Preview Reviews: Letters from Berlin by Tania Blanchard

Preview Reviews: Letters from Berlin by Tania Blanchard

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

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 adopted family including the man she loves, Leo, are at risk.

Desperate to protect her loved ones any way she can, Susie accepts the help of an influential Nazi officer. But it comes at a terrible cost – she must abandon any hope of a future with Leo and enter the frightening world of the Nazi elite.

Yet 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? 

Read our Preview reviewer thoughts here:

A beautiful blend of historical fact and captivating fiction. Walk side by side with Susie as she lives and works in war-torn Berlin in 1943. Can she protect the people she loves by keeping up the pretence of siding with the Nazis while concealing her connections to The Resistance? What dangerous choices will she have to make to help keep them all alive? Wonderfully based on a true story. – Georgina, NSW, 5 Stars

Tania Blanchard is getting better and better with each novel, drawing readers into the heartbreak and tragedy of World War 2 and it’s aftermath. She weaves her story in such a way that the characters simply jump off the page, keeping the audience on the edge of their seat until the final page. Any lovers of historical fiction or family dramas will fall in love with this novel. We hope more is in the way soon! 5 stars. – Angie, NSW, 5 Stars

Wow another fantastic read by this amazing author. The characters draw you in and you just can’t stop reading. Thank you so much for this awesome preview. – Kirstie, WA, 5 Stars

Letter from Berlin is a harrowing tale told by Susanna Gottman through letters written to her daughter, who she tried to after the war. The descriptions are vivid and you can imagine yourself in the midst of Germany in WW2. It is a tale of resilience, sacrifice, and of love, beautifully written and very captivating. – Lisa, QLD, 5 Stars

Well what a fantastic read by Tania Blanchard. There are so many war/romance books on the market these days but this one definitely stands out as a must-read. The book starts with the introduction of the main character Susie. She has fallen in love with a man but has to take drastic steps to protect her family. This book grabbed me right from the start as all of Tania’s books have. It was engaging, easy to read and was a book that kept you up late at night turning pages to see what happens next. I feel a little lost now that the book is finished, the best way to truly know that you have loved a book. – Claire, VIC, 5 Stars

Letters From Berlin is an extraordinary story of courage, hope and love that will leave you feeling an entire spectrum of emotions and in awe of what humanity is capable of. Both good, and evil. This meticulously researched book spans the central characters lifetime but focuses on the period of WW2 in the region of Berlin. It’s impossible not to be consumed by the tragedies faced by the characters and inspired by the determination they show amidst their challenges. A story of love, loss and loyalty, this intense story will keep any reader gripped from the very beginning. – Belinda, VIC, 5 Stars

I love to read historical fiction and was not disappointed by Letters to Berlin. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it kept my interest from beginning to end. The character of Susanna was well developed and likeable. A great read overall. This was my first Tania Blanchard book and will definitely be checking out others by her. – Susan, NSW, 5 Stars

Tania Blanchard’s research on Nazi Germany is impressive and she continues to introduce the reader to more aspects of life in Germany, thus increasing our knowledge of life at the time. The heroine, Susanna, is naive yet seemingly unaware of the true nature of the Nazis. She seemed to lurch from situation to situation and at times, this seems somewhat unrealistic. Yet reading the Author’s Notes it appears that Susanna’s experiences are not as far-fetched as first impressions would lead one to believe. The book was an easy read and very enjoyable. I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys novels set during World War Two. – Debbie, VIC, 5 Stars

Thank you so much for the opportunity to read and review Letters From Berlin by Tania Blanchard. Having previously read and enjoyed her previous books, The Girl From Munich and Suitcase Of Dreams, I was very keen to read this one and it didn’t disappoint at all. I liked the fact that it told the story from the perspective of German citizens during the war and the difficulties they encountered depending on their social status or genetic background. Because I visited Berlin as well as other parts of Germany two years ago I was able to feel myself looking out the window of Julius’ flat to the Brandenburg Gate and also in the countryside around Onkel’s farm. I was aware that the Russians did not exactly represent liberation but learnt more about how they behaved towards the German citizens. Susie is a wonderful character, so brave and I admired her difficult decisions to keep her family safe. I delight in recommending this book. – Liz, NSW, 5 Stars

Sydney 2019. Starts off with the delivery of a package containing hand-written letters posted from Berlin, Germany. They are addressed to Ingrid from her birth mother of whom she never knew, in fact, she didn’t know until the age of 12 that she was adopted. No records could be located then because of the government laws at that time. THUS THE STORY BEGINS… relayed through the contents of the letters, telling of the life and experiences of Susanna Göttmann and her family. Mainly set in Berlin 1943 during World War 11 The Third Reich are becoming relentless towards its people, people end up living in poverty, living in fear of their country-men and the Nazi regime. The Jewish people are being arrested. What I really appreciated the author, Tania Blanchard doing, was how she didn’t dwell on the horrors of the war, the extreme cruelty towards the Jewish population. Yes, the reader read about concentration camps where no-one came home, and other atrocities, but didn’t again dwell on that. We the reader know what happened, but the book is focussed on Susanna and her loved ones. I found the book very touching, showed the love felt, faith, caring, risks taken to help, courage, loyalty, strength and survival. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, will and have, recommended it to friends that I know! – Edith, SA, 5 Stars

