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The Winter Garden (2014)

de Jane Thynne

Sèrie: Clara Vine (2)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
954243,833 (3.74)13
Berlin, 1937. The city radiates glamour and ambition. But danger lurks in every shadow... Anna Hansen, a bride-to-be, is a pupil at one of Hitler's notorious Nazi Bride Schools, where young women are schooled on the art of being an SS officer's wife. Then, one night, she is brutally murdered and left in the gardens of the school. Her death will be hushed up and her life forgotten. Clara Vine is an actress at Berlin's famous Ufa studios by day and an undercover British Intelligence agent by night. She knew Anna and is disturbed by news of her death. She cannot understand why someone would want to cover it up, but she soon discovers that Anna's murder is linked to a far more ominous secret. With the newly abdicated Edward VIII and his wife Wallis set to arrive in Berlin, and the Mitford sisters dazzling on the social scene, Clara must work in the darkness to find the truth and send it back to London. It is a dangerous path she treads, and it will take everything she has to survive... The Winter Garden is published as Woman in the Shadows in the US.… (més)
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Clara Vine returns in this entertaining follow up to Black Roses. Set in 1937, four years on from the events in that first novel, Clara is still living in Berlin and working as an actress in the burgeoning German film industry. Her continued success as an actress has enabled her to penetrate the higher levels of Berlin society where she is a regular visit to the houses of Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels, having become friendly with both of their wives. She is, however, still acting as an unofficial and unsanctioned (and now largely unsupported) spy for Britain, reporting her observations to a contact within the British Embassy.

This story opens with the murder of a young woman who has been attending one of the Nazi ‘Bride Schools’ in which prospective brides of SS officers were trained to perform that role is an appropriately supportive (i.e. totally subservient) manner. News of this murder is largely suppressed, although Clara comes to hear of it through circuitous means. Meanwhile, she has been preparing for her next film role, cast as ‘The Pilot’s Wife’ and set to star alongside a famous German pilot who has been one of the their most successful aces during the First World War. While attending one of the many social events that she has to frequent, she meets the Mitford sisters, Unity and Diana, both of whom are effusive supporters of Hitler, and also the recently abdicated Duke of Windsor and his wife, who are being courted by the Nazi regime.

The plot is complex but well-constructed, and Ms Thynne has clearly conducted extensive research on the period. The characters are all highly plausible, too, and Clara Vine is an immensely empathetic protagonist. I am looking forward to reading the next instalment in this enjoyable series.

I hadn’t realised until I read the brief note about the author on the flyleaf of the book that Jane Thynne was married to Philip Kerr, who has also written a series of highly acclaimed novels set in Nazi Germany both during this period and then in the aftermath of the Second World War, featuring private detective Bernie Gunther. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Feb 11, 2019 |
Complex mystery in dangerous times.

A gripping and edgy story of intelligence gathering right under the noses of elite of the Third Reich. Born in Britain, half-German actress and movie star Clara Vine, is a British contact in the dangerous days of pre war Berlin of 1937, gathering relevant information on the movements and interests of the major German players. The names mentioned, the circles Clara has access to are the who's who of the upper echelons in the Nazi party.
Two incidences appear to cross each other, the murder of a young woman at one of Hitler's Bride Schools where young women train to be wives of SS personnel, and the gathering of information about the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe developments in aeronautics, in particular cameras being used on planes.
Clara realizes she knows the murdered woman from the past, Anna Hansen. Her death is hushed up. Clara's friend Mary, an American journalist, has just returned from the war in Spain and been allowed to re-enter Germany, despite being previously expelled. Clara turns Mary's attention towards the murdered woman.
Clara is about to star in a movie alongside a famous German pilot. This opens up possibilities for Clara to gather further information. Her handler at the British Embassy has warned her to lie low. Her name has been mentioned in Gestapo circles.
Two men claim Clara's attention, the mysterious Ralph Sommers and Arno Strauss, a top German test pilot.
Aa a movie star Clara attends events and parties, alongside British supporters of fascism and Hitler in particular. Making their appearance are Diana and Unity Mitford, Edward, now the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson.
These days, as the British parliament and people were undecided about Hitler, as Lord Halifax continued to court Germany, were dangerous times for Britain. The sense of all of this, the power of the Gestapo, the winning over of children in the Hitler Youth Movement, the treatment of the Jewish population, the rise of power of fascism and extremism , the excesses of Hitler's elite senior personnel such as the Goebbels are seamlessly woven into the story; stark reminders of the horrors that would intensify as the thirties come to a close.
An excellent read. Thynne's research is to be commended.

