The Berlin Letters

A Cold War Novel

Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon, P. J. Ochlan
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Pub Date Mar 05 2024 | Archive Date Apr 05 2024

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Description

Bestselling author Katherine Reay returns with an unforgettable tale of the Cold War and a CIA code breaker who risks everything to free her father from an East German prison.

From the time she was a young girl, Luisa Voekler has loved solving puzzles and cracking codes. Brilliant and logical, she’s expected to quickly climb the career ladder at the CIA. But while her coworkers have moved on to thrilling Cold War assignments—especially in the exhilarating era of the late 1980s—Luisa’s work remains stuck in the past decoding messages from World War II.

Journalist Haris Voekler grew up a proud East Berliner. But as his eyes open to the realities of postwar East Germany, he realizes that the Soviet promises of a better future are not coming to fruition. After the Berlin Wall goes up, Haris finds himself separated from his young daughter and all alone after his wife dies. There’s only one way to reach his family—by sending coded letters to his father-in-law who lives on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

When Luisa Voekler discovers a secret cache of letters written by the father she has long presumed dead, she learns the truth about her grandfather’s work, her father’s identity, and why she has never progressed in her career. With little more than a rudimentary plan and hope, she journeys to Berlin and risks everything to free her father and get him out of East Berlin alive.

As Luisa and Haris take turns telling their stories, events speed toward one of the twentieth century’s most dramatic moments—the fall of the Berlin Wall and that night’s promise of freedom, truth, and reconciliation for those who lived, for twenty-eight years, behind the bleak shadow of the Iron Curtain’s most iconic symbol.

Bestselling author Katherine Reay returns with an unforgettable tale of the Cold War and a CIA code breaker who risks everything to free her father from an East German prison.

From the time she was a...


Available Editions

EDITION Audiobook, Unabridged
ISBN 9781400243082
PRICE
DURATION 11 Hours, 48 Minutes, 31 Seconds

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 99 members


Featured Reviews

I had not long turned 14 when the Berlin Wall came down to immense celebration, signalling the end of the cold war and a new era of peace in th world. It was such a momentus memory, that I was intrigued to listen to The Berlin Letters, written by Katherine Reay and narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon and P. J. Ochlan.

I remember learning about the divide in school, seeing the footage of people trying to cross the divide and not succeeding (I feel old saying this, but there was much less censorship for teens in the late 80s, especially when it came to learning about the two great wars and their ramifications

Ergo, I was intrigued to listen to this audiobook and I was not disappointed. The book begins when CIA code breaker Luisa Voekleris just 3 years old, and with her mother on the way to visit her mothers parents. However, on the way, their journey is barred by barbed wire and guards with guns. Overnight, Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev recommended to East Germany that it close off access between East and West Berlin on an ideological basis. On the night of August 12-13, 1961, East German soldiers laid down more than 30 miles of barbed wire barriers through the centre of Berlin. In a desperate act, Luisa's mother risks her life and passes Luisa over the barricade to Luisa's Grandfather, but cannot get over the barrier herself

Fast forward to Washington 1989, and Luisa is working as a code breaker when she discovers a cache of letters which leasds her to discover that her father is still alive and in prison in Germany. Not able to secure any assistance in the US, Luisa flies to West Germany to reunite with her father which is a significantly harder endeavour than she could have ever imagined

Beautifully written, honest, emotive and lyrical. A stunning novel that is very well researched andreflective of an essential part of global history and the impact it had on the people of Berlin

Thank you to Netgalley, HarperCollins Focus, Harper Muse, the author Katherine Reay and the narrators Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon and P. J. Ochlan for this outstanding ALC. My review is left voluntarily and all opinins are my own

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Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Focus, Harper Muse, for the free audiobook in exchange for my honest review. This is narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon, and P. J. Ochlan, all of whom do an exceptional job!!! I highly recommend the audio book if that is of interest to you.

I have not read many historical fiction novels about the day Russia permanently separated East Berlin from West Berlin with a solid concrete wall. The wall went up unexpectedly and instantaneously divided friends, families, employees, and even buildings. This is a well written and researched story that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Louisa discovers that her German grandparents fled East Berlin at the time the wall went up, and her mother passed her over the barbed wire fence in a selfless act to provide Louisa with freedom. Now living in America and working for the CIA as a code breaker, Louisa starts down the path of discovering that her grandfather was a spy and her father is still alive.

The story is told alternating between Louisa and Harris, her father. The dual-time, dual-narrated story starts down from the building of the wall to a daring rescue.

This is a fantastic, well written story that I highly recommend!!!

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I’ve been mulling over what to say in a review for a few days now, trying to find the words to convey the impact this story had on me. Maybe because of the political times we live in world wide — so many people are living out their own Iron Curtain situations, or can see the threat looming on the horizon. And even in countries where democracy is supposedly safeguarded, the perils of exclusion, book bans, groups of people being treated as ‘other’ etc. is very real. So, to say ‘The Berlin Letters’ got me thinking would be an understatement. This is definitely the kind of read that will sit with me for a long time to come.

Reay has done an exceptional job of merging two timelines into a cohesive whole with the kind of block buster ending worthy of an Oscar. In fact, I could easily imagine this novel in cinematic splendour. The author’s descriptions of setting and character emotions brought everything into sharp focus and made me feel my way through to the spectacular ending.

The espionage/thriller aspects had me gasping out loud and I was so invested in Luisa’s family history mystery I couldn’t stop reading…well listening. (I highly recommend the audio book. The multi-narration delivered by Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon and P.J. Ochlan is stunning. Their portrayal of these characters really added to my emotional investment in the story.)

I read a lot of fiction and love most of what I read but, once in awhile a spectacular novel comes my way and I know it’s spectacular because I am changed for having read it. ‘The Berlin Letters’ is that kind of book. The author challenged some of my preconceived ideas and opened my heart to being more understanding and accepting and I am grateful for that.

My thanks to Harper Muse audiobooks and Net Galley for providing me with an audio edition of The Berlin Letters.

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This was sooo good and a refreshing change of pace from all the WWII historical fiction that's on the market. Full of family secrets, espionage, codebreaking, covert ops to rescue a family member and what life was like for people in Berlin during the 1960s-80s on both sides of the wall.

