Berlin Hungers
In the years after World War II, the alliance that saved Europe is breaking down as the Soviet Union and the West compete for control of Germany. When Russia blockades Berlin, everyone, it seems, is hungry: Russian soldiers for German women, the Soviet leaders for territory, the Berliners themselves for food. But the hardest hunger of all is between a Royal Air Force woman and the wife of a Luftwaffe pilot who helped set fire to half of London.

Berlin Hungers Details

TitleBerlin Hungers
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 17th, 2018
PublisherBold Strokes Books
ISBN-139781635551167
Rating
GenreHistorical, Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Lgbt

Berlin Hungers Review

  • Lex Kent
    January 1, 1970
    This was another well written book by Saracen. I have sort of an up and down relationship with Saracen’s books. I always want to read them, but when the time comes, I put off reading them. I think the issue is, is that Saracen writes historical-fiction that touches on tough subjects. A lot of things were not great for women in the past, so it’s not always easy reading about them. But every time I finish one of her books, I end up liking it and am impressed by how well written they are. This book This was another well written book by Saracen. I have sort of an up and down relationship with Saracen’s books. I always want to read them, but when the time comes, I put off reading them. I think the issue is, is that Saracen writes historical-fiction that touches on tough subjects. A lot of things were not great for women in the past, so it’s not always easy reading about them. But every time I finish one of her books, I end up liking it and am impressed by how well written they are. This book was no exception.This story is about two women dealing with the end of World War 2. One woman is a German, having to deal with the occupying Russians. The other is a Brit, working for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. While one is fighting to survive, the other is fighting to belong. Can two women in such brutal times have a relationship? As I said above this book does deal with tough subjects. This is not a happy, fluffy book. There is a trigger warning that I’ll put behind a spoiler (view spoiler)[There is rape and non-con sex for survival. Luckily it is all fade to black kind. (hide spoiler)]. But Saracen writes about women that fight to overcome. This is not a book that is so dark that it is impossible to read. You have hope for these characters that you quickly like and sympathize with. There is a romance. But considering the times they are in, it is very slow moving. It would not have been believable if it was hot and heavy. The really nice thing was Saracen managed to write a nice HEA. It made reading about all the struggles worthwhile in the end. If you are a historical-fiction fan or a fan of Saracen, I would recommend this book. It was not always easy to read, but it was well written and I’m glad I read it.An ARC was given to me by BSB, for a honest review.
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  • Netty
    January 1, 1970
    Poor women stuck in cruel times, i felt so sorry for these women, fucking soldiers were absolute animals, made me so angry, It was very informative and written really well, I truly think this author is very talented but it just didn’t do it for me as much as i thought it would, there was a romance running through it but they spent a lot of time apart so that was a big negative for me, there was a few non detailed sex scenes between the main characters, something I normally try to avoid in books, Poor women stuck in cruel times, i felt so sorry for these women, fucking soldiers were absolute animals, made me so angry, It was very informative and written really well, I truly think this author is very talented but it just didn’t do it for me as much as i thought it would, there was a romance running through it but they spent a lot of time apart so that was a big negative for me, there was a few non detailed sex scenes between the main characters, something I normally try to avoid in books, so for the romance side of this book I wasn’t impressed, the rest of the story deserves my thumbs up....***Trigger warning for gang rape, not detailed but it’s there***3.5 starsAn ARC was given for an honest review
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  • Joc
    January 1, 1970
