Germany, 1943. The choices she makes will change her life forever.
Growing up in Hitler’s Germany, Charlotte von Klein has big dreams for the future. Her mind is full of plans for a sumptuous wedding to her childhood sweetheart Heinrich while working for the Luftwaffe, proudly giving her all for the Fatherland.
But in 1943, the tide of the war is turning against Germany, and Lotte’s life of privilege and comfort begins to collapsing around her. As Hitler’s Reich abandons Germany and the country falls to the Allied forces, Lotte is forced to flee from the unfolding chaos to the country with the darkly attractive Erich Drescher, her Luftwaffe superior.
Amid the danger, pain and heartbreak of a country turning on itself, Lotte must forge a new life for herself. But as the country struggles to find its future, shadows of the past come rushing back and Lotte finds herself questioning everything she has fought for – love, duty and freedom.
This book review will not follow my usual format.
This book was not what I expected at all. Most of the Historical Fiction books I have read are really heavy on the heartbreaking events that people had to endure during WWII. While this book definitely does hit that through the start of the book, the second half is very centred around a certain romance and the events that happened to that couple in the years after the war. Around the middle of the book, I wasn’t loving it to be honest as I just found it a bit dull as there wasn’t anything too devastating that our actual main character went through. However, I kept going and even though I am not generally a romance reader and generally just don’t give a damn about romances, this one I did enjoy. I also got connected to the characters and multiple times I was tearing up because of events that happened, both sad and happy.
Yes, this review is going to be spoiler free, however, there is a certain event that I think you need to know about before reading this book as it could be a massive trigger to someone that has suffered or been close to someone who has gone through this in their life.
I recommend caution when reading this book to people that might be triggered by losing a child in childbirth. I was hit hard by it and I have never been through that but as my grandmother lost twins this way and I have heard my Mum talk about it often, it did hit me harder than I expected. I’m even tearing up writing this. So, yes, even though that is spoilery, I think it is something people need to know.
Even though this review isn’t following my usual format, I still wanted to talk about the writing and the characters. So, I’ll add that here just without the headings.
The writing was really enjoyable. I really like it when books use a combination of mostly English but then some German. I have gotten used to some of the common German words that are used in most Historical Fictions and there was only 1 word that I had to look up and that was ‘prinzregentenstrasse’ which is simply a street name, but when you see a word that long in a book, it can be a little scary haha! Even though I enjoyed the writing, for the most part, but it was a little confusing at times purely for when they were jumping ahead days or months. There was no indicator that it was about to jump ahead a month or two and some of the time it wasn’t actually said at the start of that new paragraph, it was a page or so later in the middle of a paragraph and I was just thinking ‘wait! did that just jump ahead or has it been like that this whole chapter?!’. It was a little confusing and I wish there were time markers, there is in the epilogue, but not in the rest of the book.
As for the characters, Lotte I enjoyed, but did annoy me sometimes just because of how naive she was at some points even when the facts were sitting there in front of her.
Heinrich irritated me from the start of the book. He always seemed like he was a bit up himself and only cared about what he wanted and his views. He was also possessive and fairly forceful to which I absolutely hate. I know there are people in the real world 10x worse than him in those ways, but I am someone that doesn’t take crap from no one and if he had done that to me, he would have had a fist to the nose & a knee to the privates, quicker than he can say ‘Germany’.
Next, I want to talk about Lotte’s Mother & Step-Father but I don’t remember their names as it was only said once or twice and the rest of the time they were just called Mutti & Vati, so I’ll just use that too.
Mutti was not an enjoyable character. She was controlling at times and stubborn. She wouldn’t accept that her Daughter could have different wishes for herself and her life and when Lotte showed that Mutti just stopped talking to her. I can understand why she acted the way she did for some of it, but some of this was not necessary and all she was doing was pushing Lotte away, not protecting her.
Vati, on the other hand, was lovely. He was always the middle between Lotte & her mother and also tried to find a solution that would hopefully satisfy both sides, even if they weren’t fully happy with it. He was loving, caring and would do whatever he could for his only daughter.
Erich I also really enjoyed. He was loving, kind and patient. He would do whatever he could for the ones he cares about.
There is one last person I want to talk about and that it Tante Susie, which is Aunty Susie. So, for the most part, she was enjoyable except for at the end. It was never explained as to why she suddenly stopped being the loving Aunty but I have a guess. This next part in bold will be extremely spoilery, so only read it if you have read the book.
So, my guess is that when Tante Susie was away in one of the camps she met Inga and found out who she was. Inga mentioned that someone told her that her husband was in that town and had remarried and had children. I am guessing that the reason Tante Susie started acting extremely cold was that she thought that Lotte deliberately had married a man that she knew was married. However, of course, Lotte & Erich both thought Inga and the children dead. But that would explain why she kicked Lotte & Erich out of the house.
One thing that confuses me is the MC’s name. In the Synopsis, both from Goodreads & on my Proof copy, they call her Charlotte von Klein but in the book, she is called Charlotte von Betz. So I don’t know if that is some German term that I don’t know about or whether it’s an error, but it really confused me when I started reading the book.
So, overall I enjoyed the book. It was not what I was expecting and had a few elements that I generally don’t enjoy in books buts I still liked it. As all historical fictions do, this one brought out the emotions and you can’t help but be hurt by what these characters went through.
So, originally this was a book that I requested on NetGalley. However, when I got the email that said I was approved, I went on straight away to download it and it had already been archived. So I couldn’t download it. I sent feedback through explaining that it had been archived before I even received the confirmation email and Kirsty from Simon & Schuster emailed me and asked if I would like a physical ARC of the book! So, of course, I said yes!
So thank you to Kirsty from Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
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