The Novelist from Berlin by VS Alexander @michaelmeeske @KensingtonBooks #KindleUnlimted @sophiarose1816 #ThriftyThursday

Posted May 26, 2024 by Sophia in Book Review, Thrifty Thursday / 10 Comments

Review copy was received from Giveaway. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Novelist from Berlin by VS Alexander @michaelmeeske @KensingtonBooks #KindleUnlimted @sophiarose1816 #ThriftyThursdayThe Novelist from Berlin by VS Alexander
Published by Kensington Books on September 26, 2023
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Giveaway
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

An engrossing novel inspired by the mysterious true story of Irmgard Keun, a female novelist who defied all the rules during Berlin’s volcanic post-WWI years, as a young German writer exiled for her ideas flees her country and her Nazi-supporting husband, fighting for her art, her life, and her child.

1920s Though the world has changed in the wake of the Great War, it is still ruled by men. Even a woman as resourceful and intelligent as Niki Rittenhaus needs alliances in order to survive. Her marriage to Rickard Länger, a movie producer for Berlin’s Passport Pictures, seems convenient for them both. When Rickard succumbs to increasing pressure from the Nazis to make propaganda movies, a horrified Niki turns away from her own film aspirations and instead, begins to write.

A story based on a real life woman writer, Irmgard Keun, who dared to stand against the Nazis?  I couldn’t not enthusiastically take up The Novelist From Berlin by a new to me author about her own original heroine, Marie ‘Niki’ Rittenhaus.

The Novelist From Berlin opens with a prologue from a seventy-one year old woman’s perspective.  The rest of the book is a manuscript autobiography of her life.  She begins in 1929 when the Nazis were an emerging power in their ‘brown shirts’ and bully tactics that she despised.  She wondered how they were gaining such momentum in her country.  However, at eighteen, Marie’s focus as an actress trying to make a place for herself, was living in the moment with parties, booze, and men.  She catches the eye of a leading movie producer, Rickard Langer, and sees him as her big chance to get a leg up in the show business.  She’s a ‘New German Woman’ and writes about it under a pseudo name to success and her convenient marriage and daughter are part of that or so she thinks.

Unfortunately, her attempt to avoid the Nazis as they rise to power is unsuccessful.  Her husband is producing propaganda movies for them and they steamroll over any in opposition.  Marie’s books are burned and it’s only a matter of time before they work out she wrote them.  She attempts to escape with her daughter, unsuccessfully.  Her daughter is taken from her by Rickard and his powerful Nazi friends.  She escapes into the Netherlands and fights the Nazis in the Resistance group always intent on getting back to Berlin and her daughter, Laura.

The Novelist From Berlin tells of Germany from a non-Nazi German woman’s perspective and crosses the decades from between the World Wars, the Berlin Wall, and beyond.  Marie was not an attractive heroine to me at first, but her plucky, survival instinct and drive won me over.  She lived through horrific times when survival was to be celebrated.  The times shaped her and the author’s talent to get inside such a woman and situation was amazing.  I was emotional and tense through the reading.

I appreciated the author’s note in the back about the real life woman who inspired her fictional story.  Her story is loosely based so that the woman writer who defied the Nazis is about the only similarity, but both real life and fictional women can be appreciated greatly.  I definitely want read more of VS Alexander’s work and highly recommend this one to those who want WWII-era historical fiction especially since this is from an insider’s POV.


Won print ARC on July 10, 2023  (currently $9.99 at Amazon and in KindleUnlimited as of writing this post)

Overall rating 4.12 with 431 ratings and  125 reviews


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Posted May 26, 2024 by Sophia in Book Review, Thrifty Thursday / 10 Comments

10 responses to “The Novelist from Berlin by VS Alexander

    • That was so tough on her especially as she tried to escape and they took her daughter back. She had to wait out the war and hope. So tough.

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