Told through a dual timeline narrative that sees an East Berlin couple giving up their daughter so she can live free in the West only to yearn for a reunion that never comes in time before one of them dies.

Amazing on audio narrated by Saskia Maarleveld among others and highly recommended for fans of books like The girl behind the wall by Mandy Robotham. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early audio copy in exchange for my honest review!

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Imagine that it is the weekend. You (Monica) are a mom with a three year old little girl (Luisa). Your husband (Haris) is a journalist and needs to work even though it is not a weekday. You live in the eastern part of Berlin. You are meeting your parents for lunch. They have moved a few blocks away and are just a few blocks into the western part of Berlin. Imagine that you go out with the stroller to meet them and find barbed wire! You cannot go for lunch but you do something big and impulsive that will have reverberations (no spoiler so no exact details here). This is the beginning of the story, the division of Berlin and the subsequent erection of the wall.

This start of Reay’s novel really captured me. I couldn’t stop thinking about what it must have been like for ordinary people when their lives were transformed by a wall and an ideology. It is to Reay’s credit that she sets the scene of the novel so well.

The book goes on to be largely told by two characters. One of these is a grown up Luisa and the other is Haris. There is a lot to find out about both of them (and others) but I do not want to give anything away. A few things to think about: an infinity symbol, truth and lies about family, codes. This should be enough to intrigue prospective readers.

Reay’s last book, A Shadow in Moscow, was a compelling read. Here Reay has again created a book that I both simultaneously could not walk away from and did not want to end. I recommend it very highly.

A note on the audio: There are multiple narrators which gives a true sense of the characters and story. Those who prefer their books as listens can’t go wrong with this one.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Muse for the e book and audio versions of this title. All opinions are my own.

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This book blew me away! Highly recommend!

This book is incredible! It's a riveting tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat as the Berlin wall rises and falls around people who try and do what's right in a world of misinformation, secrets, and politics. I wish I could give the book more than 5 stars as it truly deserves it. It's an immersive read that won't let go of me for a long time to come.

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Thank you Harper Muse, Harper Collins Focus and Harper Audio for my #gifted copies of The Berlin Letters!

𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐞𝐫𝐥𝐢𝐧 𝐋𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬
𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫: 𝐊𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐲
𝐍𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐬: 𝐒𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐚 𝐌𝐚𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐝, 𝐀𝐧𝐧 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐞 𝐆𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐨𝐧, & 𝐏.𝐉. 𝐎𝐜𝐡𝐥𝐚𝐧
𝐏𝐮𝐛 𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞: 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝟓, 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟒

★★★★★

This book had me hooked from the start and I loved every single thing about The Berlin Letters. This is such a well-researched and beautifully written novel and I cannot recommend it enough. I have not read many historical fiction books that focus on the Cold War, and I really enjoyed learning more about this period of time. I love how the author took great care to weave two timelines together to tell an amazing story. To top it all off, Luisa and Haris were amazing characters and I cannot stop thinking about them and this book!

🎧I alternated between the physical book and the audiobook. The topnotch cast of narrators brought this story to life! You could feel the emotion in their words and I loved my time listening to this book. I highly recommend either format, but know that you are in for a real treat with the audiobook!

📄Historical Fiction
📄The Cold War
📄CIA Code Breaker
📄Dual Timelines and POV
📄Romance Subplot
📄Beautifully Written and Researched

Posted on Goodreads on March 8, 2024: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/144922955?ref=nav_profile_l
**Posted on Instagram - Full Review- on or around March 10, 2024: http://www.instagram.com/nobookmark_noproblem
**Posted on Amazon on March 10, 2024
**-will post on designated date

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Historical fiction is my favorite genre so it is refreshing when I find a novel that sticks out from the crowd. Told in alternating timelines, this Cold War era brings us back to the days of the Berlin Wall and the Stasi Guard and the DDR. Luisa Voegler works for the CIA as a codebreaker, but after the passing of her grandfather she realizes a familiar symbol may bring this case closer to home than she ever imagines.

It was very easy to get invested in the 1961 timeline as families were cut off from each other with the raising of the Berlin Wall. The brutality of it and the thoughts of a young father brainwashed by fascism coming to grip with what those ideas cost him. It also wasn't hard to become invested in Luisa's story, especially after learning who she is.

Narrators Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon, P. J. Ochlan did a fabulous job at bringing the story to live and I appreciated the shifts in voices because it helped establish what POV and what timeline I was currently following.

Thank you HarperCollins Focus for gifting me an ALC to review.

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This was stunning. The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were well-developed; complex, and intriguing. I highly recommend this beautiful telling of the power of love. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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Luisa is a codebreaker for the CIA. She comes across a symbol on a letter and she knows she has seen it before. She begins to go through her grandfather’s office and discovers a past she didn’t know she had!

Luisa is a character which broke my heart in places. But, don’t let her situation get to you. She pulls out all her talents and gumption to save the father she never knew! And I loved her for it!

I love how the author entangles the past with Luisa’s present. The way it unfolds about her father and the way her grandfather molded her to be a codebreaker really had me all up in this drama. My emotions were all over the place.

Give me a book with family lies and secrets, written well, and set in the Cold War, and I am hooked! I have not read a Cold War book in ages. I remember when the wall came down. I stayed up late one night and watched. The author captures all of this and it is not something you will soon forget.

Y’all know I love a tag team of narrators. And this book has some of the best! Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon, P. J. Ochlan are great on the accents and all the drama!

This is my first five star read for March! Y’all do not miss this one! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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I will be SHOCKED if this isn't in my top 5 books for 2024. #katherinereay absolutely nailed this standout take on the historical fiction genre. Follow Louisa through what was my first book set after WWII but before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The characters in this story were so well developed and made you feel all the feelings as their purposes came together for the end. I listened to the #arc audiobook thanks to #netgalley, #harpercollinsfocus, and #harpermuse and it was phenomenal! I won't be surprised if I find myself reaching for the paper copy as well - it's just that good.

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This extraordinary novel tells the story that begins and ends on the day when the Berlin Wall is erected and subsequently demolished. It traces the life journey of a family torn apart by political differences across three generations and their experiences during the tumultuous history on both sides of the wall. However, the story takes a thrilling twist when Luisa, the protagonist, uncovers her family's secret.

