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The girl from Berlin
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An old friend calls Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart to his famous Italian restaurant to enlist their help. His aunt is being evicted from her home in the Tuscan hills by a powerful corporation claiming they own the deeds, even though she can produce her own set of deeds to her land. Catherine and Liam's only clue is a bound handwritten manuscript, entirely in German, and hidden in its pages is a story long-forgotten...Ada Baumgarten was born in Berlin in 1918, at the end of the war. The daughter of an accomplished first-chair violinist in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic, and herself a violin prodigy, Ada's life was full of the rich culture of Berlin's interwar society. She formed a deep attachment to her childhood friend Kurt, but they were torn apart by the growing unrest as her Jewish family came under suspicion. As the tides of history turned, it was her extraordinary talent that would carry her through an unraveling society turned to war, and make her a target even as it saved her, allowing her to move to Bologna--though Italy was not the haven her family had hoped, and further heartache awaited.What became of Ada? How is she connected to the conflicting land deeds of a small Italian villa? As they dig through the layers of lies, corruption, and human evil, Catherine and Liam uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hope--the ending of which is yet to be written.
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Booklist Review
Today's political and cultural environment is frighteningly mirrored in Balson's thought-provoking look at one young woman's battle to survive the encroachment of Nazi ideology and the Holocaust. Ada Baumgarten is a talented violinist; her success and love of family sustain her during dark times, and her talent enables freedoms that are denied other Jews. Ada's engrossing story is told in alternating chapters with that of another strong woman, Catherine Lockhart, an American lawyer who, along with private investigator Liam Taggart, travels to Italy in the present to help resolve a dispute over a vineyard's ownership and soon becomes involved in a web of corruption and long-suppressed evil. How these plot strands are related unfolds over the course of a novel that will at first make readers wonder why a Nazi is being portrayed sympathetically. Readers may also notice a few spots in which characters relate historical facts to one another in an artificial way. However, those who persevere will find this mix of historical fiction, melodrama, and WWII thriller a memorable and satisfying read, and one to try after Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller .--Henrietta Verma Copyright 2018 Booklist
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