Letters from Berlin was a fascinating story to read. I really found myself hooked. It’s a story about a family with a rich cultural heritage and they find themselves in the frightening world of the Nazi elite during World War II. This was a gripping and emotional journey, the characters were well written and had depth. I thoroughly recommend adding this to your reading list! – Peter, SA, 5 Stars

This is an absolutely beautiful book. Tania Blanchard has done a wonderful job of weaving the different parts of the story together. The story is told through Susanna’s eyes, focusing on her life in Berlin during WW2. It is a heartbreaking and uplifting story of love, family and community, as Susanna and her family do what they can to survive the terrible events happening around them. The characters were so believable, I felt I was right along beside them as they went through their journey. I felt particularly connected to Susanna, feeling every one of her emotions and wishing I could do something to help her. I highly recommended this book. I couldn’t put it down. Thank you to Better Reading for my preview copy. – Kim Smith, NSW, 5 Stars

I started reading this thinking it was just another novel telling another episode in the History of Germany during World War 2 even though I am very sympathetic to these harrowing stories. The difference is it highlighted the lives of ordinary Germans who were so against the Nazi regime, and their support of the Resistance. It also highlighted the stress of Jews who were married to Germans and were safe from arrest in the beginning then their safety became unreliable. The fate of the offspring was also highlighted. They were labelled as subhuman and were not permitted to enlist in the German Army. We follow the story of Susie, adopted by a mixed family and her means of spying for the Resistance through her friendship with a Nazi official. All done to protect her adopted family. An enjoyable read for the fans of this era and genre. – Sue, WA, 5 Stars

What a fantastic read! The perfect blend of suspense, emotional moments and history! I especially loved the depiction of familial bonds and the realistic portrayal of civilian life in WWII. – Sarah, NSW, 5 Stars

Letters from Berlin is a beautiful love story told against the backdrop of a horrendous point in history, and the author manages to balance the two expertly. I was thoroughly captivated from start to finish. – Ashleigh, ACT, 5 Stars

I wanted to read this as I loved her previous books, The Girl from Munich and Suitcase of Dreams. This is an unforgettable tale of love, courage and betrayal inspired by a true story. It begins in Berlin, 1943. Leo, the man she loves, and his family whom Suzi has known since childhood, the family that took her in as a child, are at risk because his mother is Jewish. This is a tale a young non-Jewish lass trying to save those she loves, those she considers her family, at a time when the Allied forces edge closer and the Third Reich is tightening its grip on its own people. Naive Suzi chooses a dangerous course but the future of ‘her family’ is all that matters to her. The story is beautifully crafted and captures the intensity of a brutal and unforgiving war. It weaves love, loss, desperation and eventually hope into a gripping journey. I highly recommend it. – Mara, NSW, 5 Stars

This is an absolutely exceptional read of the struggle of an influential family to stay together during world war II in Germany. Onkel Georg and Tanke Elya are Susanna Gottmann’s Godparents and have raised Susanna (Susie) since she was seven years old when her parents and brother were killed in a car accident in 1931. They also have a son, Leo. 1943 Berlin- As the allied forces close in, the Nazi regime tightens it’s grip on the German people. Onkel Georg’s connections, business dealings and status had kept Tante Elya’s (a Russian Jew) name off the Reich Association of the Jews but they never knew if that was enough to keep her safe. There was also concern about their son Leo (a mischling). Leo can’t understand why Susie has chosen to keep company with Julius Siebenborn who has become an influential Nazi but she is desperate to protect her family in any way possible. This story is told in the perspective of the German people who had to contend with losing their men and boys to fight the war, the constant bombings, food rations, poverty, the Nazi elite and general chaos. This book was inspired by a true story, there are characters you will love and there are those you will despise! An unforgettable family saga of romance, betrayal and courage. I wish to thank Better Reading & Simon & Schuster for an advanced copy of the book to read in exchange for an honest review. – Gloria, SA, 5 Stars

WOW! is how I felt at the end of Letters from Munich I have read Tania’s first 2 books and loved them, but this book takes it to a new level. The emotional rollercoaster you travel with Susanna(Susie) is one I almost didn’t want to end. For readers of historical fiction and especially WW2 and Nazi Germany this book will not disappoint. Throughout the book I was cheering on for Susie and I truly felt like I was alongside her as she made such hard decisions, but at every turn understanding why and how. Tania is using inspiration from childhood stories told to her by her German grandmother and this shows in the emotion and realness that comes through in her writing. I have no doubt this will be a hit along with The girl from Munich and Suitcase of dreams. – Danielle, VIC, 5 Stars

Loved this book. A well-written escape from the real world. – Sally, VIC, 5 Stars