    Berlin Hungers is a beautiful historical romance set predominantly in Berlin in the years following the end of WWII. The story opens on VE Day with Gillian Somerville, having spent the war as a pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary, realising that she is expected to find a husband and have children and leave her dream of continuing as a pilot in the rubble. On the same day in Berlin, Erika Brandt experiences the brutality of the victorious Soviet forces as she and her motley band of friends try Berlin Hungers is a beautiful historical romance set predominantly in Berlin in the years following the end of WWII. The story opens on VE Day with Gillian Somerville, having spent the war as a pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary, realising that she is expected to find a husband and have children and leave her dream of continuing as a pilot in the rubble. On the same day in Berlin, Erika Brandt experiences the brutality of the victorious Soviet forces as she and her motley band of friends try to survive in ruins of their city. In the weeks following Germany’s surrender Erika has to use whatever means she has to survive and have some semblance of control over her own future. Gillian discovers that the closest she’ll get to flying is becoming an air traffic controller and ends up stationed in Berlin. Saracen gives voices to all four nationalities (English, German, American and Russian) occupying Berlin through the individual characters she creates and what is apparent, is that there is admirable and appalling behaviour from all of them. Gillian becomes friends with farm girl Betsy who is an aircraft mechanic and even though they’re roommates for years, Gillian knows her desire for women would never be accepted by Betsy. The social and political aspects of the era are interwoven in wonderful storytelling that I barely realised I was learning something. I wish I had been taught history like this at school (although I’m sure some of the nuns might not have been quite as thrilled by this story as I was).Gillian and Erika’s relationship is realistically portrayed and it was difficult to read how often they were thwarted by external circumstances like distance, fraternization policies, detainment, mail and work. I loved strength of both Gillian and Erika as women in a time where women were so easily used and dismissed. Post-war Berlin was so well described that I could smell the urine, feel the grime and taste the ghastliness of powdered potatoes. The history and politics were remarkably easy to read and assimilate by the way they were interwoven into the story.I thoroughly enjoyed reading this but I am interested in this era of history. The only reservation I have is the ending. There was nothing wrong with it, but I found it a little short and too simplistic considering the wealth of detail I had just read through.There is rape in the story but it is not graphically described.Book received from Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.
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  • Tiff
    January 1, 1970
    When you pick up a Justine Saracen novel you know that you will undoubtedly finish the book with a respect for her historical detailedness and more knowledge than you had before. I love that her stories are so intricate and well, smart. The Berlin Hunger takes us to the direct chaos that directly followed World War II. The horrors that took place in "peacetime" are tragic and hard to stomach. There is blatant brutality and at times it is hard to read. Gillian Somerville was a pilot for the Air T When you pick up a Justine Saracen novel you know that you will undoubtedly finish the book with a respect for her historical detailedness and more knowledge than you had before. I love that her stories are so intricate and well, smart. The Berlin Hunger takes us to the direct chaos that directly followed World War II. The horrors that took place in "peacetime" are tragic and hard to stomach. There is blatant brutality and at times it is hard to read. Gillian Somerville was a pilot for the Air Transport Axillary during the war. She loved flying for her country but when the war ends Gillian suddenly finds herself with no work as a pilot. The women are not needed for that duty anymore. Unable to just go home, her whole family has passed, she decides to join the WAAF to become an air traffic controller.Erika Brandt was a musician before the war. Now as the Russians have control of Berlin, she is scavaging for food to keep from starving to death. The Russians men portrayed in this book are animals and Erika faces unspeakable horrors to survive in this desperate time. Erika and Gillian meet by chance a couple of times in the book and strike up a friendship born out of kindness. As the book progresses more feelings develop. This is a star-crossed lover romance though. These two have a lot going on and cannot see each other often for a multitude of reasons. So a lot of longing from afar. Overall, I loved the historical aspect of the book. I felt as if Saracen dropped my in Berlin post-war and I was right there with the characters. The romance wasn't my favorite. I loved the characters don't get me wrong, and I was absolutely rooting for their happiness. I just felt like it dragged a bit. This is more historical fiction than your hot burning romance. Still a great read!
