#BookReview The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay @uplitreads #TheBerlinLetters #KatherineReay #gifted #uplitreads Title: The Berlin Letters

Author: Katherine Reay

Published by: Harper Muse on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Uplit Reads

Book Rating: 8.5/10

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.


Review:

Gritty, intense, and informative!

The Berlin Letters is an edgy, insightful tale set between 1961 and 1989 that takes you into the life of Luisa Voekler, a CIA cryptographer living in DC who, after finding a pile of encrypted letters after her grandfather passes away, learns there’s more to her family’s history in Berlin before and after the wall was erected than she ever could have imagined. And though she has always been told that her parents were killed in an accident when she was young, she suddenly uncovers that her father is actually still alive and being held in a Stasi prison.

The prose is rich and expressive. The characters are troubled, inquisitive, and brave. And the plot, told in a past/present, back-and-forth style, is a tightly crafted, intriguing tale of life, loss, secrets, sacrifice, war, loyalty, passion, heartbreak, corruption, treachery, familial drama, politics, and repression.

Overall, The Berlin Letters is a compelling, absorbing, perceptive tale by Reay that not only satisfied and entertained me but did a wonderful job of opening my eyes to a dark time in history I lived through as a child but barely understood.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

Thank you to Uplit Reads for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Katherine Reay

Katherine Reay is a writer, wife, mom, continually rehabbing runner, compulsive vacuumist and a horrific navigator…

She graduated from Northwestern University and earned an MS in Marketing from Northwestern as well. She then worked in marketing and development before returning to graduate school for a Masters of Theological Studies. Moves to Texas, England, Ireland and Washington left that degree unfinished as Katherine spent her time unpacking, raising kids, volunteering, writing, and exploring new storylines and new cities.

The Reay family (with a great sense of permanency) now resides outside Chicago, and Katherine pursues writing with more focus. She writes character-driven stories and non-fiction that focuses upon examining the past and how it influences our present experiences.

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