A Letter From Munich
A Jack Bailey Novel
by Meg Lelvis
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 09 Apr 2020 | Archive Date 30 May 2020
Two distinct voices emerge: one, a jaded ex-cop, the other, an aging, but spirited German lady, telling her story of love, war, ethics, and redemption.
Germany, 1930s. In the peaceful village of Dachau, Ariana lives with her family, ordinary German citizens, during the Third Reich. Ariana and her sister, Renate, come of age amidst the growing horrors.
Munich, 2012. Hard-nosed ex-cop, Jack Bailey, is determined to locate Ariana Schröder, who wrote a WWII wartime love letter to his father decades ago. Jack and his brother think the letter may hold the key to his past drunken abusiveness.
Jack’s friend, Sherk, invites him to visit his native Munich, where Jack learns more than he bargained for, including a shocking disclosure. Back in Chicago, should he reveal family secrets and put his father to rest? From the Dachau death train to the camp’s liberation by the Americans, a tale unfolds, connecting two people in an unforgettable, ever-changing story.
A Note From the Publisher
“Readers interested in a story steeped in German culture, history, and family interactions will find A Letter from Munich thoroughly engrossing…” –Midwest Book Review
“Readers interested in a story steeped in German culture, history, and family interactions will find A Letter from Munich thoroughly engrossing…” –Midwest Book Review
Average rating from 37 members
184 pages 4 stars This story is told in two timelines: 1930's Germany and the present. At the beginning of this book the character Jack has a 'tude. Although to be fair the ex-cop has plenty to about which to have a chip on his shoulder. He and his former partner and now friend Sherk travel to Germany to visit Sherk's family. Jack has another motive for going, however, and waits until they get there to spring it on Sherk. He has found a letter in his now deceased father's things and Jack and his brother Tommy want to know who sent it. Written in a feminine hand, and partly in English and partly in German, it is an intriguing find. Sherk and Jack set out to find the woman named Ariana. Who they discover is her sister Renate. Renate is a spry, energetic woman who takes them to visit her sister. Sadly, she is suffering from dementia. Over several days, Renate tells Ariana and Jack's father's story. She gives Jack a journal written by his fsther at Ariana's insistence. Jack reads about their discovery of the Dachau concentration camp in 1945. His father describes the horrors he saw and experienced. Jack begins to understand why perhaps his father was a mean drunk. But there is more to the diary. There is also a post script written by Ariana. Well written and plotted, as are all of Ms. Lelvis' books, this novel is entrancing and fascinating. I didn't like Jack at first. I though he was rude to his friend and couldn't understand why Sherk would put up with his behavior. Ms. Lelvis has a talent for writing and I hope she keeps it up. She tells a very good story. I want to thank NetGalley and Black Rose Writing for forwarding to me a copy of this very good book for me to read, enjoy and review.
I've been excited about this book since I first heard about it, and it did not disappoint. The characters sucked you into the story and the story kept you turning pages as fast as you could. I devoured it in a day. I loved it.
Thank you to Netgalley, Black Rose Writing and Meg Lelvis for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 4 / 5 Stars Told in two timelines - Modern Day Munich, Germany and World War II Dachau. We meet up with Jack Bailey following his departure from Police as he embarked on an adventure with now friend Sherk to Germany to visit Sherk’s family. His motive to join the trip sits on a letter of his deceased fathers. Jack and his brother, Tommy wish to find out who sent the letter which balances English and German and is written in a female hand as well as the context surrounding it. It might be a key to understanding how and why their father became a drunk. Her identity is uncovered through her sister - Renate. Ariana is her name, and she suffers from dementia. Renate tells the story of Ariana and Jack’s father over the course of a few days. The story pivotes between timelines as the past is described in dialogue. Renate begins by explaining her experiences during the war in order to bring war time Germany alive. Renate’s experiences run parallel with Jack’s own back story. After obtaining a diary written by his father in order to please Ariana, Jack begins to understand his father’s psyche. They discovered Dachau Concentration Camp in 1945, and the horrors seen and experienced are detailed in his father’s writing. The diary also has a postscript written by Ariana. But the question becomes, what can Jack tell his brother ,sister and mother? Where does a boundary lie in regards to a deceased person’s secrets? Lelvis’ uses great word choice in the experiences depicting Trauma and Horrors. The themes highlight the importance of family and friendship and the importance of remembering/never forgetting what happened in Europe during World War II. This was my first Jack Bailey novel, and I picked this up due to the historical fiction told. I am interested in going back and reading #1 and #2 now. Highly recommend this book and author!