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  • Lexxi Kitty
    January 1, 1970
    *I received this book from Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley for an honest review*This is a good solid story set mostly just before and during the Berlin airlift operation in 1948-1949. Actually, it starts on VE day (victory in Europe), which occurred three years earlier in 1945. And the book ends slightly after. So – mid-20th century book with most of the action taking place in Berlin (with moments here or there elsewhere, like various places in England for training and the like). While VE celeb *I received this book from Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley for an honest review*This is a good solid story set mostly just before and during the Berlin airlift operation in 1948-1949. Actually, it starts on VE day (victory in Europe), which occurred three years earlier in 1945. And the book ends slightly after. So – mid-20th century book with most of the action taking place in Berlin (with moments here or there elsewhere, like various places in England for training and the like). While VE celebrations occur around her, Gillian Somerville is happy enough that the war in Europe is over, but not about two things in particular (well three things) – men keep trying to kiss her (or do), she’s still trying to ‘get over’ the fact that her parents died in the blitz, and her job kind of went away. Her job as a pilot with the ATA – her only way to fly during the war was with the Air Transport Axillary, which, as the afterword put it, had the pilots who were unsuited for the RAF (for various reasons, including, most importantly for Gillian – gender). Gillian had been one of the 168 female pilots (vs 1,152 male pilots), but the service was being disbanded. In November 1945. Hold on, it’s May 1945. Hmms. Well, I assume VE day lead to a winding up of operations, though I do not specifically see anything on-line about it. Right, sorry, got distracted. Gillian had been a pilot with the ATA, ferrying planes around – sometimes into Germany, sometimes with bullets and stuff in the air, but was not a member of the RAF (which she gets reminded when she boasted of her service to an actual RAF fighter pilot). But her time with the ATA ended when the war ended, and she needed work. So, looking around, she decided to join the WAAF as there was a chance she’d still get to be near planes. And she was right – after training, she finds herself in Germany working as an air traffic controller – guiding planes by way of radar. Before turning to the other point of view in this novel, I insert the part where several characters are included in this book because of Gillian. Betsey – meet in WAAF training, seemingly constant companion there and then in Germany; Mrs. Base Commander (Mrs. Horwick), who had a rather direct and intimate impact on Gillian’s life; various pilots, like Jack Higgins, Nigel Katz, and Dickie Collins; and . . . um . . random other military personnel.So – that’s one of the main points of view. Gillian is British, in the female version of the military, spent the war ferrying planes, has no living relatives due mostly to the actions of the Germans, and now works as an air traffic controller in Germany. But Gillian isn’t the only point of view the book – no, there’s also Erika.Like Gillian, Erika has lost most of her family. And, just like Gillian, Erika’s parents died as a direct result of German action (Gillian’s parents died in the bombing of London; Erika’s parents died before the war in a concentration camp – because they were not the right kind politically, as in, they were Social Democrats). Unlike Gillian, Erika had been married at some point, though her husband also is dead now. He was a pilot for the German air force. As the action in the book starts – the Russians move in and occupy Berlin. With drastic and horrible results. Especially after Erika moved out of hiding for reasons I don’t recall now and was spotted by Russians, and raped. Not all of Erika’s interactions with the Russians were so violent and disgusting; several even helped her at various times in the book.Erika spent the book attempting to survive. Working whatever jobs she could find. Doing whatever it took to survive. And her sections pulls into the storyline several important side characters: Hanno the son of Gerda (her friend and her husband’s former lover), Gerda, Wilhelm, Henrich, and Charlotte (oh, and a bunch of people here and there with some importance – like the two Russians, one of whom was in the Sniper book, at least I think she was, though not a main character in that book, who were friendly with Erika and – at different times and occasions, interacted with both Erika and Gillian as the book unfolded). Immediately after the war ended, Erika, Gerda, Hanno, and Wilhelm lived in the same apartment building and in the nicest apartment (eventually); later Erika, Gerda and Hanno moved from the Russian sector to the British and moved into Charlotte and Henrich’s apartment. I know I’m forgetting people. Hmms. I mention all of that more for my own memory purposes, to remind myself who is who, and how they know each other. Right, so, the