The Girl From Berlin – by Ronald H. Balson

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The Girl From Berlin by Ronald H. Balson 

Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (Oct. 9 2018)

ISBN-13: 978-1250195241

Synopsis: In the newest novel from internationally-bestselling author Ronald. H. Balson, Liam and Catherine come to the aid of an old friend and are drawn into a property dispute in Tuscany that unearths long-buried secrets.

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 hope―the ending of which is yet to be written.

Don’t miss Liam and Catherine’s lastest adventures in The Girl from Berlin!

* * *

Ronald Balson being one of my all-time favourite authors, I was so excited to hear about this book! The Girl From Berlin is Balson’s fourth book in the “Catherine and Liam Saga” as I like to call it. Taking place in pre-war Europe (mainly Germany, but also Italy), Balson explores the persecution of the Jewish people prior to the start of WWII and throughout the war years. Told in alternating time periods (present and past), Balson incorporates the legal battle over a vineyard property in Italy to his historical story of the Jewish people during the second world war.

Once We Were Brothers, Balson’s first book, had some striking similarities to The Girl From Berlin. I really enjoyed the characters and “watching” their story unfold. Balson is a master at historical legal battles and I find that he explains the “legal stuff” really well so that anyone can understand. While I did find there were some rushed parts to this story, and some too drawn out parts of this story, I really enjoyed this “new” view of the Second World War, focusing on the pre-war years in Germany vs the actual war years.

Balson does a great job of tying the two stories together, although I would have loved if it happened maybe 20 pages sooner to give the book a little more of a conclusion. While Once We Were Brothers will forever be my favourite Ronald Balson book, and one of my favourite books of all time, this book comes in a close second. Fans of historical fiction, historical legal thrillers and Ronald Balson himself should definitely read this book!

Rating: 9.5/10

* I received this book from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review*

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