3 out of 4 stars
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Berlin Butterfly: Ensnare by Leah Moyes is a historical fiction that takes place in Berlin in the early 1960s. World War II might have ended, but the horrors it left behind are still very real. Berlin is politically split in two, and this split becomes physical when East Berlin puts up a wall in 1961. Overnight, families are torn apart as the German people find themselves on opposite sides of the wall. Ella is separated from her brother, Josef, and her best friend, Anton. The two boys managed to make it to freedom in West Berlin the night before the wall went up. Ella, however, stayed behind to take care of her sick father. With border patrols becoming increasingly watchful, will Ella ever be able to make it over the wall to her family and freedom?
I loved that this story brought the Berlin Wall to light. Many people forget what German citizens went through after the war ended, myself included. This story talks about the hardships that people in Berlin went through. While Ella’s story is fictional, it is still realistic. Her fictional struggles were probably experienced by real people while all this was happening. Because I knew that a lot of this book really could have happened, it was a very emotional read, and I loved every second of it. It really made me take a step back and be grateful for everything I have, my freedom included.
My favorite aspect of the book was that the author really emphasized the difference between the rich and the poor during this time period. The rich had no cares. They lived luxuriously and didn’t even bat an eye at the people outside their doors that were struggling to survive. This reminded me so much of what we are experiencing in society today, which is heartbreaking.
Another aspect that I enjoyed was the ending. When I first started reading, I thought the book was very predictable. I guessed what would happen several times. However, this predictability was gone by the end of the book, which I was pleased by. The end threw me for a loop. I would never have expected it. I can’t say much more without ruining the book, but I loved that I didn’t predict the ending correctly. I was also left wanting more, so I really hope this author writes a second book.
I only have two issues with this book. The biggest downfall was the lack of editing, especially of the punctuation. While punctuation errors aren’t the worst errors that a book can have, they were still distracting. The other problem I had with the book was that there were several German phrases, but not all of them were defined or translated. I had to look them up myself, which I really don’t like doing when I’m reading.
I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. The story was excellent. The editing just needed some work. If the errors were fixed, I would definitely consider giving this book a perfect score. That being said, I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially books set in the aftermath of World War II. However, if you don’t want to be hit with the reality of that time period, this book might not be for you.
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