book follows along as Gillian lives her life in the WAAF and Erika struggles to survive as a starving German in Berlin. Eventually the two meet. I’m digging deep into my brain, but I just can’t recall how they meet. Shesh. I’m recalling scenes from the book – Gillian says she’ll put in a word with the base to help Erika get a job; Gillian, Nigel, and either Dickie or Betsey run into Erika cowering in a doorway but that was after Gillian helped Erika. Oh, right – if I recall correctly, Gillian, while still stationed somewhere else in Germany (not Berlin), took a trip to Berlin to visit. She went with Nigel on one of his flights into Berlin. While there the two wander and visit the black market. Whereupon the two unconnected story lines merged . . . for roughly 3 seconds (heh, slightly more, but roughly that), when Gillian bought a plane Erika was selling. Neither expected to see the other again, but they did keep bumping into each other – first with Gillian running into Erika again at the Berlin airport, after Gillian transferred there. At that time Erika was working as a runway . . . um . . paver/constructor/digger person.That’s how the book bounced. A lot of action from one or the other point of view, and the two women rarely saw each other. Just occasionally bumping into each other – that is until they became friends . . . then more. Whereupon . .. they continued rarely seeing each other. They didn’t keep away from each other by choice, just the circumstances of the situation. So this was a slow burn because of circumstances romance. Though, being the 1940s, the fraternization policy, the homosexuals being illegal issue (lesbians less so, though not exactly acceptable in the military), there would have been a need to take things slow anyway (counter to this: the other female-female relationship in this book (I’ve rewritten this review so many times I don’t even remember now if the hints I dropped are even still in this review: Gillian learned why she had issues getting romantic with men from her time spent at that other German airport, the non-Berlin one (she learned she liked kissing women more than kissing men)), that was entirely sexual, and by no means slow burn; course, it also wasn’t a romance so . . ..).Books like this have a tendency to think that they need to include everything. Like, there’s a trial going on in Nuremberg where Germans were being tried at the same time the action in this book took place. Some books would think – ooh, I need to include that. In person. Is Important Historical Fact. And there was a way that the author could have had a character there in person to get a front row seat. I liked how the author didn’t take that approach though. It was an important moment in history, and it was mentioned, even debated, but the book didn’t take a long-winded detour with some random unknown person suddenly ‘in on the action’ (unlike, say, ‘The Sniper’s Kiss’ book, where a random unknown to history person seemed to run into every one of importance during her time on earth). Right, concept badly worded by me. Hopefully coherent enough. Oh – there was two points strenuously pointed out in this book: the trials were multilinguistic and required translators; Erika, who actually came from a location much closer to Russia than Berlin, specifically Russia. Heh. They were ‘Volga Germans’ – ‘ethnic Germans who colonized and historically lived along the Volga River … southeastern . . . Russia. And therefore could have worked as a translator between Russians and Germans at the trial. Instead she ‘just’ used her Russian knowledge with Russians in Berlin.Solid book, though there was at least one issue I found vaguely confusing: Gillian mentioned that she made 2/3rds of her male co-workers in her post-war job, and her response to the situation was just a shrug, and a comment that that was just the way it was. That’s life. Which I just nodded at, because, sure, 1940s . . . that’s the way it was. Then I read the afterward, and later looked up some stuff and reminded myself of what I’d read in the afterword. Gillian made the same amount of money as men when she worked for the ATA (at least since 1943, I forget if there was a mention of when Gillian started working with them). Sure, she made less than men when she transferred to the WAAF, but she did have experience ‘being equal’ for at least 2 years. Just shrugging at the situation and saying ‘it is what it is’ or words to that effect, seemed . . . out of character somehow.Right, so, likeable book. Enjoyable. Readable.Rating: 4.33March 20 2019
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  • Rosi
    January 1, 1970
