"Marriage. England. Peace. Or Berlin".
Carla is an English Rose, born into a wealthy family and has lived a sheltered life. She dreams of being an actress, and avoiding a marriage proposal, she heads for the world of cinema in Berlin, 1931.
The rest of the world is relatively unaware of the day to day effects on the Berlin population, as the Nazi Regime impose their laws and take over the city. Clara finds herself in the thick of it after a chance encounter with Englishman, Leo. Suddenly she is forced to make some tough decisions and perhaps make a change in the potential oncoming war.
Jane Thynne has brought us a new perspective on WW2 and the role of British Intelligence in Germany. While the book has characters and storylines that are based on fact, there is still a feel of fiction throughout. The writing is descriptive, informative and carries itself very well. Having recently studied this period in History, I found the backround information regarding Communism, Facisim and the Third Reich as well as the bizzare influence and changes imposed by Hitler and his "Brown Shirts" very well covered. However, some readers may find some of the book a bit like a history lesson. ( Not always a bad thing, by the way ).
The character of Clara has the potential become one of real substance and, now I know there will be more Clara Vine books, this makes sense. She needs more depth and feeling to make her more real. The other English character, Leo, is great. While the reader is not given a lot of details, he still becomes endearing.
This novel is a nice way to discover the stories of Germany in early 1930s, from a different angle. The descriptions of the city are really well done and, having never visited Berlin, would make me want to visit. The women of Germany are also brought to the forefront as the author attempts to show us how the wives and girlfriends of Hitler's men are expected to behave. It is very well researched and the author's notes at the end of the book are a great addition. I look forward to the next installment of Clara Vine's story.
Black Roses is published by Simon&Schuster and is available in Paperback as well as ebook format.