The Berlin Girl is a book with flavours of history, thrill and love all thrown in to make it a compelling read. It is a riveting account of life in Berlin just before WW II.
It keeps you on edge all the time, leaving you with no choice but to keep turning the pages. The best part is that you pretty much know what’s going to happen, but you still can’t stop reading.
The story is about Georgie, a fledgling reporter posted to Berlin, and Max Spender, another Londoner. It depicts what she and the other reporters go through as people and as reporters as they make Berlin their temporary home. Georgie’s feelings of shock, horror, helplessness, anger and fear as life and events unfold in Berlin make the reader one with her.
On arriving, Georgie is horrified by how the Nazis have almost taken over Berlin since her last visit. She finds that the oppressive atmosphere and tension are ruining a beautiful city. Her disgust and horror are practically palpable.
The author gives a realistic account of the fear and betrayal felt by the Jews in their own country. The reader can almost feel their pain and sorrow. The plight of the Amsel’s, in particular, is heartbreaking.
The reader is horrified at the depths to which humanity had plummeted at that time, which of course, wasn’t for the first or the last time.
Also how politicians across the world and across time only see what they want to see and respond to what they want to.
What also comes out is that the suffering of the ordinary person is never a matter of concern for anyone. The media has to step in and tell people about it objectively and fairly. It has the responsibility of reporting fearlessly and boldly. Georgie and her reporter friends are determined to bring the truth of Hitler in front of the whole world and leave no stone unturned to do that even at the expense of their safety.
I loved the book because it builds up the tension, the suspense of events anticipated by the reader. It is the build-up that makes the story so gripping.
The reader can actually relate to what Georgie goes through, be it her disgust at her association with Kasper, her feelings for the Amler family and the courage and grit with which she takes on several assignments.
I love Georgie and her character and her metamorphosis from an underconfident new kid on the block to a daring correspondent who pulls off the great escape in the end.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book with its subtle hints at love and romance thrown in between the thrill and suspense. In addition, the author has brilliantly portrayed the characters.
And the way Georgie makes a place for herself in a man’s world amidst a sea of seasoned male reporters is noteworthy.
The book clearly depicts that with hope, determination and courage, one can make the impossible possible.
I give the book a rating of 5/5