    This is another book set in events that occurred in our contemporary history, which is the subject usually dealt with by this author, in a rather detailed, truthful and documented way.On this occasion, she presents us with a passage from the post war, in the end of the World War II, specifically after the fall of Nazism and the disputes between Russians and Allies for seizing Berlin.As is to be expected in this environment, there are violent, depressing and disgusting episodes, but within the re This is another book set in events that occurred in our contemporary history, which is the subject usually dealt with by this author, in a rather detailed, truthful and documented way.On this occasion, she presents us with a passage from the post war, in the end of the World War II, specifically after the fall of Nazism and the disputes between Russians and Allies for seizing Berlin.As is to be expected in this environment, there are violent, depressing and disgusting episodes, but within the realism of the story I have not found them particularly annoying.And the particularities of this story are played by two women, one German and the other English. Erika, the German woman, can only survive in the midst of the destruction that Berlin is in after the Nazi fall and the entry of Soviet troops. Gillian, the Englishwoman, has the dream of being a flight pilot, which is impossible within the army at that time, so she must settle for being an air controller.The romance is bumpy  and rough at best, but it could not be otherwise.As I said already, within the obvious sordid situation in which the story unfolds, the book is interesting and entertaining. And even though there is some incredible twists, it is a book that is worth reading.An ARC has been sent to me from Bold Strokes Books through NetGalley for an honest review
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  • Det. Nidhi
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as an arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Historical fiction has always been a hit or miss for me. I don't like most of the historical fiction books I read because they progress very slowly and I lose interest by the time the main part of the story comes. This book was not like that. It kept my attention throughout.My knowledge about the world war is pretty superficial. I just know who had won and who had lost. This book actually educated me more than my I received this book as an arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Historical fiction has always been a hit or miss for me. I don't like most of the historical fiction books I read because they progress very slowly and I lose interest by the time the main part of the story comes. This book was not like that. It kept my attention throughout.My knowledge about the world war is pretty superficial. I just know who had won and who had lost. This book actually educated me more than my history curriculum in school. The book presents a very bleak scenario set in Berlin Germany post World War 2. the allied powers have occupied Germany and are engaged in a bitter power struggle to gain the upper hand. In between all this there is a love story between a widow of a German pilot and an English pilot turned air traffic controller. I won't spoil much but let's just say that is a lot of angst and it will kind of make you sad and reflect upon wars. Everything about this book clicked for me. The characterization was terrific and the supporting characters were amazing. The sensitivity with which the author handled some difficult subjects was admirable. I would highly recommend this book. if you are someone who loves detailed historical fiction with amazing writing, then go for it. this book will not disappoint you.Check my blog out for the full review.http://thereadingdoc.blogspot.in/2018...
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  • R
    January 1, 1970
    If you like historical fiction, you will enjoy reading Berlin Hungers. The plot revolved around the plight of Berliners, especially their struggles to survive after World War II due in part to its very tumultuous political climate. The Russians wanted to hold tight to Germany fearing an independent Germany might once again invade their country. The other Allied nations, specifically the United States, England, and France, adhered to establishing a more democratic West. As the characters’ dealt w If you like historical fiction, you will enjoy reading Berlin Hungers. The plot revolved around the plight of Berliners, especially their struggles to survive after World War II due in part to its very tumultuous political climate. The Russians wanted to hold tight to Germany fearing an independent Germany might once again invade their country. The other Allied nations, specifically the United States, England, and France, adhered to establishing a more democratic West. As the characters’ dealt with such historic events taking place around them such as the Marshall Plan, the Nuremberg trials, and the Berlin Airlift, the author effectively took the reader behind these events and personalized the life and death realities of those involved. Also interspersed throughout the novel were human interest stories that added another layer of depth to this already well developed and researched novel. With each loss of life or brutalized assault, the reader felt the characters’ pain and suffering. With each acts of kindness and love, the reader felt the characters’ hope for a better life and future. With each turn of the page, the author continually engaged the reader through vivid detailed descriptions and realistic dialogue that made this story so enthralling. This was a great read and very highly recommended.
