Member Reviews

Germany, 1938. The press duo of Georgie Young and her husband, Max Spender, "worked the war principally as a words-and-pictures partnership...In love, but never reliant, dependence [was] not in Georgie Young's nature."

The British Zone in Hamburg, NW Germany, 1946. Now a seasoned journalist, Georgie returned to Hamburg. A military chaperone was provided with the intention of "favorably promoting their corner in the new dawn of occupied Germany." Max was forced to stay home in London, nursing a broken leg.

Her prized possession was a notebook filled with the events she viewed on the European battlefields. The notebook was encased in her battered old suitcase when the suitcase was wrenched from her hand by a "trummerkinder", a waif named Meta. Catching up to the thief, it was obvious that "stealing is like breathing these days...the contents of this suitcase she can barter for cigarettes...a good sturdy suitcase has value...tenacious and yet so needy, [is Meta] as if her life depended on the bloody suitcase...Years of war have taught Miss Georgie Young that you take your chances when present...Chance has offered up Meta...".

With her accredited journalist documentation in hand, Georgie visited Hamburg's old zoo which had been repurposed as a settlement camp. "Georgie's German is struggling to keep up with the stories pouring forth from parents as they pitch for food coupons, clothing and a place to stay...the stories all too common, though still shocking in intensity". Chance now offered up Zofia Dreyfus as an impromptu interpreter who is searching for her sister. "Georgie has always strived to help where she can-spare rations, cigarettes, or a little money has often made a difference to someone in dire need."

"It's been Georgie's task to report with both accuracy and empathy...it might prove her toughest assignment yet...How does she ask the average housewife to see her German counterpart as a victim of the tyranny, too?" Ask widower, Inspektor Harri Schroder. He lies in bed inert. "His bleary vision clears, his vivid dreams recede...the same vision having invaded his sleep countless times. His [current] challenge...look presentable at the police station when every item of clothing is "torn, threadbare or patched...five long years of war...now a country being occupied."

On a hopeful note, the joy of Swing Music is felt by both Brits and Germans. They listen in clubs as well as on gramophones playing on the streets. Against the backdrop of swing, a mystery unfolds that creates victims of war even after the last shots have been fired.

"The Hidden Storyteller" by Mandy Robotham addresses the cost of war for the victors and the vanquished in this informative, compassionate read of historical fiction. Highly recommended.

Thank you Avon Books UK and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Robotham’s historical fictions are usually hit or miss for me, but I’m happy to say this one was a hit! Setting the story in post-war Germany and focuses on what and who has been lift behind after such a brutal war was a fascinating choice. The main characters were all likeable, albeit a little over dramatic at times. I really enjoyed the plot of them hunting a serial killer, I felt that really added an edge to this book. While some parts were a bit of a drag to read, overall I did really enjoy this book, it was an interesting change of pace compared to other historical fictions set in this time period, and the writing was easy to fall into.

Was this review helpful?