“The Girl from Berlin” by Ronald H. Balson— Long Buried Secrets

Balson, Ronald H. “The Girl from Berlin: A Novel”, St. Martin’s, 2018.

Long Buried Secrets

Amos Lassen

When an old friend of attorney Catherine Lockhart and investigator Liam Taggart asks them to meet him, they learn that his aunt is being evicted from her home in the Tuscan hills by a powerful corporation that claims to own the deed to the property. Our two detectives have very little to work with since all that Ada Baumgarten has are the deeds a bound handwritten manuscript, entirely in German.

Ada Baumgarten was born in Berlin in 1918 at the end of World War II. She was a violin prodigy and the daughter a first-chair violinist in the Berlin Philharmonic and her life reflected the culture of interwar society in Berlin. She also was very close to her childhood friend Kurt but because she and her family were Jewish, the relationship was torn apart because of anti-Semitism. Ada was lucky to be as talented as she was and it was her talent that made her a target yet that also saved her life. She moved to Bologna thinking she and her family would find peace there but unfortunately that was not the case.

To find out whatever happened to Ada and why she was evicted, Catherine and Liam will have to get through the lies and corruption and evil brought about my humans who thought that they were making the world a better place.

I suppose that even thought I knew that crimes of the past often resurface in the present, it is fascinating to see how later generations are affected. how crimes buried in the past can reverberate across future generations. Catherine and Liam Taggart went to Italy to solve a mystery that brought together an elderly women in Tuscany who was on the verge of losing her land and a Jewish violin prodigy in 1930’s Berlin during the rise of Hitler. This is a story of survival, hope and redemption that will have you turning pages as quickly as possible.

This is the first Ronald Balson novel that I have read and I was pulled into the story on the very page. The characters are well drawn and compelling, the plot just keeps betting better and better and the way the Jews were treated in Central Europe is compassionately portrayed.

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