They sat together on the roof, watching Berlin burn, as traces of smoke and cloud floated through the air. “I just want to be free,” Rosa said quietly, “Even if only for a few minutes. It might be the last chance I have.”
From her beautiful new home in Berlin, a young woman named Liesel Scholz barely notices the changes to the city around her. Her life is one of privilege and safety thanks to her father’s job working for the new government.
But a chance encounter with Rosa, the daughter of their Jewish housekeeper, confirms Liesel’s fears that something isn’t right. That the Nazi government’s brutal rules are cruel and dangerous, and that others aren’t as safe as she is. When Rosa begs Liesel to help—pressing her grandfather’s gold pocket watch into Liesel’s hand—Liesel recklessly agrees.
She will help hide Rosa and her loved ones—in the dusty, unused rooms at the top of their house—even if it means putting everyone she loves in danger. Even if it means risking her own life.
Frankfurt, 1946: An idealistic American captain, Sam Houghton, arrives in Germany to interrogate prominent Nazis on trial and to help rebuild a battered country. When he hires an enigmatic, damaged interpreter named Anna, he doesn’t expect sparks to fly between them. Perhaps there is a chance of love for both of them. But then the question of what happened to Anna in the war raises its head.
Because Anna has secrets—ones that link her to Berlin, the Nazi party, and the story of one gold pocket watch and two young women who became friends, even when they were told it was impossible…
A compelling and haunting story about courage, love and betrayal set in war-torn Berlin. Fans of The Alice Network, All the Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale will be not be able to put this down.
There are so many wonderful things that I can say about The Girl From Berlin by Kate Hewitt. This story is absolutely brilliant, emotional, and heartbreaking. Yet, it shows such strength, compassion and determination during one of the worst periods of history. Hewitt has completely outdone herself with this story. I never thought Hewitt would ever be able to beat my love for one of her previous novels, A Mother’s Goodbye, but I was 100% wrong. I know this is only the beginning half of the year, but I am pretty certain that The Girl From Berlin, not only being a five star read, will be my TOP read of 2021.
The story starts in Berlin 1936, when Liesel Sholtz is only fourteen years old. She lives a life of privilege, she is not overly close to her mother, but she holds her father in high esteem. She is a daddy’s girl. But, when recent events come to light, Liesel is struggling with her beliefs and what is being taught through the country. Hatred of Jewish people is running rampant in Germany and while Liesel wants to believe differently, she often wonders why she sits back and follows or perhaps is she nothing more than a coward deep down inside. When the family’s Jewish housekeeper, Gerda and her young daughter Rosa are fired from the Sholtz household and later come back desperately needing help, will Liesel do the right thing?
In 1946, Captain Sam Houghton arrived in Frankfurt at the end of the war. He is a chemist tasked with ferreting out the Nazis so they could be brought to trial while also helping in the rebuilding of a badly damaged country. In need of an interpreter, he hires Anna as his secretary. But, who is Anna really? Sam knows she is lying about something, but yet still finds himself sympathetic towards her and feels a pull towards her at the same time.
There are so many brilliant quotes in this story and one in particular I seem to keep going back to. Here is the quote:
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free” ― Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
I think this is really a central quote to the premise of this entire story and as you read along it makes you question what it truly means to be free in both thoughts and actions especially during this particular time period and of course many other trying times as well throughout history. It really is something to think about. I really hate the phrase “Do better,” and I think it is just thrown around a lot unnecessarily recently, but at times it can be applicable and in a way, the phrase also symbolizes Liesel and her strength and courage to try to do what is right.
The Girl From Berlin is an intricately weaved story and everyone should be reading this book. If you are a fan of historical fiction, this needs to be on your TBR. This book also should be in book clubs and/or book boxes as we need more stories like this. This book also needs to be talked about and discussed for many many different reasons. I can’t praise this story highly enough and quite frankly it is worth 1 million shining stars.