Reviewed by Angela
5/5This was a book that I truly couldn't put down. For me, it had all the elements of a strong guilt-ridden character based story. Klaudia oozed so much guilt about her father's past that upon leaving school she changed her name to Eliza to try to get away from it.
The story is quite complex going back and forth over two main characters and two main timelines – schooldays and present day Klaudia/Eliza, and the build up to Nazi war years and present day of brothers Ernst and Otto. There is also an extra timeline of Ernst during his march through snowy Russia as a soldier during the war which is the central cause of all the guilt. It's a book full of depth and requires full attention.
Klaudia is bullied at school because the other children realise that the German school caretaker, labelled a 'Nazi', is her father. One boy in particular is a nasty piece of work and is really vicious and racist against her. The whole school experience traumatises Klaudia so much that she goes away to dance school while her parents think she is at college, and begins to use the name Eliza. Eliza meets Cosmo and falls in love. Lies upon lies that she can't seem to escape from.
I loved the Klaudia/Eliza character but when the book went back in time to Ernst and Otto's childhood I could really feel the background of the story developing. All that happened back then when the boys joined Hitler's Youth is the start of the guilt and complexities a generation later in Klaudia.
It's a book with depth, a good few twists, and flawed and damaged characters. One I would certainly recommend.