A great historical read for me as I’ve read Tania’s previous books. For fans of Fiona McIntosh and Christine Wells/wartime novels. It packs a punch and has everything. It’s a book that will stay with you after you read it, wanting more and also not wanting it to end but equally as relieved to finish it. – Penny, NSW, 5 Stars

A compelling and captivating novel, which brings to life a love story from a generation past. Engaging writing has the reader eager to turn the page and see what happens next. Five stars! – Stacey, WA, 5 Stars

Towards the end of WWII, the German people lost trust, became suspicious and lifelong friendships were broken to survive in a country no longer safe. Everyone persevered as best they could in an authoritative country no longer their own but overrun by the Third Reich. Susanna Gottmann, raised by friends of the family after the death of her parents, must make a momentous decision at the tender age of 19. Although she loves her adoptive family, her tante is a Russian Jew and to protect them she must marry a Nazi officer. Ironically, being privy to intelligence, brave Susie helps the Resistance and potentially changes the course of the war. Tania Blanchard has written an awe-inspiring story about how this war affected everyone’s lives, how the German people were hoping for the relief of the declaration of peace, and how they began the monumental task of rebuilding their country and their lives. – Thelma, QLD, 5 Stars

Letters from Berlin is hands down one of the best historical fiction stories told, inspired by a true story. Well researched, with believable characters and a plot that has you hooked from the get-go. Be sure to have a box of tissues close by! – Bec, TAS, 5 Stars

Once again Tania Blanchard has crafted a beautiful story that melts the reader in right from the first chapter. ‘Letters From Berlin’ is an engaging narrative about a young woman called Susanna navigating Germany during WWII. Susanna is a woman that displays great sacrifice in challenging circumstances and shows the great lengths a person is capable of going for the sake of their family. – Chesly, WA, 5 Stars

Letters from Berlin was not a book I would normally pick up, but the cover and synopsis had me interested. The book didn’t disappoint. I loved the main character, Susie. She is a young lady with so much love, strength, loyalty and is totally committed to her family. This story gave me a new perspective regarding life inside Germany under the rule of the Third Reich. I read this book under a week as I had to keep turning the page to find out the next developments. Will keep my eyes out for further books by this author. – Julie, NSW, 5 Stars

Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Couldn’t put it down. Read it from cover to cover this weekend. From the first page you are transported into the love story of Susie and Leo. – Kay, QLD, 5 Stars

From page one Letters from Berlin captured my attention with an intriguing storyline. Instantly the main characters touched my heart and soon I realised there was going to be mystery and intrigue to this love story and was hanging right to the end of this fictional story which was based on true events! It was well written and researched a credit to Tania Blanchard! – Rhonda, QLD, 5 Stars

What an amazing book. The strength of people and how far they would go for family and the struggle to survive. It was a book that had me turning the pages long into the night. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book. – Jodie, NSW, 5 Stars

WOW, WOW, WOW, what a read!!! The best love story I have ever read. Keep the tissues handy!! Based on true facts to start the story, this is a love story full of love, tragedy, the effects of World War II, beguilement and mistrust, back to love. I could not put the book down. Susanna’s story is so moving, loving and sad at times. She triumphs in the end though. So many loving but sad moments. Very touching. Her life with her godparents is so loving, and her love for Leo. But then Julius beguiles her and in the end abuses her feelings so badly. The tragedy of life in Germany during World War II is so revealing. True love triumphs in the end. Get the tissues for the end. Would love to see this book made into a movie. – Glenice, VIC, 5 Stars

This book was beautifully written full of heartbreak, heartwarming and determination all at once. I loved it from beginning to end. Every page was full of emotion and events that I did not expect and shows that true love does prevail in the end despite not following the trajectory you would expect. – Justine, NSW, 5 Stars

You had me at the Preface! I was quite surprised at how much of a page-turner this book was and how quickly I got through it – in 7 nights it was fully read and I was sad it was over. The characters were rich in-depth and you saw the stark contrast of good versus bad as well as in their situations. War brings out the best and worst in people and that was evident in the words used to describe the characters and what was happening to them. I felt like I was right there with them. The author cleverly used her grandmother’s letters and research she undertook to really bring this story to life, interwoven with facts and truth in between the fictional story. A great read from start to finish, I devoured it from front cover to back cover! – Melanie, VIC, 5 Stars

I’ve read many books based on wartime in berlin and this is one of the better ones! Was hard to put down and wanted MORE. – Emmah, VIC, 5 Stars

I didn’t want this story to end – every page of this exciting historically inspired fiction turned itself! Susie’s bravery, torment and anguish whilst trying to save her family and her love is romantic, set amongst the repugnance of the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people. I cheered Susie as she stood up for herself, her beliefs and her family, in the face of violence and danger; and wept with her in times of tragedy. This book intertwines an enchanting love story with history; with characters so real and vibrant – it’s a story you won’t easily forget or want to put down! – Nicole, QLD, 5 Stars

Loved this book. A well-written escape from our everyday lives. A beautiful story. – Sally, VIC, 5 Stars

