The Girl From Berlin by Kate Hewitt

Published February 25th 2021 by Bookouture

1936, Nazi-ruled Berlin. A heartbreaking and stunningly powerful novel of friendship, courage and betrayal, about two girls whose lives collide in war-torn Berlin, and whose friendship is the only thing that might get them out alive. 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.

4.5 Stars: 

I have read many stories about WWII, but this one was different from any that I have read. The story is told in two timelines, during the war and in 1946 when the Amercians are now in Germany tracking down Nazis and helping with the reconstruction of the country.

Liesel Scholz is a young German girl living in Berlin with her well to do family. Her father is a chemist who is being praised for his work on fabricated rubber. The family is moving to Berlin where he is being promoted. As the Nazis rise to power, he becomes involved with some high ranking officers, going to parties and events. Liesel is not happy with the changes in Germany under the Nazis, but accompanies her father to these events when her mother refuses. She eventually does what she can to help some of the Jewish people trying to escape. In 1946. Sam Houghton arrives in Germany to help find Nazis, specifically scientists and interrogate them. He hires a young woman, Anna, as his secretary and interpreter. He knows Anna is not being truthful, but he is not sure what secrets she is hiding.

Kate Hewitt wrote a story to highlight something that I had not read about before. How did the ordinary German people feel about what was happening? How did they get drawn into the craziness of the Nazi platform? The two timelines were knit together in an excellent way that made the story flow seamlessly. The more we learn about Liesel, the more my heart broke. She did not share the Nazi beliefs or want to be part of what they were doing, but as a young teenager, what was she to do? This book focuses on the evil of the Nazis while also highlighting the courage and strength of those who never fell under their spell. It helps us to understand a little better how it crept into the German Society, destroyed friendships and divided families. This historical fiction story was well researched with events that actually occurred being included in a realistic way. The main characters were relatable, and well developed. I found it easy to figure out how the two timelines fit together, but my interest did not wane at all. As Anna and Sam got to know each other better, there was an attraction, but Sam was honorable and never crossed the line. This was an easy story to become engrossed in and I definitely recommend it to those who are looking to read an historical fiction story set in WWII with a different type of plot. I was gifted a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

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About the Author: Kate Hewitt is the author of many romance and women’s fiction novels. A former New Yorker and now an American ex-pat, she lives in a small town on the Welsh border with her husband, five children, and their overly affectionate Golden Retriever. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling stories that tackle real issues and touch people’s lives.

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