The Girl Behind the Wall
by Mandy Robotham
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 06 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 08 Jul 2021
Avon Books UK, Avon
A city divided.
When the Berlin Wall goes up, Karin is on the wrong side of the city. Overnight, she’s trapped under Soviet rule in unforgiving East Berlin and separated from her twin sister, Jutta.
Two sisters torn apart.
Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the Wall. But Karin finds one reason to keep going: Otto, the man who gives her hope, even amidst the brutal East German regime.
One impossible choice…
When Jutta finds a hidden way through the wall, the twins are reunited. But the Stasi have eyes everywhere, and soon Karin is faced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West and be with her sister, or sacrifice it all to follow her heart?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 195 members
Mandy Robatham has written yet another really interesting and well researched book about the history of the Berlin Wall and life on either side . If you like historical fiction then this is a great read. Twins Karen and Jutta have a nice life and as twins have a very close relationship growing up and living in West Berlin. Karen however ends up on the wrong side of Berlin when the Wall literally goes up overnight. The twins are torn apart for the first time in their life. The story is told through each twins experience living on either side of the wall. Will they ever get to see each other again and live on the same side? There are decisions, choices and sacrifices that each must make. This story left me wondering about what I would do in such a situation. Keep the tissues handy.
Cleverly crafted, this book brings a historical period to the surface when the Berlin Wall went up in 1961 almost overnight. There was unrest in Germany, but no one expected a wall to divide the east and west parts of the city so quickly. This is a powerful account of how one family was divided by a barrier yet stayed together in spirit. Two identical twins, Karin and Jutta, had a wonderful close life together in the western area of Berlin until one day when they were separated by the border wall. Karin was on the wrong side of the city when she was working on a project to develop her career as a fashion designer. Not feeling great, she was suddenly taken to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Overnight, everything changed in East Berlin. Officials refused to allow her to leave. She was quick to adjust to her new life with a few good trusted friends and learned how to follow the stringent rules of the socialist state ruled by the Soviets. She had no choice but to accept it as her home...until her twin sister magically showed up giving her options to consider. The story shows how they shared one of the most challenging decisions of their lives through their strong love for each other. While reading, I found myself on Google wanting to know more about the Berlin Wall. People were targeted as spies and everyone had to watch their step. I recall how the world was watching and cheering when the Wall finally went down and the gate was opened on November 9, 1989. My thanks to Mandy Robatham, Harper Collins Publishers and NetGalley for allowing me to read this advanced copy.
Thankyou to NetGalley, Avon Books UK and the author, Mandy Robotham, for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of The Girl Behind The Wall in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion. Such a beautifully written and heartfelt story. I loved it. This is a story that will stay with you . Well worth a read.
Mandy Robotham weaves her magic once again. This time in Berlin at a time when the wall was being constructed. The book talks about how the Berlin wall rips apart twins. Each one stuck on either side of the wall. She alternates between each twins narrative which helps the reader connect with the anguish that each twin endures and one can see just how different life is on either side of the wall. At the end of the day, each must make their own decisions. The choices however aren't easy and the sacrifices are great. Definitely a book worth picking up and reading if you love historical fiction!
What a fabulous book!!! Full of information! Such wonderful characters so believable & the whole story just drew me in. Many many tears!! Highly recommend!
I loved this fast paced, exciting novel about identical twins separated by the Berlin Wall. This book covered a time and place in history that I’ve never read about or given much thought. Now I want to read more! I will definitely seek out more by this author. Thanks for the preview, NetGalley!
I was in the perfect mood for this - a great book set behind the Berlin wall. We get a fascinating peek into what those people went through, especially knowing the freedoms enjoyed on the other side. I loved the characters, and Mandy Robotham has a gift for making history come alive.
I have read a few novels by Mandy Robatham a d have lived them all. She has not disappointed In this latest one. This novel is about the history of the Berlin Wall and life on either side . If you like historical fiction then this is a great read. Twins Karen and Jutta have a good life but find themselves on either side of the wall when it literally appears without warning. And excellent insight into how life unfolds Excellent Many thanks to #NetGalley for the advance copy in return for an honest review
Growing up I remember the news showing the building of the Berlin Wall and stories of people trying to escape from communist East Berlin to the freedom of West Berlin,. The Girl Behind the Wall, by Mandy Robotham, took me back to that time. Karin and Jutta are twin sisters who live in West Berlin. When the wall goes up, Karin is caught on the wrong side. She does find a kind family to help her, and she finds Otto, the man whom she loves. When Jutta finds a hidden passage through the wall they are reunited. But the German police are everywhere and Karin is faced with the decision to escape to the West or stay in the East with Otto. The story of what happens to these sisters and their family is a fascinating look back to the 1960s and the years following the building of the wall.
This book started a bit rocky for me. There was no leading up to the wall, I would have liked a little backstory about the sisters before fhe wall and leading up to Karin ending up in the hospital. The first few chapters then seemed very repetitive, which historically that time for Berlin people would have been the same. Once the story got going further I became hooked and had to know what happened. Overall a great story of love and family and history.
Amazing read about two sisters ,twins who on the building of the wall dividing east and west germany find themselves on opposite sides .I simply could not put it down .
First of all I am a huge Mandy Robotham fan. And in this book she has done it again. She has written a powerful, moving and heartwrenching book. She has written about the powerful bond between Sisters. She tells us the story about the cold war in Gernany, historical accurate. How the wall ripped apart innocent families for years. I would highly recommend this book. Thank you to netgalley for letting me read this e arc in exchange for an honest opinion
The Girl Behind the Wall is a powerful and moving story of sisterhood, secrets, and intrigue. Emotionally charged and rich with historical detail, this novel stayed with me long after I turned the final page. Mandy Robotham has excelled in capturing the time period 1961-1989 in Berlin. Shortly after midnight on August 13, 1961, barbed wire was rolled out in the first stage of building a wall that would bisect Berlin for nearly thirty years. As readers experience this story through the eyes of sisters Karin and Jutta, they gain an understanding of the history and geography, plus the resulting impact upon families, commerce, and security. Within this unfortunate environment, the author has crafted a complex tale of lives, love, and family. In addition, the secondary characters were well thought out and definitely added to the tale. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I received the ARC of this book to read from Avon Books via NetGalley. I have read several books by this author and she always gives me a new look into Germany during WWII. This time she has given insight in what Berlin was like after the war and especially during the time when the Wall went up dividing East and West Berlin. The book has a great storyline which covers the lives of identical twins, Jetta and Karin, that are from West Berlin but have been separated by The Wall. It shows us how each side had to live and how a person is not safe, even in West Berlin. There are always spies and the Stasi are able to sneak into West Berlin and grab anyone they want. At times the book seemed more each girls personal thoughts and I would have enjoyed more dialogue. There is a lot of intrigue and suspense but it comes across a bit more like nonfiction to me. Overall it is a great book, it just needs a bit of pep to make it an exciting book.
What a wonderful read! The storyline was well thought out and kept my interest throughout the book. The last few chapters pleasantly surprised me and I would definitely recommend this book.
As a fan of this author, I couldn’t wait to read this one and received the ARC from Avon Books via NetGalley. With this book, Mandy has written about what life was like in Berlin following the war and in the time the Wall that separated the East from the West. Twins Karin and Jutta have a close bond, living a nice life in West Berlin. Through circumstance, Karen ends up on the other side of Berlin when the Wall very literally goes up one night. The twins are apart for the first time and each are desperate to get reunited. Mandy tells this story through each twin’s point of view, describing their lives and experiences being on the opposing sides. The difference in their lives is stark yet both are fuelled by love. But an opportunity arises, and sacrifices must be made, both Karin and Jutta have to make life-changing decisions if they are ever going to be with each other again. I love historical fiction, and this is period I shamefully didn’t have much knowledge or understanding of. I have very vague recollections of when the wall came down, but even then, I was too young to really understand. Although I thought the start was fairly slowly paced, but it built up nicely and the more we progressed into the story the more we cared and understood each twin’s perspective. About half way through the pace picked up along with the drama and risk, I couldn’t put it down as I was well and truly hooked. Mandy is such a great storyteller and it’s evident how much research goes in to her books. After I finished I found myself googling more information and wanting to know more. Highly recommend.
The Girl Behind the Wall by Mandy Robotham is an excellent historical fiction novel that focusses on the era of the Berlin Wall. I have been a fan of Ms. Robotham for a while now, so I was excited to see she had a new book coming out, and this did not disappoint. This book is unique as it is currently one of only a few that revolves around the post-WWII era and the life of the Berlin Wall. I have always found this aspect of history fascinating, how this wall was even permitted, constructed, and how it survived for so long in a modern era. The author does a fabulous job describing all of these concepts in addition to weaving a fabulous plot that tells the story of a family, sisters specifically, separated and torn apart by circumstances, politics, and the Wall. It was gripping, eventful, exhilarating, and absorbing to read the heartfelt storry of Jutta and Karin and how they ended up on opposite sides of the Wall. What choices they make, what sacrifices they must endure, what fear they experienced...it kept me on the edge of my seat. I really loved this book, the twists and turns, the narrative, the wonderful cast of complex characters, the history, and the ending. Another job well-done for one of my favorite authors. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and Avon Books UK for this awesome arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Bookbub, and Instagram accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.
