Friday, 29 November 2013

Review of Black Roses by Jane Thynne

At last – a spy thriller set in 1933 which portrays the women behind the Nazi warlords! All the history books teach us about Hitler, Goebbels, Von Ribbentrop and Himmler but what about their wives and girlfriends? What do they do while their husbands are secretly preparing for war? What do they talk about and what are their lives like?

Clara Vine, blue-blooded daughter of a prominent member of Parliament, breaks with the accepted tradition of her class to become an actress. When she realises that, in spite of this, she is expected to marry, she acts on impulse. A good friend of hers has recently given her a letter of introduction to Max Townsend, a prominent film producer in Berlin, in order to further her career. Overnight, she travels to Germany without a word to anyone.

There, she goes to the Babelsburg studios and immediately makes a new friend, Helga. The studios are in the process of being taken over by the Hitler`s Propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels and Clara finds herself unintentionally included in the circle of Nazi wives amongst whom is Magda Goebbels. This makes her an ideal source of information for Leo Quinn, an undercover agent who recruits her to gather information on her new circle of friends and trains her in spycraft. She must, however, turn her back on Helga for now.

Clara and Leo are attracted to each other and inevitably fall in love. Clara continues making films for the Reich, collecting snippets of information from the ladies circle and her Nazi escort and admirer Klaus Müller and passing them to Leo. It is only when Magda confides in Clara and entrusts her with a startling and alarming mission that Clara feels compromised and fears for her life, feeling trapped between duty and love. Who can she really trust?

I found the book a really compelling read and a fascinating insight into German society in the early 1930s. Jane Thynne has combined historical accuracy, suspense and romance in an unforgettable book. I cannot wait to read her next book, The Winter Garden! An excellent read.

Reviewed by Liz.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.

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