I’m so excited to share the gorgeous cover of my next book ‘Letters from Berlin’! I’ve been working on this novel for some time but it’s finally done and the release date of October 1 will soon be here. The cover reveal always makes the reality of the novel hit home. Soon it will be out in the world and I can’t wait to share the story with you.
For now I can give you a little background…
Letters from Berlin is inspired by a true story which I came across while researching my very first book, The Girl from Munich. Sifting through the treasure trove of documents, photos and memorabilia that my German grandmother left behind after she died, I discovered a single letter from her cousin that began the journey to Letters from Berlin.
The letter was sent to my grandmother by newly connected relatives in Germany trying to find other branches of the family that had dispersed after the war. They had found my grandmother’s cousin recently returned to Germany after living abroad for nearly sixty years and he had written them a short letter in response to their enquiry about his family.
He wrote that he remembered meeting my grandmother’s brothers, visiting his family on their way to the war and learning that both had perished on the Eastern Front, but that he’d lost contact with the family at the end of the war. It was wonderful to discover a part of my grandmother’s family that I knew nothing about but frustrating too as there was little more detail.However, accompanying the letter was a German newspaper report and intrigued to know what it was about I set about translating it.
I was blown away as it contained everything I wanted to know and so much more! What I learned was explosive detail about his family during the war years in Germany and into the Soviet occupation. The article spoke about a landmark German legal case stretching back to World War Two that involved him and his family and the incredible circumstances regarding this case that stretched from the 1920s through to the turn of this century!
What I learnt was that my grandmother’s uncle was married to a Russian Jew who received her Jewish registration papers, officially marking her as a Jewish person in January 1943, after years of her husband dealing with Nazi officials to keep her off the list. He owned a large estate outside of Berlin and he was predominantly a timber merchant. His son, my grandmother’s cousin, wanted to follow his father into agriculture but was prevented from attending university. This was because he was half-Jewish.
There’s a saying ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ and I couldn’t believe everything this family, my relatives, had endured. Their story made me immensely proud but also took me on an an emotional roller-coaster and I knew that I had to tell it – not just because it’s such an incredible story full of heartbreak, survival and human endurance but because it’s about family and legacy. What a family will do to stay together, what a family will do to protect its own. It was moving learning about a branch of my family I didn’t know about and I wanted to hand this story down to my own family, but I also wanted to tell the little known story of the Jewish people married to Germans and their children, living under the Third Reich.
I’d love to tell you so much more about the amazing story I discovered but unfortunately it will have to wait until after Letters from Berlin is released. Otherwise it might spoil the story… just a little bit!