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The Girl Behind the Wall: The utterly gripping new novel from the internationally bestselling author of World War 2 historical fiction

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30 review for The Girl Behind the Wall: The utterly gripping new novel from the internationally bestselling author of World War 2 historical fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    When her cousin Hugo woke her in the middle of the night, Jutta had no clue as to what was about to happen in her city of Berlin; something which would affect her and those she loved for a very long time. Hugo was a reporter and although horrified, was in his element as he covered what was occurring – but Jutta couldn’t believe the sight of a wall going up between East and West Berlin. The West was the family’s home, but Jutta’s twin sister, Karin, had gone into East Berlin for business during t When her cousin Hugo woke her in the middle of the night, Jutta had no clue as to what was about to happen in her city of Berlin; something which would affect her and those she loved for a very long time. Hugo was a reporter and although horrified, was in his element as he covered what was occurring – but Jutta couldn’t believe the sight of a wall going up between East and West Berlin. The West was the family’s home, but Jutta’s twin sister, Karin, had gone into East Berlin for business during the day, and had been rushed to hospital – would they be able to bring her home to West Berlin? Request upon request was denied as Jutta tried to get to the East to see her sister in the hospital, her frustration immense. Their mother, aunt and uncle were devastated but it would be two years before anything changed for Jutta – the small hole she ventured through was an exciting, but nerve wracking find. Her delight – and Karin’s – when they stealthily reunited, was a balm on their souls. But it couldn’t last. Karin had fallen in love with Otto, and she needed to make the decision; stay in the East with Otto, or leave Otto behind to rejoin her family… Much worse was to follow – would the twins ever see each other again? Would the Berlin Wall keep them apart forever? The Girl Behind the Wall is another gripping historical fiction novel by Mandy Robotham which I adored. The immense courage shown by both Jutta and Karin is indicative of women the world over, but especially during and following the war years. The Stasi were a cruel, vindictive people who’d think nothing of shooting one of their own for a slight misdemeanour, and both Jutta and Karin were aware of the dangers. The Girl Behind the Wall is only my second by this author, but it won’t be my last! Highly recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    Have you ever wondered why The Berlin Wall was called by the name of the city and not something like the German Wall or The Great Wall of Germany? Simple. It didn’t surround a country but slashed right through a city. And when a city is divided, it is more than just geography that is affected. This book is a historical fiction centred around the Berlin Wall and the lives upended because of its abrupt construction in 1961. An intriguing premise for sure. I’ve read a lot of this genre but I’ve nev Have you ever wondered why The Berlin Wall was called by the name of the city and not something like the German Wall or The Great Wall of Germany? Simple. It didn’t surround a country but slashed right through a city. And when a city is divided, it is more than just geography that is affected. This book is a historical fiction centred around the Berlin Wall and the lives upended because of its abrupt construction in 1961. An intriguing premise for sure. I’ve read a lot of this genre but I’ve never read a book covering this particular historical timeline. The book delivers on some points and disappoints on some more. Here’s what you need to know. Story: Jutta and Karin Voight, twenty four year old twins and citizens of West Berlin, are extremely close to each other. Jutta is the practical one, working in a library. Karin is the creative one, interested in fashion design. When the Berlin Wall comes up almost overnight without any warning to the residents, Karin ends up stuck on the East side of the wall. What follows is Jutta’s struggle to get her twin back, and Karin’s struggle to stay safe, and even stay alive, on the unknown side of her city. The story covers the time period from 1961 to 1963, with a brief epilogue set in 1989, the year the Wall came down. What I enjoyed: ✔ Everything to do with the Berlin wall and its impact. As something that is much in the past, I had no idea of the political machinations behind the wall. The book reveals the facts painstakingly and you actually feel the pain and confusion of the citizens on both sides of the divide. ✔ The main characters seemed quite believable. Both Jutta and Karin come across as human rather than these perfect girls who can do no wrong. It makes them seem approachable, vulnerable and hence likeable. I did like getting the story from both their perspectives. ✔ The romantic arcs with Danny and Otto are well-written. ✔ While this is my first book by Mandy Robotham, I was impressed by her attention to historical detail. What could have been better: ❌ I found the chapter names distracting. I would have preferred plain chapter numbers for such a story. The chapter names made me feel like I was reading a children’s book with the title revealing what’s going to happen in that particular section. This is even more irritating when the chapters are so short. ❌ The writing style could have been better. The story moves ahead very slowly. There is a lot of repetition in the content and this turned an interesting story into a mundane one. Karin’s thoughts especially seem to go around in circles and it gets boring after a point. ❌ Many of the secondary characters (barring Otto and Danny) aren’t developed well. (The action remains adamantly concentrated on the twin sisters.) So the rest of the characters fall flat. ❌ Some part of the content is farfetched. I find it very difficult to justify impractical writing in historical fiction. (view spoiler)[ 👉 It is tough to accept that Jutta jumped the wall so many times and yet wasn’t caught until the very end. 👉 How come no one except Jutta used the wall opening? Axel knew that Jutta was using the wall but he (or anyone from his group) could have easily followed her to know where it was and begin using it without even telling her. 👉 I could understand why Karin kept her family secret from Otto but it is never made clear why Jutta never revealed the details of her struggles to Danny. 👉 Both the sisters knew that their connection to each other had to be kept a secret. Yet they keep visiting the same two cafes every time, albeit separately. Doesn’t this increase the chance of people recognising them as two separate persons? (hide spoiler)] All in all, I did like this book, but not as much as I had expected. The historical part of the content gets a 5/5, and I would love to read more books that have the Berlin Wall as their focal point. But the editing of the book ought to have been tighter for the story to make a greater impact. A 3.5 from me, rounding up to 4. Thank you, NetGalley and Avon Books UK, for the ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mel (Epic Reading)