The Berlin Wall has been erected, and Karin Voigt is trapped on the wrong side, away from her twin sister Jutta. In the years that follow, they lead parallel lives, finding love, loss and acceptance in their new existences without each other. However, when push comes to shove, how much are they willing to sacrifice to be reunited? Content warnings include war crimes, death, abuse and scenes in a prison camp. This is a story filled with impossible decisions. Your lover or your family? Freedom or security? It is truly a “what if” story that makes you understand why people make decisions that seem wrong on the surface. You empathise with Jutta, yet you root for Karin over the other side. You see both sides of the story equally, and it is proof of how quickly your priorities can change in different circumstances. I was fully absorbed in the story, and would wholeheartedly recommend it to people who love historical fiction, romance, and stories with resilient characters. Thank you to Netgalley and Avon books for a free e-book in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Girl Behind the Wall was a slow build, but the payoff was great. I have been trying to read more historical fiction about events in the world I don't know much about. The Girl Behind the Wall is just what I was looking for. I learned SO much about the Cold War and East Berlin vs. West Berlin. I can't even say how many times I stopped reading to do a Google search for a historical photograph of what was being discussed. The story itself was also compelling. I have always been interested in the connection that is shared between twin siblings. Jutta and Karin share this bond, even with the Berlin Wall between them. The string that connects them is looser at times, but they never stop thinking about each other. I also loved the characters of Otto and Danny. I highly recommend this book, and I will be checking out more by Mandy Robotham.
A powerful story of the impact of the Berlin Wall, told through the eyes of twin sisters who find themselves on opposite sides of the wall. The author does an amazing job of putting the reader into the story, feeling the tone and undercurrents on each side of the 'protection barrier.' Historic tidbits are interwoven into the story, turning it into something of a history lesson. And by looking at its impact on twins, too, we are able to see just how much which side of the wall you lived on truly dictated your outlook and personality...
This was my first time reading a novel by this author, and I LOVED it. I love how she took us back to that time. It really taught me more about the Berlin Wall because I honestly didn’t know much about it. She wrapped the story up wonderfully! I was so happy that both girls found love, and then finally got back together at the end.
With grateful thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest opinion Have read a few of this authors other books I was delighted to read this one, this lady never let's you down. I did find in this book about twin sister dividend by the Berlin Wall a bit to fast paced but it was still an excellent read and I can highly recommend.
Name: The Girl Behind the Wall Author: Mandy Robotham Expected Publication: July 6th, 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction 4 Stars Review: The Girl Behind the Wall is a very different historical fiction novel that tackles life in Germany post the World War II where it is divided into East and West suddenly by a Wall. A Wall suddenly divides Berlin into two and families are torn apart. People need passes to visit East Germany but Stasi decide whether to accept them or not. This novel is about one such family where twins Jutta and Karin are suddenly separated. Karin is stuck in East Germany and Jutta is trying to get her out of there. This novel is a good paced, unique story which I have not read before. I was barely 9 yrs old when the Berlin Wall came down so don't remember it much and this novel gave me a perspective about the life during communism. Highly recommend this novel.
Mandy Robotham is one of the best historical fiction authors I’ve come across. Like her other books, The Girl Behind the Wall is filled with so much emotion. I found myself thinking of the family in the book as real people I loved. If you read only one book this year, make sure it’s this one!
Many thanks to Netgalley, Avon books and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read this advanced electronic copy for my review and comment. After losing two wars and living through the 1948 blockade Berliners are now just coming to realise how their lives are about to change once again. With the continuing loss of intellectuals, professionals and engineers to the west, the Soviets have started their wall to divide East Germany from West Germany. The wall has most of the immediate population in Berlin transfixed in disbelief, the realisation of the beginning of the concrete barrier and guards brings panic. Many families are going to be divided. Many who work and live on opposite sides are going to be badly impacted. The main characters for this read are a family of six, Gerda, husband Oskar and son Hugo along with Jutta and Karin and their mother Ruth. Jutta and Karin, identical twins, and their mother had come to live with their aunt and uncle when their father was killed at the very end of the war. Jutta and Karin have never been apart, they do everything together. As identical twins they are joined emotionally and they can read each other's minds. Karin is in hospital in East Berlin at the time the wall's construction begins which escalates at a rapid pace. The family is desperate to find out about her welfare. Applications are rushed through with help from some of Jutta's and Hugo's contacts but access is denied again and again. It's not until the end that the reason for the denied access is revealed. Ruth is on the verge of a breakdown, Gerda tries to keep her calm, the stronger of the two women. Jutta has only Hugo, a reporter that she can confide in and who can source information. This is a terrible time in particular for Ruth after losing her husband right at the end of the war and later on her having to scratch through the rubble of destroyed buildings for anything that would give her the means to feed her family and now this wall with one of her daughter's on the wrong side of it. Karin in hospital is not out of the woods with an infection occurring from her operation. She is fortunate that her doctor understands her fears and reassures her that she will be looked after. Her anxiety is escalating as she hasn't had any word from her family and doesn't understand why Jutta at least hasn't visited. By the time Karin is well, it's obvious that she will not be allowed to return to her family in West Berlin. However her doctor and his wife have agreed to have her stay with them. She is given a job as a cleaner in the hospital and it's here that she meets a young, very patriotic East German, Otto, who will in time cause a great deal of angst for Karin and Jutta. The frustration for Jutta and her family is causing increased grief, unable to make contact by any means with Karin, no mail is getting through and telephone wires have been cut. While Jutta tries to avoid the Wall, one day she feels particularly drawn to it and to her shock and surprise she discovers a chinc in its construction due to the positioning of the road and buildings where they have been bricked up. After moving the wire she discovers a gap and through the sound of a displaced cat with its new litter of kittens she has her "Alice and the White Rabbit moment" falling her way through a labyrinth of doorways and deserted buildings and her way into East Berlin. From here on the read really picks up pace, events move quickly and the book is hard to put down, the tension of risk played out by Jutta, the risk of spies, the Stasi who are everywhere in unmarked cars. Jutta goes to the hospital where Karin had been and through sheer luck her doctor recognises Jutta's voice, so similar to that of her sister's. He quickly takes Jutta aside, does a double take at the resemblance and then organises for Karin to come. There's no hugging or crying with relief, the moment is tense and formal, nothing to betray them. Karin is now in full knowledge of risks everywhere, people being dragged off and disappearing and she warns Jutta. They meet at Karin's favourite coffee shop whenever Jutta returns but at some point someone starts watching. The situation with Otto comes into play as he and Karin are now in a relationship but after all Jutta has done in risking her life illegally coming over the border Karin does not want to return to the west. Otto will not leave his parents and he has a good job with the government and is an idealistic Communist. Jutta is having increased problems with her mother and Gerda. Gerda in particular knows something is going on but Jutta is tight lipped until the time she makes them aware of their plan to swap identities. Jutta will change her appearance to that of Karin who will come to visit them. Jutta, while relieved at being able to see her sister, is emotionally drained at Karin's decision. However, her life changes for the better on meeting an American soldier who comes to her rescue when she is picked up and imprisoned by the Stasi in a rather bizarre and daring manner, borrowing his high ranking Uncle's uniform.
Historical fiction is quickly becoming my go to read. I enjoyed this book very much. I’m new to this author but will be on lookout for any other titles available! Thanks to publisher and NetGalley for this read.
Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher. I enjoyed this, different from what I normally read but found it really interesting. Enjoyed the storyline and also the characters.
What an amazing story of sisterly love and bravery during the Cold War! The plot focuses on the plight of Germans divided by the Wall, erected by the Soviets in order to keep the two parts of Berlin as far away from each other as possible.
Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. Jutta is waken by commotion outside only to find that a wall is being erected between East and West Berlin. The problem is her twin sister is on the other side of the wall due to emergency appendectomy. Overnight she has lost her connection to her twin. Karin wakes up from surgery and has no idea why her twin isn't by her side until the doctor tells her the truth. What will these twins do to find each other? I LOVED THIS BOOK! It was so very good!!! #thegirlbehindthewall #mandyrobotham #july2021
I think Mandy Robotham's writing style suits me. It's comforting, in a way, and makes it easy to read her books in one go. The shorter chapters are exactly what I needed today. I did take a few small breaks even though I kept saying "okay, only one more chapter and then I'll take a break" and then one turned to ten... The Girl Behind the Wall tells the story of two sisters, twins, who found themselves on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall due to some unfortunate circumstances. Jutta is free on the western side while Karin is trapped on the eastern side with seemingly no way back. But Jutta isn't giving up. She's determined to bring her sister home and when there's a will, there's a way. But what if Karin doesn't want to go back? The start was a bit slow. It picks up when Karin is trying to establish a life for herself on the other side, but it gets even better later, when Jutta finds "her way". I liked both sisters and their love for each other as well as for their love interests, Otto and Danny. Both romances were very wholesome (if we exclude that one time Karin was scared and did a silly thing) which is always welcome. I wish we saw more of the side characters / family members because it was hard to care about them. The story was a little unbelievable in parts. I don't want to spoil anything so I'll leave it at that. But overall, it was interesting. I haven't read a book set during the construction of the Wall, from what I can remember, so it was nice to see something new. I think the author managed to capture the atmosphere well. And the fear too. There's a slight whodunit element, and I honestly didn't guess who it was, even though I noticed the person. I also enjoyed the, how do I word this...rescue with the car, and the pre rescue part too. I have an issue with the ending. The last chapter ends abruptly, and even though the epilogue is satisfying, there's room for more. I'd recommend this to all historical book fans who want to experience divided Berlin through a good novel. *Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review*
I enjoy alot of historical fiction and i love reading events that isnt published much so when I saw that this story had to do with the berlin wall i had to read it. I loved The German Midwife and this story definitely didnt disappoint. As i said above I have never read a historical fiction about the Berlin wall and I learned so much about the families seperated during this time. A very fast paced story and the writing wad top notch. Definitely recommend. Thank you netgalley and the publsher for allowing me to read this story in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you to Avon Books UK and NetGalley for the chance to read and review this ARC. The author tells the story of identical twin sisters, Jutta and Karin, each of whom ends up on different sides of the Berlin Wall when one of the girls has a medical emergency while in the East. It was fascinating to read about a time in history of which I had little knowledge of and storyline was tense, keeping me engaged until the end. A well-researched book full of historical details which I would definitely recommend.