Can a letter change your life? Jack and Tommy were going through their late father's possessions when they found a letter to him from a German woman. It was sent to him just after the war ended. Jack decides to go to Germany and find the lady that had written the letter in hopes he would find out about his father's time in the war. What he finds not only changes how he thinks about his father, but how he thinks of the war and the German people. He finds the woman that wrote the letter, although she now has lost most of her memory. He also meets her sister who has a journal his father wrote during the war. She tells him her sister's story during the war and gives him his father's journal. He finds out information which will change his life. It opens his eyes to what his father saw during the war that caused him to become a drunk and to have nightmares. He understands his father as he never did before. He goes home to his brother Tommy and his sister Jennifer and shares what he learned and shared the journal with them. It is a tragic story of a German family during the war, and a young soldier sent to liberate Dachau the Nazi concentration camp. The sites he saw would haunt the soldier the rest of his life. In his nightmares he remembers the young German girl he once knew. He could never explain to his family and never talked to them of the war. He became a bitter drunk and took it out on his sons. They never understood him until they read his journal. The book was interesting to read, a page turner for me. I enjoyed the description of the German cities Dachau and Munich. The story that was told was interesting to read in a historical sense, but the feelings and the communications with the characters involved made the story. I would recommend this book, it was a good read. Thanks to Meg Lelvis, Black Rose Writing, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of the book for an honest review.
This book speaks to many parts of WWII and Germany, but none so eloquently as the fact that part of it is set in Dachau, "a peaceful village near Munich". On a trip to Germany several years ago, I was with a group that visited Dachau, the camp. I was absolutely shocked to find out that there was a town within walking distance, bearing the same name. How could people not realize what was happening to the Jews and the other so-called undesirables? This is the story of two brothers who discover a letter from Munich in their parents' attic. A letter addressed to their father. And the circuitous route that they follow to learn about the woman who wrote it. A very worthwhile read. I read this EARC courtesy of Black Rose Writing and Net Galley. pub date 04/09/20
"A Letter From Munich" by Meg Lelvis What a gripping page turner! "A Letter From Munich" by Meg Lelvis was a great story that starts out in 2012, where two brothers found a letter to their father at the end of WWII from a women in Munich. Will this letter explain why their dad was a different man when he came back home from the war. The letter held questions that needed to be answered. The only way to find the answers was to go to Germany and find Ariane. What will Jack Bailey find in Germany? What will be learn about the liberation of Dachau? This is a well researched book. It opened my eyes about what the war must have been like. This is the first book by Meg Lelvis I've read and t will not be the last. I highly recommend this book to anyone whom like a great historical book! I am rating this book with a 5 out of 5 I received this complimentary copy of this e-book from the author through Netgalley. All thoughts are mine and mine alone.
If you found a letter after a loved one passed away, would you attempt to find the sender? Munich was one of the favorite places I traveled to during my trip across Germany and thus, this book sucked me in from the beginning. The author does a fabulous job at weaving the two timelines together - the present and the past. The characters are deep and relatable and I found myself wanting to know more about the letter as much as Jack does. While there weren't any surprises, I genuinely enjoyed solving the "mystery" and had difficulty putting it down. I recommend this to anyone enjoying historical fiction or books regarding Germany! Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this and give my honest opinion.
I love books that connect the past and the future snd one linking modern day Bavaria and the times of the Holocaust and Dachau was very good.
After his father passes away, Jack Bailey discovers a letter that his father has kept for a decade. This discovery takes him on a journey to Germany to find out what was so important his father had held onto the letter for so long. The truth he finds may destroy his family. The historical aspect in the story is heartbreaking to read as Jack discovers connections to the Holocaust. The story contains the horrors and evil of this time in history, what life was like living during this time and the aftermath effects on everyone. Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest opinion.
A Letter from Munich, as the title suggests, is about a "forgotten" letter, that resurfaces when John Bailey's family sorts through his belongings, after his death. The forgotten letter was from a woman, and since their Dad kept it for 66 years, John's sons Jack and Tommy, (the ones who found it), thought, that maybe, there could be a story behind the letter. Jack, one of John's 5 children, was actually planning a trip to Munich with his German and now X-partner from the police force (Jack is retired). Jack and his brother Tommy decide that this will probably be their last chance to possibly find the woman Ariane, who wrote the letter. So with the letter in toe, Jack heads to Munich, to look into his father's war time story. A Letter From Munich is a WW2, #hstoricalfiction, that moves along at a very swift pace, The book kept me interested from the very beginning. It is a little different in that, it is not a story of an unyet, undiscovered or unrecognized female heroine. It is about 2 male "buddies", trying to help and support each other. I really found this a pleasant change. It also spoke not only about the atrocities in the concentration camps, but also equally about the effect of the war on the German people. This was really a great read, especially, if you may be planning a trip to Munich (post #covid19). Author Meg Lelvis brings Munich to life in the pages of her book! I have visited Frankfurt, but now I would really like to see Munich as well. Thank you #netgalley for the e-ARC in return for my honest review, #5stars.