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  • Jasmine
    January 1, 1970
    Gillian was a British pilot during WWII, but when it is over she is no longer allowed to fly like the men, and instead she takes a position as an air traffic controller at an airfield just outside Berlin after the war. Erika is a german woman, struggling to survive the harsh conditions of her city post war. Time and again the two women are thrown into each other's orbit, and something blossoms in the exhausting conditions they both live in. Are their worlds too far apart, or does fate have plans Gillian was a British pilot during WWII, but when it is over she is no longer allowed to fly like the men, and instead she takes a position as an air traffic controller at an airfield just outside Berlin after the war. Erika is a german woman, struggling to survive the harsh conditions of her city post war. Time and again the two women are thrown into each other's orbit, and something blossoms in the exhausting conditions they both live in. Are their worlds too far apart, or does fate have plans for them? This book was honestly perfect. I loved the historical detail, it was perfectly integrated into the story without being too dense at all. This book was very character driven, I loved being immersed into the lives of all the people in Gillian and Erika's lives, and much of that rich historical detail was woven into their everyday lives in a seamless fashion. This is definitely one of the best historical fiction books I've read. I loved the romance - even though it was such a slow burn - but there's no way it could be anything but a slow burn with the world as it was. The romance was definitely a main vein of the story, but there were so many other characters and so many stories that were fascinating and made up a lot of the book as well. Some of the details are a little grim, life isn't easy in Berlin after the war. *TW for rape* But as much as life was hard, all these people fought every day for a little bit of happiness, and this made this story a gorgeous and rich and inspiring story of love; romantic love, love for your family, love for yourself and your profession and love for your country. I could not recommend this book more for a lover of historical fiction or a lover of a character driven novel. I will be buying a paperback copy ASAP. I'm so excited to see that this author writes so many historical fiction novels, I can't wait to go back and explore all the previous novels! I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kennedy
    January 1, 1970
    A love story post WWII, specifically during the dispute between Russia and everybody else. I was sad for the struggle of the women, children and anyone else dealing with the various post war issues. It was a tough time, it was a violent time, it was a depressing time, and it was a time that made some stronger and some weaker. Erika and Gillian are two determined women with lots of heart and a strong desire to be loved. I rode right along with them as they encountered challenge after challenge. T A love story post WWII, specifically during the dispute between Russia and everybody else. I was sad for the struggle of the women, children and anyone else dealing with the various post war issues. It was a tough time, it was a violent time, it was a depressing time, and it was a time that made some stronger and some weaker. Erika and Gillian are two determined women with lots of heart and a strong desire to be loved. I rode right along with them as they encountered challenge after challenge. Though a tough read, I appreciate the history and reality that unfortunate things like this did happen and do happen. ARC provided by Bold Strokes Books, Inc. via NetGalley.
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  • Queerly Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Trigger warning: mention of sexual assault, violence, racism, the fall of Berlin, and some very disturbing quotes pulled from nonfiction sourcesDNF at 20%. No rating.This is my second Saracen read and I don’t think there will be a third. I was excited to read Berlin Hungers because Saracen’s book seemed rooted in thorough historical research. I was also excited to see the fall of Berlin portrayed in genre fiction. Fiction can personalize history more effectively than nonfiction. Yet Berlin Hunge Trigger warning: mention of sexual assault, violence, racism, the fall of Berlin, and some very disturbing quotes pulled from nonfiction sourcesDNF at 20%. No rating.This is my second Saracen read and I don’t think there will be a third. I was excited to read Berlin Hungers because Saracen’s book seemed rooted in thorough historical research. I was also excited to see the fall of Berlin portrayed in genre fiction. Fiction can personalize history more effectively than nonfiction. Yet Berlin Hungers failed to achieve this for me.I want to make something clear: I think it is very important to include rape and sexual assault in any book about the fall of Berlin. There has been so much state-sponsored historical erasure of the trauma that German women faced that it would be harmful not to. I want to make something else clear: I expected this book to be disturbing. Kate