#TheBerlinZookeeper by @annastuartbooks

Two women. One shocking wartime secret. And a family mystery just waiting to be discovered…

Berlin Zoo, 1943: Ten-year-old Adelaide and her newborn sister are orphaned after a devastating night of bombing. Heartbroken and frightened, Adelaide runs to her mother’s closest friend, Katharina Heinroth, and the kind zookeeper takes the two little girls under her protection. As the bombing intensifies, Adelaide tries to shut out the horrors of war by caring for her tiny sister and playing with the adorable baby monkeys. But when Katharina organises a dangerous operation to enable children and animals to escape the battle-scarred city, something goes wrong. And Adelaide has to promise her adopted mother to keep a shocking secret. A secret that will change Adelaide’s life forever.

Berlin Zoo, 2019: Bethan Taylor notices the elderly lady sitting on the bench next to her seems confused, her thoughts flitting between past and present. Ada talks of her childhood, played out in an underground bunker beneath the animal enclosures during the war. As Ada’s story unfolds, Bethan is surprised to hear a name she recognises…

Katharina Heinroth is at the top of a list of German names Bethan found in a hidden compartment of her late mother’s jewellery box. Bethan’s father couldn’t tell her anything about the crumpled piece of paper and she’s been searching for the meaning ever since.

As the two women are brought together by the pain of the past can they help each other to heal? And after decades of silence, can Ada help Bethan to uncover a long-buried family mystery?

An unforgettable and heart-wrenching novel of a brave orphan girl and a shocking wartime secret. Inspired by a true WW2 story and perfect for fans of Orphan TrainThe Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Alice Network.

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Bethan’s hand shook as she looked at the strange list, written years ago in her mother’s precious hand.

PROLOGUE

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(@Bookouture, 4 May 2021, 350 pages, ebook, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed, #BlogTour 4 May)

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I’ve read and enjoyed other books by the author so was looking forward to this. I’ve read a lot of books set during WWII but none with a Berlin Zoo as the back-drop so was looking forward to reading something a little different. I really enjoyed this book. The author uses my favourite plot device, events in the present impacted by the past. In this case, a woman seeks answers to secrets uncovered after her mother’s death and wants to understand the meaning of a list of names she found among her mother’s things, a list of women from Berlin. I loved the way the past and present meander around each other and we gradually learn how everything is linked. I found this an engrossing read.

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