Friday, November 9, 2018

Review: The Girl From Berlin by Ronald H Balson

The Girl From Berlin
by Ronald H Balson

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  An old friend calls Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart to his famous Italian restaurant to enlist their help. His aunt is being evicted from her home in the Tuscan hills by a powerful corporation claiming they own the deeds, even though she can produce her own set of deeds to her land. Catherine and Liam’s only clue is a bound handwritten manuscript, entirely in German, and hidden in its pages is a story long-forgotten…

Ada Baumgarten was born in Berlin in 1918, at the end of the war. The daughter of an accomplished first-chair violinist in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic, and herself a violin prodigy, Ada’s life was full of the rich culture of Berlin’s interwar society. She formed a deep attachment to her childhood friend Kurt, but they were torn apart by the growing unrest as her Jewish family came under suspicion. As the tides of history turned, it was her extraordinary talent that would carry her through an unraveling society turned to war, and make her a target even as it saved her, allowing her to move to Bologna―though Italy was not the haven her family had hoped, and further heartache awaited.

What became of Ada? How is she connected to the conflicting land deeds of a small Italian villa? As they dig through the layers of lies, corruption, and human evil, Catherine and Liam uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hope―the ending of which is yet to be written.

Kritters Thoughts:  What a fantastic book!  With two storylines that connect from the beginning this story seemed like such a unique take on a topic that is the focus of a lot of books - World War II.  

The "present day" storyline is centered around an older woman in Italy who is being forced off her property by a corporation.  She swears that the land is hers and she is connected with Catherine and Liam Taggert who come to the rescue to get to the bottom of the mystery.  The historical storyline starts in 1918 and begins in Berlin with a young girl who is learning the violin from her accomplished father and has big dreams of joining a symphony.  

The historical storyline shows up in the current storyline as a memoir that Catherine and Liam are told hold all of the answers to help Gabi keep this land.  It was so natural as to how the story was introduced and became a part of the current storyline.  

I loved the historical storyline.  Ada Baumgarten's view of the war was so unique and interesting.  She watched her precious city of Berlin slowly get invaded and watched her friends and families lives get completely turned upside down.  In the height of it all, she was lucky to move to Italy, but she also watched the same thing happen there.  It was interesting how she was both safe and in the crossfire of the Nazis.  

If you are hesitant to pick up World War II books or historical fiction in general, I would challenge you that this should be the one for you to pick up and try.  I fell in love with the characters in both storylines and loved how easy they flowed back and forth.  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from St Martin's Press.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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