I love Mandy Robotham! This is my second book from Robotham (the first was The Berlin Girl), and I loved this one just as much. The writing is always so beautiful and detailed, and these two books have wonderful characters. In The Girl Behind the Wall, we follow twins Jutta and Karin as they are separated by the Berlin Wall. Jutta remains in the West, while Karin is stuck in the East. Jutta stumbles upon an unknown portal to the East, where she tries to find her sister and bring her back home. To her surprise, Karin does not want to return to the West as she has fallen in love and wants to stay. The two sisters manage to see each other via the portal, but their luck runs out when Jutta is captured while in the East. This book is filled with heartbreak, resilience, romance, and strength. Thank you, NetGalley!
I have been loving all of Mandy Robotham's books and this one for didn't disappoint. I have never read a historical fiction about the Berlin wall, how fascinating it was to learn about the families who were separated during tuis time! I felt like I flew through this book and was desperate to find out what happened with the 2 sisters. I would highly recommend it! Thanks Netgalley for the advanced copy!
This is a historical story. It is about a set of twin girls that are divided. One in East Germany and one in West Germany. One is left in East Germany when she suffers an acute case of appendicitis and is taken to the hospital there. The other twin girl lives in West Germany with her mother, aunt, uncle and cousin. When the Iron Curtain is raised the sisters are divided. A heartbreaking story of love, hope, courage and family. Awesome read!
Many thanks to NetGalley, Avon Books UK and author Mandy Robotham for the advanced copy of the book A very well-crafted book. Well-written account of the construction of the Berlin wall. I couldn't imagine just what these people went through. Harrowing in some cases.
This book talks about how the Berlin wall rips apart twins. Each one stuck on either side of the wall. She alternates between each twins narrative which helps the reader connect with the anguish that each twin endures and one can see just how different life is on either side of the wall. At the end of the day, each must make their own decisions. The choices however aren't easy and the sacrifices are great. It was a really great read, I was putting myself in each of the twins place and thinking of the choices I would make. This book will stay with me for a long time to come. I definitely recommend this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I loved this book and the storyline. I learned so much about the history of the Berlin Wall and the lives of those at that time
What a truly gripping read! I didn't want to stop reading, I was mesmerised with the story line and each chapter drew me closer to Jutta and Karin. I think that my heart stopped a few times and my pulse quickened after each safe trip through the "Rabbit Hole" Thank you for the experience of reading this book. I would highly reccomend!
Wow, what a story of resilience and fortitude during the rising and duration of the Berlin Wall. Mandy Robotham weaves a story of twin sisters and their dedication to see each other while a wall divides them. I would highly recommend the book, The Girl Behind the Wall. #netgalley
I couldn’t put this book down. Maybe I related to it so well because I remember the wall going up and people desperately trying to flee. I also remember when the wall came down. This book is well researched and presents a heartbreakingly accurate portrayal of the families separated by the wall. Keep the tissues handy because you might need them. Thank you to net galley for an advanced readers copy.
A good read, I was already a fan of the author and this book definitely confirmed that. A little known era looked into to a great read.
*Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted an electronic copy of this book by Netgalley and Avon Books in exchange for an honest review. The Girl Behind The Wall is the newest novel from the internationally bestselling WWII historical fiction author, Mandy Robotham. Mandy Robotham is known for titles such as The German Midwife or also known as A Woman of War, The Secret Messenger (which is my favourite) and The Berlin Girl. The Girl Behind The Wall is different from Mandy's other books since it takes place during the 1960s when the Berlin Wall was erected overnight. No one expected a wall, no one expected a divide, but one morning everything changed. On the morning of 13th August 1961, Berlin was divided by barbed wire soon transforming into a Wall, creating a divide between East and West Berlin, forever changing the lives of twins Jutta and Karin Voight. Jutta woke on the West side in her bedroom and Karin woke on the East in a hospital bed. Being hastily admitted to the hospital for a medical procedure, Karin was unaware of the Wall and had no idea that she won't be able to go back home. As the Wall climbs higher, life as they know it comes crashing down. With numerous applications denied to go to the East, Jutta is forced to accept that she will never see Karin again. With the help of her nephew Hugo, who works as a junior reporter, she is able to get a message across the Wall to Karin at the hospital, but soon the situation escalates and all communication between the East and West is cut, leaving the twins in distress. Realising the Wall is there to stay, Karin is forced to create a life for herself in the East, with the help of Dr. Simms. Abandoning her dreams of fashion, she ends up working in the Charité hospital and meets Otto Kruger, whom she falls in love with. If she had a choice to go back to the West, to Jutta and her family, would she go? Meanwhile, in the West Jutta is trying her best to find a way to bring Karin back, focusing on the thread between them, but slowly losing hope as there is no way of knowing if Karin is safe, if she is alive. One day Jutta stumbles upon access to the East side. If she gets caught crossing to the East, the consequences will be terrible, but Jutta knows it's worth the risk if there is a possibility to find Karin and bring her back. While contemplating on how to get Karin back to the West, Jutta meets Danny Strachan and falls in love. Love complicates everything and Jutta and Karin tries to find a way to make everything work. The pace of the story felt a bit slow but I still enjoyed the story. I liked both sisters and I found the effects the Berlin Wall had on the East and West sides interesting. I'm not familiar with the Berlin Wall, so this book encouraged me to do some research. It's heartbreaking that families were subjected to such a level of divide and having no control over it. Jutta and Karin, even though they're fictional, represent countless families who had to endure separation. Mandy was able to capture the fear and uncertainty families experienced on both sides of the Wall. The book is divided into four parts, beginning in 1961 and ending in 1989. I enjoyed the short chapters and the ending brought loose ties together, the reader isn't left with any unanswered questions. Mandy Robotham is an amazing writer and once again she was able to take a historical moment and make it come to life. If you love historical fiction, I recommend that you read this book.
This story spins an interesting tale of identical twins separated by a blockade. It opens the summer of 1961 during the time the GDR or East Germany began to build a barbed wire and concrete bulwark between East and West Germany and unfolds with ease till the crisis ended in 1989. This fictional story is one account that surely represents thousands of people affected by this decision. This is the story of Jutta and Karin Voight The sisters suddenly find themselves separated overnight with no means of contact, Jutta stuck in West Berlin and Karin by bad luck was being cared of in an East Germany hospital when the state decided to stem the mass defections from East to West. The author switches the narrative from one sister to the other and from their perspective we have an idea how they managed living apart. Ms. Robotham captures the fear and the uncertainty experienced to a tee and has taken a historical moment and made it come to life. Although sad the style is soothing and so easy to read with its short chapters and a slow but steady tempo to help us digest the content. At times some passages seemed a bit farfetched and a little unbelieve but it added some suspense to give us excitement. Nicely told and nicely played out by Jutta and Karin.
This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was excellent, not at all what I expected! This topic was well researched. I have taken classes and read numerous non-fiction titles that shed light on the building of wall. Families were separated during the night. It is hard to believe that could happen. This book tells the story of twins that ended up on opposite sides of the wall, and the struggle to reunite. I would highly recommend this book for a book club, as it would lead to a great discussion.
After reading The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham, I have always wanted to read her books and was excited when I got the privilege to get an ARC copy of The Girl Behind the Wall. The story is set during the early 1960's, the year when Iron Curtain was formed and Berlin Wall built, dividing East and West Berlin, separating the loved ones. That's what happened to Jutta and Karin, the identical twin sisters. Karin goes to East Berlin side to the hospital and on the same fateful day when East and West Berlin were divided. In the midst of political drama, Jutta who lives in a free spirited life in West Berlin was determined to bring Karin back home. Karin meanwhile tries settling down in East Berlin, adapting to the harsh communism rule and then falling in love with an architect. Jutta through a tunnel she comes across risks her life to meet Karin on the other side and the two sisters see each other through that secret tunnel, until the wall will divide them for good. Normally, Mandy Robotham's books are based on WWII with Nazi Germany background, this book was quiet different--set when the whole world watched the Iron Curtain being built and the power between capitalists and communists, the year when Berlin Wall was built that would separate the East and West. The sisters, particularly Jutta's courage and willingness to bring her sister back to the West was powerful, overwhelming as she knows the consequences of what will happen to her own life if she was discovered. The author has done tremendous research during that period, in both West Berlin, where life is nothing but freedom and luxury and East Berlin, where many lived in fear and also in poverty so the reader could get a glimpse of what the life really like in West and East Berlin. The first part of the story was a bit slow and boring but the story gained momentum towards the middle when Jutta discovers a secret path that will help her to get to East Berlin to meet her sister, Karin. I was kept on the edge of the seat as I was worried if Jutta will get caught. Though the characters in the book was fictional, as I did a part of this Berlin Wall for my history lessons, I know how countless lives have been lost while crossing the wall to the other side--the East Berliners to the West Berliners and the fear and the bravery to do so was so realistic and overwhelming--which I applaud, the author did a good job of making the story as realistic as possible. The story starts with 1961 with the building of the wall, through 1963 when the wall was firmly built separating the twins forever and ends with 1989 with the Berlin Wall demolished--the momentous moment in history. I really like the characters particularly Jutta as she has become one of my favorite characters. Overall, the story is touching, heartbreaking and emotional. Mandy Robotham did a very good job with this book and as this is the second book I have read from this author, I cannot wait to read more books from this author! Worth four stars! Many thanks to Netgalley and Avon publishers for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.
Thank you net galley for the advance reader copy of this novel. This was a historical fiction set at the ti.me of the Berlin Wall. This was my third novel by this author and she did not disappoint with the !even if historical details or the pull on my heartstrings. Jutta and Karins divide fromeach other s by the overnight Wall was well written. The thoughts and feelings of those from the West and East shone through these characters. Well done!!!
