2021 Reviews · Germany · historical fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: The Girl Behind the Wall by Mandy Robotham

Title: The Berlin Girl

Author: Mandy Robotham

Published: July 28th 2021

Publisher: Avon GB -HarperCollins Books Australia

Pages: 416

Genres:  Fiction, Historical

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

A city divided.
When the Berlin Wall goes up, Karin is on the wrong side of the city. Overnight, she’s trapped under Soviet rule in unforgiving East Berlin and separated from her twin sister, Jutta.
Two sisters torn apart.
Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the Wall. But Karin finds one reason to keep going: Otto, the man who gives her hope, even amidst the brutal East German regime.
One impossible choice…
When Jutta finds a hidden way through the wall, the twins are reunited. But the Stasi have eyes everywhere, and soon Karin is faced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West and be with her sister, or sacrifice it all to follow her heart?

From the USA Today and internationally bestselling WWII novelist of The German Midwife, The Secret Messenger and The Berlin Girl comes a story set at the dawn of the Cold War in Berlin.

Review:

‘They close the files, and with it, a chapter of history never to be forgotten, but one which no longer has the power to shape, contain or inhibit their lives or loves.’

Mandy Robotham is the author of three USA Today, Globe and Kindle top 100 bestsellers. The Girl Behind the Wall is Robotham’s latest release. With a focus on control, separation, division, love, loyalty sacrifice, danger, intrigue and survival, The Girl Behind the Wall is a moving tale for fans of twentieth century history.

The Girl Behind the Wall offers an insight into an incredible time in modern history. Mandy Robotham’s latest book travels to Germany after the devastation of the Second World War. In this emotive historical fiction tale, the author highlights a divisive time in our not too recent past. As a mighty wall is erected in Germany to divide the east and the west permanently, we see how this act of population segregation impacts one family. The Girl Behind the Wall closely follows twins Karin and Jutta, who find themselves separated by the wall. In a cruel twist of fate, one twin is at the wrong place at the wrong time and consequently finds herself permanently stuck under the Soviet rule in the east. As her twin sister Jutta despairs back at home, Karin must forge a new life for herself in the east, away from the protective fold of her family. When Karin meets a man who helps her get through the hard and sad times in the east, she is hopeful that her life will take a turn for the better. When Jutta manages to find a secret opening in the wall, the two sisters are reconciled. This doesn’t last long, as both know that they will be discovered, especially due to the strong presence of the Stasi. Karin is torn, will she follow her heart and continue her relationship with her lover in the east, or will she return home to Jutta?

 I recall as a child growing up in the 1980s the famed Berlin Wall, a worldwide symbol of control and suppression, coming down as I watched it closely on my family’s television. At the time I had no understanding of what this historical act symbolised, only that it would change the life on my aunt who was living and working in Germany at the time. Now thanks to Mandy Robotham’s 2021 historical fiction release, I’ve had the chance to reflect on and learn so much more about this divisive period in Germany’s past.

The Girl Behind the Wall is divided into four moving parts that cover the years 1961 through to 1989. The novel is primarily and told through the eyes of twin sisters Jutta and Karin. In a terrible twist of fate, the twins are separated on the very same day the famous Berlin Wall is erected. Robotham manages to capture the despair, loss, fear and longing this family experiences during their forced separation. As the pages turn thanks to the short chapter style adopted by the author, an incredible story of endurance and survival emerges. A number of subsidiary characters help to illuminate the shocking events of this story and while some characters display goodness in the face of such tyranny, others are bad news. Robotham tale also incorporates an element of romance for both sisters which adds further problems for these conflicted characters to contend with.

There is an informative and vital author’s note preceding this story, along with a detailed map of divided Germany. I really liked this touch and I think it put me in the right frame of mind for this heart-breaking tale. It is apparent that the author has embarked on a significant amount of research to develop this engaging and educative storyline. I know the story inspired me to embark on a spot of extra research and chat with my relatives about their experiences of the Berlin Wall, as I was too young to remember much about this pivotal time in our history books.

Full of action, intrigue, danger, suspense and a story that will keep you on the edge of seat for the duration, The Girl Behind the Wall offers an exclusive look into a tumultuous period in world history.

The Girl Behind the Wall by Mandy Robotham was published on 28th July 2021 by Avon – GB. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Girl Behind the Wall, Mandy Robotham visit here.

*I wish to thank HarperCollins AU for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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