Member Reviews

The Hidden Storyteller by Mandy Robotham is another great book by this author. I have read many of her books and love them all. The characters in the story are well developed and are very likeable. This is a different take from other historical fiction, as it is set after WWII. The author's writing is eloquent and descriptive and captures you from the very beginning and evokes many emotions and feelings for the characters. It was thought provoking and made me aware of how things after the war really were.

The story weaves together a murder mystery that brings a British journalist and a German police inspector together and the hardships in Germany at the time. It shows how brutalizing war is and how its effects last long after actual conflict is over.

This is a really great read and I would highly recommend it. Thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for an advanced copy of this book.

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This story took a while to get in to. Along with some language, you will read about post WWII Germany. Not only was it divided among four victors, but there were Nazis trying to hide in plain sight.
Berlin was pretty much bombed out and crime soared.
I did enjoy the manhunt for a woman killer.
Just because a war ends, doesn’t mean that it will all be good. Years of rebuilding along with a lot of hatred has to be worked through.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. My opinions are my own.

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Thank you to @netgalley and @AvonBooksUK. Georgie is back but now reporting from Hamburg. She is there to tell the world about the aftermath of the war. The pain and suffering didn't end with VE Day. There is no homes, not heat, no food and little shelter. Plus the British soldiers that are there have hatred towards the Germans though, they have suffered just as much. On top of all that, there is a murder loose and Georgie is helping the local police force find him. Love Mandy Robotham. #TheHiddenStoryteller #MandyRobotham #Feb2024 #AvonBooksUK

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My first read by Mandy Robotham and I have to say, while not usually my genre(well half of it as technically there’s a serial killer story here too) I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Set in post war Hamburg in 1946, the story revolves around our central character Georgie, an English journalist returning to the country her and her husband fled seven years previously with the outbreak of war. She’s there to report on how Germany is coping post war and post defeat with the allies there to try and manage the ruins of war and the devastation it has left.

Along the way Georgie meets and befriends various characters including a child beggar and thief and the local policeman.
Mixed into all of this is a serial killer, targeting young German women and murdering them brutally.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It’s more historical fiction than thriller, even though the serial killer story is fairly central, it’s a more a vehicle to bring the main characters together than be the main story.

It’s a really interesting time to chose to base the story, more or less straight after the end of WW2 and it’s probably a forgotten slice of history as the normal everyday citizen is left to cope with a country and landscape totally devasted and crumbled.

The novel can be brutal but also just about skates the right side of the line of being a little bit twee. I think the author balanced the empathy and goodness of ordinary people just about right, feeling comforting to the reader without becoming sugary sweet.

All in all a hugely enjoyable experience. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Thanks to the publisher for an ARC through Netgalley.

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Another war thriller from Mandy Robotham. As a regular reader I was pleased to pick
Up this new novel which was a nice change of pace from her last outing which was a bit lackluster.

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The Hidden Storyteller by Mandy Robotham

The war is over, and Germany in ruins. Posted to an Allied-run Hamburg, reporter Georgie Young returns to the country she fled seven years prior – at the onset of the conflict – to find it unrecognisable.

Amidst the stark horrors of a bombed-out city crumbling under the weight of millions of displaced souls, she discovers pockets of warmth: a violinist playing amidst the wreckage, couples dancing in the streets, and a nation trying to make amends.

Joining forces with local detective Harri Schroder to catch a killer targeting women on the city’s streets, curiosity draws Georgie deep into the dark underbelly, and she soon discovers that darkest secrets of war did not die with Hitler…

I've read all books by this author and they get better as you go along. This is a totally engrossing read and I found myself almost unable to put it down and kept reading into the night !
Heart breaking and at times terrifying and on the edge of your seat reading.
Brilliant.

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Thank you to Netgalley and to Avon for the advance copy of this novel, once again Mandy has chosen a setting which is emotive and compassionate tale. Based in the post war era full of characters who have, in different ways, survived the war years. As is usual with Mandy’s novel’s the characters come alive and the reader is able to live through the harrowing time when people were returning, seeking and trying to rebuild their lives. The central character, a British journalist has her own “emotional baggage” and a nose for a good story throws her lot in with a German policeman and together they try to solve a gruesome crime. Along with two other strong women (a waif and a translator searching for her sister) from Hamburg who have learned to rely on their own resilience to survive.
Much has been written about the war years, but this is different, this pulls together all that is happening in the post war years. Mandy’s characters are in need of being ‘build up’, and each needs the other as their lives become intertwined. As the reader becomes aware of the tensions between the British Army and the re-emerging German police force side by side with a nation struggling to find there way in the new post-Hitler era, there is hope shown in the impromptu violin solo, whose haunting sound among the wreckage inspires and the ‘pop-up’ dances in the streets, where young and the broken come together to seek fun.
Mandy Robotham is again the master storyteller bringing this story to life and airing the little shoots of hope like snowdrops appearing in the winter garden, encouraged to grow but often hampered by late winter frost… This is another must read, once started you won’t be able to put the book (or tablet) down.