Berlin in 1961. Jutta Voigt stays at her home in West Berlin while her twin sister Karin goes out in East Berlin. At the time, it is normal to cross into the GDR and back. Except it’s 12th August and everything is about to change overnight. It’s the night the wall goes up. Unforeseen by the residents and Western authorities, in the early hours of the morning of 13 August, of barb wire are put in place and crossings closed. Jutta watches it happen from the West, but her sister was taken into hospital that night, and is stuck on the Eastern side. For a long time, there is no way out and no way to contact each other. By the time the twins find their way back to each other, Karin has started a life in the oppressed East. She fears what might happen if she got caught trying to sneak out. And then there’s Otto, the East Berliner she has met and fallen for. This book has been very interesting for me. First of all, because I don't usually like Historial Fiction but this seems recent enough to grab me. Also, it was fascinating to me to find out more about the actual night it all happened and how life was for Berliners. I grew up in Germany and a lot of this was never taught. We were taught about the wall, but little about the time before, or how suddenly it was built. But the book stuck with me so much I discussed it with my dad and not only is he now waiting to read it once it comes out, but for the first time in my life we spoke about his memories of the wall and how he grew up accepting the wall would never fall. Some small details disappointed me, such as the two long time jumps in the story-telling (though dad tried to explain to me the second one was due to people really just having accepted their fate, nothing more to report) and a lack of the mother's perspective in what is essentially a family drama. Overall though, I was taken aback by how much I enjoyed it and how much the time period interested me.
Thank you to netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review. This story is set in Berlin, Germany just as the Berlin Wall was put into place. The story focuses on an extended family with a set of twins, Jutta who’s with the family at home on the West Berlin side and Karin who’s in hospital in East Berlin. The book kept me hooked to see if Karin would return home or if her family would be able to visit her in the east? If you like historical fiction this would be a great novel for you.
Post the Second World War Berlin was divided into two parts one under the Allies (west) and the other under the Soviets (east). August 1961, the people of Berlin wake up one morning to realise that barbed wire has been put up between East and West Berlin with no way to access the other part. Karin, a West Berliner unfortunately gets separated from her family and her twin Jutta as she was hospitalised in the eastern part of the city. Unable to cross the wall, Karin builds a life for her on the eastern side with Otto. While Jutta spends almost all her waking minutes trying to reach or get a message across to her twin. But with the love of her life on the eastern side, would Karin ever decide to get back to her family? Mandy Robotham has written the book in a single timeline which does not break the flow of the story and kept me engrossed. The exposition of people separated and divided by the wall is done beautifully and vividly. I was completely invested in Jutta's character. She is a courageous girl who went to great lengths to reach her twin. The book is slightly slow and at times some events appear repetitive and stretched. But overall a good book and worth reading.
Wooo what a book. Overnight the Berlin Wall goes up and sisters Karin and Otto are left separated. Karin is stuck on the wrong side of the wall and is under soviet rule. Her sister is the hope that keeps her going. This is a very well written book about fictional sisters in a not so talked about part of history. To be able to write this well is a talent. Through the tragedy and loss we are able to still be gripped with the powerful prose. There is so much I could write about this book to review it but then I would be giving ro much a way. What I will say is keep a box of tissues on hard before you start reading, as if you're anything like myself you will be crying quite early on in the book. 4 stars Thanks to netgalley the publishers and writer for th ARc of the girl behind the wall in exchange for my fair and honest opinions.
Mandy Robotham’s newest historical fiction, “The Girl Behind The Wall,” highlights Europe’s best kept secret and the unfurling of the sealed orders for Operation Rose. Never heard of it? Neither had I. That is, until I realized that it was the code name for the construction of what the GDR called the “anti-fascist protection barrier” – the Berlin Wall. Imagine this scenario: your sister’s appendix bursts, and she’s taken to hospital, but during the night the symbol of the Cold War is erected and suddenly, with no warning, you are separated. She’s in hospital in East Berlin and you are at home with your mother in West Berlin. It’s not just your sister, though. It’s your only sister. Your only sibling. Your twin sister. Your complete and identical other half. Berliners awoke on August 13, 1961, to find Operation Rose in full swing. Phone lines were cut. There was no mail back and forth. Difficult to imagine, isn’t it? What a great premise for a book. I’m ashamed to admit I had very basic knowledge about the construction of the Berlin Wall and was so excited that the author focussed on the beginning and how the erection of the barrier affected those on both sides of the city. This book spans 1961, when the construction began, and ends in 1989 when it was demolished. It’s well researched and voices on both sides of the wall are evident. It was refreshing to read a book written in a single timeline because it helped my focus. I was shocked at the decisions that had to be made and the sacrifices that resulted. I also was reminded that sometimes choices aren’t straightforward; when the factors influencing choices change, then priorities change. I was in awe of the twins’ sacrifice and endurance. I did have trouble connecting to the characters, but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the book. As I turned over the last page, I started ‘Googling’ to find out more about Berliner's experiences. That’s a sign of a great historical fiction book – it is the catalyst to readers adding to their knowledge on a subject. Quotes that stopped me in my tracks: “It becomes strangely normal after a time. Berliners walk by without a second glance, skirting the barrier as if it’s always been there. The tourists come and go, they look and peer over the Wall to another land, at people who squint their eyes back at the West. They comment on the atrocity and they go away again. The Wall endures.” “In the end, we’re proof, aren’t we – that you can’t control people’s thoughts. What goes on in their heads. Or their hearts.” Publishes July 6, 2021 I was gifted this advance copy by #mandyrobotham #avonbooksuk and #netgally and was under no obligation to provide a review.
A beautiful tale of a devastating time. I am hugely interested in the Berlin Wall, and the way the city suffered. Having visited Berlin numerous times, it was enjoyable to read a book set there, and follow the characters' lives.
What a beautiful and clever mix of nonfiction and fiction! Inspired by true events in 1961-1989 Berlin, Mandy Robotham, the author, wove her own magic into the characters and imaginings. Her giftedness is unreal. The prologue alone is highly informative and evocative. But that, of course, is just the beginning. Read about perseverance, loss, love, trust and hope in impossible circumstances. I was often on tenterhooks, inhaling the atmosphere. August 13, 1961 is undoubtedly forever imprinted on the minds of many who lived through the unbearable anguish of separation due to the man-built "barrier", aka wall. One day, Berlin is bustling as normal. But the very next, literally overnight, lives change with the unrolling of the barbed wire, stacking up cemented blocks and the unrelenting policing and refusal to grant access to either side. The East is controlled by the Soviets, the West by Allies. Though I had thought of this before, of course, the details had not struck me so profoundly until now. No one had any inkling this would happen, no warning. Wives and husbands, parents and kids, siblings, friends, co-workers, all separated...and with nothing with them but what was on their backs. Not only that but residential phones were out of commission. What do you do?? How do you communicate? Who do you trust? Secret police ingratiate and deceive and on the East side there was a "shoot to kill" policy in place. Karin and Jutta, twin sisters, find themselves in this horrific predicament as Karin is on the east recuperating in a hospital while her family and home are all on the west. They are both forced to make very overwhelming choices. We watch them navigate their daily lives, their relationships and new stark realities. They are forced to become enterprising. We also meet other characters including cousin Hugo, Otto, Danny and the girls' parents. Family is everything but sometimes secrets between them are necessary for survival. This book taught me so much and caused me to ask more questions including the layers of defense in the death strip, the "brain drain", the painful emotions...I spent three hours researching it and am glad I did as many details I read were echoed here. If you have the time, do watch some of the heartbreaking YouTube videos, too. The historical details are fascinating and I could instantly imagine being in Germany again. My sincere thank you to Avon Books UK and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this achingly beautiful, chilling and emotionally crushing book.
This book follows the unique stories of twin sisters, Karin and Jutta, separated by a series of circumstances on the evening the Berlin Wall was constructed, resulting in years of little to no communication, but a constant yearning to be reunited. Several years after their separation, by accident or fate, Jutta finds a way through the wall that no one is aware of and bravely crosses through, undetected. Once on the other side, she tracks down Karin and tells her of the secret passage way she's found. Torn by the life and love she'd begun to cultivate and the life she was forced to leave behind on the other side, Karin must decide soon, whether she'll return to her family or possibly say goodbye to her former life forever. I was not intimately familiar with the history surrounding the Berlin Wall and the synopsis pulled me in. Admittedly, I struggled through the first 1/3 of this book but was so intrigued by the story playing out that I was propelled into finishing. By the time the second half hit, I could not put it down and this shamelessly became another "just-one-more-chapter" book on my shelf.
I have been a fan of Mandy Robotham from book one. So, I was intrigued to read The girl behind the wall. It’s the summer of 1961. Jutta and Karin are identical twin sisters and are separated by the erection of the Berlin wall by the GDPR. Jutta is distraught, she has never been separated from her sister and worries about her as she lies in a hospital in East Germany with an expected appendicitis and wonders when she will see her sister again. Jutta does everything to get to see her sister but at first when they apply for a permit to visit the East it is refused. But by chance Jutta finds a way to cross the divide but risking her own life in the process to find out what happened to her sister. Meanwhile, Karin after her recovery is taken in by one of the doctors, as she has nowhere else to go. But when the sisters meet, she doesn’t want to flee the East which is surprising to hear from her sister. Thank you, Avon books, for a copy of The Girl behind the wall. This is a bit different to her previous books. Although this is fiction this is a factual account on how the Berlin wall came about. But also, a story of twin sisters and the sacrifices and heartache they endured to get back together. I did enjoy this but not as much as the others. The story was hard to get into at first but came through at the end. 4 stars from me.
