THE BOOKSELLER OF DACHAU
by Shari J. Ryan
Release Date: October 29, 2021Genre: Historical Fiction
Trope: World War II
Germany, 1940: “Can’t I say goodbye?” I shout, cupping my hands over my mouth. The Nazis dragging him away stare at me, soldiers with icy glares. No. No, no, no, they can’t make him leave.
In Nazi Germany, innocent people vanish every day, torn mercilessly from their homes and loved ones. When Matilda’s childhood sweetheart Hans is in danger, she doesn’t hesitate to hide him in her attic. Neighbors their whole lives, and desperately in love with one another, she’ll do anything to protect him. For months, they exist by candlelight, smuggling food and communicating in whispers. But, in the end, nothing can stop the soldiers charging in…
America, 2018: Grace opens a mustard-yellow envelope, and her world unravels. She has inherited a bookstore in the small town of Dachau from the grandmother she had no idea existed. Her mom, adopted as a baby, spent her life searching for her biological parents––and died without ever knowing.
Grace visits her legacy––a bookshop on a cobbled lane filled with lost memories. She combs through handwritten letters, unearthing the story of her grandmother Matilda. A woman whose one true love was locked within the barbed wire of Dachau––a woman who never gave up hope…
As Grace pieces together her family’s heartbreaking past, she discovers the long-buried secret of her own identity. But when she learns the truth, will she ever be the same again?
This heart-wrenching yet hopeful tale will restore your faith in humanity, and in the power of love to triumph over evil. Fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Orphan Train and Kristin Hannah will be blown away by this breathtakingly gripping page-turner.
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About the Author
Shari J. Ryan is USA Today bestselling author. She lives in Massachusetts with her wicked awesome husband, and two wild sons who fill her life with non-stop comedy.
With a life full of love, writing, drawing, TV binging, reading, and Starbucks, Shari is living her best life.
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My rating: 5 of 5 stars - One of the Best
Review Copy Provided by Author
I read this as an advanced copy titled Secret in the Attic and to be honest, I’m not sure which title I like better, they both definitely fit the story.
Told in alternate time lines, the focus of our story here is Matilda (a German Christian) and Hans (a German Jew) and their childhood friendship that develops into more just as the world around them implodes at the beginning of the war. The rich storytelling made it feel as if I was with these characters as they experienced the trials of a world that no longer made sense.
The unique delivery here, of having modern day Grace reading the words of Matilda and Hans as they tell their own story made the struggle of living in WWII Germany take on a new dynamic for me.
As with other historical works by Ms Ryan, The Secret in Attic takes a both a gentle and very honest approach to one of the most horrible events in human history. While this is a work of fiction, it definitely helps me reframe things that have only been points of reference. As we get further removed from WWII, works like this play an important role in keeping the conversation going so that we never again go down the road of hate.
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