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  • Writer's pictureTerrie

The Berlin Girl: A Plucky Girl in Prewar Berlin

The Berlin Girl by Mandy Robotham

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published December 2020, 400 pages

Another WWII historical fiction to add to the giant pile of books with this setting. While this one didn't quite grip me like some of the others I've read, it was an entertaining effort.


Georgie, our indomitable heroine, is a young, newly minted foreign correspondent from London, looking to make her mark in Berlin in prewar Germany. As she arrives, she is drawn into the circle of international reporters, all with much more experience than her. There is a bit of a love story with Max, a reporter from a competing London paper, which follows the usual enemy-to-friend-to-lover trope.

She regularly faces her fears and insecurities about her job and tells herself to "just get on with it" as she forces herself outside her comfort zone to do what she thinks is right, even when it puts her in danger. And dangers abound as the Nazi war machine gears up and she and the other journalists try to warn the war about the drastic changes happening under Hitler's reign. There is some build up of tension as she becomes involved with a Jewish family and all their trouble and worries. She has run-ins with an SS officer and events conspire to put Max and her on the run for their lives. The book wraps up in a tidy way that still left me wanting more.


The story is very readable and moves right along, but for me it felt very 'light', almost superficial - somehow I wanted more substance, more depth. Even though Georgie is a "plucky" character, I just couldn't connect with her or any of the others. She made friends with a group of reporters that we never really get to know and that helped her get settled and find contacts in Berlin.

But from there her experiences felt like a rework of every WWII cliche`. She meets a Jewish family in danger and all the standard events to tug at your heartstrings occur. And, of course, in helping the Jewish family she and Max are put in severe danger, which is when they realize they were in love. I don't was too pat, not enough grit and it seems like the story went from one cliche` to the next in a very predictable way.

Do you enjoy the proliferation of stories set in WWII? What's your favorite WWII novel? Or, what's your favorite era of historical fiction?

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