This is another fabulous read from the super talented Mandy Robotham who never fails to give us a satisfying story. I have read all of this authors books and loved each and every one she has the ability to mix a damn good story with historical facts and does it such a way that just makes you want to read and read and I raced through this one. This book is set in Berlin where twin sisters Jutta and Karin get separated when the wall goes up and overnight and they find themselves on opposite sides with no form of communication. It’s a great story which moves at a good pace and the dilemmas both sisters face made it a very compulsive read but then I have found all of Mandy’s books the same she really can weave the fact and fiction so well. So excellent writing as you would expect, well crafted characters that feel real and a wonderful storyline what more can you ask for. I loved the book but I knew I would from the first few pages and so now I’m just waiting for the next and many thanks to Mandy for another wowee of a read ! My thanks also to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for giving me the chance to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Mandy Robotham’s latest novel The Girl Behind the Wall is a fabulous historical interpretation on the time when the Berlin Wall was constructed. I am unfamiliar with other fiction novels that revolve around this topic of life post WWll and of the Berlin Wall being constructed. We are familiar with effects of the wall and what happened when the wall came down, but truth be told I had not knowledge about how people felt about the wall going up and how it effected both sides. My mother always told me to give a book 100 pages and if after that I still didn’t like it then I could stop reading it. I am glad I had her voice in my head. I usually enjoy Robotham’s books so I was disappointed at the very SLOW beginning. The pace got better as did the plot and characters. The story is gripping, lively, profound and exhilarating. Thank you #netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A city divided. When the Berlin Wall goes up, Karin is on the wrong side of the city. Overnight, she’s trapped under Soviet rule in unforgiving East Berlin and separated from her twin sister, Jutta. Two sisters are torn apart. Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the Wall. The historical details are fascinating and I could instantly imagine being in Germany again. I really loved this book, the twists and turns, the narrative, the wonderful cast of complex characters, the history, and the ending. This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
Well what a book. The story of twin sisters in Berlin who find themselves of either side of the Nerlin Wall when it is erected in 1961. The lengths Jutta in the west goes to to see her sister Karin in the east. Just tries to persuade her sister to escape back to the west but Karin is held back by the love for Otto who will not leave the east. They eventually meet again in 1989 when the wall comes down. A very emotional story at times as well as informative of how the East Berliners were treated.
4.5 stars The 1960s is not a period of history I know well and I don’t remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. But the idea of twin sisters separated by the Wall was a great premise and I was curious to learn more about the Berlin of that time as it’s one of my favourite European cities. This book is exactly what historical fiction should be. It’s detailed, raw and intense. At times my heart was racing as I followed the twins on their very different paths. Each girl was relatable and their struggles, successes and sisterly bond were fascinating. Robotham has done her research and I could clearly picture the contrast between East and West, as well as the fear and determination of those on each side. Both Jutta and Karin are strong characters, who know their own mind and are willing to sacrifice a lot for those they love. Supporting characters are also well-written and believable, while the plot is strong and engaging. There is trepidation, resilience and betrayal. But there is also love, loyalty and bravery. This book provides an insight into the families in Berlin that were torn apart by the conflict. It’s an inspiring story of hope and I’m now keen to read more about the time and the people.
I was incredibly excited to read Mandy Robotham's latest novel since becoming quite a fan of her work. The Girl Behind the Wall is an absorbing and fascinating read that is powerful, engaging and emotional. Mandy’s new novel captured me from the beginning as the story continued to unfold and life in Berlin would forever be changed. The Girl Behind the Wall is not a statement about which ideology is right or wrong. Instead, it brings to life the complexities of ties that hold us together through love and family. Throughout the novel, Jutta and Karin make the most of their circumstance. Both sisters risk everything to hold onto those who are most important to them. It is a compelling story and a worthy read for historical fiction lovers who are looking for something a little different than what is currently popular. I enjoyed how the novel explored that nothing is black and white. Though we may not always agree with decisions made by those we love, we can choose to love and support them for who they are despite our personal feelings. The commitment to the family we are born with and the family we choose is beautifully represented in this book. Despite everything, these sisters who are in an impossible situation choose love over separation during a time when division was at the center of their lives. This novel is truly amazing and one I could not put down. Make sure to put it on your must read list for 2021. I highly recommend this book to those who love WWII period genre novels.
The Berlin wall was knocked down in 1989, I was 14 years old and I remember crying while watching it on tv. I never gave much thought of how it impacted families/friends on both sides. Once again, Mandy Robotham wrote a beautiful story. I admit to shedding a few tears at different parts of the book. I’ll be definitely recommending this book to my historical fiction friends. Thank you Mandy Robotham, HarperCollinsPublisher and NetGalley for giving me this advanced copy!
Really enjoyed reading this book. Set in Germany around the time that the Berlin wall separated East and West Berlin, the book explores the personal impact on twin sisters and their families when they are separated one in East Berlin, one in West. Great blend of fact and fiction. Look forward to reading more by this author.
The girl behind the wall by Mandy Robotham. Wow. What a read. Story characters. What Jutta and Karin went through. I really felt for them. I liked the cover. 5*.
Thankyou NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book. A really good read. Full of emotion and shows you that life isn’t always black and white and straight forward. A good read for you staycation this year
I was incredibly excited to read Mandy Robotham's latest novel as I have become quite a fan of her work! The Girl Behind the Wall did not disappoint and it was truly a pleasure to be given a digital ARC. Thank you, Avon Books and Netgalley. The Girl Behind the Wall is not a statement about which ideology is right or wrong. Instead, it brings to life the complexities of ties that hold us together through love and family. Throughout the novel, Jutta and Karin make the most of their circumstance. Both sisters risk everything to hold onto those who are most important to them. It is a compelling story and a worthy read for historical fiction lovers who are looking for something a little different than what is currently popular. I enjoyed that the novel explored that nothing is black and white. Though we may not always agree with the decisions that those we love make, we can choose to love and support them for who they are despite our feelings. The commitment to the family we are born with and the family that we choose is beautifully represented in this book. Despite everything, these sisters who are in an impossible situation choose love over division during a time when division was at the centre of their lives. I am always impressed by books that teach me something new. The Girl Behind the Wall brought me to a time and place that I was greatly uninformed about. For this, I give the book bonus points! If you have read any of Robotham’s prior novels and enjoyed them, you are sure to find this one to be a hit!
I expected another detailed and accurate historical fiction book from this author – akin to that of her previously published work “The Secret Messenger”. I did not expect this book to have so much emotion, and to cause such a visceral emotion in me as a reader – keep tissues handy (and maybe some chocolate). A relatively unexplored period in German history, this book tackles the Berlin Wall and the physical, emotional, and social divisions it caused. We follow a family torn apart by the barrier, including identical twins, separated not due to their living situations, but due to a terribly and unfortunately timed business trip. After one twin – Karin – undergoes emergency surgery, she is locked in East Berlin. I will admit that my historical knowledge of this event was very small, so I did have to google or research certain areas (but that was definitely my own curiosity and was not a fault I can attribute to the author). The Berlin Wall was torn down ten years before I was born (something I was admittedly shocked about – how long it took to remove that barrier). This is everything you want in women's historical fiction, beautifully done! Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this amazing historical novel. This review is completely honest and uninfluenced by any others.
The Rabbit Hole Different from other books I have read, this is a story of the city of Berlin and the beginning of the wall to separate the East from the west. This is a story of suspense, danger, love, friendship, and betrayal. The story of choices made that changed lives. The war is over, or is it? For the city of Berlin, Germany it is divided between West Berlin and East Berlin. Life goes on much the same, West Berliners work in East Berlin and some East Berliners work and shop in West Berlin. Then one day when everyone wakes up there is a barbed wire wall keeping the East Berliners in and the West Berliners out. Soon the wall becomes a permanent concrete wall. Two sisters Karin, and Jutta are separated by the wall. Karin is stuck in East Berlin and is refused passage home to West Berlin. She has to build a life in East Berlin and soon meets Otto and falls in love. Meanwhile, Jutta is doing everything possible to get passage to see her two in East Berlin. She is refused with every agency and every request. One day, Jutta finds a way from West Berlin to East Berlin. She calls it a rabbit hole. She slips through and visits her sister. It is very dangerous to go through the passage from west to east and back. The Stasi are everywhere, they even have informers in West Berlin. Her sister has to make a heartbreaking choice, stay in East Berlin or make a desperate escape to the west and leave the boy she loves behind. I loved the characters in the story. I liked the character of Jutta and the characters of Walter and Otto. The nosy neighbor of Karin's was comical. The story is very well written and a refreshing change from the WWII books in that it is focusing on the Cold War. I enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it. Thanks to Mandy Robotham, Avon Books U.K. And NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy for an honest review.
I was extremely naive about the Berlin Wall as it was before my time but loved learning more through this book and am interested in reading more.
Date reviewed/posted: May 26, 2021 Publication date: June 1, 2021 (UK - September 7, 2021, in the USA) When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #thirdwave ( #fourthwave #fifthwave?) is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. Plus it is hot as all heck and nothing is more appealing than sitting in front of a fan with a kindle.! I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. The highly-awaited new novel from the author of internationally bestselling WWII fiction. A city divided. *************************************** When the Berlin Wall goes up, Karin is on the wrong side of the city. Overnight, she’s trapped under Soviet rule in unforgiving East Berlin and separated from her twin sister, Jutta. Two sisters are torn apart. *************************************** Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the Wall. But Karin finds one reason to keep going: Otto, the man who gives her hope, even amidst the brutal East German regime. One impossible choice… *************************************** When Jutta finds a hidden way through the wall, the twins are reunited. But the Stasi have eyes everywhere, and soon Karin is faced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West and be with her sister, or sacrifice it all to follow her heart? I was surprised when I saw this book about two things - it was not WWII, Miss Robotham's usual oeuvre and that so many fellow reviewers didn't like it. It seemed like people either loved it or loathed it - I am of the former not the latter. Yes, it does drag a tiny bit at times, but the book is a stellar piece of historical fiction about a piece of history not many people have written about. If you have not read any of her books before, jump on that bandwagon ... she is an INCREDIBLE author! I will recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, book clubs, people reading books in the park, and strangers on the tube who are also reading: I find that once they figure out that I am a Canadian and not a Trump-loving MAGA-idiot they like to discuss books. (lol!) As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🧱 🧱 🧱 🧱 🧱 (anyone who appreciated today's construction standards that take YEARS to get through can appreciate how a wall went up overnight!)