    Mandy Robotham can certainly write compelling stories. Unfortunately this one didn’t work for me as it felt very fictional, at times unbelievable. I want, expect, and desire truth, or nuggets of it, in historical stories. The Girl Behind the Wall was lacking those truths for me. Maybe because I’ve been to Berlin and seen the last remnants of the wall in 1998. Maybe because I know the real stories briefly referenced by Robotham in the introductory pages, or maybe because I just felt this story of Mandy Robotham can certainly write compelling stories. Unfortunately this one didn’t work for me as it felt very fictional, at times unbelievable. I want, expect, and desire truth, or nuggets of it, in historical stories. The Girl Behind the Wall was lacking those truths for me. Maybe because I’ve been to Berlin and seen the last remnants of the wall in 1998. Maybe because I know the real stories briefly referenced by Robotham in the introductory pages, or maybe because I just felt this story of twins separated by the wall was just too contrived and made-up to feel real. That’s not to say that it didn’t have: good pacing, a lot of suspense, intrigue, and great characters. It had all these things and would be a great book; IF I wasn’t supposed to believe this was plausible or realistic historical account. If you go to read The Girl Behind the Wall keep that in mind. Now in fairness to Robotham she did write this under covid-19 lockdowns and didn’t get a chance to be in Berlin much or find/experience some of the stories the way she might have done if travel was allowed. For me, I was 16 years old when I was in Berlin, Germany. It was 1998 and not quite 10 years since the wall came down; and I heard stories firsthand from people who lived in East or West Berlin. I saw buildings with blacked out windows, slits for watch posts, and the extreme difference (still very visible in 1998) between housing on the east and west sides. I also saw over a thousand cranes rebuilding Berlin, the memorials put up (to that time) commemorating those who tried to breach the wall and died, and the desire for Berliners to be seen as one people again. On top of the overall desire for Germany to not be seen as an enemy anymore; and for people outside there to understand they were persecuted and killed if they didn’t follow the regime orders of either the fascists or the communists. It’s a sad part of our history; but one we must keep talking about and writing about. So while I didn’t love the lack of truth to this novel; I really do appreciate Robotham telling any part of these historical accounts and keeping the history alive and told. Please note: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    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. Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the wall. But Karin finds one way 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 id faced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West to be 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. Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the wall. But Karin finds one way 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 id faced 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 it. I would like to thank #NetGalley #AvonBooksUK and the author #MandyRobotham for my ARC of #TheGirlBehindTheWall in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