I really enjoyed this read. It was full of hope for what might have been, and heartbreak for what happened, the suffering that was endured and the routes some took to try blot out the past, unsuccessfully at times, and try to move on as best they can. The truths that Jack Bailey uncovered during his trip to Munich were horrific but the author built in Bailey, a strong and credible led protagonist who undoubtedly contributed considerably to this novel. While so many books about the holocaust have been released in recent years this one is written from a different, and gripping angle. I highly recommend it!
Jack finds a letter written to his deceased, abusive father that raises a mystery and sends him on a journey to Germany. Jack is trying to find an answer as to why his father was so abusive. What he finds is a woman with a secret and a story. This book dragged on at times but had some brilliant moments such as the well done description of the horrors of a concentration camp. There is a surprise in the book which is pretty predictable. Overall it’s a good story. If you like World War II fiction and stories of family strife and struggles, you will enjoy this book.
A wartime romance. Forbidden love. Buried secrets. Retired Chicago detective Jack Bailey has a “missing persons” case that’s a doozie. It’s also intensely personal. Stretching back to World War II, the case involves a cryptic one-page letter to his late father. The family finds it when sorting through Dad's belongings after his death. Can it shed any light on who Dad was and why? When Jack's former partner’s ailing wife is unable to travel, “Sherk” invites Jack to join him for a visit to the old family homestead in Germany. Can they find his father’s “wartime fraulein? Arriving in Germany, Jack wonders what an elderly sister of her dad’s German sweetheart can reveal about his “old man”? Renate has been sworn to secrecy about her growing up years in the village of Dachau. But what’s her big secret? Why does it still matter? Are some family skeletons best kept in the closet? Skillfully navigation between past and present, this gripping, engaging story takes off in Chapter 10. It’s set near Munich, in the 1930s. Looking back, Renate narrates how they “missed the signs.” Untermensch. Silence and secrets. Vaguely becoming “aware of doom around the edges of our lives.” The Dachau Death Train. How knowing the difference between facts and opinions can get you killed. The power of propaganda. Superlative writing undergirds a riveting story revealing the effects of the war on ordinary Germans and how criminals are individuals, not a whole country. The POV/narration volleys back and forth between Jack and Renate, younger sister of his dad’s German sweetheart. This might be confusing in the hands of a lesser talent. But this author blends both perspectives into a seamless tapestry of sights, sounds, tastes, color, history, reminiscence, and a poignant loss of innocence. There’s also Belfast. And an IRA car bombing. A Letter to Munich is a graphic reminder of the terrible price war extracts from both soldiers and civilians. It’s a powerful testament to the will to survive and love, and how hope shines bright even in the midst of indescribable evil. It also raises the ultimate question: “What is the boundary between a person’s right to the truth and the right to keep painful secrets?” This well-crafted, briskly paced story draws readers in quickly and keeps them guessing until the final page. Anyone who enjoys a fascinating blend of historical fiction, mystery, and romance will enjoy this book. #ALetterFromMunich #NetGalley
Jack Bailey is an ex-cop. His father has died. Jack and Tommy, his younger brother have gone through their dad’s possessions finding a letter written and sent from Munich. Though they can’t read German, there is a thought that perhaps it would lend them some understanding off their father’s brutality. Jack’s friend and ex-partner, Sherk invites him on his yearly trip to Munich where he visits his family. Jack accepts as he wants to see if he can find he woman that wrote his dad’s letter. Sherk is unhappy at instant that Jack is using him fo this but ends up helping him find the woman. Her name is Aranina. She and her sister grew up in the village of Dachau during the horrors of the Third Reich. When both parents are gone, the girls decide to live on their own. They volunteer at the hospital where so many people are along with soldiers. When Ariana meets Jack’s dad, they get together and fall in love. She has Jack’s dad go back to the United States as he has a family there. When Sherk and Jack find that Ariana is in a rest home, they go to see her. Unfortunately they are not allowed to visit her — only family can. They do find that her younger sister Renate is alive and visit her. Sherk acts as the go between as Jack does not know German. She explains that she must tell them about their life growing up so to understand their love for each other. Will Jack find out what he needs to know? This novel is told by two different viewpoints — one from Renate and one from Jack. It is a compelling story that is engaging and sad at times. The plot grabbed my attention and didn’t let go of me. It is a touching and revealing story. There are family skeletons and secrets. It is a powerful novel.
