Monday, 29 September 2014
Black Roses by Jane Thynne
Berlin, 1933. Warning bells ring across Europe as Hitler comes to power. Clara Vine, an attractive young Anglo-German actress, arrives in Berlin to find work at the famous Ufa studios. Through a chance meeting, she is unwillingly drawn into a circle of Nazi wives, among them Magda Goebbels, Anneliese von Ribbentrop and Goering's girlfriend Emmy Sonnemann.
As part of his plan to create a new pure German race, Hitler wants to make sweeping changes to the lives of women, starting with the formation of a Reich Fashion Bureau, instructing women on what to wear and how to behave. Clara is invited to model the dowdy, unflattering clothes. Then she meets Leo Quinn who is working for British intelligence and who sees in Clara the perfect recruit to spy on her new elite friends, using her acting skills to win their confidence.
But when Magda Goebbels reveals to Clara a dramatic secret and entrusts her with an extraordinary mission, Clara feels threatened, compromised, desperately caught between her duty towards — and growing affection for — Leo, and the impossibly dangerous task Magda has forced upon her.
I read this earlier in the year as our bookclub choice, I really enjoyed it as I've always had an interest in Germany and it's history, which I studied as part of my Curriculum and I also studied German throughout my years in High School so I was really happy when this was chosen. Jane Thynne has written a tense and exciting thriller, which is well-developed and researched and she also shows how small acts of heroism made a big, if temporary, difference and captures the pressures and motivations of the time. Black Roses is a compelling read of interest to readers of historical fiction and those who like spy thrillers. I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of The Winter Garden which is the second book in the Clara Vine series.
Black Roses is available in Kindle & from all good bookstores.