    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 appreciati 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com ‘They close the files, and with it, a chapter of history never to be forgotten, but one which no longer has the power to shape, contain or inhibit their lives or loves.’ Mandy Robotham is the author of three USA Today, Globe and Kindle top 100 bestsellers. The Girl Behind the Wall is Robotham’s latest release. With a focus on control, separation, division, love, loyalty sacrifice, danger, intrigue and survival, The Girl Behind the Wall is a moving tale for fa *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com ‘They close the files, and with it, a chapter of history never to be forgotten, but one which no longer has the power to shape, contain or inhibit their lives or loves.’ Mandy Robotham is the author of three USA Today, Globe and Kindle top 100 bestsellers. The Girl Behind the Wall is Robotham’s latest release. With a focus on control, separation, division, love, loyalty sacrifice, danger, intrigue and survival, The Girl Behind the Wall is a moving tale for fans of twentieth century history. The Girl Behind the Wall offers an insight into an incredible time in modern history. Mandy Robotham’s latest book travels to Germany after the devastation of the Second World War. In this emotive historical fiction tale, the author highlights a divisive time in our not too recent past. As a mighty wall is erected in Germany to divide the east and the west permanently, we see how this act of population segregation impacts one family. The Girl Behind the Wall closely follows twins Karin and Jutta, who find themselves separated by the wall. In a cruel twist of fate, one twin is at the wrong place at the wrong time and consequently finds herself permanently stuck under the Soviet rule in the east. As her twin sister Jutta despairs back at home, Karin must forge a new life for herself in the east, away from the protective fold of her family. When Karin meets a man who helps her get through the hard and sad times in the east, she is hopeful that her life will take a turn for the better. When Jutta manages to find a secret opening in the wall, the two sisters are reconciled. This doesn’t last long, as both know that they will be discovered, especially due to the strong presence of the Stasi. Karin is torn, will she follow her heart and continue her relationship with her lover in the east, or will she return home to Jutta? I recall as a child growing up in the 1980s the famed Berlin Wall, a worldwide symbol of control and suppression, coming down as I watched it closely on my family’s television. At the time I had no understanding of what this historical act symbolised, only that it would change the life on my aunt who was living and working in Germany at the time. Now thanks to Mandy Robotham’s 2021 historical fiction release, I’ve had the chance to reflect on and learn so much more about this divisive period in Germany’s past. The Girl Behind the Wall is divided into four moving parts that cover the years 1961 through to 1989. The novel is primarily and told through the eyes of twin sisters Jutta and Karin. In a terrible twist of fate, the twins are separated on the very same day the famous Berlin Wall is erected. Robotham manages to capture the despair, loss, fear and longing this family experiences during their forced separation. As the pages turn thanks to the short chapter style adopted by the author, an incredible story of endurance and survival emerges. A number of subsidiary characters help to illuminate the shocking events of this story and while some characters display goodness in the face of such tyranny, others are bad news. Robotham tale also incorporates an element of romance for both sisters which adds further problems for these conflicted characters to contend with. There is an informative and vital author’s note preceding this story, along with a detailed map of divided Germany. I really liked this touch and I think it put me in the right frame of mind for this heart-breaking tale. It is apparent that the author has embarked on a significant amount of research to develop this engaging and educative storyline. I know the story inspired me to embark on a spot of extra research and chat with my relatives about their experiences of the Berlin Wall, as I was too young to remember much about this pivotal time in our history books. Full of action, intrigue, danger, suspense and a story that will keep you on the edge of seat for the duration, The Girl Behind the Wall offers an exclusive look into a tumultuous period in world history. *I wish to thank HarperCollins AU for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie DeMoss

