Jane Thynne – The Winter Garden

The Winter GardenThe second of a series of books following actress Clara Vine in 1930s Berlin, this novel manages to convey the uncertainty and danger lurking everywhere at that time.

Clara is an Anglo-German actress on the surface, living a glamorous life and with access to the highest levels of the SS and German society.  She also manages to use her position to uncover secrets and pass them on covertly to British Intelligence.

The storyline relates to a murder at the Bride School for SS officers and Clara soon discovers that all is not as it seems.  However, while the detective story is interesting, it’s the portrayal of society on the edge of something monstrous that captures the imagination.  I was struck by the amount of research that Jane Thynne must have done to be able to write so convincingly.  I know this is a novel, but the violence overshadowing everyday life at that time was real.  The author doesn’t clearly draw a line between good and evil characters, either.  It’s a tense portrait of people doing their best according to their individual belief system.

I’m not quite sure why I started reading the second book along.  It stands alone, although I’ll be seeking out other books in the series.

 

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