This was a super fast read! I was drawn to this novel due to the subject matter, as I try and read anything I can get my hands on relating to the time period. I found this book to be one of the few, maybe the only one (that I have read)?? that deals with the holocaust and telling about how the Germans felt... and theie feelings about the war even into today's time period. DO not get me wrong...this book does not focus its entirety on the germans side, but it does address it and I found that to be interesting. It was lovely to read how the characters were able to have a better understading of thier father through the trip they made to Germany. As I said, quick read, and one worth reading!
I love a mystery, I love a historical connection and I love a dual timeline story. The blurb for Meg Lelvis’s A Letter from Munich ticked all of those boxes and, while I did enjoy it, it somehow failed to deliver. The book is the story of ex-Chicago cop Jack Bailey, who travels to Munich to seek out the story behind a letter written to his father at the end of the Second Word War. Jack has a back story of violent bereavement, in the loss of his wife and daughter 12 years earlier, and he’s travelling with his mate Sherk (of German extraction) whose wife is going through cancer treatment. With Sherk’s help, Jack tracks down the woman who wrote the letter, Ariana, and discovers the truth about his father. And that’s it. This is the problem I had with the book. The plot was very slender indeed. There was one twist, which was hardly difficult to spot, and too much of the rest of it was Sherk repeating back in English a conversation he’d just heard in German (Jack, as the running joke goes, doesn’t speak any other language than his own) or Renate, Ariana’a sister, narrating the story (rather than the reader being taken back, as it were, live). Of course, if a reader doesn’t know anything about the liberation of the concentration camps that might be a help in pushing the story on, but if you do, then it feels like padding. I felt very much removed from the story, rather than involved in it. The book is filed under historical fiction and women’s fiction, though it doesn’t fit neatly into either of those categories — especially given the dominance of the male leading characters. It felt more like a mystery but not much of one. I enjoyed the banter between Jack and Sherk, I liked the almost travelogue-like descriptions of their German trip, and some of the historical background was fine, though I thought there was too much of it. But, as I say, I expected more plot, and even in the end it petered out. Thanks to Netgalley and Black Rose Writing for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
I loved this book. I thought it was beautifully written and I loved the description of the cities. The detail was great. The story was so sad, but just overall a very good read. Would recommend for anyone. It's a page turner and not terribly long. Thank you for the opportunity to read! I will also share my review on Goodreads.
"What do I know about memory? When you become old and used up like me, it’s easy to allow the past to take over." This is my first time reading Meg Lelvis, and I'm jumping in by having read her third instalment of the Jack Bailey series. I was immediately drawn to this book and it's dual timeline, 1930's Germany and present day. As the book begins, Jack, a determined ex-cop, is looking to uncover the mystery surrounding a love letter from WWII sent to his now deceased father many years ago. This leads Jack to Munich in search of a women as he looks further into the mysterious love letter. The other timeline of the story tells the tragic tale of Ariana and her family as Hitler and his brutes claim their hold on Germany and eventually Europe. We discover that Ariana holds a deep connection to Jack's father during his time in Germany and liberating Dachau during WWII. As Jack begins to uncover the mystery, he discovers new truths about his unloving father and what he endured during the war. Jack eventually does find the woman that wrote the letter along with her sister, Renate. Renate begins to weave the tale of the past and gives Jack his father's journal from during the war.. Both stories pulled me right into the mystery as I found myself connected and drawn into the lives and tragedies of the characters. I have to be honest, that in the beginning I truly did not like Jack Bailey's character at all. He is rude, deceitful and flat out awful to his friend in the beginning of the story. I'm guessing that Jack is going through a dark period in his life at this point of the series. However, he does later endear himself as his character evolves. Lelvis uses wonderful descriptive language and excellent research to create this moving tale. This is a wonderful series to start, and now I plan on going back and starting the series from the beginning.
This is my first book by Meg Lelvis - I enjoyed her writing and thought the characters were well defined. I always enjoy historic romances and this book didn't disappoint. Thank you for the opportunity to read.
I have mixed feelings about this book. After reading it, I loved the WWII theme, but the plot was all over the place for me. It felt kind of unreal a bit. I think the book would have been much better if the idea of past and present was input in a better light. It was a good read, but I felt something was missing. I liked the secrets in books and some pleasant surprised. 3.5 stars here.