    Set in Berlin in the 1960s, this well-written and compelling novel is about twin sisters separated by the Berlin Wall. Historical Fiction fans will enjoy this look at both East and West Berlin in the 60s. I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne (It's All About Books)

    Finished reading: June 16th 2021  "There are no winners when it comes to this Wall; boundaries never unify, despite the GDR's insistence that it benefits their country." *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and ... in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! *** (view spoiler)[ WARNING: It's unpopular opinion time again!! I have a weak spot for 20th century historical fiction and I don't think I've read all that many stories focused on the Berlin Wall and the begi Finished reading: June 16th 2021  "There are no winners when it comes to this Wall; boundaries never unify, despite the GDR's insistence that it benefits their country." *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and ... in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! *** (view spoiler)[ WARNING: It's unpopular opinion time again!! I have a weak spot for 20th century historical fiction and I don't think I've read all that many stories focused on the Berlin Wall and the beginning of the Cold War before. It was one of the reasons I instantly caved when I was invited to read The Girl Behind The Wall. I've had mixed reactions to her books in the past, but I had high hopes for this newest story as it focuses on a topic I'm highly interested in... Sadly, it wasn't ment to be. I'll try to explain below why this story didn't work for me. First of all I do have to say that I still love the time period and setting of the story. Like I said, most 20th century historical fiction stories tend to be set during WWII, so it's refreshing to have a focus on the Cold War period and the appearance of the Berlin Wall instead. The story was a great for refreshing my memories of this era as dates and events were mentioned, and it gave me flashbacks to my own visit of the many sights relating to the Berlin Wall in the city a couple years ago. It's such a fascinating time in history and I'm still surprised we don't see this setting more often... And especially with its focus on Berlin, its inhabitants and the division between West and East Berlin. This was sadly just about the only aspect of The Girl Behind The Wall I did enjoy, as the rest of the story fell rather flat for me and I even debated whether to simply DNF it multiple times. I struggled with the writing style and the tone, and the short chapters and constant jumping between the two sisters really got on my nerves. I think that staying with each sister for more than a couple of pages would have benefitted this story greatly, because as it is you hardly get the time to start feeling invested in either POV. The characters themselves felt rather flat and cliche and I was never able to warm up to them. I think part of the reason was also the constant repetition of their situation and surprisingly shallow feelings and thoughts... It felt like the story was simply going in circles at times, repeating what was already said and done before over and over again. I also struggled considerably with the pace, which was slow and didn't help at all. In fact, I started skimreading quite early on in the story, which is never a good sign to be honest. On top of this, I simply didn't think part of the plot was credible. True, people have moved between East and West during the Cold War, but having Jutta crossing multiple times and nobody noticing her obviously disheveled appearance on either side? I'm sorry, but that just felt too unbelievable for me, and I'm not even talking about Karin's rather comfortable situation being a West Berliner in the East. All in all, The Girl Behind The Wall definitely failed to hit the mark for me, which is such a shame as I was really looking forward to finally read a book set during Cold War Berlin. I seem to be in the minority though, so who knows, this story might just work better for you. (hide spoiler)] P.S. Find more of my reviews here.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alayne Emmett

    Harrowing but very readable. Sad but interesting. This is how I sum up this book. I don’t remember the Berlin Wall going up but, I do remember it coming down. The euphoria of the people and all the excitement. This book is worth reading just to find out what happened way back when. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ♥Milica♥

    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 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*

