Monday, 4 August 2014

Review: The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook

***** - 5 Stars

I was sent a copy of this book by Penguin UK to review as part of The Aftermath blog tour run by Leah at Girls Love To Read and I am so happy I signed up as this is a truly amazing book and I am very grateful for being given the opportunity to read it.

The Blurb

Hamburg, 1946. Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its defeated people, Colonel Lewis Morgan is requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife, Rachael, and only remaining son, Edmund.
But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatized daughter, to leave their home, Lewis insists that the two families live together. In this charged and claustrophobic atmosphere all must confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.
The Aftermath is a stunning novel about our fiercest loyalties, our deepest desires and the transformative power of forgiveness.

My Thoughts

This is one of those books that is very hard to review, it is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time due to it's subject matter and Rhidian Brook's beautiful writing.

I'm not even sure where to begin with a review. The Aftermath, is set in Hamburg in 1946 during a time of great unrest in Germany and the rest of the world. We see Rachael Morgan travel with her son Edmund to join her husband Lewis, a colonel in the British Army, who has just been appointed as the Governor of Pinneburg. It is his job to try & help rebuild Hamburg but the Germans really don't want the British there.

The British have been requisitioning houses for their officers and their families to live in, evicting German families in the process. However Lewis Morgan goes against the norm & allows the family who own the house that has been found for him to stay in the upstairs apartment. The family consists of Stefan Lubert, a widower and an architect and his 15 year old daughter, Frieda - his wife was killed in the firestorm that the British rained down on Hamburg a few years before. The daughter, Frieda is a troubled young lady who has been deeply affected by the death of her mother and really resents having a British family in her home. Then you have Rachael who is still grieving the lose of her eldest son at the hands of a German bomb and is determined not to like any Germans. With both families having lost loved ones at the hands of the other's army it really does make for a gripping read, full of tension, betrayal and at times a wonderful sense of humour that comes in the form of the Trummerkinder, the children of the rubble.

Brook tells a story about the side of the Second World War that I was unaware of, it is a story of how the Germans dealt with their defeat. A compelling story that looks at the aftermath of war and how people begin to move on with their lives and begin to rebuild their ruined city

The story had me totally absorbed from the outset and even though the chapters are long, which I normally hate I found myself flying through the pages eager to see what became of the characters and if the betrayals would be found out.

Overall this was an excellent story about love, loss, betrayal and vengeance and takes a stark look at the impact of war.

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