ABOUT THE BOOK
The smoke tingled in her nostrils. Acrid. Harsh. Lilli Sternberg’s quickening heart sounded an alarm as she rounded the corner of the street. Lifting her gaze to the rooftops, she saw a roaring blaze of thick flames engulf the side of the building and join the stars to fill the black sky. Her father’s shop was no more.
Lilli Sternberg longs to be a ballet dancer. But outside the sanctuary of the theatre, her beloved city is in chaos and Munich is no longer a place for dreams.
The Nazi party are gaining in popularity and the threats to those who deviate from the party line are increasing. Jewish families are being targeted and their businesses raided, even her father’s shop was torched.
When Lilli meets Captain Marco Zeiller during a chance encounter, her heart soars. He is the perfect gentleman and her love for him feels like a bright hope under a bleak sky.
But battle lines are being drawn, and Marco has been spotted by the Reich as an officer with great potential. A relationship with Lilli would compromise them both.
Will Lilli be able to escape the threats facing her family, and how much is she willing to risk for the man she loves?
An absolutely gripping and emotional historical fiction novel for fans of My Name is Eva and The Woman of War
What an incredible journey this is with some surprising historical figures playing major roles in the story. It begins in 1930 and follows the life of Lilli Sternberg. Lilli and her Jewish family lived in Munich, but attitudes are changing towards the family as long time friends turn their backs on them, and her father’s shop is burned down. Lilli, a ballet dancer, longs for her talents to be recognised and a way out of Germany.
The story follows Lilli through the war years, her loves, her career and the situations that she is forced into to survive and keep people she loves safe. There is never a dull moment in this story. I loved the romance and her determination, but for me, the second half of the book was riveting. The tension that the author brought to these pages just made the world around it become blurred. I had been watching a TV series, before and after reading this book, and the mix of them both brought this book even more to life. It was like this was the behind the scenes story, and it made my blood run cold.
It felt quite surreal that Lilli had no idea just how bad things had become for her family back in Germany. It was all too horrific to think that any of it could be true. It is, at times, extremely heart-breaking, and it becomes very personal to Lilli.
I can’t recommend this book enough. I wouldn’t even want to put in into a category because this for me is a book of life. One woman, brave and determined. A Perfect ending too.
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When I was five years old, I visited the dungeons of an old castle with my parents. The guide was telling us about the oubliette, the place where they threw prisoners and literally forgot about them. Without warning he turned the light off, plunging the space into darkness. We were blind for a few moments. But instead of terrifying me, the experience had the opposite effect. I wanted to know more about people, lives, events from the past. So,from a very early age, I loved history: buildings, books, stories.
I went on to read History at Oxford University and qualified as a journalist and editor, contributing to several national publications such as The Times and The Telegraph. I also acted as a literary publicist for the English TV presenter and novelist Pam Rhodes.
Winning a European-wide screenplay writing competition led to the optioning of a screenplay. (Here’s where the history comes in.) Set in 18th century England, it highlighted what has to be one of the most fascinating periods of England’s past. The screenplay languished in what’s known as development hell, but I was determined to tell some of the stories I’d discovered during my researches into the period. The result is “The Anatomist’s Apprentice,” the first of a series of Dr Thomas Silkstone Mysteries – stories from late 18th century England that are based on true events.
Until December 2010 I was editor of a regional glossy magazine and was regularly heard on BBC local radio. As well interviewing dozens of celebrities, I interviewed writers at literary events in front of audiences. My most recent interviews were with Oscar winner Julian Fellowes (who wrote the screenplay for Downton Abbey), Barbara Taylor Bradford and Hollywood legend Leslie Caron.