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    But there is one question on everyone’s lips familiar to Germans, both East and West: After two World wars lost and a city in ruins, how was this ever allowed to happen? It’s a very interesting question. Karin and Jutta are twin sisters. They never dreamed they would be separated, but a medical emergency forces Karin to go to a hospital in East Germany. Overnight a wall goes up and no one is permitted to cross. Jutta is desperate to find a way to bring her sister home and Karin wants to get home t But there is one question on everyone’s lips familiar to Germans, both East and West: After two World wars lost and a city in ruins, how was this ever allowed to happen? It’s a very interesting question. Karin and Jutta are twin sisters. They never dreamed they would be separated, but a medical emergency forces Karin to go to a hospital in East Germany. Overnight a wall goes up and no one is permitted to cross. Jutta is desperate to find a way to bring her sister home and Karin wants to get home to the West, but there are many obstacles including some unexpected life altering ones. It’s a story of perseverance, of love, of the Berlin Wall and its ramifications. It was well researched, Unfortunately, it is a slow, slow burn and repetitive. The characters just weren’t all that interesting either. For those reasons, I can only give this 2.5 stars rounded to 3. It’s unfortunate as I really like Mandy Robotham’s books generally. Thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tissie

    Berlin, summer 1961. A wall goes up during the night, splitting the city in half and separating East Berlin from West Berlin. The citizens who were used to crossing a nominal border are now trapped in their respective sections, unable to leave. It happens to Jutta and Karin Voigt, too: the two sisters, twins, are both western Berliners, but Karin ends up in an eastern hospital right before Operation Rose begins. [Keep reading @ Bookshelves & Teacups] Berlin, summer 1961. A wall goes up during the night, splitting the city in half and separating East Berlin from West Berlin. The citizens who were used to crossing a nominal border are now trapped in their respective sections, unable to leave. It happens to Jutta and Karin Voigt, too: the two sisters, twins, are both western Berliners, but Karin ends up in an eastern hospital right before Operation Rose begins. [Keep reading @ Bookshelves & Teacups]

  13. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Having grown up in Europe with the spectre of the divide between East and West very real to us (my grandparents lived near the then Czechoslovakian border, with barbed wire and a minefield) I was very drawn to the premise of this book. Robotham does well to explain some of the political wheeling and dealing that took place around the construction of the Berlin wall, and the impact it had on a city divided. Jutta and Karin, two young and vibrant Berliners, made for enigmatic protagonists to take Having grown up in Europe with the spectre of the divide between East and West very real to us (my grandparents lived near the then Czechoslovakian border, with barbed wire and a minefield) I was very drawn to the premise of this book. Robotham does well to explain some of the political wheeling and dealing that took place around the construction of the Berlin wall, and the impact it had on a city divided. Jutta and Karin, two young and vibrant Berliners, made for enigmatic protagonists to take us on this journey and let us catch a glimpse into the lives of ordinary citizens affected by this dark point in history. By switching POV between both sisters, we got to see alternative viewpoints that ultimately led to each sister’s fate. With a heavy emphasis on the sisters, some of the more peripheral characters missed out on character development, which made me question some of their decision making processes. As with any historical fiction, it is called “fiction” for a reason, and some suspension of disbelief was necessary here. I would have liked to see more tension, because even as a child I felt the fear people experienced when the Stasi were mentioned. Despite a few hints at the dangers the sisters faced, I didn’t get this sense of utter terror when they faced being caught. I also travelled to East Germany two years after the wall came down, and the bleakness and despair was still palpable in many places, and the contrast between East and West obvious in the drabness of the buildings, the dire state of the roads and smaller, less obvious things that struck us, like the “holiday camp” near a polluted lake that was totally surrounded by barbed wire. I would have liked to get this sense of entrapment and hopelessness from Karin, who would have experienced it firsthand. This made the story a light reading experience rather than one that packed a punch, which seemed like an opportunity missed to me – but then perhaps this is what the majority of HF readers prefer these days? I see that it has become a trend to steer towards romanticising WWII for the sake of fiction, and I’m not a fan. There was so much potential here to make this a tense, heart pounding story of two sisters divided by a wall, but only ever skimmed the surface. For this very reason, a few elements were implausible given the control and the reach the Stasi had at the time, and their ruthlessness in pursuing anyone they deemed an enemy of the state, plus their friends and families. I’m trying not to give too much away here, but Jutta’s repeated exploits would have been discovered very early on in real life, especially considering the risks she took. Okay, I hear you: “It’s fiction!” you say, and as such it was a light, enjoyable read with the background of a historical era that is fascinating and made for much pondering. THE GIRL BEHIND THE WALL will appeal to readers who enjoy a lighter brand of historical fiction that is hopeful and uplifting rather than delving into the darker themes that defined the era. Postwar Germany is a time in history that is not often covered in HF and made a nice change from the multitude of WWII novels that have hit the shelves lately. If you are a reader who prefers a heavier read, then I suggest reading CONFESSION WITH BLUE HORSES by Sophie Hardach, which doesn’t shy away from exploring the more sinister side of life in the GDR. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