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Sep 5, 2016 |
As the German WWII war machine was ramping up in 1937 Berlin, many an ex-pat was present yet not all were necessarily attentive. Our heroine and lauded actress, Clara Vine, is of a British father and German mother. She's fluent in both languages, bright, stunning and continuously aware of the precarious nature of her presence in a country with war on its mind. She must blend in well despite her loathing for the trappings of National Socialism. As a celebrity, she is often found within the inner circle of the Third Reich and moves among them with seeming ease yet inwardly she's a frightened rabbit - constantly teetering on the precipice of life and death. Her observations are key in helping those back in England understand the Reich for what it is at a time when they want to believe the best of everyone. Meanwhile, there's an unresolved murder which suddenly has involved Clara and she is none the wiser as to why.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and author Jane Thynne's painterly writing style. Through her words, one sees the mist rising off the grass on an early autumn morning or feels the rush of the downward spiral test-flying a prototype German war plane. The pace is constant and at times anxious. The tension rises to such a height before easing toward the end. It definitely held my attention making it a difficult book to put down.

I am grateful to publisher Random House and Goodreads First Reads for having provided a free advance uncorrected proof of this book. Their generosity, however, did not influence this review - the words of which are mine alone. ( )
  KateBaxter | Jul 5, 2016 |
The Winter Garden follows on from Black Rose where the reader is first introduced to Clara Vine. I found it wasn’t absolutely necessary to have read Black Rose but it may have helped to understand Clara, and some of the decisions she made, a little better.
The novel was very well researched and it’s always good to read an historical fiction that keeps you logging on to the internet to read further on certain characters and events. My husband is very well versed on all things Hitler and I bounced a few scenarios, from the novel, off him and he advised they were all very feasible situations.
I felt a bit distanced from Clara. Her relationship with Ralph Sommers seemed very one sided. As a spy she was too trusting of Ralph and a little too eager to spill her story to him. I think Arno Strauss would have to be my favourite character. He was strong yet vulnerable and definitely had his own demons.
If you like political intrigue and a different view of Hilters reign with all the glitz and glamour with appearances by the Mitford sisters, Goering, Goebbels, Ernst Udet and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor this book will surely appeal to you.
Looking forward to more of the Clara Vine series with maybe a little more danger and suspense thrown in. ( )
  Ronnie293 | May 17, 2014 |
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'Woman's world is her husband, her family, her children and her home. We do not find it right when she presses into the world of men.'

Adolf Hitler

Take up a frying pan, dustpan and broom and marry a man.

Hermann Goering, Nine Commandments of the Worker's Struggle
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Berlin, October, 1937

The flash and dazzle of fireworks, like multicoloured schrapnel, studded the night sky.
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Berlin, 1937. The city radiates glamour and ambition. But danger lurks in every shadow... Anna Hansen, a bride-to-be, is a pupil at one of Hitler's notorious Nazi Bride Schools, where young women are schooled on the art of being an SS officer's wife. Then, one night, she is brutally murdered and left in the gardens of the school. Her death will be hushed up and her life forgotten. Clara Vine is an actress at Berlin's famous Ufa studios by day and an undercover British Intelligence agent by night. She knew Anna and is disturbed by news of her death. She cannot understand why someone would want to cover it up, but she soon discovers that Anna's murder is linked to a far more ominous secret. With the newly abdicated Edward VIII and his wife Wallis set to arrive in Berlin, and the Mitford sisters dazzling on the social scene, Clara must work in the darkness to find the truth and send it back to London. It is a dangerous path she treads, and it will take everything she has to survive... The Winter Garden is published as Woman in the Shadows in the US.

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