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  • Historical Fiction Germany WW II

    Germany 1943, Susanna Gottmann, lives with her godparents Georg and Elya Hecker at their beautiful estate in the German countryside. Her Aunt Elya is from Russian, she’s part Jewish and this means her son Leo is also considered a Jew by the Nazis. Georg has managed to keep his wife and son safe because the farm produces valuable food needed by the army, but slowly the people in the village attitudes are changing towards them, despite all Elya has done for them over the years and now they will no longer speak to her. Julius Siebenborn is a trusted family friend, he’s promised to help the Hecker’s and keep Elya’s and Leo’s names of the lists for hard labor and being deported to a concentration camp. He has power, money and influence, Leo doesn’t trust him at all and despite knowing him since he was a little boy. Desperate to protect her family, Susie accepts help from Julius, he’s older than her, a longtime friend of Uncle Georg’s, being with him is perfectly safe, it’s all for show and he promises to continue to help the Hecker’s? Susanna decides to use information she’s over hears at the events she attends with Julius, to help the resistance and it’s very dangerous. The allied army is getting closer and the dreaded Russian army; the people of Berlin are being bombed day and night. Germany is an absolute mess, the railway system has been damaged, people are living in bombed out houses or underground, they have no electricity, water and very little food. Hitler still wants them all to believe that they will win the war, Germany will not be defeated and he’s insane. Tania Blanchard uses facts from her own family’s history to write a book about WW II it looks at the brutality of war from the German perspective; she portrays the desperation and hardship the German people had to endure for years and it continued after the war ended. I have read Tania’s previous books The Girl from Munich and Suitcase of Dreams and I liked them both. Letters from Berlin is absolutely brilliant, Tania Blanchard has gone to another level with this book and I highly recommend reading it. It’s a historical fiction saga about war, tragedy, personal sacrifice, survival, secrets, romance, love and five stars from me.

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  • an utterly engrossing read

    4.5★s “I nodded, not sure that I wanted to be a part of the Nazi social elite. It meant that I was one of them, with the same warped values and attitudes. It felt wrong in all sorts of ways. I took a large swallow of the champagne. But I had to remember why I was doing this.” Letters From Berlin is the third novel by Australian author, Tania Blanchard. The Hecker family are everything to her, all she has left. Onkel Georg and Tante Elya took in seven-year-old Susanna Göttmann when her family died; their son, Leo has become the love of her life. Susie knows that Leo will never understand why she has chosen to keep company with Julius Siebenborn, an elite Nazi, a man Leo says can’t be trusted. Tante Elya is a Russian Jew; as a prosperous estate owner, Onkel Georg has managed to keep her and their “mischling” son safe by catering to the expensive tastes of those in power. But with the Fuhrer’s determination to rid Germany of all Jews, the rules change at the whim of Nazi executive, and only someone like Julius can create loopholes for the people Susie loves. She has to trust him. In her third novel, Blanchard easily captures her setting and the era; her plot is credible and her characters are easy to love (or despise, as required); her extensive research is apparent on every page of this rather different look at Word War Two. Stories about this war often present the perspective of those in Allied countries, but of course, the ordinary German people were at the receiving end of bombs too; they had rationing; their men were conscripted to fight in a war they didn’t necessarily believe in. And they had further disadvantages: they were being led by a madman; and the Third Reich propaganda machine kept them ignorant of much that was being done in their name. Blanchard takes the many known facts pertaining to the wartime experiences of her own grandmother’s family and brings them to life, weaving into them aspects of self-sacrifice and betrayal, love and loss and loyalty. For, if war brings forth the worst of humanity, it also showcases the best of it; in extraordinary circumstances, ordinary people manage to achieve extraordinary things, and Blanchard’s novel emphatically demonstrates this. This is an utterly engrossing read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Australia

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  • Letters from Berlin

    A very well researched book and together with the authors intimate knowledge of her own extended family going through similar experiences during the rise of the third Reich was very credible. At times the romantic undertones were fairly scripted and felt almost that they had been inserted in the novel just because. The period of history was descriptive and I loved the scenarios that were written about the season's in Germany. I am not a lover of romance so anyone else who is will possibly offer 5 stars.

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