Assalam everyone! Do you enjoy reading Historical Fiction? It’s actually one of my favorite genres! And that’s why today I’m bringing you a review on an emotional WW2 story. Hope you enjoy reading and don’t forget to like and comment in the comments section below.
Title: The Berlín Zookeeper
Author: Anna Stuart
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: May 4th 2021
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 Train, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Alice Network.
BRILLIANT, HEARTBREAKING, EXCEPTIONAL.
The Berlín Zookeeper is an exceptional tale of love, friendship, loss, and the art of letting go.
The book opens up with Bethan Taylor, a young lady arriving at a zoo in Berlín. Young, vibrant and keen to start working on the animals. In her bag is a faded paper that she mistakenly discovered when she was 12, shortly after her mom passed away. It was tugged in her mom’s jewelry box. Written on it are the names of 6 women. Strange and mysterious but at that time, there was practically nothing she could do. But now, all grown up and about to start working in the exact same place that one of the women on the list worked, Bethan feels more determined than ever to find the mystery behind the list.
The story is written in the two main characters POV – Bethan Taylor and Katharina Heinroth. From Bethan’s POV, the story focused on her finding out what the list truly means and settling in to her new job, amidst making new friends. I love how vibrant and normal she is, and her love for animals is divine. In Berlín, she goes through a lot emotionally. Meeting a mysterious lady outside the Zoo by name of Ada, her father’s visit and breaking up with her boyfriend Callum. The biggest blow is when she discovers that her grandmother is not her biological grandmother.
Another character that I adore is Max. He’s nice and caring, and very helpful to Bethan when she most needed it. Didn’t surprise me when they began falling for each other.
On the other hand, there’s Katharina Heinroth. Tbh she’s my fav character. That lady is a hero. Her POV shows the period during the war. A heartbreaking time. Her love for the animals is so touching and she did everything in her power to save them. Not only the animals but also her friends. They were all a team and together they pulled through. I was really emotional reading about all they went through and the fear that gripped them every day, her friends dying and her making the devastating decision to stay back for her zoo at a period when everyone was desperate to flee.
That fact that Katharina is actually a real person made reading the scenes so much more vivid. The war was a very difficult time, and this book brings it out to life. A lot of people believe that non-Jewish Germans were in support of the war going on but this book shows that is not always the case.
I enjoyed reading this heartbreaking and emotional WW2 story. Thanks to Netgalley, Bookouture, and Anna Stuart for the arc copy.