The Berlin Affair

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Member Reviews

Berlin in the middle of Nazi Germany (1940) - say no more, I had to read this book!

Not a fan of Nazis, just a fan of the 1930s, 1940s and WWII so I am biased.

This is a thriller with historical tidbits - an historical roller-coaster ride, if you will. The plot has been done before, American woman needs to suss out if a government minister she was in contact with in London is a traitor or not. OK, you have attractive girl, spies, WWII, friend or foe, love interest, twists of fate - all of the necessary plot points are in this book to make it a best seller. 

Try it out, it's a fast paced tale. Reminded me of Alan Furst books.
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Because I like to get the uglies out of the way, I'm going to jump out of the gate in saying that my only complaint with The Berlin Affair was that it was too short! There were so many amazing moments and key elements - like Xanthe's exit from Germany - that could have been given a little more time, which would have taken this novel up to the next level. But in saying that, with the way my life has shaken out over the past few weeks, I really enjoyed picking up a book that I could complete in a single sitting and put down feeling like the story was complete. 

And just because this novel is short, does not mean that it is any way lacking in realism and research. Jam packed with historical facts and figures,  it ticked all of my requisite boxes for authenticity and believability. I enjoyed the elements of the SOE, of the quest to break the Enigma code, and the inclusion of real persons throughout the narrative. Add in a touch of fashion, the realities of rationing, and the continually growing sense of oppression and fear and you've got a winning combination.

Xanthe's affair was a little tough to understand in the beginning, but as time went on and the realities of war set in I had two realizations: 1) you can't always help who you fall for and 2) with the pool of eligible men dwindling in the trenches, age gaps and odd matches were more the norm than otherwise. And once I wrapped my head around it, I could see it. A young, idealistic woman falls for a passionate and charismatic older man. I do believe that this is one of the foundational plots of romance, regardless of where the story is set! Sure, Ralph is a little off base, but his quirkiness and off-hand comments is a large part of what heightens the suspense and drives the plot along. 

It was fun reading those sections where Xanthe was arranging her dead drops and meet ups, especially since I found my hands a little shaky in those moments. I can only imagine the fear the operatives of the SOE would have felt and the anxiety that they must have endured on a daily basis. I genuinely appreciated (and was equally revolted by) the realities that many women faced at the hands of soldiers and officers, with their unwanted advances and obvious reprisals if they didn't cooperate.

 Would I recommend this book? Sure thing! Although it does read closer to a novella than a full blown novel. It's punchy, fast paced, and undeniably engaging. Given the subtitle I am hopeful that there will be a few more books in the Enigma Thriller series, and these subsequent instalments will a little longer and more fully flushed out.
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Peter Jones
Peter Jones's Reviews > The Berlin Affair
The Berlin Affair by David Boyle
The Berlin Affair 
by David Boyle  
U 50x66
Peter Jones's review Jul 25, 2018  ·  edit
liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction 

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Summer, 1940. 

American Xanthe Schneider finds herself catapulted into the world of British espionage, and is sent into the heart of Nazi Germany: Berlin. 

Her task? To find out whether Ralph Lancing-Price – a former government minister she had known briefly in London – is a patriot or traitor. 

And what of the code he talked about so abstrusely? Using her guise as an American correspondent, Xanthe sets out to find him. But not all is what it seems. Xanthe soon becomes drawn into a web of intrigue involving a project entitled "Enigma" - and she also unexpectedly falls in love. 

As the weeks go by, and Germany begins to mobilise its armies, Xanthe has to question who she can trust - and how she can survive? 

MY OPINION: This novella tries to cram a lot into very few pages and suffers somewhat for it. We don't really get to 'know' the characters and some of the dialogue is very stilted. These are the worst faults. But on the plus side, it is a fast read based around real historical events and there is a lot of good information there for the history buff. 

I think that if the author worked on making the dialogue more natural, this would be a far better read than it currently is. 

Thank you to Endeavour Media for providing a digital copy of The Berlin Affair by David Boyle for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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"The Berlin affair" eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David Boyle. Mr. Boyle has 12 publications. This is the first in his "Xanthe Schneider Enigma thriller" series. 

I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in England and Germany during 1940. The primary character is the young American woman Xanthe Schneider. 

Schneider is recruited by British intelligence to travel to German in the guise of an American reporter. She is to determine if Ralph Lancing-Price, a former British government minister, is still a patriot to England or a traitor. 

She finds more in Germany than she bargains for: Information about the secret German 'Enigma' coding device is revealed to her; She develops a romantic relationship with Lancing-Price; and German begins to mobilize its armies. 

I thought the 3+ hours I spent reading this 121 page World War II spy thriller was interesting. This wasn't a very compelling read. The story seemed to just amble along. I think it would have been better if it had been expanded into a full novel. The cover art is OK, but not very closely related to the story. I give this novella a 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.  

Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. 

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).
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Enjoyed this read very much. Any fan of war era fiction and drama will love this book. I felt the author had researched this read very well, and the gripping story kept me reading more.
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The author did a good research of facts to make it seem more real, and that's very nice.
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