  14. 4 out of 5

    emma

    DNF'ed @ 45%. I’m so upset that I didn’t like this one! Books by Robotham seem to be hit or miss for me and unfortunately this one was the latter. The short chapters and constant acceleration of the timings made it hard for me to connect with the characters, although it’s clear they were on their way to becoming well developed. I just couldn’t keep up with the super short chapters, it completely removed me from being immersed in the story. I did enjoy Robotham’s writing style however. Like I said DNF'ed @ 45%. I’m so upset that I didn’t like this one! Books by Robotham seem to be hit or miss for me and unfortunately this one was the latter. The short chapters and constant acceleration of the timings made it hard for me to connect with the characters, although it’s clear they were on their way to becoming well developed. I just couldn’t keep up with the super short chapters, it completely removed me from being immersed in the story. I did enjoy Robotham’s writing style however. Like I said, I’m so sad I didn’t love this one! Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for kindly providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. #NetGalley #TheGirlBehindTheWall. All opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nisha Joshi

    Karin and Jutta are twins in late 1950 Germany. These are tumultuous times in Berlin. The city is divided into West and East Berlin though only halfheartedly - after all, the citizens can move through the gates easily.. But then, the Berlin Wall springs up in one night. Jutta can only watch in horror in West Berlin as she sees the irrevocable proof of being separated from Karin who has been trapped in East Berlin. While Jutta has her family with her, Karin has only Otto who helps and guides her. Karin and Jutta are twins in late 1950 Germany. These are tumultuous times in Berlin. The city is divided into West and East Berlin though only halfheartedly - after all, the citizens can move through the gates easily.. But then, the Berlin Wall springs up in one night. Jutta can only watch in horror in West Berlin as she sees the irrevocable proof of being separated from Karin who has been trapped in East Berlin. While Jutta has her family with her, Karin has only Otto who helps and guides her. Will the twins be able to overcome the Wall and the ever-watching eyes of the Stasi and reunite with each other? Or will Karin decide to remain in East Berlin with Otto? I have read The Berlin Girl by Mandy Robotham and liked it very much. Much as I love to read about WW2, I was woefully ignorant about the Berlin Wall. The Girl Behind the Wall made me look up the history of how and why the wall was erected and how it affected the life of the common citizen. The storytelling is taut and suspenseful. We are kept on tenterhooks throughout the book. However, the author doesn't sacrifice character development in lieu of storytelling. All her characters are well-etched and rounded, They are easily relatable. 5 stars for this fast-paced historical fiction. Thanks to Netgalley, Avon Books UK, and Mandy Robotham for the ARC. The opinions are entirely mine.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    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. 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy Specht

    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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Crampton