Letters from Berlin by Tania Blanchard is a great story. I have been a fan of Tania since her first book, so was excited to read this. This is a story of life in Germany during the second world war, and life after the war. It was well written, and I read the book in one sitting, could not put it down. The story characters are fictional, but as it is based on fact, makes it more real. I loved it. – Fay, VIC, 5 Stars

What made Letters From Berlin for me was that for a WWII story, Susie’s perspective as a ‘pure German’ struggling with what the Nazis were doing was unique. It was impossible to not become emotionally invested in the story. I only wish I’d read the author’s note before I started reading as the true story elements make it an even more interesting story. – Joanne, QLD, 4 Stars

Letters from Berlin had an engaging and courageous heroine, Susie, that hooked my interest from start to finish. All the main characters suffer through the horrors of world war 2 and it’s aftermath but the way they each deal with it is unique. This is vividly portrayed throughout the book by some great writing. And the love story between Leo and Susie is sweet and compelling. Although the plot was a little predictable in places that didn’t detract from the themes of love and loyalty to friends, family and your fellow man. A well-crafted novel about a difficult period in history and the heroic people who survived it. – Kristy, NSW, 4 Stars

Letters from Berlin is a fascinating view of life in Germany in the last years of WWII and the early post-war period, vividly conveyed through the experiences of Susie and her relationships with both her family and a powerful Nazi official. The reader comes to understand the difficulties for ordinary Germans as the war dragged on and disillusionment with Hitler and the Nazi regime increased. The situation for Jews married to Germans and the children of those marriages – “mischlinge” or “half-breeds” – is an aspect of history not widely known. The fact that much of the story is based on a cousin of Tania Blanchard’s grandmother ensures the realism of the novel. By starting and ending the novel in Australia, the reader comes to appreciate the diversity of cultures here and to better understand the backgrounds of so many immigrants and their families. Tania Blanchard effectively portrays the emotional turmoil for Susie as she negotiates life and love in such a tumultuous period of history. An excellent companion to her earlier novel The Girl from Munich. – Frances, NSW, 4 Stars

Mans’ inhumanity to man never ceases to amaze me. A very cleverly constructed storey beginning from a letter written with many secrets. The story envelops the reader as it unfolds delving into life during World War 2 from a German and Jewish perspective. Unimaginable hardships, cruelty and tales of devotion and love all entwine to provide the reader with a story that inspires. Tears were shed reading Susie’s story. Her adoption, love for those close to her and her devotion to a nursing career are all close to my heart. Highly recommend this wonderful story to understand war and its consequences from the perspective of a simple family caught up in Nazi Germany and allied “salvation” by Russian soldiers. – Shelley, NSW, 4 Stars

Tani Blanchard reminds us of a period in history when race, family connections and standing by your principles, put lives in jeopardy. Trusting and loving were dangerous notions – explored throughout this moving novel. Perhaps the greatest jewel was left until the end of the book; the author’s note, where Tania Blanchard shared that this story was inspired by her family history. Thank you for sharing the gift of your story with me. – Kirralee, SA, 4 Stars

I found Letters from Berlin to be a very solid novel – once I started, I didn’t want to put it down! The characters were written very well in a way that makes you truly care about what happens to them in the end. I liked the way the book was framed with characters in the present day for an added perspective. I also thought the book did a very good job of documenting the monstrosities of WWII and the Nazi regime. I believe it’s so important that we never forget this time in history, and ‘Letters from Berlin’ did a good job of giving a voice to those who went through those awful experiences and who sadly lost their own lives or those of loved ones. I thought at times the writing could be a bit more detailed and expressive, but ultimately it was clear and accessible for most readers. I’m glad I read this book and I give it four stars out of five. – Lisa, VIC, 4 Stars

What a horrible time for these families in that war! reading what they had to go through was heartbreaking, so many emotions. I’m so thankful we live in the world we live in now. – Jarree, TAS, 4 Stars

Letters from Berlin is a well-researched work of historical fiction. The story grabs you from the start and keeps you enthralled until the end. Blanchard has developed character’s which are relatable and strike emotions with the reader while presenting a storyline relevant to the era. Blanchard’s family research has been thorough and detailed and has resulted in a well written, highly descriptive novel. I am a huge historical fiction fan and have been disappointed lately with some works I have read, so Letters from Berlin was a warm welcome back to this genre. Blanchard has been on my radar for a while, but this was the first of her books that I have read. I will now be tracking down her other works as soon as possible. – Mel, NSW, 4 Stars

A page-turner from the beginning, Tania Blanchard’s Letters From Berlin is an intriguing insight into life in Germany during World War II. The desperation and devastation felt by the people during and long after Hitler’s reign is illustrated through Susie, a brave heroine willing to risk everything for her family. The story is based on a letter Blanchard discovered from a distant family member, and knowing there’s truth at the core of the story makes it even more fascinating. Opening with a letter in the current day revealing an adoption, the book delves into the past to tell Susie’s story – a tale of courage, love and despair. Living in a simpler time, Susie’s path would’ve been crystal clear – marrying the love of her life, having a family and growing old on her family’s estate with her aunt and uncle. But the backdrop of war and threat of the Nazis meant that life wasn’t to be, and Susie finds herself sacrificing her happiness to try to keep the ones she loves alive and taking risks to help the Resistance in hope of ending the war. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, this is a love story not just about romantic love but the fierce love of a family desperate to stay together. With a courageous heroine and characters who jump off the page, Letters from Berlin is perfect for fans of Natasha Lester and is a great read even for those who wouldn’t normally pick up a war story. – Kassie, WA, 4 Stars

