Author: David R. Gillham
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Apr. 5, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Sourcebooks Landmark
Book Rating: 8.5/10
A captivating novel of a Berlin girl on the run from the guilt of her past and the boy from Brooklyn who loves her.
1955 in New York City: the city of instant coffee, bagels at Katz’s Deli, new-fangled TVs. But in the Perlman’s walk-up in Chelsea, the past is as close as the present. Rachel came to Manhattan in a wave of displaced Jews who managed to survive the horrors of war. Her Uncle Fritz fleeing with her, Rachel hoped to find freedom from her pain in New York and in the arms of her new American husband, Aaron.
But this child of Berlin and daughter of an artist cannot seem to outrun her guilt in the role of American housewife, not until she can shed the ghosts of her past. And when Uncle Fritz discovers, in a dreary midtown pawn shop, the most shocking portrait that her mother had ever painted, Rachel’s memories begin to terrorize her, forcing her to face the choices she made to stay alive—choices that might be her undoing.
Pensive, heart-tugging, and immersive!
Shadows of Berlin is a vivid, absorbing tale that sweeps you away to NYC during 1955 and into the life of Rachel Perlman, a young Jewish woman who, after escaping to America after the war, struggles to overcome the nightmares that plague her often, come to terms with the loss of her talented mother, live an everyday life with a husband who is different but adores her deeply, and ultimately forgive herself for the things she did in order to survive.
The prose is rich and expressive. The characters are scarred, resilient, and brave. And the plot, using flashbacks and a back-and-forth style, is an enthralling tale about life, love, strength, deception, injustice, hope, guilt, grief, loss, shame, survival, moving on, and the aftermath of war.
Overall, Shadows of Berlin is a poignant, memorable, intriguing tale by Gillham that does a lovely job of reminding us that the effects of war continue to resonate long after the final weapon is drawn and does a beautiful job of highlighting that humanity can not only be barbaric and cruel but also incredibly courageous and strong.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.