Saturday, 7 March 2015


My Thoughts on this novel of English and German families ..........


Publisher:  Allen & Unwin
Published:  2 April 2015

The wedding of Thomas, an idealistic German architect, and Irene, an English artist, brings together the Curtius and Benson families. But their peace is soon shattered by the outbreak of war in Europe. While Irene struggles to survive in a country where she is the enemy, her sister Sophia faces the war as a nurse on the Western Front. For their brother Mark, diplomatic service sees him moving between London, Washington and Copenhagen, all the while struggling to confront his own identity. Against a backdrop of war and its aftermath relationships are tested, sacrifices are made and Irene and her siblings strive to find their place in an evolving world.

I have very mixed feelings about this story which opens in 1910 at the wedding of Irene and Thomas.

I found it quite hard-going at times and struggled to read it, I didn't really care for any of the characters, except maybe Irene.  I thought they were all quite secretive, I didn't know what they were thinking for most of the story and I couldn't get to know them.

Their conversations consisted mainly of the war and politics, not surprising I suppose, but it did get boring at times and I wished they would talk of other topics.  Also, I don't know why the characters spoke so much in German without any English translation .... I found this very frustrating.

Though I did enjoy the storyline overall, it was interesting to see how Irene was treated during the war, living in Germany and unable to travel back to England.  And I enjoyed reading the descriptions of Berlin.

But I'm afraid that I wouldn't read any more of this author's other works, they are not for me, unfortunately.

My thanks to Real Readers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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