Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Searching for Gertrude by D.E. Haggerty - #review

While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position working at the consulate in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago. 

How far would you go to find the woman you love?

GoodReads * Pre-Order at Amazon (releases January 22, 2018)



Up through 2017, I have appreciated D.E. Haggerty's snarky cozy mysteries:  Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker (Death by Cupcake #1), Bring Your Own Baker (Death by Cupcake Series #2), Fat Girl Begone (love the cover on that one! *wink*), Love in the Time of Murder (Gray Haired Knitting Detectives #3), and Molly's Misadventures, to name a few.

Now, in 2018, I am gaining an appreciation for her historical fiction as well.  Enter Searching for Gertrude.

In Pre-WWII Germany, Rudolf falls in love with the neighbor girl, Gertrude.  Gertrude and her family are Jewish.  Rudolf is not.  Gertrude's family get along with Rudolf and think well of him.  Due to the climate in Germany at the time, Gertrude's father takes a job in Instanbul, Turkey, and moves the family in the middle of the night.  Rudolf and Gertrude have like 5 minutes (maybe) to say goodbye.  Ouch!

They correspond for about two years and then Gertrude's letters stop.  Rudolf is desperate to go to Istanbul and find Gertrude.  The best way to do that (for him) is in the diplomatic service.  But getting a government job means working with and at least giving lip service to the ideals of the Nazi Party.  He hates working with these people, but will do anything to be able to find Gertrude.

Also in Istanbul is Rosalyn, an American Jewish young woman, working as a nanny, eager to assist in the efforts to get Jews out of Germany and safely to their new homes in other countries.  Most would like to go to Palestine, but the British government controls that area and are not overly accomodating in passing out emigration visas.

The tensions and suspense inherent in Rudolf and Rosalyn's dangerous inquiries had me on the edge of my seat for much of the book!  Each action they took increased the likelihood of their being caught and sent to jail...or worse.

There is also romantic tension for Rosalyn and Rudolf.  They struggle (separately) with a growing attraction to each other, feeling disloyal to Gertrude or feeling like they are betraying her.

Ms. Haggerty seamlessly weaves historical events of the real world into her novel, which make them come alive in a way that the bare facts, figures and dates of the events could only ever hope to approach.



I grew-up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.


(Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers in exchange for my honest review.)


This book helps me fulfill the following 2018 reading challenges:

52 Books in 52 Weeks - v2.0 (book published in 2018)
PopSugar RC - (book published in 2018)
Literary Escapes - (Turkey)

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