I can pretty much guarantee now that when I pick up a Mandy Robotham book I am about to embark on a journey and learn about a place and time I knew very little about. Very informative read about life in East and West Berlin during the time of the Berlin Wall. Robotham’s has a way with characters that always draw me in and tug on my heart strings, Karin and Jutta are identical twins living in West Berlin but when chaos issues and a wall starts to be formed in the middle of the night Karin finds herself trapped on the East side of the wall unable to communicate with her family. A wonderfully detailed look at lives on both sides of the wall. The control and fear the Stasi instilled in the people of the East and how things differed on the other side of the wall. Another great read from Robotham! Can’t wait to see what she creates next. Thank you to Avon Book UK and Net Galley for the advanced copy.
One day you can travel freely across Berlin, the next a barrier has appeared overnight locking residents into their side- the GDR or West Germany. Jutta and her twin Rose are trapped on opposite sides of the wall, suddenly unable to communicate, after Rose is hospitalized the night before the wall appears. This is a story which is based on the experience of real Berliners. The appearance of the wall, the struggle to try and find a way through, the Stasi and the Border Guards. A good story covering a turbulent period of history.
Karin and Jutta are twins living with their mother and their aunt and uncle in West Germany. Karin collapses one day and is taken to the hospital in East Germany. That night, the wall/barrier is constructed, separating Karin from her family. Karin is not given a pass to go home when she is well, and lives with the doctor and his wife. Jutta and her family are also not given a pass to visit Karin. Then, Jutta finds a way thru the wall.
This was such an interesting premise - twins separated by a hospitalisation for emergency surgery on the night that the Berlin Wall went up. Loved the short chapters, kept thinking just going to read another one and read the whole book in one setting. The epilogue was really good as well. Thoroughly recommend I was given an advance copy by netgalley and the publishers but the review is entirely my own
Another winner from Mandy Robotham for sure! The Girl Behind the Wall brings the reader back to Germany, but this time post WW2. Jutta and Karin are twins, living in West Berlin with their family. When the wall goes up overnight, an accident of location leaves Karin trapped in East Berlin with no means of getting back to her family. While Jutta struggles to find a way to reunite with Karin in the West, Karin adapts to the East including finding love. When Jutta finds a breach in the wall, the twins are faced with choices between family and love. I already have read and loved several of the author's earlier books, so the opportunity to read this one was wonderful. I really enjoyed learning more about the daily life in East and West Berlin, having only been about 12 when the Wall was torn down. The descriptions, especially of Karin's life in the East, really brought the story alive.
For many years, the Berlin Wall separated East and West Berlin, dividing not only the city but in some cases entire families as well. That is exactly the situation in The Girl Behind the Wall by Mandy Robotham. Imagine waking up one morning to find that your twin sister is stuck on the other side of the wall. Using all available resources, they try to reunite but without success for most of the book. Robotham, well know for her World War II novels, takes on a similar but different topic in this work. The focus is not on which side was right or wrong--although the portrayal of the East German Stasi was chilling, but instead how the wall impacted this particular family. The bonds unique to twins as well as families in general, and the tension between family and love are displayed. Robotham provides background information on how decisions made during World War II impacted the main characters in the Cold War era. Robotham portrays characters in the Communinst East Berlin who are kind, caring and compassionate as well as characters in the West who look out only for themselves and vice versa. While today, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 seems like it was some time ago and World War II way before then, this story was a great reminder that these events are still recent history and impacted real people. The Girl Behind the Wall is an excellent look at a part of history that is often over-looked. I received a complementary copy from NetGalley. I am not required to provide a positive review.
This was a very interesting read and I really appreciated the amount of research the author must have put into the book. I found it quite slow to start and it took me a while to get into but the short chapters made it quick to pick up pace. I found the relationship between the two sisters amazing and loved how connected they were. I don't tend to read a lot of historical fiction but would definitely recommend this one.
Thank you NetGalley and AvonUK for my ARC of The Girl Behind the Wall in exchange for my honest review. This book set in Berlin when identical twins sisters Karin and Jutta are separated over night by the Berlin Wall, with no form of communication. This book hits the ground running and leaves you breathless with each turn of the page. It’s a beautifully written story, with shorter chapters, and honestly probably a new historical fiction favorite of mine. This was my first read by this author, but it will not be the last. I loved the dilemmas each sister faced, the complexity of the story, and just how deeply it touched me. Hands down an amazing book!!
Fate can be cruel. And only history can create stories as brutal and heartbreaking as this one. Twins, Jutta and Karin, had never been separated until suddenly and incomprehensibly they found themselves on opposite sides of the ‘antifascist protection barrier” that had been erected overnight. Robotham cleverly blends her research of the time period of the Berlin Wall with an engaging storyline of love, loss, and resilience. Just as this time period cultivated strong feeling, emotion is deeply seeped into the fabric of this story. Robotham’s depiction of Jutta and Karin’s situation made me feel the utter helplessness, immense despair, and life altering sadness that they encountered. At each juncture, they faced impossible decisions. Life was complex for the twins and often felt as if it, rather than the wall, was crashing down. Robotham storyline gives us a glimpse into the overnight and long term impact the wall had on families on both sides of the wall. I lived in Germany for many years, so I am forever drawn back there through literature. While I’ve read many books set throughout the history of Germany, this is the first novel I’ve come across that covers the overnight construction and longevity of the Berlin Wall. The storyline and writing drew me back to the streets of Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie, the afternoons in coffee shops, and walking the portion of the Berlin Wall that still stands. The story is rich in history, and because of that, it had a very slow start. But once the historic framework is set, the pace of the story gains momentum. Short chapters partnered with changing point of view and the need to know what becomes of the twins makes the rest of the book compelling. Thank you Mandy Robotham, Avon Books UK, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.
[Thanks NetGalley for providing me the ARC in return for an honest review.] The wall, and its effect on a family. There are those few places around the world that have seen a homogeneous group of people getting separated by a gash in geography - wall, fence, newly drawn borders etc. Be it the Korean border, the Israel-Palestine border, the now infamous US-Mexico border / wall or even the India-Pakistan border closer home, borders and walls have had the tendency to crop up in a short notice, ending up separating families for a long time, or sometimes eternity. The Berlin Wall is special in this context, given the intention behind the cropping up of the wall in the 60s as well as the way it was brought down in front of Live Media of the 90s. On the one hand, the fall of the wall was hailed as the promising restoration of democracy, on the other hand there would always be the story of the 'other side' - people who may not necessarily have had a bad life after all. Personally, I found this book very interesting - as my first book set in the backdrop of Germany / Berlin from the 60s to 90s Era. More importantly, the handling of characters - the inseparable twins getting separated, each trying all possible ways to keep their binding thread strong, at the same time pursuing personal goals and ideals that may come in the way of their binding thread - the entire premise and narration was tight and gripping. I liked the fact that each chapter was small - it helped me move forward quicy with the story, covering a few or many chapters in a day depending on the time available for reading. There were a few elements that could have been better - some of the characters could have been given more prominence and background - like that of the girs' uncle, who seemed to have a key role in shaping up the girls' lives. On the other hand, the need for an American to swoop down and save the girl, after all the courage she had shown seemed to be a little out of place (personally). Also, some of the sequences involved on either side of the wall seemed too easy to be realistic. I might need a further reading of the wall's history to say this with certainty though. All of the above points take nothing away from the story, which was paced perfectly, and accelerates quickly towards the end for a feel good finish. I am very happy to have taken up this book for reading.
The Girl Behind the Wall by Mandy Robotham is post World War II Germany Historical Fiction with romance, thrills and suspense. The Berlin Wall goes up in August of 1961 and Germany is again devastated by the evils of socialism. The Berlin Wall separates twin sisters in East and West Germany. The sisters are trapped and their lives controlled by the GDR in East Germany with one on the East side of the wall and the other on the West side.The Communism of East Germany and the terror of the Stasi rivals the National Socialist Party (Nazi) Gestapo of an earlier Germany. The evil portrayed appears so similar, was the Communist Stasi a continuation of the Socialist Gestapo rebranded? A well researched book that has great historical value based on the oppression in East Germany exposing the destructive force of socialism in any era. I have enjoyed all of Ms. Robotham‘s books and especially appreciate the historical details. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book. 5 Stars
Karin and Jutta Voigt are identical twin sisters living in Germany. Karin wanted to go out but her family urged her to stay home because she was not feeling well. Does she listen to her family? Nope. Well she has a gall bladder attack and is taken to a hospital. The problem is, a wall is put up to separate Germany into the East and West. Karin is trapped and Jutta makes it her mission to bring Karin home and finds an access to do so. However, Karin has a new life and may not want to join her sister. Jutta has another big issue on her hands to contend with. My thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to review this excellent book with characters you want to root for. Highly recommend.
Gripping from the start. Two twins separated from each other when the Berlin Wall goes up. Karin who is in hospital at the time finds herself cut off from the rest of her family. Jutta is determined to see her sister, with the intent on getting her to come home, finds a passageway through. Both are always looking over their shoulders trying to keep the identity of the other a secret, anxiously seeing each other when they can. Two parallel lives each with their own story, both able to reunite in 1989 when the wall is taken down. A gem of a story about family, love and friendship. I enjoyed the pace of this book and felt an immediate connection to Karin and Jutta. It’s thought provoking and has made me think about how different lives were on the East compared to the West side of the wall. A definite recommendation for anyone who likes historical fiction.
With thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for an early copy in return for an honest review. I recently read a children's book called A Night Divided about the night the wall went up and what happened to a family afterwards. It was the first book I read on this time period and instantly wanted more, so I was delighted when I see this book was coming out. It was another fascinating book on this time period and if there are families looking to learn more about this time period I'd recommend The Girl Behind the Wall for the adults and A Night Divided for the kids. Mandy Robotham did an excellent job researching the book and I thought she did a good job capturing the differences between East and West Berlin during Jutta's trips across the wall. I also appreciated the flash forward to 1989 at the end of the story to get an update on where the characters were then.