The author's focus on the characters' lives when the Berlin Wall separated Berlin and the surrounding countries into two worlds is a brilliant concept. Luisa's family's lives underwent a radical change on both occasions, and it is captivating to witness their journey through such turbulent times. The novel vividly highlights two crucial historical events. Even though it is a work of fiction, it impeccably captures the lives of many Germans during those significant moments in history.

The characters' bravery is commendable, and the novel's rapid yet detailed pace keeps you engaged throughout. It is a beautiful piece of historical fiction that is a must-read for enthusiasts of the genre. It inspires readers to research further and refresh their knowledge of the history of "the Iron Curtain."

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✨ Review ✨ The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay

Thanks to Harper Muse, Uplit Reads and #netgalley for the gifted advanced copy/ies of this book!

I loved Reay's last book A Shadow in Moscow, and apparently I have a secret unexplored love for Cold War spy thrillers featuring women! This one follows in the same line -- featuring multigenerational families and multiple timelines to bring together stories of Cold War espionage.

Featuring Luisa Voekler in 1989 (a CIA codebreaker in Washington DC) and her parents starting in 1961 as the Berlin Wall goes up. Luisa's mom is able to basically throw her to her own parents in West Berlin over the barbed wire that popped up overnight before a more permanent wall is put up.

The book really brings to light the sudden disruption to life caused by the creation of the wall. It was sneaky in how sudden it was able to come into being and break understandings of free movement throughout the sectors of Berlin.

The structure of the book really smartly is able to highlight key moments of change in Berlin and the Soviet world after the creation of the wall, and I loved how it showcased resistance through underground newspapers, punk, radio, etc., while also showing the brutal opposition of the Stasi. I also loved how it tied in Poland's Solidarity movement and the role of Pope John Paul II in undermining the Soviet empire.

This brought together so many of my long buried interests (seriously, I went to her bibliography on her website and wanted to read it all), that I was willing to forgive some of the underdeveloped areas. Some of the pacing was a little uneven toward the end and maybe required some suspension of disbelief. While I would have loved to see some of these things deepened a bit, ultimately, I didn't really mind because I just flew through this...I literally could not put this down (or wait for my fellow buddy readers to catch up). Can't wait for whatever is next for Reay!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre: cold war spy thriller featuring women
Setting: Berlin (West and East) and Washington D.C.
Reminds me of: Reay's A Shadow in Moscow
Pub Date: March 5, 2024

Read this if you like:
⭕️ Cold War + CIA + espionage + codebreaking
⭕️ punk music and resistance
⭕️ multigenerational family stories
⭕️ multiple timelines

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As I immersed myself in this riveting audiobook experience, I was swept away on a journey through the turbulent landscapes of Cold War Germany. Through the skillful narration, I found myself traversing dual timelines, each intricately woven with threads of desperation, loss, and ultimately, hope.

The voices of the characters echoed in my mind, their struggles and triumphs brought vividly to life through the expertly crafted performances. From the tense atmosphere of espionage to the poignant moments of human connection, every emotion was palpable, every scene painted with clarity.

What struck me most deeply was the exploration of consequences—the ripple effects of past decisions felt keenly in the present. As the narrative unfolded, I was drawn into a world where the lines between right and wrong blurred, and where the specter of regret loomed large.

Yet, amidst the darkness, there shone a beacon of hope—a reminder that even in the darkest of times, resilience and determination can prevail. Through the evocative storytelling and immersive sound design, I found myself not only witnessing history but feeling it—its echoes reverberating within me long after the final chapter had ended.

In the end, this audiobook was more than just a tale of Cold War intrigue; it was a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit. For anyone seeking an emotional and thought-provoking journey through the complexities of history, this audiobook is an absolute must-listen.

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I absolutely loved it! Another delightful read from Katherine Reay. Fast-paced, dual narrators, easy to follow. Historical fiction at its finest—the details don’t bore and the storyline keeps you wanting more. I’m also a sucker for a neat and tidy happy ending. 😍

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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I don’t think that I have ever read a historical fiction about the Cold War. Growing up in the 1980’s it was a constant on the news and I remember the stories of families being separated by the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Letters gave me a new look at these events, at a family separated by the wall and their lives on either side and one eventually moving to the US. This is a story about a tumultuous time in history, but also one about family, understanding generations past, and hidden family secrets. I can’t recommend it enough. Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for the chance to listen to and review The Berlin Letters.

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I’ve been a Katherine Reay fan for years but this by far is my favorite of hers. I quickly became fascinated by this subject and time period rarely written about. I paused throughout to do a little research since I found it so intriguing. Her meticulous research and grasp of the different time periods flowed flawlessly rather than being confusing. Her characters were developed and believable with their own flaws and humanity. Unexpected twists throughout left me on the edge of my seat. I’d love to see this made into a movie, but in the meantime I eagerly look forward to her next book! The audio version was well-done with all the proper accents and multiple readers.

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This historical fiction grabbed me from the prologue and kept me engaged all throughout! It follows a codebreaker for the CIA that comes across some coded letters out of Berlin that may have a personal connection for her. Set over the course of the Berlin Wall it is a story of family secrets, political dilemmas, complicated relationships, and personal struggles to find the best way forward.

The rise and fall of the Berlin Wall made for a really poignant backdrop for a family's multi-generational struggle. I have read several books set during this time period but I learned some new elements to it in this book that I'd never heard about before.

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This is a beautifully written story of family, secrets, and espionage with the backdrop of the Cold War. The dual timeline helped build the characters’ history and reveal present missions. I enjoyed learning more about the Berlin Wall through this engaging, at times, nail-biting plot. I always love when a historical fiction book leads me down a path of learning more, which is exactly what this book has done.

Thank you Katherine Reay, Harper Muse, and NetGalley for the opportunity to listen to an advanced copy of this audiobook! The sound quality was excellent, and the narrators, Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon, and P. J. Ochlan, were engaging to listen to. They brought the characters to life especially with the contrasting German and American accents. Saskia has narrated several other historical fiction books that I have read, and her narration was comfortingly familiar.

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Thank you Net Galley and the publisher for the ARC for this book. What a great read with a dual timeline to really depict the Berlin Wall/Cold War period and the inside to the code breakers. I really enjoyed this book and the audio version was well done. The narrator has such feeling and passion. You could hear the inner struggle in their voices.

