Top positive review
INTENSE, WELL WRITTEN, BUT NOT COMPELLING
Reviewed in the United States on February 1, 2020
While well written, there were some oddities in this book that made me wonder if it was translated from German. The author’s bio, however, indicates that she is thoroughly American with a bit of a British background. This comes through in her writing. For example, “at age four she holds court over the other children in the creche, pretending to read stories aloud and lecturing them with a pursed mouth.” I had never seen “creche” used that way before, and it is indeed British English. There is also no pretense made of giving in to American sensibilities by distorting the German context of the book; characters have distinctively German names such as Werner, Bettina, and Annaleise. It’s all good.
A strong female lead, which is always a plus. The book bounces back and forth between a timeline that starts in 1961 Chicago and one that begins in 1943 in what will become East Germany.
BOTTOM LINE: Intense and yet didn’t grab me quite as much as it should have.