    This is a very interesting thriller giving insight into the impact of the Berlin Wall on ordinary German citizens. Two sisters and identical twins are inadvertently separated the day the Wall goes up. Jutta with the family in the West and Karin locked away from her family under the harsh East German regime. Jutta discovers a small passage through the wall and their adventures begin. Jutta is able to impersonate Karin so Karin can visit her family. Both find love and although Karin would love to This is a very interesting thriller giving insight into the impact of the Berlin Wall on ordinary German citizens. Two sisters and identical twins are inadvertently separated the day the Wall goes up. Jutta with the family in the West and Karin locked away from her family under the harsh East German regime. Jutta discovers a small passage through the wall and their adventures begin. Jutta is able to impersonate Karin so Karin can visit her family. Both find love and although Karin would love to escape to the West she can’t leave her lover Otto. Their secret is dangerous and the Secret police guard the wall to prevent the Easterners escape. I recommend this book

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda M (The Curly Reader)

    I loved this book centered around the Berlin Wall. The premise of having twins separated by the wall that literally went up overnight was very compelling. I loved the exploration of the internal and external struggles both sisters went through over the years the book spans. Definitely interested in reading more from this author now.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Donna McEachran

    Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book for an honest review. Having not read a great deal about the Berlin Wall, this book was informative. A little slow in parts.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This book pairs perfectly with the nonfiction Forty Autumns. I love learning about East Germany, East Berlin, and the Berlin Wall. I was caught up in this tale about twin sisters separated by the Wall.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan Davidson

    I must admit that I was really looking forward to this book, but it was far too slow and finished in a rush. A bit disappointing.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Tyler

    Thank you NetGalley, author Mandy Robntham, and Avon publishing for giving me a free copy arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 5 stars What would you do if you woke up one morning and found you and your twin sister are now living in two different countries, which are separated by a wall? That is the question Karin and Jutta find themselves asking as they are living parallel lives for years, cut off by the Berlin Wall, which separated East and West Thank you NetGalley, author Mandy Robntham, and Avon publishing for giving me a free copy arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 5 stars What would you do if you woke up one morning and found you and your twin sister are now living in two different countries, which are separated by a wall? That is the question Karin and Jutta find themselves asking as they are living parallel lives for years, cut off by the Berlin Wall, which separated East and West Germany! Karin finds herself living under the ever watchful glaze of the Stasi. Her only saving grace can be found in the arms of Otto, who is an East German Architect that believes in the East German Regime! Jutta finds a hidden passage that leads her to reunite with her sister in East Germany. Over the years, they will meet and try to give each other hope that one day they will be reunite as a family. But as the eyes of the Stasi can be anywhere and no one knows who they can really trust, Karin will come to a decision, can she flee to the West in order to live with her family or will she remain in East Germany with the man who has her heart? This was a wonderful historical fiction story. While most people consider WWII to be the more interesting topic to study and read about during this time, it is those who had to live in a country that divided itself by ideology that resulted in a wall. This led to many families being separated by years with the possibility of never seeing them again. These sisters were well developed! I loved how much they were willing to risk for each other in order to keep their connection alive. The author did a great job researching the time period and the experiences both sides went through during the Cold War. The author was able to show the reader the differences within the sisters' lives by the descriptions of the food, clothes, and music each experiences over the years. This book was hard to put down! The writing and pacing kept the events flowing easily until a very satisfying epilogue! This was my first book by this author and it will not be my last. I would recommend this book to those who are interested in the Cold War era!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pheadra