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I really enjoyed reading about this time period because I haven’t read many novels set during the Cold War. I enjoyed taking the time while reading to do some research about the Berlin Wall to better educate myself about the history behind this beautifully written story. Katherine Reay does an amazing job using the dual timeline, dual perspective to take us through the journey of Luisa breaking the code of the letters to discover not only secrets for the CIA but also the secrets of her past.

One of my favorite quotes from the books is “It’s funny how easily you can convince yourself that the people that you live with see the world like you do.” It really stuck with me because it is so true.

Specific to the audiobook:
I really enjoyed the narrator. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and sometimes it feels like the narrator is a robot just reading the book. Not in this book. I felt the emotion while they were reading. I loved the intentional pauses to that made you feel even more emotion. I was drawn more to the female narrator and I can’t say why but that by no means takes away from the performance of the other narrator. They were both great and I thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

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The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay was a fast paced and riveting book. It was written in a duel time line and narrative. The characters were compelling and well developed and there were several twists and turns throughout the book. The Berlin Letters was well written and impeccably researched. It covered the years from when the Berlin Wall was first built through the years of the Cold War in a very believable manner. I listened to the audiobook that was very well narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon and P. J. Ochlan.


For several years before the concept of the Berlin Wall was implemented, many families began leaving East Berlin, choosing to live in West Berlin instead. Monika Voekler’s parents, Gertrude and Walther and her younger sister, Alice, had done just that. They had left East Berlin a few months prior to the wall being built. Even though the city of Berlin was divided into the American sector or West Berlin and the Democratic Sector of Berlin or East Berlin, it was easy enough to cross over into one or the other without any difficulty. Prior to her parents’ move to West Berlin, Monika had married Haris Voekler. Monika and Haris now had a three year old daughter named Luisa. Haris worked at the Party’s newspaper, the Neues Deutschland. He was considered a highly regarded reporter. Haris believed in the Party and supported them completely so he refused to follow Monika’s parents to West Berlin. Monika and Haris had a good life in East Berlin.

On the morning of August 13, 1961, everything changed. Haris got a phone call that morning that something was happening at Potsdamer Platz. He was told that an “anti-Fascist protection barrier” was being constructed and that he was expected to cover it and write about it for the evening edition of the newspaper. Monika, Haris and Luisa had plans to have lunch with Monika’s parents that day. Haris was unsure that he would be able to join them. Monika and Luisa went on their own. When Monika arrived at the border crossing she was surprised by what she saw. The crossing was heavily guarded and barbed wire had been installed. Monika was prohibited from entering West Berlin. She spotted her family and learned from her father that the Party had secured the border crossings because they saw it as “necessary to keep unsavory western influences away from their pure ideology“ and that it would not be coming down any time soon. In that instant, Monika made the most difficult decision of her life. Monika lifted Luisa high above her head and propelled her through the air into her father’s arms. She would never hold or be able to kiss her little daughter again. In the following days, Monika lived for the few moments she was able to see Luisa. Her parents brought Luisa to the wall everyday. Monika treasured those moments even though they were from a distance. She got as close to the wall as was allowed so she could see her daughter. Then word came to Monika that her parents, Alice and Luisa immigrated to America. Monika was beyond distraught and inconsolable.

Luisa grew up in America and was brought up by her grandparents. She was told that her parents had died in a car crash. Luisa was encouraged by her grandfather from early on in her life to help him solve puzzles and decipher codes he made up for her. It was no wonder, then, that Luisa trained to become a member of the CIA. After Luisa’s grandfather died, she found herself living with her grandmother. While going through some of her late grandfather’s things, Luisa discovered a stack of correspondence between her grandfather and her father. Luisa discovered that her father was still very much alive and still in East Berlin. What will Luisa do with this newly acquired information? Will she be able to discover a way to get her father out of East Berlin and be reacquainted with him after all these years of believing that he was dead?

The Berlin Letters alternated between Luisa’s and Haris’s narratives and alternated between the years of the 1960’s and the latter years of the 1980’s. It was a superb example of a parent’s heartbreaking sacrifice for the future welfare of their child and a child’s determination to rescue a parent they were denied of knowing. The Berlin Letters focused on family, choices, grooming and preparation for the future, secrets, lies, hope, resilience, bravery and courage. Be prepared for lots of espionage, a way of life that made my heart pound and lots of twists and turns along the way. I really enjoyed reading The Berlin Letters. It was a very telling book that disclosed much about the life that people in East Berlin led during the Cold War years. I highly recommend it.

Thank you to Recorded Books for allowing me to listen to the audiobook of The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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I’ve of course heard of the Berlin Wall. I’ve heard of its fall. I’ve seen pieces of it. I’ve heard of the way it divided family and friends. I heard of the oppression by the soviets. I heard courageous tales of people escaping. What I think I didn’t quite realize was how frustrating it would be to perhaps hope for a better rule under the Russians. To hope for a better life in a home and country you love. And then how heartbreaking it would be to see your hopes be unfulfilled. To be trapped in a place you want to be, ruled in a way that takes away the joy of your home country. Takes away your freedom. I loved how the characters in this book showed me they didn’t want to escape the wall to escape East Berlin, they wanted to stay. They wanted to be free to provide and think for themselves. To thrive in a place they loved.

In this novel the the main character, Luisa, works as a cryptologist for the CIA. When she comes across a symbol that she remembers seeing in her grandfather’s study, she begins to search her grandfather’s old things. After several clues, she discovers letters from her father. A father she can’t remember and no one talks about. The letters teach her about life in East Berlin, the love of her father, and many secrets her family has kept from her. I thoroughly enjoyed her journey of discovery.

I loved all the complicated relationships and how slowly uncovering the past helped the family members to process their trauma and understand each other better. One of my favorite parts is when the main character sees East Berlin and finally understands her grandparents more. It was a good reminder that we tend to see the world from our own vantage point and experiences. Others see very differently.

I listened to the audio of this book and loved the story as well as the narration.

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When Luisa Voekler, a German raised in the US, finds a familiar symbol on a letter she is decrypting for her job with the CIA, her world is turned upside down. Not only is her father, whom she has been told for most of her life was dead, actually alive, but he's locked up in an East German Stasi jail for his work against the regime. With help from friends gone but not forgotten, a Grandmother who has taken care of her her whole life, and a wealth of knowledge learned from her late grandfather, Luisa is on a mission to learn her real history and to save her father. Told from both Luisa and her father's viewpoints, we learn about what it was like being a family divided during the Cold War in Germany.

