“I was absolutely mesmerised by the first half of the book as life for the Jews in Berlin steadily deteriorated. The writing is measured, almost unemotional, and all the more chilling for that. The level of detail is stunning but it’s demonstrated rather than delivered as exposition. I’ve read quite a bit about the nineteen-thirties in Berlin – but this was the first time that I really felt as though I was there. It’s not the major events which tell so much but the smaller points, like Jews not being allowed to ride bicycles, the ever present fear of ‘relocation’ or not knowing who could be trusted.
“It’s in the second half of the book that Rosa arrives in England and I thought that life would then become relatively easy for her, but it wasn’t to be. There are different influences at work: the more traditional approach to the Jewish religion of the relatives with whom she lived, the difficulties of knowing relatively little of the English language and the pain of separation from her family. There’s a big story here too with twists which I really wasn’t expecting.
“The characters stay with you long after you’ve finished the book. Their circumstances haunt your mind. It’s a book to buy and to savour and definitely one which you’ll return to in the future. Meticulously researched, beautifully written, atmospheric and lots of tension.”