Rosie’s #Bookreview of Historical #Romance Searching For Gertrude by D.E. Haggerty

Searching for GertrudeSearching for Gertrude by D.E. Haggerty

3 stars

Searching For Gertrude is a romance set during World War Two.

Rudolf has loved the daughter of his Jewish neighbour for as long as he can remember, but one morning he wakes to discover her family are leaving, because of the dangers present in the country during that time. Gertrude’s father has lost his job at his German university, and he’s taking his family to Istanbul.

Devastated by the loss of his love, Rudolf vows to follow. But first he must finish his studies, and it is eight years before he can travel to Istanbul. When he arrives, his search for Gertrude is made harder as she hasn’t written to him for six years, and he doesn’t have her address.

Rosalyn, a young teacher from New York, is determined to help Jews escape from Europe. She begins by taking a job as a nanny to a Jewish family in Istanbul. Rudolf and Rosalyn meet by chance, in a park; Rudolf’s story touches Rosalyn deeply and she promises to help him find his girl.

The Istanbul setting for this war story gives it an interesting aspect; the author slips in historic details which were new to me. The chapters alternate between the two main characters, but at times there are some sprinkling of points of view from other characters, which made for confusing head-hopping. I would have enjoyed chapters being told solely from one point of view at a time. Mostly, the author uses an omnipotent narrator to tell the story, which kept me from empathising with the characters. I never felt the really deep emotions and motivation behind many of the actions.

Overall, I liked the historical setting, but there were missed opportunities to add tension, feelings and atmosphere.

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Book description

How far would you go to find the woman you love?

Nazi Germany. While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey.

Eight Years Later. As war rages in Europe, Rudolf arrives in Istanbul to search for Gertrude. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn.

As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #WW2 #Thriller The Berlin Affair by @DavidBoyle1958

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Berlin Affair by David Boyle

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THE BERLIN AFFAIR by David Boyle

3.5 stars

This is a novella length story; I wondered if such a plot could be fitted into a novella, and if there would be a lack of detail, but it is well structured and fits nicely into the shorter length.

Xanthe Schneider from Cincinatti arrives in Cambridge as a student, six months before the outbreak of World War Two.  During her childhood, she was endowed with a love of and talent for crosswords by her father, and, in England, during the ‘phoney war’ of the first eight months following September 3rd, 1939, she gets to know the mysterious Ralph Lancing, a code cracking enthusiast.  Then Ralph disappears, and Xanthe is approached by war officials to take part in the world of British espionage.

One thing I liked about this was the portrayal of the England at the time; it’s very well done, but subtly, and it came over, to me, a bit like a black and white film.  I also liked that Boyle has used real life characters, such as Goebbels, and I felt Xanthe’s growing fear; the atmosphere of menace certainly worked.  Sometimes I felt the choice of words was a little odd, and I wasn’t always sure about the way in which, for instance, a naval commander spoke to Xanthe, a woman he had only just met.

This is a good read for the historical detail in itself, and it is well plotted; an undemanding, enjoyable book with which to curl up for an afternoon.

Book Description

Summer, 1940.

American Xanthe Schneider finds herself catapulted into the world of British espionage, and is sent into the heart of Nazi Germany: Berlin.
Her task? To find out whether Ralph Lancing-Price – a former government minister she had known briefly in London – is a patriot or traitor.
And what of the code he talked about so abstrusely? Using her guise as an American correspondent, Xanthe sets out to find him. But not all is what it seems. Xanthe soon becomes drawn into a web of intrigue involving a project entitled “Enigma” – and she also unexpectedly falls in love.
As the weeks go by, and Germany begins to mobilise its armies, Xanthe has to question who she can trust – and how she can survive?

About the author

David Boyle

David Boyle is the author of Blondel’s Song: The capture, imprisonment and ransom of Richard the Lionheart, and a series of books about history, social change and the future. His book Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life helped put the search for authenticity on the agenda as a social phenomenon. The Tyranny of Numbers and The Sum of Our Discontent predicted the backlash against the government’s target culture. Funny Money launched the time banks movement in the UK.

David is an associate of the new economics foundation, the pioneering think-tank in London, and has been at the heart of the effort to introduce time banks to Britain as a critical element of public service reform – since when the movement has grown to more than 100 projects in the UK.

He is also the founder of the London Time Bank network and co-founder of Time Banks UK. He writes about the future of volunteering, cities and business.

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