3 out of 4 stars
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The Barbed Wire Rose, by Rosanna Štrbík Porter, is about Anna and her family. Anna is a writer from East Germany. In a nutshell, the book unveils the happy and unhappy times Anna's family experienced while she was a young girl. It comprises Oma's journal (Oma is Anna's maternal grandmother). The journal shows how Oma's father was taken away by Russian soldiers. Later on, at age thirteen, she and her mother were conscripted to work in a coal mine. One day, Oma collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Thereafter, she was conveyed to the home of the rich coal mine owner to work as one of the household servants.
Furthermore, the book includes how Peter, Anna's elder brother, was conscripted into the military. It unveils how Peter and his friend, Michael, planned to escape by climbing over the Wall at the border between East and West Berlin. Afterwards, Michael changed his mind, and Peter got into trouble while trying to cross the Berlin Wall.
The Barbed Wire Rose has intriguing storylines. It's well written and easy to read. What l like most about it is the flow; it flows smoothly. Exploring the themes of true friendship, family love, and family unity, it's an engaging read, especially for young adults. Though it's categorized as historical fiction, it reads more like a coming-of-age story to me. The narration and conversations are kind of sophomoric, and some mature adults may not enjoy reading it because of this element. Also, frequently, the author utilized some common German words, such as "Ja" and "Danke", which means " yes" and "thank you" in English respectively.
The novel is based on some actual events, such as the Pan-European Picnic in 1989, the massive deportation of Danube Swabian women in 1944 into slave labor camps in Russia, and the abduction of more than 20,000 Danube Swabian children, who were placed in state-run children's homes.
Whereas the characters are likable, I couldn't relate to any one of them. The author did not describe the characters in depth. He should have provided more background, physical, and personality details.
Overall, I rate this narrative 3 out of 4 stars. I didn't rate it lower because it's readable, and it contains a touching story. In addition, It was professionally edited; I saw just a few grammar errors, particularly missing commas. I couldn't rate it higher because it reads more like a coming-of-age fiction than the specified genre. Readers who like books based on true stories will enjoy reading it.
The Barbed Wire Rose
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