Reay is a new author for me, and I found myself very impressed with her writing style and storytelling. The dual narration helped this story cruise along at a pace that was perfect. A well-researched historical novel is hard to beat, and add in a historical era that not a lot of authors write about, and you have a fascinating journey into days past that is so engrossing you won't want to put it down. An absolutely fantastic read.

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The Berlin Letters
By: Katherine Reay

Having been to Berlin after the wall fell, I found this novel absolutely fascinating and could feel the scenes about the wall and the people caught on the East. I was by the wall in 1991 and took a tour of what was previously behind the wall. The bullet holes, non-graffiti side that was desolate. Checkpoint Charlie was also talked about in this novel and I was able to this in person.

This Cold War thriller was absolutely detailed and full of scenes that will make you think about those times.

Luisa Voekler, a CIA cryptographer is decoding Third Reich from World War II. She recognizes a symbol from her childhood and things heat up.

Harriz Voeker, was an East German who was a reporter for Deutschland, for the Party’s paper and realizes things are happen that go against his believes. The Berlin Wall is erected and it separates him from his daughter. He has to find a way to communicate with his father-in-law to keep up with his daughter.

This story tugged at my heart as a mother and human. Captivating, compelling, emotional and detailed as we find out more about this family.

If you get a chance to take a tour, you find out about the many attempts of unique escapes and sadly about all the lives lost. When I was there I was able to research more about this life-changing war. Watching the wall come-down and hearing Reagan say “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” I have a piece of the wall as I used a chisel. Looking forward to meeting this author next week.

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The Cold War. The CIA. Code breakers. The Wall. East Berlin. West Berlin. So much is riding on the job that the CIA code breakers do. They don't even officially exist. Which makes it so hard to keep from lying about their jobs and where they spend their time.
Luisa Voekler spend her days working on various codes from WWII. It can be dull, dry work until something exciting shows up. Like the letters another workers shows her that strikes a memory. And that memory grows, opening up old thoughts and memories and love and wounds within the family. But it draws Luisa in. Until the day she finds her grandfather's stash of letters that tie into the other letters from work. And then, it is full force forward, diving into the deep end, and pushing herself to the end of it, to understanding, and then into action.
This is an exciting story that will grab hold like the barbed wire of the first few days of the wall in Berlin, ripping open emotion and ideas and need. Once you are caught, you can't put it down. Flying through the story in just two days, I found myself wanting so hard for Luisa to find that happy ending that she is hoping for while fearing that she just might not. So much is against her in East Berlin. Yet, I could not stop until I knew. This is what historical fiction should be - teaching so much while telling a story so well that nothing else seems to matter until you know how it ends up.

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I loved everything about this story! The Berlin Letters gives a very real sense of life under communism in East Berlin. It is told from two POVs over two timelines that intersect as the wall falls in 1989.

Horace Voekler is a believer in the DDR. Growing up in the turmoil of WWII he looks to the East in hopes of a new Germany that he fully wants to participate in. But his wife Monika does not see through the same rose-tinted glasses. She wakes one day to find a wall being erected between the East and West and she knows what that will mean for her family. In an act of desperation she throws her daughter Luisa over the barbed wire to her parents and freedom in the West. She returns home to Horace and for a while they face their new stark reality.

Luisa comes of age in America and through childhood games with her grandfather, finds passion for code breaking. Working with the CIA she stumbles upon a code signature she recognizes from her childhood. From there she finds old correspondence between her father, whom she thought was dead, and her grandfather all in code. Filtering through decades of messages she uncovers a powerful truth about her family and her father’s changing mindset.

This novel builds slowly but as Luisa makes the decision to go to East Berlin it picks up very quickly. By the end I was in tears and so happy for how it all came together. A fantastic historical read with only a few liberties taken. Really an astonishing story of survival and fortitude to see a new era ushered in.

The audio production was fantastic. Both narrators did a superb job and I appreciated Horace’s accent and the realness it brought to the story.

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Get ready for a fast moving ride during the fall of the Berlin wall. book with history and intrigue. A CIA code breaker discovers a symbol from her childhood that leads her to family secrets in West/East Berlin. The rescue might not be 100%t believable, but go with the story and learn about the life and difficulties of living in East Berlin.

This is a great selection for a book club that loves history and intrigue.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher, Harper Muse for the audio.

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A historical fiction novel worth the read! An interesting and uniique story. This was refreshing and I never know if I’m going to be able to get into a historical fiction novel. Some are just too boring for me. This one is great, pleasantly surprised. Read it!

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Title: The Berlin Letters
Author: Katherine Reay
Narrated by: Saskia Maaleveld, Anne Marie Gideon, P.J. Ochlan
Publisher: Harper Muse
Length: Approximately 11 hours and 48 minutes
Source: Audiobook review copy from NetGalley. Thank-you Harper Muse and Austenprose for the review copy of the physical book.

Do you like to send or receive letters? I love to send letters. My best friend and I still write letters to each other, although sometimes I am slow on getting my letters out!

The Berlin Letters is a compelling novel about the Cold War. In 1961, as the Berlin wall was going up, Monica Voekler threw her young daughter Luisa over the barbed wire to her parents on the west side. She was unable to cross herself. Luisa grew up in America, believing that that her parents died in a car accident. She works at the CIA cracking codes in secret. After her grandfather’s death, she finds a secret stash of letters from her father. Reading them, she discovers that her grandfather and father had been sending each other coded letters. Her father is still alive, and she will stop at nothing to rescue him.

My thoughts on this novel:
• The first chapter was gripping and pulled me right into the novel. I never thought about how sudden the wall went up and how families could be separated forever.

• This was a page turner and I kept wanting to read/listen to this book to find out how it would all end.

• The story kept me engaged throughout. I liked the narrative with the chapters alternating between Luisa in the present, and Haris (her father) in the past leading up to the present (1989).

• This story had everything – mystery, suspense, family drama, codes to crack, spies and even a bit of romance.

• The characters were all compelling and I particularly identified with Luisa and her story.

• I thought it was remarkably interesting to read about how the communists were very unhappy when John Paul II became the pope as they had spies in the Vatican before that time.

