Genre: Historical Fiction
Hi everyone! Welcome to my first book review of the year! I have officially finished my first book of the year (even though I started this one back in December) and it has got my reading year off to a great start! Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres and I tend to read a lot of it so I am sure this won’t be the only review of one you’ll see from me this year! So let’s get into the review (don’t worry there are no spoilers!).
Black Roses by Jane Thynne is a historical fiction novel set in 1933 Berlin, as Hitler enforces his regime and life is rapidly changing for those in the city. The plot follows Clara Vine, a young British actress as she moves to Berlin to further her acting career and secure a part in an upcoming film. Before long Clara finds herself rubbing shoulders with the wives of the Nazi elite, most notably Magda Goebbels. And then she meets Leo Quinn, a British intelligence agent working undercover in Berlin and she soon finds herself swept up in spying on her new acquaintances and reporting back to Leo. As the plot progresses Clara begins to understand just how dangerous her new life is as the balance of trusting and being trusted becomes more and more precarious. Overall, I found the plot to be exciting and interesting, with a few unexpected twists along the way! The novel begins with a bang, describing a dramatic event that occurs later on in the plot, however from here the first half of the novel can feel a tiny bit slow at points but as this is the first book in a series this is just due to the author setting the scene and introducing the setting. The second half of the novel speeds up significantly and the characters really come into their own, driving the plot through the dramatic events and building suspense for the ending. The ending is well thought out and intriguing, encouraging the reader to continue on with the series, which I definitely will be!
As for the characters, Clara Vine, our heroine is extremely well written and rounded, and its great to see her grow and change throughout the novel is such a realistic way. Clara is everything a good heroine should be, she is relatable despite the situations she finds herself in, she is determined and self assured but still has moments where she really questions her decisions and I really love how passionate she is about facing her fears to stand up for what she believes in. Leo Quinn is a great character, he is serious and intellectual but also more emotional than he first lets on and the slow process of getting to know him just adds to the joy of the read. The romance between these characters is lovely to read and a welcome break from some of the darker elements of the plot but I love that it doesn’t become the main storyline. I hope that we will see more of them together in the next book. The Nazi wives play a large part in the plot and each is written with great detail, giving a perfect snapshot of the kind of women they were and the part they played in enforcing Hitler’s regime. Seeing things from the point of view of the wives and girlfriends was such a unique perspective, and as someone who has read a decent amount of historical fiction I found it immensely interesting.
The highlights of this novel were really watching the main characters develop, the unique experience of reading about things from the perspective of the Nazi wives and also the setting of 1933 Berlin pre war. It was so eye opening to read about how life slowly but surely changed for the residents of Berlin and how swept up most people became in Hitler’s ideas and bought into his plans for Germany. It was so refreshing to read about this topic before the war actually started and was actually a first experience for me! I am so looking forward to continuing with the series at some point!
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars!
3 word review: Atmospheric, immersive, exciting
Thank you so much for reading and I’d love to know your thoughts if you have read this book or any historical fiction recommendations you may have!
See you soon,