in Germany during WWII, and involves, a political prisoner, Marijke, and the Schutzhaftagerfuhrer for Buchenwald, Karl Muller. And, the second timeline, is in Argentina, during the Dirty War, involving, a University student, Luciano Wagner.

In Amsterdam, Marijke de Graaf, and her husband, Theo, were arrested for taking part in the resistance against the Third Reich. The two of them were considered political prisoners and sent to different camps. Because Marijke was beautiful, she was given the choice of working in a brothel at Buchenwald, or staying where she was, and possibly not surviving the work camp. She chose the brothel. Initially, she was hoping to see her husband at Buchenwald. But as time went on, Marijke felt more and more ashamed, for prostituting herself, and for her growing attachment to Karl Muller, the Schuzhaftagerfuhrer. 

 The parallel story in this book, takes place in Argentina, during the 1970s. Anyone in Argentina who was discovered, speaking out, against the government, disappeared. Luciano Wagner, a University student, was arrested for attending a resistance rally. He became one of many students who were kidnapped by the military and tortured. I didn’t know much about the Dirty War, so the details shocked me. The torture that took place was hideous, heartbreaking and haunting. 

Although I was totally engrossed in this novel, and highly recommend reading it; switching back and forth, between Germany, 1943, and Argentina, 1977, in my opinion, took away from the book. The two parallel stories do come together, however, in the end. The Dutch Wife is a compelling read, realistically graphic, engrossing, and well-researched.

Thank you, Harlequin and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I loved it.

~4.5 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Winner of the HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction, Ellen Keith is a Canadian writer and a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia’s MFA program in creative writing. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New Quarterly and the Globe and Mail. She currently lives in Amsterdam.

 

#So Much Life Left Over by Louis De Bernieres–Review-4 stars #NetGalley

So Much Life Left Over::::.jpg 850.jpgNew Historical Fiction Novel by Louis De Bernieres–Out Now

 

So Much Life left Over is a captivating and compelling historical fiction novel. The story takes place between the end of WWI and the beginning of WWII.  

Daniel Pitt was an RAF ace pilot. When WWI ended, Daniel settled in Ceylon with his wife, Rosie, and their daughter. The family was happy there, for a few years, until the second child was born deformed, and died, shortly after birth. Both Rosie and Daniel grieved their deceased baby. Rosie wrapped herself in religion to survive her overwhelming sadness. Although Daniel and Rosie were happy that their third child was born healthy, their marriage did not thrive. Rosie turned Daniel away at night, and during the day, did her best to keep him away from the children. With Daniel’s physical and emotional needs unmet, Daniel sought comfort elsewhere. 

The book has several complex stories including a few love affairs and the beginning horrors of Hitler’s reign.  Although the story is poignant and even tragic at times, it has an authentic feel to it. The book is well-written, riveting and perfectly paced. Although I cared for the characters, I didn’t find them likable. If you are looking to read a complex historical fiction novel, So Much Life Left Over may be just the book for you. It does end in a cliffhanger, though.

Thank you, Random House UK- Vintage Publishing and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (From Amazon)

LOUIS DE BERNIÈRES is the author of many award-winning novels, including Birds Without Wings, Corelli’s Mandolin, The Dust That Falls from Dreams, Notwithstanding, A Partisan’s Daughter, Red Dog, Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord, The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman, and The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts. Selected by Granta as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993, de Bernières lives in England.