• Also interesting was a tidbit that the Soviet Union was on the verge of invading Poland until President Reagen was shot and the United States put itself on alert. The Soviets decided to back down at that point.

• I always find it so strange how different east and west Berlin were from each other. Haris has a time where he is walking the streets looking at buildings that were bombed out during World War II and how they still are not repaired after almost forty years. He thinks about how there are certain areas that tourists are allowed and how they are kept looking nice.

• Speaking of the present, I was a child of the eighties and felt old remembering the events of 1989 and 1990 in this historical fiction novel.

• As I have been doing with a lot of books this month, I started this one as a physical book and then switched to the audiobook as I have had a lot of driving time to listen to audiobooks. I really liked the different narrators in this book to narrate. I especially liked P.J. Ochlan’s accent as Haris Voekler.

• I enjoyed the author’s note at the end of the novel that detailed her research into this time period.

• There are also terrific book club discussion questions at the end of the book. I think this would provide a book club plenty of good tidbits to discuss at a group meeting.

• I would love to see this book made into a movie.

Overall, The Berlin Letters is a fascinating historical fiction book on the Cold War. The story of father and daughter, Haris and Luisa put a face on the heartbreak that so many people had to endure during that time period.

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What a terrific novel! I was immediately pulled in by the first chapter and loved the dual POV throughout. Although I don't read a lot of historical fiction, I was impressed with how quickly I was wept back to this period of time. The author did a great job relating the reality of life in East Berlin as well as recounting the events that led to the opening of the Wall. The audiobook is well done and the tension of the story stays strong right up until the end. Thanks for the chance to read this--I'm definitely going to look into this author's backlist!

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After reading The Berlin Letters, I am super intrigued with the Cold War era and I love how much this book expanded my understanding. I was truly fascinated the entire time I read this book. It just sucked me in and wow! I was so invested not wanting to stop reading, while also kind of wanting to go and google all about the fall of the Berlin Wall. I can’t even imagine what it was like for families like those represented in this story, where they were cut off from one another and lived in fear of being honest with how things really were.
One of my favorite things about this book was the letters themselves and all the intrigue and secret intelligence. I guess I just really like spy stories or those in the secret intelligence genre. It was so well crafted with the alternating points of view and points in time. I truly enjoyed this book and recommend it for fans of historical fiction.
I listened to the audiobook version and the narration was really good. It's a book that works well as an immersive read. I recommend the audiobook version and the paperback which is truly lovely.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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THE BERLIN LETTERS by Katherine Reay and read by Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon, & P. J. Ochlan was a story that took me into a place I vaguely remember hearing about and gave it life!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

When I first saw this title, I thought I had an inkling of what it might be about. All I really got right was the Berlin Wall was involved. I am so glad I was wrong, as I underestimated this story entirely.

Beginning at the onset of the divisions in Germany in the 1960's and traveling through time until the 1980's and to when the wall fell, this is a story of a family divided yet not lost. Luisa is working as a code breaker and feels stuck concentrating on WWII codes when she stumbles upon letters that her father wrote from East Germany. The confusing thing is that the letters appear to be current and she was told her parents both died when she was small. Luisa won't stop until she knows the truth, taking her back into East Germany and behind the iron curtain where she isn't sure what she will find or even if she can get back.

I really enjoyed the dual timeline/perspectives in this story. The 60's side from Haris was quite revelatory in how things progressed from the Russian side. The way it all came together was intense and I couldn't multitask at all! I was riveted by so many parts of this story. I had no idea how fast the Berlin Wall and it's wires went up. I had no idea how families were split and people were stuck with no recourse for months or years. Or decades.

I learned so much with this story, but it was so exciting to have the lessons wrapped up in a compelling story with action, family secrets, & heartbreak. I cannot wait to chat with @bookfriendsbookclub about this soon!

Thank you to @harpermusebooks & @netgalley for this fantastic audiobook that published on March 5th, so it is available now!

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Wow, I loved this book! From the start, I was hooked, the book continued to flow effortlessly drawing me deeper and deeper into it as I listened to it unfold. I wouldn't typically say that audio versions of a book enhance it beyond reading a copy, but for this one, it did! I enjoyed the vocal artist who gave life to this story, I felt like I was listening to the characters themselves as they told their story. I highly recommend this book. It's a part of history in our not so distant past that isn't terribly well known but is very important and enlightening. It really makes you think about how privileged many people are and take it for granted. It also sheds light on how there are still many others who live in such an oppressed and dangerous situations.

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"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" ~Ronald Reagan

As a teen in the 1980s, I was very aware of the Cold War and the stories of life behind the Iron Curtain. Berlin with its dividing wall encapsulated the differences between East and West and the gulf in ideologies. Berlin, at that time in history, makes a great setting for this novel. The author lifts the veil on life behind the Berlin Wall and portrays its hopelessness; a life where no one can be trusted and your life path is chosen for you.

"They've always been in charge. ...You can't see that. Everything you have the state gave you. You think it is your ingenuity, your smarts, but they created you, will use you, and nothing is your own. ...I didn't mind the future they handed us after I met you. The past didn't hurt so much then. You were brighter than their darkness, but I was a fool. I forgot who they are." ~K. Reay

The author's research enlightened me how overnight the city was divided with razor wire and then the wall, erected in 1961. It truly caught people unaware, which made me appreciate how quickly life can change under autocratic rule. In this tale, a family is divided by the wall, as many were back then. As a toddler, Luisa Voekler is passed over the razor wire by her mother, Monica, to her grandparents, and before Monica can crawl through to join them she is forced back by a guard with a gun. Luisa's grandparents raise her to believe that her parents are dead, and eventually they move to the US. It is only after her grandfather's death, that Luisa finds hidden letters that lead her to realize that her father is still alive in East Berlin, and that he's communicated with her grandfather for years in letters with hidden code. Once Luisa realizes her father is alive, she is determined to get him out of East Berlin, even if it means risking her career at the CIA or her own freedom.

This was such an enjoyable read, from the nostalgic pop culture references of life in the 80s, to the heartwarming story of a daughter's love for the father she barely remembers. This is a fast paced novel that will have you on the edge of your seat as Luisa risks everything for answers and the opportunity to bring her father to freedom.

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This book was such a great blend of history, personal experience, and reporting. I loved it!