    I read this book through my online book club, Pigeonhole. This was a thoroughly enjoyable story that spans from the rise of the Berlin wall in 1961 till its tearing down in 1989. It is the story of twins - the Voigt sisters-Karin(a seamstress and clothing designer) and Jutta a lover of literature who by fate are separated when Karin suffers from a burst appendix in East Berlin. Literally overnight the Berlin wall is erected and the sisters are split, one on each side of the wall. Juta resides wi I read this book through my online book club, Pigeonhole. This was a thoroughly enjoyable story that spans from the rise of the Berlin wall in 1961 till its tearing down in 1989. It is the story of twins - the Voigt sisters-Karin(a seamstress and clothing designer) and Jutta a lover of literature who by fate are separated when Karin suffers from a burst appendix in East Berlin. Literally overnight the Berlin wall is erected and the sisters are split, one on each side of the wall. Juta resides with her mother and aunt Gerda and uncle Oskar who has had some dubious dealings with illegal goods and the Stasi make this a reason to hinder all formal requests for Juta to cross from the West side and visit Karin. Karin, meanwhile is fortunate enough to be in the care of a wonderful family man, Dr Walter, who cares for her and assists as much as he is able to let the sisters meet. Juta, per chance on hearing a cat cry finds a secret passageway to the East and thus begins the somewhat nerve wrecking escapades of the sisters meeting and Karin's refusal to cross back as she has met and fallen in love with Otto, an architect. On the Western side Jutta likewise meets an American military man and loses her heart to him. The history surrounding the story of this family makes for interesting reading from the statistics of how many crossed safely to how many were caught and tortured and featured places of historical interest such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg bridge. I really liked that the author made this a balanced tale with goodies and baddies on both sides of the divide. 4 and a half stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    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 ho 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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Craig / Phil

    Thank you Harper Collins for sending us a copy to read and review. The best things about reading is the entertainment a book provides and the educational element that helps furnish a story with fact and authenticity. Not all books offer both but when they do it’s a jackpot for me. Twin sisters, Jutta and Karin, like most twins share that special bond and are devastated when a wall or anti fascist barrier divides their city. Although from West Berlin, Karin is in the East having a medical procedure Thank you Harper Collins for sending us a copy to read and review. The best things about reading is the entertainment a book provides and the educational element that helps furnish a story with fact and authenticity. Not all books offer both but when they do it’s a jackpot for me. Twin sisters, Jutta and Karin, like most twins share that special bond and are devastated when a wall or anti fascist barrier divides their city. Although from West Berlin, Karin is in the East having a medical procedure and becomes trapped by the wall and a fierce border policy dividing the city physically and ideologically. Unable to be apart Jutta has to find away to see her sister and possibly bring her home. After much scrutinising she finds a hole through a building that leads her to the East. A reunion was worth the fear and trepidation and was triumphant but will be enough to lure her sister back. A people meticulous in keeping order and maintaining an extensive spy network and ironically love become major obstacles. Prying eyes on the Western side also endanger the crossings. My knowledge gap on this facet of history was fulfilled and inspired several google searches to satisfy more learning. A rewarding read offering suspense, danger and betrayal with an overarching theme that no matter how much you try and control a population it will never result in success. You cannot control people’s thoughts. Devoured quickly and left feeling very satisfied by an author who always hits the mark with me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Toni Osborne

    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 mea 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. I was given the opportunity to read this ARC from Avon Books UK via Netgalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Judy Odom

    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 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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    The Girl behind the Wall’ by Mandy Robotham is an extremely enjoyable and very interesting story. I read this book on the Pigeonhole app book club with other readers, always a great experience reading with others in Europe and around the world. Although fictional subliminally, it is packed with facts of that time, and people’s lives on both east and west of the Berlin Wall. The characters are fully rounded, the plot has substance which is wonderfully tied up at the end of the book. The storyline The Girl behind the Wall’ by Mandy Robotham is an extremely enjoyable and very interesting story. I read this book on the Pigeonhole app book club with other readers, always a great experience reading with others in Europe and around the world. Although fictional subliminally, it is packed with facts of that time, and people’s lives on both east and west of the Berlin Wall. The characters are fully rounded, the plot has substance which is wonderfully tied up at the end of the book. The storyline has an emotional pull through the principal characters: Jutta and her twin sister Karin; they struggle through adversity, joy, individual and emotive experiences, all prominent in pathos, rich in literary language, beautiful descriptive techniques, which help visualise settings, thus promoting mood. Mandy Robotham has successfully depicted each characters’ personal tragedy and, the living tragedy in East Berlin, factual and fictional techniques abound. A superb read with an abundance beautiful writing and lots of cliff- hangers before turning the page.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    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 w 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.

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