Archive | January 2024

Return To Berlin by Ellen Feldman

Powerful, Horrifying & Thought Provoking

Return To Berlin by Ellen Feldman is a powerful, heartbreaking and horrifying historical novel that educates while we read.

This is a dual timeline story as we begin in postwar Berlin but also look backwards to pre-war Berlin and America.

Berlin is a complicated city. It had been the seat of Hitler’s power and contained the bunker where he ended his life. Pre-war Jewish life was eroded bit by bit. People ‘disappeared’ or were able to flee to America. Families were split up.

Post war Berlin was a place not only for Berliners but also for Americans, British and Soviets as the city was divided into zones. Whilst the population of Berlin did support the Nazis way of life – either by being complicit or through their silence – the women and girls suffered from much brutality when the Soviets rode into town.

This book throws up many conflicting emotions in the reader. Like the main character, I wanted to dislike the Berliners who stood idly by whist the atrocities were committed – but the treatment of women and girls by the Soviets horrified and disgusted me. Return To Berlin will definitely mess with your emotions.

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Forever Lovely by Linore Rose Burkard


Forever Lovely by Linore Rose Burkard is a delightful dual timeline novel that totally charmed me. It is the second book in the Forever In Time series but can be read as a stand-alone.

Modern day New York and Regency England are the settings in the novel. Time travelling characters seamlessly slot into life in New York as there is a Jane Austen convention in town. The reader, along with the characters, wander the streets, marveling at the sights.

Linore Rose Burkard has comprehensively researched early nineteenth century language as her characters could easily have been lifted from a Jane Austen novel with their speech. There is much gentility which is charming.

As a character views the modern world through the lens of Regency England, she finds much wonder in the world.

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The German Child by Catherine Hokin

Horrendous & Heart-Breaking

The German Child by Catherine Hokin is a powerful dual timeline novel that completely captivated me. It is horrendous, heart breaking and powerful.

The action is set during World War II in Berlin and also in 1979/1980 America. We see the dreadful exploits of the Angel of Death in Germany during the war, continue afterwards. Far from seeing what was done as war crimes, the Angel of Death is proud of her lifetime of horrendous crimes.

We see the power wielded as one chooses who lives and who dies, who is deemed worthy and who isn’t. First it was the Jewish people during World War II, then it was the African Americans in Alabama as the white supremacists supported the horrendous acts of prejudice and inequality.

The Lebensborn program of the Nazis robbed families of children, and children of their mothers. Blonde haired, blue-eyed boys were selected for the Nazis Fatherland. Girls were not valued so highly, being viewed only as good for breeding boys. The army of drab brown-uniformed sisters were selected to blend in as they stole children. They were meant to be unmemorable. The novel is grounded in fact as the brown sisters actually existed.

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Nurse Kitty: After The War by Maggie Campbell

A Brave New World

Nurse Kitty: After The War by Maggie Campbell is a terrific historical novel. It is the final book in the Nurse Kitty Trilogy but can be read as a stand-alone.

The novel opens in 1950 in Manchester’s flagship hospital. It is the dawn of a new era as the NHS is in its infancy. Times are changing with free health care for all.

As we enter the modern era of medicine, there are still challenges. Polio is widespread. Children are not all recovering and some have died. The iron lung helps but is not pleasant. A new vaccine and treatment are being developed.

Previously, married women had to give up work. Now, some souls who love their jobs are standing up for the rights of women as they want to be wed and work. It is frustrating to see how the old guard treat women in the workplace. Women are good for making cups of tea but not taken seriously by all.

After World War II the world is opening up as we see nurses from the colonies answer the call to work in the newly formed NHS. Unfortunately, they still face prejudice, even from child patients.

There is turmoil on the streets too, with racial prejudice and unrest. Jewish refugees from Europe still find themselves shunned by some but helped by others.

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