I enjoyed the book Letters from Berlin by Tania Blanchard. It tells the story of Nazi-occupied Germany from the perspective of a German girl and a family with a Jewish mother married to a German man of good standing. This provides a different perspective of the time from other books in the genre and I enjoyed this very much. Simply written, and perhaps lacking the deep emotion or depth of other books of the era, it was an easy and enjoyable read and to find that it is based loosely on family history elevated the story in my eyes. Thank you to Better Reading for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. – Sally, NSW, 4 Stars

How do any of us know what we would do to survive a war or the choices we would make to protect those we love? Letters from Berlin is set in WW11 and highlights these questions, focusing on people who were part of an often ignored German resistance. The story moves from ruthless Nazi dominance to the desperation of a dictatorship faced with defeat. Written from the perspective of a German girl loyal to her family, and to the country which existed before the Nazis, we meet Susanna Gottmann, who has already faced trauma and loss in her childhood. She is determined to protect the family she loves at great cost to herself. The questions of morality and ethics of the Nazi dictatorship and their final solution for the Jews underlie the story and influence Susanna’s choices. Susanna is tested many times, showing unerring courage as she abandons her true love, and makes a dangerous choice to use her work and influence with the Nazis to cover activities in the resistance movement. Facing danger she takes many risks to undermine the Nazis and protect what is most important to her. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the recovery of letters, diaries and photos from the East, more stories of courage and bravery of Nazi resistance emerge. Tania Blanchard has captured me again! – Diane, NSW, 4 Stars

Susie is caught between two worlds – her conscience and the new Berlin in the grips of a dictatorial leader, Hitler. The author illustrates how Susie orchestrates a delicate balancing act of surviving in both worlds and the subsequent ramifications. Susie is a very believable character and remains true to herself regardless of adversity and there are very poignant moments in her family and romantic life. The barbaric treatment of the Berlin population is conveyed in the text, with sudden changes of rules and regulations affecting both Susie’s immediate family and fellow citizens. The understanding this is a realistic descriptive narrative of the time is saddening to read and comprehend. Her family are loving characters, with the closeness, care and affection apparent and heart-warming along with the evidence of heightened cultural and intellectual interactions. The unbelievable hardships and sorrows many Berliners lived with during this time and for the rest of their lives is almost incomprehensible in modern times. – Merilyn, WA, 4 Stars

I’ve read a lot of books about people being persecuted by the Nazis in the second world war, but, being narrated by an upper-class German girl, this revealed a slightly different perspective. No-one was untouched by those horrific times. It’s very easy to read and moves at a good pace; I read the whole thing in two sittings. There’s a thrilling mix of romance, danger, espionage, persecution, love, loss, betrayal and courage. The events seem unbelievable until you learn it’s based on a true story. – Em, NSW, 4 Stars

I have found that some of the best books have been based or inspired by a true story, Letters From Berlin is just this. This is a journey of family, adoption, true love, hard choices, and bravery through World War II. Some novels that feature or are set in war-times feel like you’ve just read or watched an epic heavy story, Tania Blanchard has created a story that not only engrosses the reader into it, but also makes them feel hopeful and emotional with each page, and with each choice where good fights back against evil and the impossible. – Amanda, VIC, 4 Stars

Letters from Berlin is not written as letters but more the story of what may have been in the letters. It reads more as a diary of Susanna. As Susanna’s Tante is Jewish and married to a German during World War 2 the book covers that no matter how helpful and respected you were in your community that can change when someone tells you how you should act and think. Sadly this still occurs today. Overall a beautiful love story and true love always finds a way even though sometimes too late. – Sandra, NSW, 4 Stars

A great book for those who enjoy Historical Novels. Well written and considering the setting of the second world war it was not as ‘heavy’ a read as I was expecting, it left me feeling hopeful as you got to see not just the worst of humanity but also the best. – Lisa, NSW, 4 Stars

This is a fabulous read, the best from Tania Blanchard. A powerful insight into the horrors of Germany WW11. After losing her family, Susie lives with her beloved Unkel George & Tante Elya (a Jew) and Leopold on their estate. Susie & Leo are more than childhood sweethearts, declaring their love for each other. But when the Nazi SS threaten, Susie takes desperate measures to protect those she loves the most. She shuns her love for Leo in a plot to save him. All the time she is helping her family with the resistance movement. An emotional story of unbelievable courage & resilience. Susie makes the greatest sacrifice any woman should suffer. – Annie, NSW, 4 Stars

