Book Review: The Girl Behind the Wall

In the end, we’re proof, aren’t we – that you can’t control people’s thoughts. What goes on in their heads. Or their hearts.

Mandy Robotham ~ The Girl Behind the Wall

Synopsis

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.

The sisters lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the Wall. But Karin finds one reason to keep going: Otto, the man who gives her hope, even amidst the brutal East German regime.

When Jutta finds a hidden way through the wall, the twins are reunited. But the Stasi have eyes everywhere, and soon Karin is faced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West and be with her sister, or sacrifice it all to follow her heart? 

Review

The 1960s is not a period of history I know well and I don’t remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. But the idea of twin sisters separated by the Wall was a great premise and I was curious to learn more about the Berlin of that time as it’s one of my favourite European cities.

This book is exactly what historical fiction should be.

It’s detailed, raw and intense. At times my heart was racing as I followed the twins on their very different paths. Each girl was relatable and their struggles, successes and sisterly bond were fascinating.

Robotham has done her research and I could clearly picture the contrast between East and West, as well as the fear and determination of those on each side. Both Jutta and Karin are strong characters, who know their own mind and are willing to sacrifice a lot for those they love.

Supporting characters are also well-written and believable, while the plot is strong and engaging. There is trepidation, resilience and betrayal. But there is also love, loyalty and bravery.

This book provides an insight into the families in Berlin that were torn apart by the conflict. It’s an inspiring story of hope and I’m now keen to read more about the time and the people.

I was provided with an ARC. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. All opinions my own.

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