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Published 18 May 2017

 

Description:

My Thoughts & Review:

This is a very atmospheric and well detailed book that give the reader an idea of the conditions of war time Germany under Nazi rule and the aftermath of the partitioning of Germany by the Allies.  The fear of being caught for an act of treason or indeed the punishment was not enough to deter a group of men in their plot to assassinate Hitler, and because of Nazi logic, the wives of the men involved were never investigated.  Marianne was one such woman left to live her live without her husband after the part he played in a plot to assassinate Hitler.  At one point in the narrative she remarks that it’s because of her gender that she is still alive.  She is a strong character, very determined and headstrong, and a natural leader.  Her promise to her husband to look after the woman and children of the other plot members sees her become a heroine for these lost souls, a role she feels strongly about and takes very seriously.

Benita is one of the women “rescued” along with her son Martin.  She was the wife of a dear friend to Marianne, and although her personal feelings towards this woman are not the most favourable she feels duty bound by the promise she made to seek her out and look after her.  Benita was a character I could not entirely comprehend, her naivety in certain situations was a little hard to grasp, but then if placed in those conditions who could say how they would act.
The final woman tracked down by Marianne was Ania, she and her two sons ended up at a camp for displaced persons.  Ania’s story was the one that stayed with me long after I finished the book.  She really was blind to the realities of Nazi rule and what was happening around her, she believed the propaganda until it was too late but like many German’s at the time, it was safer to live with their head in the sand and believe what they were being told than to question what was happening around them.   Only years later would they question and justify their roles and actions and reckon with what took place in their name.

This is a very thought provoking read, one that feels very balanced and incredibly well thought out.  The themes of friendship, loyalty and reality are strong and weave together throughout, each of the central characters is trying to rebuild lives, relationships and learn to trust again as well as be trusted  in a country that has been ravished by war.  What the author manages to do is get under the skin of the reader with the hardships faced by the characters in this, giving them pause for thought and almost posing the question “what would you do?”

I do think this would be a fantastic book choice for a book group, it is one that would spark debate and much interesting conversation.  Equally it is a book that fans of WWII historical fiction may enjoy.

You can buy a copy of “The Women of the Castle” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

My thanks to Bonnier Zaffre & Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

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Stasi Child

Author : David Young
Published: 01 October 2015
Reviewed: 27 September 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Bonnier Publishing in return for an honest review via NetGalley.

 

  5 out of 5 stars



East Berlin, 1975

When Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the Wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: it seems the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.

Müller is a member of the People’s Police, but in East Germany her power only stretches so far. The Stasi want her to discover the identity of the girl, but assure her the case is otherwise closed – and strongly discourage her asking questions.

The evidence doesn’t add up, and Müller soon realises the crime scene has been staged. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Müller doesn’t realise that the trail she’s following will lead her dangerously close to home .

Karin Müller wakes up to a mistake, not realising that this will set the tone for the next few weeks of her life.  A body has been discovered, and the Stasi want her involvement with the investigation, why she does not know, but there’s something about this case that drives her to need the answers to some important questions.  Who was this teenage girl?  Why was she escaping from the West?  What could the Stasi need from her on the case?  And why is her personal life falling to pieces?
Müller and her deputy Tilsner are on a tight leash, the Stasi operative has set strict parameters for their involvement with the case, find out who the identity of the body, nothing else.  But Müller is not so easily deterred, after the post mortem, she is more determined to find out who the murderer is, unaware of how dangerous it could be for her and Tilsner.  

The political minefield that the characters must wade through is intense, who can they trust; Can she trust her superiors?  Can Müller even trust her deputy? 

As the plot, and sub plot twist and turn you feel yourself drawn in, desperately trying to guess ahead what might happen, and how it all links together.  Desperately trying not to say any more about the plot, it would give too much away and ruin it for other readers, but I will say that this is a gripping read, don’t read it at bedtime, or you may fall into the same trap as me..”just one more chapter then I’ll go to sleep….oh hold on, this is getting interesting, just another chapter….”

The use of German language in this novel is good, it adds an authenticity to the text, as well as had me enjoying using my long forgotten German to translate words before reading on.   
The descriptions of the settings are superb, a lot of attention to detail has been made, this is a cleverly complicated novel, but not one that’s difficult to follow.  
For a debut novel this is an incredibly high standard for Young to follow, and I really do hope that the next Karin Müller is out soon!  

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, and Historical genres, especially books set during the time of the Berlin Wall,  

I would like to thank Bonnier Publishing for the copy of this novel in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book will be published on 1st October 2015 .  A copy can be purchased here Stasi Child (Kindle UK Version)
 

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A Slow Death

Author : James Craig
Published: 10 September 2015
Reviewed: 16 September 2015

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy purchased via Amazon.

 

  4 (& 1/2) out of 5 stars

 

 

Berlin 1990.

“I just love the smell of tear gas in the evening…”

The Wall has fallen and Berlin is a magnet for criminals and protestors from all over Germany and the rest of Europe.

When a seemingly ordinary family are slaughtered in their home, Kriminalinspektor Max Drescher finds himself up against a ruthless Mafia clan trying to establish its operations in the newly reunited city.

Max has problems of his own but knowing this could be his last case, the veteran detective will stop at nothing to get a result.
 

Berlin, post Wall is a seedy, grubby, dark and dangerous place for everyone, especially for those instilling law and order into an archaic society.
Kriminalinspektor Max Drescher, far from a German version of Poirot is more like a German Rebus, he drinks, he smokes and he doesn’t strictly play by the rules, but the results are there for anyone to see.  Max has his own demons and problems, but that doesn’t stop him trying to solve what will end up being his final case as a Kriminalinspektor.  The mentions of Max’s past and the memories he draws up are very well written, hinting at more but giving nothing away, but you read on hoping more is given away about him.

Keen not to spoil the book for other readers, I will say there are twists and turns in this novel that will keep you glued to it.

The characters are well written in this novel, physical descriptions are very good, as are the personalities given to each, you can imagine the stubborn streak in some characters, but there are times when the reader can sympathise with the plight of a character or relate to them.

I really liked the use of German in the book, it wakened the dormant German language in my brain and soon I was translating the German in my head and excitedly checking that it was right when it appeared in English in the next sentence.  The use of the language added that little “something extra” to me and seemed to authenticate that it was set in Germany.

A small note about the publisher too, the quirky marketing tactics used to drum up interest in this book were definitely different from other publishers out there, and I have to admit that it piqued my interest seeing the good humoured back and forth between the writer and the publisher as it made for good entertainment as well as making the novel stand out to me, so much so that I pre-ordered it and waited (not so) patiently for publication and download onto my Kindle!  I think that James Craig is definitely an author to watch for the next in the series of Max Drescher, but also Fahrenheit Press to see what crime novels they come out with next!

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Mystery, Crime and Thrillers.

A copy can be purchased here A Slow Death (UK Kindle Version)

*** Edit***
Updated link for book purchase 
 

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