Set across 40-50s years of fictional family history, this book tells the story of the rise and fall of the Berlin wall and how it impacted the families in East Berlin and beyond. It's well written, I loved every single character that we spend any time with, and it was heart wrenching yet hopeful.

Thank you for one of my best books so far this year, I will read this one again and recommend it to others.

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This was my first book by Katherine Reay and WOW! I loved everything about this book! Even though the book had twists/turns and complex relationships, it was written in a way that made it easy to follow and to empathize with the characters. This is the perfect book for anyone that loves historical fiction and wants to see what it was like for Germans post-WWII. I look forward to seeing what Katherine Reay's backlog looks like!

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This is my fourth read by this author. A Shadow in Moscow made my Top Ten of 2023 and I’m sure this one will make my next Top Ten list. This book immediately grabbed my attention depicting the fear of a desperate mother as she shoved her three-year-old child over and through barbed wire towards her family to prevent the child from being raised in the increasingly oppressive regime in East Berlin. And that was just the prologue!

The audiobook is narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon and PJ Ochlan. They did a fabulous job giving life to the characters in this story. I was enthralled. I was glad that I had a digital copy of the text for name verification, but the publisher’s summary can aid with this as well.

The story alternates between dual timelines of the 1960s when the Berlin Wall was built and subsequent events and devastation the parents face with the loss of their child and 1989 when the child, Luisa, who was raised by her grandparents is now living in the US and working as a code breaker for the CIA.

From a young age, Luisa was taught by her grandfather how to work with codes. He would leave her codes to break to get her gifts on special occasions. This love for breaking codes leads to her working at the CIA, though her frustration with her stagnant position leaves her feeling like she’s not good enough. When a coworker shows her the project that she’s working on, Luisa recognizes a symbol in the letters and searches the family home for reference. What she finds is a secret that shockingly launches her into a harrowing adventure and revealing truths about what happened to her mother and her father, who wrote propaganda for the GDR sanctioned newspapers.

The growth and development of characters, especially Haris, was incredibly moving. There’s a moment when he talks about smiling and how it hurts that made me cry. I cried multiple times through this story from the prologue to the end. It really pulled at my heartstrings. I did find at times that switching between narrations, there was a little repetition, especially at the end of the story. However, the emotions attached to those events from a different character were all the more powerful for it, so I didn’t mind, but others may find it unnecessary.

Highly recommend this historical fiction story that covers a family affected by the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall.

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Muse for a copy provided for an honest review.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Harper Collins Focus for my copy of The Berlin Letter by Katherine Reay Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, Ann Marie Gideon, P. J. Ochlan in exchange for an honest review. It published March 5, 2024.
First off, the narration was top-notch, I love these particular narrators on their various works.
Wow! This book has got to be Reay's best book to date! It was written with such honesty, and care, I could not stop reading it! I drank it in and did not want to stop. I learned so much about the Cold War, and especially about the Berlin Wall, and the surrounding politics, I truly did not know about before. I feel like this is such an underrepresented historical event in fiction, and I am so grateful that the time was spent researching this to teach the public about it!
I cannot say enough good things about this book! The most surprising part about this book for me was the punks. I especially loved learning about them and the church behind the Iron Curtain.

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This was absolutely incredible! I loved the full cast audio which made you feel totally immersed in the storyline. I read Forty Autumns last year and this was the perfect companion novel that explores just how intense the Berlin Wall affected family relationships. I also loved the element of mystery and the codebreaking. Very well done.

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It's 1989 and Luisa Voekler works as a CIA code breaker. Her co- worker has Luisa look over some letters that are deemed the Berlin letters. Something she sees jogs Luisa's memory of her Opa. Luisa was raised by Opa and Oma in America. Her parents were killed in a car accident in Germany. As Luisa finds the letters and decodes them she finds that her father is still alive in East Berlin.

I really enjoyed this audiobook. The narrators did a fantastic job. I enjoyed learning more about the Berlin wall. I was just little when the Berlin Wall fell. I have vague memories. We have different timelines of Horace, Walter and Luisa. I had to know what was going to happen to Horace. This book broke my heart for the people of West Berlin. Not being able to trust their neighbors or the government. This was an excellent read.

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This audiobook had great narrators and pacing. It tells of a family suddenly separated by the construction of the Berlin Wall. As the story progresses, we're introduced to a woman working as a codebreaker for the CIA who discovers something familiar in a series of letters. This sets her off on a journey of unraveling family secrets in a race against time. I enjoyed the timeline of events, ranging from just prior to the construction of the Berlin Wall to a short time after its fall. The author's thorough research is obvious and made for a captivating read.

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This was a gripping story that I stayed up way too late to finish! I was drawn into the story right from the first story and was totally captivated. I’ve never read a book from the Cold War time frame and I feel like I learned so much. The character growth was great. The narration switches between and female and male narrator. The male narrator has a thick German accent…which feels authentic, but was hard for me to understand at first. I got used to it and really enjoyed it! The audio production was well done

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I really liked The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay. I received an advance copy of this book in audio and my review expresses my own opinion. This is a story of Germany divided and letters written in code. Luisa Voelker was passed over the Berlin Wall as a small child just as it was being closed and was raised by her grandparents, thinking that her parents were dead. When Luisa's grandfather passes away, she finds letters from her father. This helps her understand why she hasn't advanced in her career with the CIA, and she knows she must turn these letters in to her boss. Haris Voelker is Luisa's father and as a journalist he stayed and supported those in East Berlin. As time passes, Haris begins to realize the Soviet promises are not coming to fruition. He is eventually turned in my neighbor "friends" and is sent to prison. Luisa discovers where he is and goes to Berlin to attempt his release. I found the story about codes very interesting and could see how many families were separated for so many years. Lots of thrills and mysteries with lies, family and traitors. A well-researched book about a period in history we may not fully understand.

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Katherine Reay is a master at illuminating a corner of the world and making you feel like you live there. The Berlin Letters drew me in from the very first chapter. Invested is not a strong enough word. Did I finish the book and immediately tell my Grandma to read it? Yes. Have I had a book hangover for several days mourning the fact that I have to wait another year before getting another Reay masterpiece? Also YES.

