Review: Letters From Berlin by Tania Blanchard

Title: Letters From Berlin

Author: Tania Blanchard

Published: 7th October 2020, Simon & Schuster Australia

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy Simon & Schuster

++++++

My Thoughts:

Inspired by the author’s family history, Letters From Berlin by Tania Blanchard is a heartfelt story of love, courage, betrayal and survival during World War Two.

As the Third Reich escalates its purge of the Jewish people from Germany in 1943, eighteen-year-old Susanna Göttmann’s fears grow for the safety of her beloved godparents who have raised her since childhood. While both she and her Onkel Georg are Aryan, Tante Elya is a Russian Jew, and their son, Leo, is classified a ‘mischlinge’, a halfbreed. The ability of the family estate, Gut Birkenhof, on the outskirts of Berlin, to provide goods and materials for the Nazi’s has allowed Georg to keep his wife and son safe, but as the Party rhetoric intensifies, their situation grows increasingly precarious.

Letters From Berlin unfolds from Susanna’s perspective as a reasonably wealthy, educated Aryan in Berlin who loves her country but is appalled by the actions of the Nazi Party, and their treatment of the Jewish people. Her primary concern is naturally for her Aunt Elya, and Leo, with whom she has been in love since she was a child, and to help protect them she makes some naive, brave, and dangerous choices. I liked the character of Susanna, and felt for all she endured, especially when circumstances separated her from Leo, and resulted in the loss of her child.

The plot of Letters from Berlin doesn’t offer much in the way of surprises, but the story is nevertheless engaging. There are some tense and dramatic moments and the themes of war, prejudice, injustice, family and love are inherently emotive. That it’s loosely based on real experiences adds a layer of poignancy, and I was glad Blanchard offered an epilogue of sorts.

Blanchard’s portrayal of life in Berlin during the war is interesting. In mid 1943, when the story starts, there seems to be little change in the day to day life of the wealthier of Aryan citizens, but as the country’s enemies close in, and the activities of the resistance take their toll, the privations grow. Blanchard merges fact with fiction as she writes of the forced labor camps, the failed conspiracy to kill Hitler, the bombings that set zoo animals loose in the streets, and the chaos post ‘liberation’.

A touching historical fiction novel, Letters From Berlin is a satisfying read.

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Theresa Smith Writes
    Oct 23, 2020 @ 12:06:04

    Lovely review. I enjoyed this one also.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  3. Helen Murdoch
    Oct 26, 2020 @ 11:02:24

    Ack, another historical fiction with a woman walking away from the reader into a misty landscape. 🙂 This seems all the rage with covers right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Laurel-Rain Snow
    Oct 27, 2020 @ 02:31:22

    I have had my eye on this one, and now I must read it! Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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