This is the second book by this author and I loved it! Such a fast paced read! Historical fiction at its best! Highly highly recommend
I’ve read other books by this author and always found them to be well written and researched novels. “The Girl Behind the Wall” certainly lived up to this expectation and I was gripped from the very first page. Being a baby boomer and having studied German history as part of my University Degree in the 1980s I was well aware of the origins of the Berlin Wall and the fact that East Berlin was part of a totalitarian regime whereas West Berlin was an enclave in the middle of the Communist East. What I didn’t really think about was the heartache that it must have caused within families when relatives were trapped on either side. I did not realise how the wall appeared suddenly overnight with no warning and nor was I aware how easy it had been to move between the two zones before it was there. I certainly remember, however, the celebration in 1989 when it came down. I really enjoyed this human story about twins who were separated by chance when the wall was erected. Jutta’s courage and single mindedness at trying to find her twin and maintain contact was very moving. The use of twins to illustrate the divide and differences between East and West was an excellent plot device although both characters were also very well drawn, believable and appealing to me as a reader of fiction. I felt that the author had thoroughly researched the subject and described the setting extremely well. I had my heart in my mouth every time Jutta crossed over to find Karin- the feeling of being watched and the danger of the Stasi was only too real. This was a thoroughly engrossing read which I highly recommend to all lovers of modern historical fiction and it’s definitely a five star read for me. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my arc in exchange for an honest review.
"The Girl Behind the Wall" by Mandy Robotham Release Date: 7.6.2021 Summer, 1961. Twin sisters Jutta and Karin reside in Berlin; they never lived apart. Overnight, Karin is trapped under Soviet rule in East Berlin, while Jutta lives on the west side of the wall. This is only due to the location of the hospital Karin is a surgical patient at the time of the construction of the wall! Jutta finds a way to be reunited with Karin, through a secret way through the wall. They are reunited and begin visiting each other at a coffee shop. Soon, Jutta realizes they are being watched and begs her sister to cross the wall with her, coming home to her family and friends. It is an impossible decision for Karin. She can return home with her sister or stay on the eastern side with Otto, the man she loves. Wow! Mandy Robotham does it again! Through alternating chapters, readers feel the emotion and anguish each identical twin felt. Short chapters helped this book fly by, even though I did not want it to end. I truly wanted to shake Karin quite a few times, but the power of love supercedes any clear thinking. Thank you to @netgalley, for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review. #netgalley #netgalleyreads #netgalleyreview #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #historicalfiction #readersofinstagram #historicalfiction2021 #2021bookreleases #worldwariifiction
Karin and Jutta are twins separated by the building of the Berlin Wall. Karin on the East Germany side after being stuck there following emergency surgery and Jutta on the West Germany side with their family. Jutta does everything she can to get to her sister to no avail...until she discovers an odd hole in the Wall. Over the next few years, there are visits between the sisters and letters to their mother. Over time, their secret is discovered by those wanting Jutta to carry messages through the hole. The sisters are constantly looking over their shoulders in fear of the Stasi, the secret police of West Germany. A young man neither sister knows pops up wherever they are and they wonder if they have been discovered. While I am usually a fan of World War II historical fiction, I have to say that this was a nice change of pace. I found the story to be well researched and well told. The short chapters made the story easier to read and I was constantly picking it back up because I could breeze through them and still enjoy the story. I will have to go back and read Robotham's other historical fictions as I know I will enjoy them.
Identical twin sisters, Jutta and Karin, share an enviable thread that is about to be tested to its limits when Karin insists on travelling to the Eastern part of Berlin, despite not feeling so great. Normally, Jutta would have gone with her, but this time Karin can’t wait for her sister. That night, their cousin, Hugo, an upcoming news reporter for the radio, hears rumblings of a story. He drags Jutta out with him to see what is going on, riding on his motorbike past all the checkpoints that mark the dividing line between East and West Berlin. Except the checkpoints are all closed and frenetic activity sees the making of a more permanent division, concrete and barbed wire split the city in two as the Berlin Wall goes up with Karin still in the East, after a ruptured appendix sees her hospitalised. Jutta and the family in the West aren’t able to visit her but they can see no reason why she wouldn’t be allowed to return home once she recovers. Well, no reason other than the German Democratic Republic not granting her permission to leave – but they wouldn’t be so inflexible, would they? Hell, yeah. When Karin recovers, her path to the West has been blocked and she has to accept the offer of her kind doctor to move in with him and his wife for the time being. Every step is considered temporary at first … until it not longer is. Jutta is refused access to visit and Karin is refused permission to leave. The two young women who have never been apart are suddenly plunged into a new reality, never really understanding why their applications consistently fail. (The reason does become known eventually, but all too late for them) Karin gets a job as a cleaner in the hospital, thanks again to the doctor, and has to come to terms with the fact that her life is now in East Berlin. Initially, she wants to leave, to go home to her family until she meets and falls in love with Otto, whose ambition is to rebuild East Germany from within as an architect. He has no real attachment to the West and only sees a future for him and his family – and Karin – in the East. Jutta, from the other side of the Wall, is desperate to get her sister home, especially when letters aren’t getting through and telephone lines are down permanently. Her One day, when she is walking the length of the Wall, she hears the mewing of a cat and follows the sound to find a mother cat and her kittens in a deserted building that flanks the Wall. She gives the cat her lunch and explores a labyrinth of doors and rooms and ultimately a window that looks out into East Berlin. She risks going over the window, checking carefully for any onlookers and lands with dusty knees in East Berlin, whereupon she heads for the hospital in the hope they know where Karin might now be. From here, the pace picks up as there is danger around every corner and Jutta’s paranoia reaches new heights. Even so, she continues, her desire to find her sister worth the risk. A connection is made … but the reunion is a far cry from what Jutta expects. Karin is more alert to the dangers, but she also aware that her escape from the East could put those who looked out for her in danger too. And, of course, she has grown fond of Otto, too fond to consider a life without him. Jutta, forlorn and disappointed, begs Karin to convince Otto to leave the East too and the two women meet up more often from then on. Jutta’s determination to bring Karin home knows no bounds, and she cannot understand why her sister might choose to stay with Otto than to return to her family. It is not until Jutta finds love herself that she begins to understand, and while the two of them continue their very different lives, each time they meet up Jutta still hopes that Karin can persuade Otto to leave too. The danger intensifies as Jutta is mistaken for Karin, and a familiar face keeps popping up which sets them both on edge. Have they been found out? Are they under surveillance? The mood is tense, and grows more unnerving with each visit. What began as two sisters divided by the Wall has now evolved into them having others in their lives that mean as much – if not more – to them than they do to each other. And for twins who have only really ever relied upon each other, it’s hard to accept, and even harder to admit to the other that other people are important to them too. The Girl Behind The Wall is a story of decisions and sacrifices that threaten to tear a family apart. It’s emotional, tense, and highly addictive. So many families were broken up at this time, so many lives were lost as people attempted to flee, and so much mistrust and division was sown among communities as neighbours spied on neighbours. Thankfully, the Wall did come down eventually, but for so many it was too late. For Jutta and Karin, however, there was always hope and a thread between them that nothing could destroy. Many thanks to Netgalley, Avon books and HarperCollins for my advanced copy of this book which I have reviewed voluntarily.
Anyone born after 1980, 41 years ago, has really no memory of the Berlin Wall and all it symbolized. Two generations of people, of not more, have no concept of how divisive the wall was. Mandy Robotham explores that in a great historical fiction work of two sisters, twins, cut off from each other in Aug. 1961. I was thrilled to read recent historical fiction. I think she captures the full gamut of emotions very well. Some of the middle part of the book might not have been too plausible, but that’s why it’s fiction. I remember the day the wall came down vividly, the joy and excitement. No one should forget that and this book is a testament to those feelings.
Karin and Jutta are twins and as close as twins can be. The both live in West Berlin but one night when Karin is in East Berlin the wall goes up between East and west and Karin is stuck in the East. The sisters and their family are devastated when Karin cannot get a pass back to the west even although she was born there. Jutta tries everything she can think of to be reunited with her twin until one day suddenly there is an opportunity. This will be very dangerous for Jutta but she does what she feels she has to do to see Karin. Oh my goodness, what a page turner. My heart was in my mouth for most of this book. I became quite annoyed at Karin at one point as I felt that Jutta was taking all the risks and Karin wasn't being honest with her. I didn't know much about the Berlin Wall which I'm ashamed of but I did a lot of googling about it while reading this book. The fear that was installed in the East German people was horrific, it must have felt like wartime once again. I never fail to be amazed at how brave ordinary people can be in troubled times. This is the first book I've read by this author but her other books look to be equally as good.
I usually don't go for historial fiction as I am a crime/thriller fan. However, this book was great. Mandy Robotham has a excellent style of writing. If you love historical fiction you will enjoy this book. Thank you to Mandy Robotham, NetGalley and Avon Books UK for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Having previously read all of Mandy Robothams’ books I couldn’t wait for this, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this prior to the release having previously reviewed similar books. I have found a new love for historical fiction which mostly focuses on WWII history. I have very little knowledge regarding the Berlin Wall, so this was such a great book to read. The historical details Mandy Robotham depicts are amazing and well researched. Set in the 1960s, a beautiful and emotional story about the devision of Twin sisters caused by the wall within East and West Berlin.