The audiobook especially brought Luisa and Haris' characters to life. You don't often see father-daughter dual POV books and I really enjoyed that aspect of this one. The male narrator's voice when portraying Luisa irked me, but other than that, I LOVED listening to this story, especially because there are so many German words I would have had no idea how to pronounce on my own. Listening added an authenticity factor to an already well-researched and well-crafted narrative.

FIVE stars. Highly Recommend.

Thanks to Net Galley, the Publisher, and the Author for sending me an audiobook copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own!

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A mother’s decision changes the fate of the entire family, now after two and a half decades everything will be revealed. Luisa a CIA cryptographer has discovered a link to her past in letters hidden to protect there secrets. They hold many secrets but only one matters to Luisa, her father is alive and he is being held in a Stasi jail. As Luisa searches for answers, she also knows she will stop at nothing to free the man she thought was dead. These letters hide not only secrets from East Berlin but secrets of her family and their past as well. As she heads to Berlin she is faced with more danger than she ever imagined.

This is a story of hope, unconditional love, and rebellion. There is so much fictional literature surrounding World War II but not enough about post war Germany. ‘The Berlin Letters’ was an immediate “I need to read this book” for me and it did not disappoint. I was hooked in and stayed glued to the story from beginning to end. This story is so complex and some of the twists left me with my jaw on the floor. Following Haris and Luisa readers are taken on a journey, as the wall is built the journey begins. I listened to the audio of this book and the cast was outstanding. It didn’t feel like they were narrating a book, it felt like listening to someone recounting their story. They brought this beautiful story to life. Luisa and Haris will stick with me and I cannot wait to reread their story. This book is perfect for historical fiction lovers, Cold War enthusiasts, and anyone who loves a little espionage. I will be recommending this to anyone who will listen.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Muse for providing me with the audiobook of ‘The Berlin Letters’ by Katherine Reay in exchange for an honest review.

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I really enjoyed this book! Being set during the Cold War was intimidating to me but I loved other books by this author and decided to give this book a try. It was wonderful and sucked me in right from the beginning.

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This was absolutely brilliant - a combination of a great book and delivered by a super narrator. I thought the book was perfect, really well plotted and navigated. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author as I had not come across them before. Stunning.

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Set in the Cold War era, Luisa is a CIA decoder who is tired of all the boring assignments. She was raised by her grandparents, but shortly after her grandfather’s death she stumbles upon letters between her grandfather and father. Her parents had died in a car accident when she was a child. But it seems to be her father is alive in East Germany. She’s on a mission to find out what happened to her parents and uses her CIA training to her advantage.

Fantastic historical fiction!

Thanks to Net Galley, Harper Muse, and Katherine Reay for the audiobook!

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The Berlin Letters was an incredible piece of work. The story was highly engaging. I could very clearly imagine myself in East Berlin when the wall went up. The author is very well talented. Congratulations on this wonderful book.

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This was the book I didn't know I needed. It surprised me in the most delightful way!!

Starting at the rise of the Berlin Wall and concluding at the fall of it, The Berlin Letters follows the lives of a family, both in real time and through letters, as they lived through the reality that was the Soviet occupation of Germany.

Reay did a brilliant job at capturing the essence of Germany, of the history but also the vibe, throughout the occupation. The fear, hopelessness and uncertainty are palpable. The speed in which the wall went up, catching the people off guard, as well as the victory when it came down bookended the story so well.

What really did it for me though was the way she captured the German people and culture. My family is from Germany. My mom has family living in Berlin. I remember them visiting and so much of the details that Reay used to describe the people, their personalities, their collective way of thinking and the culture was on point. Luisa's grandmother, reminded me of my grandmother, right down to the difficulty with physical affection. Little details that to some would have been throwaway, like the description of the German chocolate cake for dessert, were like delightful little easter eggs. As an added bonus, on the audio, Luisa's father, Haris, reads the letters and the narrator that does his part was chosen very well. His accent reminded me of so many of my great uncle's and their friends. It felt good and right and added a layer of authenticity.

Of course, for me, a novel with a strong female lead who loves puzzles, works for the CIA and is strong, brave and resourceful always hits well and that is Luisa. Throw in a little romance - yes, it's there - as a thread that weaves through and I consider it a win.

All in all, this book checked a lot of boxes for me and I truly did love it.

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In "The Berlin Letters" by Kathryn Reay, expertly narrated by Saskia Marleeveld, listeners are transported to the gripping world of the Cold War, where a CIA code breaker embarks on a daring mission to free her father from an East German prison. Marleeveld's skillful narration shines as she brings Louisa Voekler to life and masterfully captures the subtle accents of Eastern Europe.

The audiobook follows the journey of Luisa Voekler, a brilliant CIA code breaker with a passion for puzzles and codes. While her colleagues engage in thrilling Cold War assignments during the late 1980s, Luisa finds herself decoding messages from World War II, stuck in the past. Meanwhile, journalist Haris Voekler navigates the harsh realities of postwar East Germany, separated from his daughter after the Berlin Wall divides their family. Through a series of coded letters, the truth about their family's past is unveiled, leading Luisa on a risky mission to free her father from East Berlin.

"The Berlin Letters" is a captivating tale of sacrifice, courage, and familial bonds set against the backdrop of one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Reay's intricate storytelling combined with Marleeveld's nuanced narration creates a compelling listening experience that immerses audiences in the emotional turmoil of the characters. The interwoven narratives of Luisa and Haris build towards the climactic events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall, offering a poignant exploration of freedom, truth, and reconciliation.

With "The Berlin Letters," Kathryn Reay delivers a powerful narrative brought to life by Saskia Marleeveld's exceptional narration. This audiobook is a must-listen for fans of historical fiction, espionage thrillers, and stories of resilience in the face of adversity. Prepare to be captivated by the enthralling tale of love, loyalty, and the enduring quest for freedom in a divided world.

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I truly enjoyed this historical fiction novel by @katherinereay about events during the time of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall. I'll admit that while I remember being taught about the history of the Berlin Wall in my 7th grade German class and can vividly recall seeing a video of it coming down, I didn't actually know much about it until reading this book. This story was so well told and captivated my heart in a way that I found myself researching the history of this time period so I could learn more. The characters are intriguing and relatable, the history was well preserved, and I highly suggest this beautiful story. 5 ⭐'s in my book!

#bookreview #berlinwall #coldwar #theberlinletters

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