I really enjoyed this story of World War Two told from the German perspective. It’s often forgotten that the Germans suffered great losses too. This is the story of a wealthy, influential family and the sacrifices they make to keep each other safe. The mother (Elya) and son (Leo) are under constant threat due to the fact that Elya has Jewish blood and this is passed onto her son. The main character, Susie, Elya’s niece, lost her biological family through a car accident and is adopted by the family. Susie marries a Nazi leader in order to ensure her family’s safety even though it is Leo that she truly loves. It is a decision that will have a profound effect on her and her entire family. The family are also involved in the German resistance movement and this is also something that is not well known. The characters are well-drawn and you absolutely feel everything that they go through. The book has plenty of ups and downs to keep you enthralled. That this is based on a true story made it even more enjoyable. I think fans of All the Light We Cannot See would definitely enjoy this. – Kecia, NSW, 4 Stars

A gripping story of the lengths we go to to keep our loved ones safe. Tania captures the world of Nazi Germany with respect to the times and horrors so many lived through. Susie is such a strong character that inspires hope and shows great determination to do what she must at the expense of her own happiness. Well written and easy to read, a great historical novel! – Kristen, NSW, 4 Stars

As a first time reader of Tania Blanchard’s novel, I was instantly captivated by the story from the first page. The story is about Susie’s sacrifice to survive in Hitler’s regime, betrayal and the struggle of forbidden love between two people destined to be together. Letters from Berlin is a wonderful read, captivating and will have you enthralled right to the very end. – Jen, VIC, 4 Stars

In the midst of WWII, Berlin 1943, this story inspired by true events, tells of the heartbreak, pain and suffering families endured. Living in the grip of the Nazi Regime and with Allied forces moving in, a young Susanna Gottmann battles through hopeless odds to protect her adopted family and Leo, the man she has grown up with and loves. Accepting the assistance of an influential Nazi officer, Susie abandons all hope of having the life she dreamed of to uncover critical intelligence that will aid the resistance and could help change the course of the war. This story set with a backdrop of war and devastation brings to focus, the will and determination of the human spirit to protect the ones you love. A true romance weaves through the brutality of war, but even against all odds with huge loss, a glimmer of hope shines, pushing Susie, Leo and their families to risk their lives to save countless others. An amazing account of a harrowing time in our history, Letters From Berlin provides the reader with many aspects of what was 1943 Germany. An inspiring read that keeps you turning the page, desperate to find out what happiness may come from both large scale and personal tragedy. Would definitely recommend this book, especially those who prefer not to read war type stories – as it captures the premise of an unforgiving war with an overwhelmingly unforgettable tale of love. – Suzie, WA, 4 Stars

This was an easy book to read. I wasn’t too sure at the beginning, as I thought it was going to be a sort of bodice-ripper, but once the story got moving, I enjoyed it more. Not as deeply emotional as some of the books about the atrocities that I have read – there are some that I can’t read without crying, however, I was still able to connect with the characters and journey. When I read the author’s notes and saw how she had used some of her actual family story to weave this book, I reflected on the story and I earned a greater appreciation for it. I plan to have another read of this with that knowledge. Overall, I would recommend this book. Thanks to Better Reads for an advance copy in return for an honest review. – Tracy, VIC, 4 Stars

Berlin 1943… a beautifully written book combining fiction with history. Susanna is a young German girl who goes to great lengths for the love of her adopted family and the love of her life. I found this book easy to read and hard to put down as the story draws to an end. Captivating, enlightening, tragic and heartwarming… A truly engaging wartime read. – Lorraine, SA, 4 Stars

Despite losing her family to tragedy at a young age, Susie has led a good life. Taken in by her Onkel George, Tante Elya and their son Leo, Susie loves her family more than life itself. However, under the Nazi regime, everything she loves most is under threat – her dreams, her family, her happy life living at Gut Birkenhof. Her Tante Elya is a Russian Jew, making Leo a mischling and her Onkel George’s history and lineage won’t keep them safe forever. At the young age of only 19, Susie is forced to consider just how far she will go to protect her family. – Tamara, VIC, 4 Stars

Tania Blanchard has a way of weaving a complicated story into an equally complicated historical context that is written from a different point of view yet remains very accessible. I have also read The Girl from Berlin which is in the same style and of the same period. I love the Australian connection and the fact that Tania takes inspiration from her German grandmother. We all have so much to learn from and hopefully to write about our family stories! – Lina, VIC, 4 Stars