The Girl Behind The Wall by Mandy Robotham explores an era in history that I am less than familiar with, I do have some vague memories of the Berlin Wall coming down but I was a child at the time and had no real understanding of its significance. In this book the author explores how the shocking and hasty closing of the border in Berlin, splitting the city into East and West also divided families with shocking cruelty. Jutta and Karin are twins, living in the West of the city, but a twist of fate means that on the night the Wall goes up and the border closes Karin is trapped in a hospital in the East. While the author largely focuses on Jutta and her attempts to reunite with her sister, we do also get glimpses of what life was like for Karin , living under the scrutiny and oppression of the Soviet Regime. Both sisters are faced with tough decisions and they may not always agree with each others choices but they never stop thinking about each other. The pacing of the book is slow at first, and it does cover a long period of time but it does pick up in the second half and the ending is both dramatic and satisfying. I enjoyed the level of historical detail in the book , especially since it was a place and time that I had not read about before, and it is clear that not only has the author done her research, she is also very skilled at weaving the fruits of that research into the story. I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the Publisher, all opinions are my own.
A wonderful book I highly recommend reading. I knew little of the Berlin wall and the time Germany was separated, though I do remember the wall coming down. Having read this I now realise how momentous this was for Germany. This is essentially the story of the wall told from a family's point of view, and one that is split between East and West - how their lives differ and how they cope with being separated. Having read this I'd be interested in learning more about the wall and the lives surrounding it. I had previously read another of Mandy Robotham's books and this one was just as good so I look forward to reading more - I feel they are always so well researched but tell the story from a truly human point of view. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and publisher for my arc.
The Girl Behind The Wall by Mandy Robotham is a compelling historical novel set in the early 1960’s in Berlin as the wall went up to divide the East from the West. Mandy Robotham has perfectly captured the atmosphere of fear and confusion as Berliners are trapped on either side of the wall. “They are Berliners, first and foremost.” United by the city but divided by the wall. “As the wall climbs higher, life as we know it comes crashing down.” The reader witnesses the courage of one young woman determined to see her sister. As the tension rose, so did my heart rate. All the characters were well drawn and realistic. Life continues to press forwards no matter which side of the wall you inhabit. As a child of the 1960’s I remember the divide in Berlin until the wall came down in 1989. This book has awakened memories in me from the news reports of my childhood. I really enjoyed The Girl Behind The Wall. It was both exciting and educational. I received a free copy from Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.
There are many books that focus on Europe during WWII, but this book offered a fascinating glimpse of a different, though related, era. It did what every good historical fiction book does - takes me to a different time and place in history to learn about it first hand. This book told the story of identical twins, born in what would become West Berlin during the days of Hitler and the Second World War. However, the book takes place when the twins are in their 20s and starts the day the wall goes up dividing West and East Berlin. One sister is caught unexpectedly in East Berlin when the wall goes up, and thus changes the course of her, and her family's, life. We get to see what life was like in Berlin while the wall stood dividing it. A fast paced, compelling read.
The Girl Behind the Wall was set in the sixties when the Berlin wall was erected. The story is about twin girls that became separated on the day the wall was built. I knew there was a wall in Germany but did not know why or how the wall became to be. I was interested in the storyline and surprised when I found out how East Germany was ruled differently than West Germany. I enjoyed this read and would encourage others to read it also. Thank you NetGalley and Mandy Robotham for a great read.
The Girl Behind the Wall is both a heart warming and heart wrenching story of how the Berlin Wall built in 1961 not only divided a city but families, friends and people's way of life. Jutta and Karin are inseparable twins and Karin is on the wrong side of the Wall the day it goes into effect. It is not only their story but the story of East and West Berlin and Mandy Robotham has done an amazing job describing both. I felt like I was right there, though I can not imagine. The Girl Behind The Wall is historical fiction at its best. Thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK, Avon for a story that will stay with me for a very long time.
This is the second novel I have read by Mandy Robotham and have found both of them rewarding. While some elements in the story may strain credulity, it is factually accurate and the emotions do reflect that time in history. Robotham weaves such an engrossing story, it was difficult to put the book down. There has been much written recently about wartime Berlin; it was refreshing to read about the post WWII Cold War era. As a reader who always wants to know “what happened next?”, I was appreciative of the Epilogue which took place in 1993….it answered that question as well as at least one that arose while reading about the 1960s.
This is the first time I have read a book about the Berlin wall. I loved learning about this time in history. I liked that the story really jump started right at the beginning. I appreciated that it didn't take forever for the sisters to be separated, it made the book very fast-paced. I didn't ever consider that people would be separated by the introduction of the wall overnight. Thinking about how families were separated because they were working or visiting was heartbreaking. I thought this was a great book, and I highly recommend it for historical fiction fans!
Spanning the years of the Berlin Wall, this is the story of Karin and Jutta, twin sisters who are separated by the divide. Karin was in the hospital in East Berlin after an emergency appendectomy when the Wall went up, sealing her fate. She builds a life there. Jutta never gives up on Karin and, at great personal risk finds a way to visit her. They both tell their own stories a device that works especially well in this case. Robotham writes sweeping historical fiction and this exploration of life in Germany during the Cold War is no exception. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read.
I enjoyed this book for many reasons. For one, I enjoyed the characters and their connection to each other. I liked the different era and setting for historical fiction. I have even been to what’s left of the Berlin Wall and I admit I didn’t know much about the history. It was neat to read a story with that as the backdrop. This is the second book I have read by Mandy Robotham. I’d recommend it to anyone with the same book taste as I.
When the Berlin Wall goes up, Karin is on the wrong side of the city. Overnight, she is trapped under Soviet rule in unforgiving East Berlin and separated from her twin sister, Jutta. Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the wall. But Karin finds one reason to keep going: Otto, the man who gives her hope. When Jutta finds a way through the wall, the twins are reunited. But the Stasi have eyes everywhere and soon Karin is forced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West to be with her sister or sacrifice it all to follow her heart, Thirteenth August 1961: Jutta wakes in the middle of the night to witness the first closing of West Berlin from the East. Her twin sister is stuck in hospital on the East side of the wall. This is a good insight into the rise of the Berlin Wall and the effects it could have on family lives who were separated by it. This is an emotional book to read as it tells of the physical and social divisions. This is a well written story and people who like historical novels will love this book. I would like to thank #NetGalley #AvonBooksUK and the author #MandyRobtham for my ARC of #TheGirlBehindTheWall in exchange for an honest review.
Robotham was a journalist and then a midwife before becoming a best-selling author. Her previous books were "The German Midwife", "The Secret Messenger" and "The Berlin Girl". This new one is set in Berlin during the years 1961-63, just after the Berlin wall was put in place. The story features twin sisters Jutta and Karin, in their early twenties and living in West Berlin. When the wall goes up Karin finds herself trapped on the east side after having visited the evening before and needing emergency appendicitis surgery. Jutta is desperate to get her home, but all attempts are failing. Eventually Jutta finds a way to travel between the two sides and risks everything to see her sister. The story does a wonderful job of detailing the early days of the wall's construction and the agony it caused families separated by it. It is a great recommendation to fans of historical fiction wanting a different time period than WWII. I really enjoyed it.
Twin sisters Jutta and Karin are separated overnight when the Berlin Wall goes up! This story follows them leading parallel lives on opposite sides of the wall. Karin is in the East and Jutta is in the West. Years later Jutta finds a hidden way through the wall but will Karin be ready to go back with her. I loved all that I learned about the Berlin Wall while reading this story! I am a sucker for historical fiction books where I learn something new. There is so much that I didn’t know about it. The chapters are short, so I felt like the book flowed between the two characters well. If you love historical fiction this may be on for you!
I absolutely love historical fiction like this. It took me awhile to get into but I ended up really enjoying it. I feel like the time surrounding the Berlin Wall is one overlooked in fiction so I greatly appreciated reading about it here.
Thank you NetGalley and AVON/HarperCollins Publishers for a copy of "The Girl Behind the Wall" in exchange for my honest review. Ms. Robotham has once again written an engaging and thought provoking book. It took us back in time to the years the Berlin Wall stood. The story starts on 13 August 1961 in what was then known as West Berlin - an area controlled by allies Britain, France and America. Jutta Voight and her cousin Hans are out in the streets trying to figure out what is happening overnight in their city. Hugo works for Radio Free Berlin so he is out there reporting on events. Jutta has a twin sister Karin and her appendix burst and she is caught in East Berlin as the Charité Hospital. It would not have been a problem - had a wall not gone up overnight. Though in the East it is not a "wall" but rather an "anti-fascist protection barrier." It is meant to keep the insidious evil of capitalism from infecting the GDR State. Karin wakes in the hospital and is confused as to why her family ahs not come to visit her. Doctors, teachers, engineers were all fleeing to the West and this wall was meant to keep East Germans from bleeding out through the border to the other side of the Iron Curtain. Phone lines, telex were cut to the West. Mail was no longer moving back and forth. Permission needed to be applied for the cross the border. Karin somehow manages with the help of a kindly doctor (Dr. Walter Simms) to get a message to her family that she is recovering. Thinking that once she is well she would be allowed to return home, she is full of disbelief when her request is denied. The story continues to be told in the two perspectives - East and West Berlin - in the voices of the two sisters. Dr. Simms and his wife Christel took Karin under their wing, they helped her get a job at the hospital. Karin then meets Otto Kruger and she falls in love. When Jutta finds a way through the wall and is able to get to Karin, she doesn't understand why her sister doesn't want to return home immediately with her. While everyone thought the wall would come down in a few weeks or months, the years go on - President John F. Kennedy makes his famous visit. Jutta herself meets Danny Strachan an American soldier and she falls in love - starting to understand how Karin feels about Otto. There is an interesting character only referred to as the Boy Vopo for most of the book - we later learn that his name is Erich Meixner. Jutta runs into him every time she crosses the border. He plays an important part in the story and it is shocking when we learn who he really is and what he is doing. The story ends on 11 November 1989 when all the different threads of the story are unraveled and the reader learns all the details of what really happened through the long years the twins were separated. The shock of who Jutta thought the informant was and who it turned out to be. Once again a highly recommended book by Ms. Robotham as all her previous books. Definitely looking forward to her next one.