Official Review: Berlin Butterfly by Leah Moyes

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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Official Review: Berlin Butterfly by Leah Moyes

Post by anneloretrujillo » 10 Jul 2018, 14:08

[Following is an official review of "Berlin Butterfly" by Leah Moyes.]
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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.

Berlin Butterfly
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Post by daydreaming reader » 11 Jul 2018, 10:48

I agree that having to look up words while reading is really annoying, but I also find it quite interesting when it is a completely new word to me. The story seems to be an emotional one, which I think is great when well executed. I dislike predictability though, but since your review indicates that it disappears by the end of the book, I am certainly willing to give this a read. Thank you for the review.
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Post by Eryn Bradshaw » 11 Jul 2018, 12:00

I don't know too much about the history around the Berlin Wall. I know it was there, I know it was a big deal, and I know it was a big deal when it was torn down. I love historical fiction, I may pick this up to try and gain more insight on parts of history I don't know too much about. Thank you for your review.
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Post by Navysquid » 11 Jul 2018, 15:39

I read this book and agree with Annalore about the misdirection as I thought I knew where the book was headed. Curveball. I was intrigued the whole way through the book and actually loved the intermittent German words as it made me search for words I did not know as a non-German speaker.

Ella, the main character, showed she had heart, grit, loss, and unbelievable determination to get through all she did as she seemed to never catch a break. The ending does leave you with wanting more and I hope there is a sequel! This, in my opinion, is a definite bookshelf read. You'll enjoy reading this book and learn about the Berlin Wall along the way.

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Post by Dahmy 10 » 11 Jul 2018, 17:03

This book has my vote, I would love to see the fresh perspective of world War 2..... The wall built sounds like an interesting concept, also, good enlightenment of what the Germans faced postwar is something I'll be looking out for.

Thank for this review....

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Post by KristyKhem » 11 Jul 2018, 18:40

I really like the cover design of this book. From your review, the plot seems quite engaging. I must admit though, the Berlin Wall is not something I am familiar with. Good job on pointing out the flaws and strengths of the story. If I'm ever in the mood to read a good historical fiction, I will get The Berlin Butterfly.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 11 Jul 2018, 19:49

I would be annoyed by having to look up the translations as well but I found your review engaging. Otherwise, it sounds like a very interesting read.

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Post by gen_g » 12 Jul 2018, 02:21

Thank you for the lovely review! I'm also interested in learning more about the Berlin Wall, and it is all the more important in times like this, especially with the current political climate.

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Post by bookierme » 12 Jul 2018, 08:26

I love historical fiction and I am fascinated by the German language, so I would love to read this book. Your review also has me intrigued as to what the possible ending of this book could be, so I am adding it to my reading list. Great review!

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Post by CatInTheHat » 15 Jul 2018, 16:22

I don't think I've read any historical fiction covering this time period in Germany. I'll have to check it out.
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