Life in Germany and particularly Berlin during the last 3 years of the war highlight the atrocities that were inflicted on the whole country. The book covered the systematic displacement and inhumane treatment of the Jews, the disparity between the upper echelon of the German society and the ordinary people, and then the brutalities committed by the advancing Soviet army. The third novel by Tania Blanchard gives an insight into the life of Susanna Gottmann, a young girl in the care of Onkel Georg, Tante Elya and their son Leo after the tragic death of her parents, who was living an idyllic life on the family estate until the war engulfed her life. Making choices to protect Tante Elya, a Russian Jew and Leo, a mischling thrust Susie into the social elite of Berlin but with that came personal danger both physical and emotional, also alienating her against Leo, the love of her life. As the war arrives in Berlin readers are taken on a haunting journey of death and destruction and you understand that ordinary people no matter what side suffer the same loss of life and dignity that leaves a legacy for decades. For Susie, her courage in coping with the horror of loss was balanced by her love and loyalty for all that she held dear. Throughout the book, I felt transported to Germany and was often overwhelmed by the pointless situation of war but loved most of the characters who gave everything for life to be normal. I loved that the book was triggered by a single letter found in the memorabilia of the author’s grandmother and the story woven around the contents. Much research has been undertaken and to that end, the story could very well be a parallel to real life at the time. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, is what I would class a historical fiction, my favourite genre, I would recommend both this and Tania Blanchard’s previous books as confronting but well-balanced stories of the time. – Colleen, WA, 4 Stars

Drawing on actual family history that takes you on Susanna Gottman’s journey of Germany during WWII… you experience the love of family, individual sacrifices, the losses and the complexities of family ties that invariably shape the choices and paths we sometimes need to take. Having similar family ties myself, the story resonated with the tales I have heard from my family. This was the first book of Tania Blanchards that I have read and look forward to reading the others. – Leticia, QLD, 4 Stars

Ingrid was born in Germany and adopted just before the end of the war. Berlin is a broken city, recovering from the effects of war and the Russian takeover, so her new parents decide to escape to Australia and raise her in an environment of peace. Many years later when Ingrid is just about to become a grandmother, she receives a parcel of letters from Berlin and finally she learns about her parents and how she came to be adopted. Those letters tell a story of true love, love between men and women, for family and the lengths you will go to, to protect those you love. Tania Blanchard has beautifully portrayed Susie’s story, how privilege is not always a good thing and your enemies can be those you least expect. – Joanna, VIC, 4 Stars

Inspired by real events Letters From Berlin, set during the last two years of Nazi ruled Germany, is narrated by Susanna an Aryan German but living with her adoptive family of mixed Aryan and Jewish heritage. This mix gives a perspective I haven’t read before. Tania Blanchard shows the slow demise of Nazi Germany and how through fear for their own lives friends turned against each other. And as the Nazi’s started to get desperate they even turned against their own citizens. It was a time when no one was safe and the only information received was rumour and propaganda. Letters From Berlin tells how many German citizens were against the Nazi rule and longed for Hitler’s downfall. Many endangering their own lives to help Jews escape and also hiding prisoners of war. Set over a short period of two years I felt the first half of the book was a bit slow however the second half delivered with raw emotion and believable suffering. Letters From Berlin shows how the events of the war have a ripple effect, still affecting families many years later. – Veronica, NSW, 4 Stars

I’m not usually a fan of reading fictional, war-related stories and, to be honest, it did take me a while to really get into ‘Letters From Berlin’, but once I did I enjoyed it a lot more than what I thought I would. It’s well written so I found the story flowed well and was easy enough to read. The characters developed well and were interesting. I would have given this 5 stars except I just felt it took me a long time to really get hooked into the story… – Nicola, QLD, 4 Stars

Letters From Berlin was the first Tania Blanchard book I’ve read. I am now looking forward to reading another one of hers. The thing I enjoyed most about this book apart from enjoying the story is that it made me think about what it would have been like to live in Germany in war times. From about halfway through I couldn’t wait to finish it to see how the story ended. The main characters Susie and Leo and interesting, strong and likable. I particularly loved the character of Susie as I love strong female characters. Susie is brave, intelligent, selfless and loves her family deeply. She puts the love of her family before her own happiness in the hope of keeping her loved ones safe. This book will be enjoyed by people who like books set in war times. – Leanne, SA, 4 Stars

Letters from Berlin was rich in detail and complexity. Blanchard weaved history and fiction perfectly to create this moving tale, prompting historical and emotional discoveries beyond the text. I really loved the depth of each of the characters and the historical truth behind the story. Some sections felt like they went a little fast, impacting the suspense. In saying this, the majority of the text had well-balanced suspense, so maybe these moments were intended to create an impactful contrast that I missed, but other readers might enjoy. Overall, an awesome book! – Veronica, NSW, 4 Stars

Inspired by a single letter, written to Tania Blanchard’s late German grandmother, comes Letters From Berlin. This authentic, emotionally-charged story is set amid the horror and chaos that engulfed Germany during WWII under the Nazi rule. But this enthralling book delves far deeper than the atrocities of war. This is a story about one family’s incredible strength, endurance and determination to survive together against increasingly insurmountable odds – and the one thing that gives them their unfaltering willpower, even with danger imminent and the stakes mounting ever-higher: love. Told largely from Susanna’s perspective, I loved how this heartbreakingly beautiful story unfolds through the eyes of an innocent eighteen-year-old, living with her godparents after tragedy strikes her own family, and then evolves into an absorbing, coming-of-age saga with a resourceful, defiant Susie fighting for her family to the war’s end and beyond. An unwavering love between Susanna and Leo, the son of her godparents, is the beating heart of this spellbinding book. I was captivated by their courageous tenacity from the beginning – I desperately willed them to triumph throughout the betrayals, tragedies, and the impossible circumstances that kept them stubbornly fighting until the story’s dramatic conclusion. – Linda, QLD, 4 Stars

