Letters From Berlin Author, Tania Blanchard Looks at 2021 – The Year Ahead

Letters From Berlin Author, Tania Blanchard Looks at 2021 – The Year Ahead

I always love this time of year when the flurry of activity leading up to Christmas is over, the large family gatherings in our family, although always wonderful, are done and I can just take a breath, relax and look to the year ahead.

With the pace of life slowing down, I’m happy to hibernate at home with my family around me, reading and cooking for pleasure, watching good movies and series with them, enjoying their reactions to those I’ve already seen and playing the odd board game or cards as a family. For me, this time is all about connecting with my own family.

Family has always been important to me, the central pillar of my life. It’s no surprise then that family is always a strong theme in my books. My next book set in Southern Italy which I’ll be working on and refining during the year ahead, is no different.

The inspiration for this story comes from my father’s side of the family who hails from Calabria in Southern Italy. Only a few years ago, I learnt that my grandfather fought in the war with Ethiopia, then called Abyssinia in 1935 and also fought in Albania before World War Two.

My story begins in 1936 as Italy has begun its colonial expansion into East Africa, invading Ethiopia. It follows Giulia and her family through Mussolini’s fascist regime, Italy’s involvement in WW2 and alliance with Germany, the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, the role of the partisan resistance and the ensuing civil war between the puppet fascist state in the north and Allied occupation in the south.

I never imagined how complex Italy’s war really was and how the country was torn in two as a result, but I knew even less about Calabria’s role in this war. I was fascinated to learn how the isolation geographically and politically from Rome and the wealthy, industrial north, affected southern attitudes to war and to oppression and exploitation, with a number of peasant revolts and the formation of shortly lived independent southern Italian and Sicilian communities. The south had resisted the idea of unification and never truly felt part of the Kingdom of Italy ever since its declaration in 1861.

I’ve loved researching and exploring the connection between family, religion, medicine/healing and the ancient Greek and Byzantine roots of this part of the world that have been preserved for centuries. This land was once called Magna Graecia and settled in the 8th Century BC. I have the strong and feisty Giulia, spending time at an ancient Byzantine monastery in the rugged mountains of Calabria, learning herbal medicine and taking part in the annual spring festival dedicated to the Madonna.

But the most wonderful part has been reconnecting with family and friends, hearing their stories about Calabria, sampling gorgeous Italian cooking and food and even getting my hands dirty and learning how to make Italian salami! It’s been fascinating to explore the rich and ancient cultural influences of the region, and even though my trip to Southern Italy this year was cancelled, I still feel the connection to the mountains and coast of the very tip of Italy where my story is set. I was lucky to spend a few weeks there as a teenager, in a village that hasn’t changed too much since the war years, or probably for hundreds of years in some respects.

I’ve always loved family stories and in the process of revisiting this part of my heritage, I’ve been reminded how strong family ties are in determining who you are and the person you become. My love of family has come from my own background and I can’t wait to share this story of family with you all when my next book hits the shelves later this year.

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                  Publisher details

                  Letters from Berlin
                  Author
                  Tania Blanchard
                  Publisher
                  Simon and Schuster
                  Genre
                  Historical Fiction
                  Released
                  07 October, 2020
                  ISBN
                  9781760852054

                  Synopsis

                  Berlin, 1943. As the Allied forces edge closer, the Third Reich tightens its grip on its people. For eighteen-year-old Susanna Göttmann, this means her beloved adopted family including the man she loves, Leo, are at risk. His mother – Susie’s godmother – is forced to register as a Jew and wear the Star of David, bearing the resentment of the village she has always called home. Desperate to protect them any way she can, Susie accepts the help of an influential Nazi officer. It means she must abandon any hope of a future with Leo and enter the terrifying world of the Nazi elite. But all is not lost as her newfound position offers more than she could have hoped for … With critical intelligence at her fingertips, Susie seizes a dangerous opportunity to help the resistance. The decisions she makes could change the course of the war, but what will they mean for her family and her future? From the bestselling author of The Girl from Munich and Suitcase of Dreams comes an unforgettable tale of love, courage and betrayal inspired by a true story
                  Tania Blanchard
                  About the author

                  Tania Blanchard

                  Tania Blanchard was inspired to write by the fascinating stories her German grandmother told her as a child. Coming from a family with a rich cultural heritage, stories have always been in her blood. Her first novel published by Simon & Schuster Australia, The Girl from Munich, was a runaway bestseller, as was the sequel, Suitcase of Dreams. Tania lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.

                  Books by Tania Blanchard

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