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An engrossing book. The author has brought post war hamburg to life and sustains a vivid description of the environment and attitudes of local people as they try and recreate a destroyed city. The main character is once again a talented and intrepid journalist, georgie who is a great character, bold, talented and vulnerable. I liked the character of Meta, a 16 year old girl, homeless and bereft of family who does what she needs to survive, whether it gets her into trouble or not. Wrapped up in the narrative is a murder mystery and a love story which act as great devices to sustain interest to the end. The book serves as an illustration of who brutalising war is and how its effects last long after actual conflict has ended. I loved this book.

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It’s 1946 and like much of Germany, Hamburg is in chaos, desolate, devastated, with many displaced people and amongst those trying to survive amidst the rubble is Meta, a “trümmer kinder”, doing what they can to survive. It’s into this scene that journalist Georgie Young returns to Hamburg and it’s unrecognisable from the Germany she fled seven years prior. Shortly upon arrival, she meets Meta who tries to steal her suitcase. As she tours the area, trying to present a truthful picture of the situation for readers back in Britain, she also meets camp survivor Zofia Dreyfus at a Red Cross encampment. As if the situation in Hamburg isn’t bad enough it seems as if a vengeful killer nicknamed “The Puppet Master” is being investigated by Inspektor Harri Schroder of the Kriminapolitzei (The Kripo). This unlikely foursome join forces in the most inauspicious of circumstances to try to catch a killer.

Mandy Robotham always seems to be able to create such atmospheric novels and I really enjoy the Historical Fiction/Mystery Thriller crossover she has written here. She captures the situation in 1946 so vividly, delivering something a bit different which makes you think and feel. This time she focuses on the real cost of war, the impact on the citizens as they try desperately to survive. Through Georgie she navigates and highlights the “moral maze” encountered through the characters she meets. Although Germany is clearly the aggressor by 1946 the price of that is revealed with the reality of living under the watchful eye of the British peace force, the daily battle to survive, the flourishing black market, the resentment which spills over into violence, with the murders very much in the foreground. All this is presented with thoughtfulness and empathy. Especially thought provoking are conversations between Harri and Georgie but all the characters have suffered loss in some way, shape or form.

The pace is fast, there is rarely a dull moment although the author does give the chance to catch your breath. It’s dangerous, exciting, extremely tense and as the characters are so likeable you root for things to improve for them.

I especially enjoy the inclusion of swing, there are lively scenes in clubs and is presented as a sign of optimism as both sides have the chance to let their hair down and dance the night away. Another green shoot of change is the VW Beetle which demonstrates that things will improve with time and it’s not all doom and gloom.

Overall, I enjoy this very much, it’s a thoughtful, atmospheric and poignant novel.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Avon Books for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

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Ms Robotham has given readers an engaging tale set in Hamburg in the immediate aftermath of the defeat of Nazi Germany. The cast of characters includes members of the struggling Kripo service (Criminal Police), officers of the occupying British Army and the local population. The author captures well the emotions and despair that would be expected among the ruins of a shattered city and a population that had endured the worst of the Alllied bombing in the war. Within this turbulent context Ms Robotgam weaves a murder mystery that brings a British journalist and a German Kripo Inspector together to tackle a mass murderer adding further misery in the ruins of Hamburg during a harsh winter.
Whilst Ms Robotham takes full advantage of an author’s licence to exploit rather unlikely coincidences, this is more than compensated for by a narrative that moves at a pace which keeps the reader turning pages. Couple this with a fluent writing style and enough likeable characters to satisfy most readers this makes for a thoroughly entertaining read. Strongly recommended.

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Thanks to netgalley for providing this advanced copy for the purpose of review.

I have read other books from this author so was looking forward to reading this. It did not disappoint and I found it be an absorbing read that had lots of interesting elements which kept me hooked.

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This was a real joy to read, I enjoyed how good the historical elements were and how it worked with the mystery elements to this. I really felt for the characters and thought it was so heartbreaking. It worked in this setting and I thought the characters were everything that I wanted. Mandy Robotham writes great and I’ve enjoyed how each book I read has worked.

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A well deserved 5* novel! A page-turner, not only because of the plot, but mostly because of the accurate, realistic and disturbing portrait of Hamburg in 1946. What I also found excellent, is that there was a comparison between Hamburg and London, both towns facing the war destructions. This was highly interesting... This was masterfully achieved through the various characters, each with her/his personal experience of the war and its aftermath. This is for me what makes this novel very special, also on a historically/socially point of view. Highly recommended!
I received a digital copy of this novel from NetGalley and I willingly leave an honest review.

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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and author for this eARC.

This is one very moreish and absorbing book to read. I haven't read all of Mandy Robothams books although the ones I have I've thoroughly enjoyed and The Hidden Storyteller is no different.