From the moment I started to read the letters in Letters to Berlin I was drawn into the life of Susie living in Germany during World War 2. Every time Susie had to make a decision, I could feel the conflicting emotions that she would have been feeling at the time and wondered, would Susie follow her head or her heart this time? A captivating story that had me feeling all of the ups and downs until the very end. Finding out it was based on a true story only made it feel more real to me. Well worth a read! – Kerrie, VIC, 4 Stars

Letters from Berlin by Tania Blanchard is not the type of novel I would ordinarily read. Based on real-life family experiences and set in Germany during the second world war and afterwards, the story of Susie and her struggle to protect her true love Leo and his parents reads a little like a hallmark movie, pleasant enough but predictable and with the type of soppy dialogue I find unconvincing. What I did enjoy was the historical detail and descriptions of firstly the family estate, Gut Birkenhof, and its symbiotic relationship with the village and villagers beyond… the degradation of this relationship from trust and friendship to suspicion and hate, and its eventual ransacking and dismantling under the Soviet occupation. And next Berlin – transformed from a beautiful, cosmopolitan city to a devastated landscape of ruins and broken dreams where life became ever more dangerous, chaotic and messy even after the war when hopes were high that a release from Nazi oppression would ease the hardships. It was fascinating to see a different perspective of wartime and the strong correlation between place, family, time and fate… love, loss, betrayal and hope against the universal horror of war. – Lesley, QLD, 3 Stars

I am a huge fan of historical fiction so I was very excited to receive a preview copy of Letters from Berlin by Tania Blanchard. Thanks to Better Reading and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity. The story is told from the perspective of a young German girl Susanna, who has Jewish family, and is about the choices she has to make to help her family survive during World War II. Susanna is in her late teens and early 20s during the story and her age comes across in the way it is written, which at times feels unsophisticated. An easy read but left me wanting something more. – Liv, ACT, 3 Stars

Bogged down by unnecessary exposition, stiff writing, repetitive scenes, and underdeveloped characters, Letters from Berlin fails to meet its rich potential, despite its compelling premise. Susanna isn’t a particularly interesting protagonist, and significant events she goes through are frequently glossed over without much depth or consequence. Even though the story is told from her first-person perspective, her experiences and observations are a bit shallow; told, rather than shown. Having romantic feelings between Susanna and Leo declared and requited within the first pages seemed a frustratingly lost opportunity for some delicious tension to build between them and other characters. Julius had the potential to be a complex, conflicted character, but was inconsistently developed. The book feels reasonably well researched, historically, weaving the experience of the progression of war from a civilian, German, perspective throughout the narrative. The dialogue, however, often felt historically and culturally unrealistic, particularly between Susanna and her family, and Julius and Mueller. It was moderately entertaining, if unchallenging, read, and a valiant attempt at a sweeping, war epic. The most frustrating aspect of this book is that with clearer character development and tighter editing, it could have been a lovely, emotionally devastating novel. – Sylvia, QLD, 3 Stars

Another new book from Tania Blanchard which will be published by October 2020. As always, Tania wrote through her findings and research of her family’s treasure. This story was written inspired by a letter from her German grandmother’s cousin. A #historicalfiction of family, love and war. How far you would go to protect your family? How far you should trust someone during the course of war? It’s an easy read, pretty stagnant and very predictable from the beginning. – Vivi, NSW, 3 Stars

A great novel set in different parts of Germany, mostly between 1943 to 1945. The story is told from the perspective of Susanna Gottmann, affectionately called “Susie”. Life is wonderful for Susie and her family on the farming estate until the Nazis take over and threaten some members of her family. Susie is turning 19 at the beginning of the story and is 21 near the end and experiences atrocities that no one should ever have to. The book describes the lengths people go to and the risks they take to protect family and stay together, hoping to avoid the concentration camps. There are some really tense and scary moments when the Gestapo come calling and also when the resistance is trying to help prisoners escape. It’s also a love story and really heartbreaking in places. The author’s note at the end of the book is worth reading as she describes how the book is based on her own family. I really liked some of the characters, but one in particular is a “snake in the grass”. Well written and a really good read. – Tracy, WA, 3 Stars

Tania has thrown everything into her novel, Letters from Berlin. Starting with a letter dated Sydney 2019, we are taken back to Berlin 1943. The naivety of the main character, Susanna, the sugary sweetness of family members and friends and the villainous antics of Nazis officials was all too much for me. Coming full circle, with even more drama, I couldn’t wait to turn the last page and end this soap opera. – Sharon, ACT, 2 Stars


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                  Publisher details

                  Letters from Berlin
                  Tania Blanchard
                  Simon and Schuster
                  Historical Fiction
                  07 October, 2020


                  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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