Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Winter Garden by Jane Thynne

Clara Vine is an English actress living in pre-war Nazi Germany and working in Goebbels film industry. But there is more to her than meets than eye, she uses the contacts she has made amongst the wives of the prominent Nazis to report back to the British on the in-fighting and struggles amongst Hitler's elite.
This is the second story about Clara, I hadn't read the first Black Roses but this can title can be read as a standalone.
Clara gets caught up  in a murder that takes places in one of the Bride Schools, where brides wanting to marry an SS officer were trained in the arts that made a good German wife. The murder has potential far-reaching consequences for the Nazi elite.

Clara is walking a tightrope trying to appear as a sympathiser to the Nazi regime whilst at the same time working to undermine it. Her life becomes entangled with 3 men: Ralph Sommers an Englishman who also appears to be in sympathy with the Nazis, Ernst, Udet, her co-star in her next film and a WW1 flying ace and Arno Strauss a friend of Udet and also a flying ace.

The story is set during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Germany and the Mitford sisters, Diana and Unity, also make an appearance. The leading Nazis, Goebbels, Goering and their wives all make appearances in this book and their lives are in direct contrast to the ordinary Germans trying to make ends meet. The threat of war is constantly on the horizon.

This is a well-plotted, engaging crime story which gives a fascinating insight into life in Berlin under the Nazis. So if you like your crime stories with a good sense of time and place this could be the one for you!

This book was provided free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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