The Girl From Berlin

The Girl From Berlin

A Novel

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"An old friend calls Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart to his famous Italian restaurant to enlist their help. His aunt is being evicted from her home in the Tuscan hills by a powerful corporation claiming they own the deeds, even though she can produce her own set of deeds to her land. Catherine and Liam's only clue is a bound handwritten manuscript, entirely in German, and hidden in its pages is a story long-forgotten. Ada Baumgarten was born in Berlin in 1918, at the end of the war. The daughter of an accomplished first-chair violinist in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic, and herself a violin prodigy, Ada's life was full of the rich culture of Berlin's interwar society. She formed a deep attachment to her childhood friend Kurt, but they were torn apart by the growing unrest as her Jewish family came under suspicion. As the tides of history turned, it was her extraordinary talent that would carry her through an unraveling society turned to war, and make her a target even as it saved her, allowing her to move to Bologna, though Italy was not the haven her family had hoped, and further heartache awaited. What became of Ada? How is she connected to the conflicting land deeds of a small Italian villa? As they dig through the layers of lies, corruption, and human evil, Catherine and Liam uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hopethe ending of which is yet to be written."--Amazon.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press,|©2018.
ISBN: 9781250195241
1250195241
Characteristics: x, 372 pages ;,25 cm.

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LauraMcShaneCLE
Apr 20, 2019

The author revisits rise of fascism and persecution through one Jewish family, the fictional Baumgartens. There is the question of title to a property in Italy and a mystery as a Chicago lawyer (the author is a real Chicago lawyer) unravels the family history. I have read A LOT of stories that visit this time in history, largely out of my own maternal family's experience in Budapest, Hungary during WW II. When one character proclaims "he wants to make Germany great again," I had to cringe at the obvious and intended parallel to MAGA and Trump. Current politics aside - the book has a lot of historical references and makes for a great read, especially for high school students. This is one of the books on the St Joseph Academy summer reading list. Discuss :)

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2karat
Dec 30, 2018

If you enjoy reading thoughtful, well-written fiction based on historical truths, you must read this book. It took hold of me and I could not stop reading. It has become one of my favorites.

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MHanover10
Aug 19, 2018

This was such a good book! This is book 5 in the Liam Taggart & Catherine Lockhart series and my first one to read. This book is easily a stand alone. I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not reading the first four books. This book went back and forth between 2017 and the life of Ada Baumgarten and her family during World War II as Jews in Berlin. I found both storylines fascinating. I've read before in a memoir that the legal system in Italy is a little hard to navigate with some lawyers not caring and some who can be paid off. I was frustrated with Ada and her father where were both professional violinists. They kept saying they would leave Berlin and Germany after the season was done or with one more performance left. They also kept thinking Hitler wasn't going to last, people wouldn't believe him, people wouldn't get behind him. Of course behind on this side of the Holocaust it's easy to yell RUN every time I read they were going to wait a few months or a few days. Or Ada saying she could easily go back into Berlin after moving to Italy. Balson does a great time showing how naive the Jews were until it was too late. He does a great job in showing just how bad conditions became and how slowly people became such racist people. Best friends shunning their Jewish friends and neighbors. There were a lot of parallels from how Hitler and the Nazis grew and changed the way people thought, the way hate grew to some of what is happening here. Balson showed how easy people got complacent and things changed before people even knew what was going on. I would highly recommend this book. It was so well written, and the characters were so well rounded that I cared for the many of them and didn't like some of them.

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