What a great follow on from The Berlin Girl where Georgie returns to Hamburg a year after the end of WW2. I think the authors writing is so eloquent and descriptive and captured my attention from the first page, immediately drawing me into the story and held my interest all the way through. At times the writing tugged on my emotions and feelings as I'd really warmed to the characters, taken them to heart and was rooting for them - I thought they were so vividly written about that they jumped out of the pages and I could picture them and post war Hamburg in my mind when reading.

I really liked the crime element in the story, I felt it added more depth and rounded out the characters beautifully. I loved the story being told through the different characters and their perspectives. I can honestly say this book will stay with me for a while. Not only because of its great writing - I feel the author has captured post war Hamburg and the tensions between Allies and Germans, the residents and how they had to live to survive - so realistically and believably. For me, this is a very poignant, heart wrenching, moreish read and I was sad when I reached the end. If you're a fan of historical fiction I'd recomend this book and don't think you'll be disappointed.

5 stars 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

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Evocative and emotive, a real must read that captures the atmosphere of post war Hamburg. Germany is under the rule of the Allies, who are trying to give structure and purpose to the towns and cities that have been flattened during the fighting. There’s resentment on both sides as no one has come through it unscathed, despair and hopelessness from those who now try just to survive. Compelling reading from the start, we hear the stories of life there from all sides, both harrowing and very moving. There is a very good storyline about women who have managed to survive the war, only to be murdered and the way the local police are handicapped by lack of even the basics required for an investigation. I liked both reporter Georgie Young and also Kripo officer, Inspector Harri Schroder, who leads the investigation, and the way they worked together. This is the third book I’ve read by this author, all set at a point during WWII, and the author has obviously done extensive research into the period. It had me reading late into the night, I couldn’t put it down.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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I read a lot of historical fiction and much of it is set during WW2. This however is a different take. It focuses on Hamburg in the period after the war had ended. Whilst there are lots of books about how England was at this time I have never, before read one that focussed on the devastation in Germany and the lives of the displaced people. This is a really great book, full of interesting characters that you want to survive. Highly recommended.

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The Hidden Storyteller is set in Hamburg, a year after the Second World War ended. Georgie Young, a news reporter travels to Germany without her photographer husband who has broken his leg. Within minutes of arriving in the country she has been ambushed by one of the many people living on the street and trying to eek out a life by stealing, bartering and haggling. The girl, Meta, is desperate to have Georgie's suitcase, not for the contents, but as something she can carry her life around in.
As Georgie begins to investigate the lives of ordinary Germans in the city she finds herself straying from the path the British Army would like her to follow, and chasing down stories they don't want her to tell. One of these includes a serial killer who is attacking women in the city.
It is a token of Mandy Robotham's storytelling that the book doesn't become too saccharine, as things appear to fall into place quite easily for Georgie. The descriptions of the city with the devastation from bombings and fire campaigns, the displaced people returning from the front, the camps, and from other places searching for family and friends make an intriguing background and really bring the place to life. I loved the descriptions of the pop-up dances that appear around the city - under bridges and in burnt out buildings, giving a little hope and joy to people whose lives are otherwise a continuous struggle.
All in all this book seems to present a fair view of the lives of the victors and the vanquished in post-war Germany and I very much enjoyed it.
With thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins Publishers for an early copy in return for an honest review.

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I have read several of Mandy Robotham’s novels set around WWII and have become a fan. Her newest novel, The Hidden Storyteller, takes place post WWII and is set in Hamburg. Returning is Georgie Young, a news reporter, who debuted in the author’s “The Berlin Girl”, which I enjoyed reading a few years ago. Georgie sets out to write a story about postwar Germany and what it’s like to be there now that the British soldiers are trying to bring about change for the better, not an easy task to say the least. Georgie is also escaping a personal tragedy from back home in England. Through her eyes we see the destruction and hunger and loss of so many things in Germany. Alongside this, there is also a serial killer on the loose. Georgie finds out about this and is determined to help find him while doing research for her articles that she is looking to write. Along the way we are introduced to several Germans, each dealing with their own loss. We hear their stories and root for them to find peace in their lives. As in other novels written by this author, the characters are well developed. I read many WWII historical fiction novels and in between usually pick up a murder mystery for a change of pace. Ironically, this book includes both. I really enjoyed it and appreciate the great storytelling of Mandy Robotham. It’s something a bit different from other WWII novels I’ve read, including what happened in Germany after the war and the role the British soldiers had there. We get to hear a bit of how the Germans felt about this and vice versa. I loved reading another book with Georgie in it and would welcome another one with her, her husband Max, and Georgie’s new German friend Harri.
Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Another great book from this author.
Georgie is a war reporter in Post war Hamburg 1946.
Her path crosses with Meta a 16 ye old street urchin, and Harri a detective inspector. Hamburg is in a very sorry state, so when a serial killer starts a killing spree the three finish up joining forces to capture him.
Georgie is torn between staying to help and going back to London to her husband.
This author really knows how to capture her audience.

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Another day excellent novel by Mandy Robotham! I didn’t really know what I was getting into with this one as I saw she was the author and just assumed it would be good, I was right. This story however I found to be more thriller with a dash of historical fiction. It was very well written and she had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through.

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