Manne, in Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, writes this about mass rape: “...the spirit in which mass rapes tend to be committed is typically vindictive, punitive, triumphalist, and domineering.” In Anthony Beever’s The Fall of Berlin 1945, he mentions that there were documented cases of rape of girls as young as twelve and women as old as eighty. Again, Kate Manne writes about Berlin, “Nobody was exempt - not nuns, not pregnant women in a hospital, not even women in the process of giving birth there.” This was systematic torture and it was carried out in the most hateful and brutal ways imaginable. Many women died; many women committed suicide as a direct result of their trauma, sometimes decades later. The full scale of the violence still goes unacknowledged by Russia today. So I will not complain about a book on this subject that includes sexual violence, or even revolves around sexual violence. On the contrary, it’s very important, to me, for a book about the fall of Berlin to do exactly that.I didn’t finish it simply because it was dry as bones. One of the protagonists is put directly in harm’s way repeatedly, and yet her narration felt distant and unfeeling to me. To be clear, her attacks were not directly described (which I also think is important), but her trauma afterwards was described with paltry prose unable to encapture the enormity of her awful experiences. For example, at one point she feels “relieved” to walk down a street and not see her rapists. The word “relieved” stood out to me as so small and unbelievable; I couldn’t see her physical reactions, or really get to the core of her emotions. The writing just wasn’t there for me. I even thought, “Maybe she’s numbed because she’s in a state of shock,” but I don’t think the prose was that layered. There was nothing to indicate that more was going on inside her tangled psyche than the bone-dry words on the page.I finally gave up because both of the narrators are racist. Specifically, I stopped when one of our protagonists offhandedly describes a group of people; all of the white people get names, but the only Asian man in the group is described “a rather ferocious-looking Mongol, a corporal with a long Asian name.”This made me stop reading because a) I no longer felt sympathetic to the protagonist and b) it was very clear that I was supposed to feel sympathetic. She’s discriminated against by the English military because she’s a woman and a lesbian, and over and over again her plight is made front-and-center, and other characters are villainized for their prejudices. Yet she was permitted to be racist without the author adding in the same amount of irony and nuance for the nameless Asian man that the protagonist was given.It was the last straw of a read that was at best completely emotionally neutral for me.Overall, with a subject this heavy, I need heartfelt and complex characters to draw me into the core of the events. And I just wasn’t getting that with Berlin Hungers.
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  • Dreaming
    January 1, 1970
    Where do I start? Berlin hungers is a very interesting, well-researched historical novel about an interesting post-war situation when the victors started to go at each other. I'm from a country "libarated" by the Soviets, but where the stories of rape and brutality have been kept secret for a very long time. But I have read books and biographies and heard the stories of my grandparents who were in their twenties at that time. I think this book describes and explains this period perfectly. I also Where do I start? Berlin hungers is a very interesting, well-researched historical novel about an interesting post-war situation when the victors started to go at each other. I'm from a country "libarated" by the Soviets, but where the stories of rape and brutality have been kept secret for a very long time. But I have read books and biographies and heard the stories of my grandparents who were in their twenties at that time. I think this book describes and explains this period perfectly. I also know how the idealism of communism/socialism has turned into the rule of the privileged and oppression of everything and everyone else. Something most former socialist countries still couldn't get over. Again, beautifully written and shown.The romance is not very prominent and relies too much on coincidences, but that's not the most important part of the story. If you don't expect it, you don't miss it.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Got this book via NetGalley, where I get all my latest LGBTQ lit!Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[Rape (both violent and coerced), misogyny, homophobia, mentions of war crimes and genocide, some violence and death, mildly explicit consensual sex (hide spoiler)]Since LGBTQ lit tends to be dominated by stories about gay men, as a queer woman, I have been trying to find and read more stories about queer women; Berlin Hungers delivered for me in the best of ways. Not only does it showcase two amazin Got this book via NetGalley, where I get all my latest LGBTQ lit!Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[Rape (both violent and coerced), misogyny, homophobia, mentions of war crimes and genocide, some violence and death, mildly explicit consensual sex (hide spoiler)]Since LGBTQ lit tends to be dominated by stories about gay men, as a queer woman, I have been trying to find and read more stories about queer women; Berlin Hungers delivered for me in the best of ways. Not only does it showcase two amazingly strong and interesting female protagonists, it also gives them fully developed stories outside of their relationship (and a happy ending!). I thought everything about Berlin Hungers was marvelously executed. The characters were well developed and relatable, and you grow to really feel for them. The relationship builds slowly and realistically, and although love does triumph in the end, the challenges for the two women and their relationship are not glossed over or ignored. The historical setting is very immersive and thoroughly researched, and I learned a lot about a period of history I know very little about. The story is more relationship and character-driven than plot-driven, but the plot is deftly interwoven with the character/relationship arc in a way that makes it seem less like you are being told a story and more like you are getting a snapshot into someone's lives. Homophobia and misogyny are present and addressed without being overblown, and the two women's queerness is addressed as an important thing, but not the only defining factor of their characters. On the whole, you really get the sense that Saracen is both passionate about her craft, and really, really good for it. Historical fiction featuring queer women is a bit of a niche genre, and especially when I first started seeking out LGBTQ lit, I had low standards because I would take whatever I can get. Since then I have learned that I can hold queer lit to the same standards as I would any other literature, because there's much more of it than I thought, and some, like Berlin Hungers, and marvelously executed. This is the kind of queer literature the LGBTQ community deserves.
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  • whataslacker
    January 1, 1970
    Not bad. Interesting to read a story set after the war when so many are set during.
  • Sari Koskinen
    January 1, 1970
    I got this book via NetGalley because I promised very honest review. This book was my first by Justine Saracen. Not sure was it that I waited more for this or was it this theme. Maybe not my book, because I don't read much books where characters are women and also part of LGBTQ. It was nice book, of you like historical romance and for examples I liked that the plot wasn't too clichés even thought there was many things which are familiar when you read a lot of books which are setting in the WWII. I got this book via NetGalley because I promised very honest review. This book was my first by Justine Saracen. Not sure was it that I waited more for this or was it this theme. Maybe not my book, because I don't read much books where characters are women and also part of LGBTQ. It was nice book, of you like historical romance and for examples I liked that the plot wasn't too clichés even thought there was many things which are familiar when you read a lot of books which are setting in the WWII. Characters were ok but not the awesomes and not sure, I had feeling after that book, that something is missing. Maybe I need something more or something new. And I think I need more than that the main couple is with women. Sounds hard but somehow I was also feeling that I have read this book before even thought I know that it isn't possible. Maybe because some parts of this book and plot were quite similars than so many plots with different books with LGBTQ pairings or even hetero pairings. But maybe I read more books by Justine Saracen, this was ok. And loved it because even thought quite long, it doesn't takes more than a couple hours to read. Or maybe I'm too fast reader and some other it will takes more hours or even days to read this book.
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  • Stevie Carroll
    January 1, 1970
    To be reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread.
  • Sarah Meerkat
    January 1, 1970
    arc review dnf 20%Someday i will actually get to where the heriones meet but that is not today. Did you know you can be historically accurate without being repeatedly racist or using rape as consistent plot point. Cause you can. Right from the get go our British herione is assualted with an unwanted kiss on page one. This is unncessary and just plain gross. We all know this happened and most of the results turned into sexual assualts. It did not need to be in the bookThis would have been off put arc review dnf 20%Someday i will actually get to where the heriones meet but that is not today. Did you know you can be historically accurate without being repeatedly racist or using rape as consistent plot point. Cause you can. Right from the get go our British herione is assualted with an unwanted kiss on page one. This is unncessary and just plain gross. We all know this happened and most of the results turned into sexual assualts. It did not need to be in the bookThis would have been off putting enough if not for the repeated on page assualts of our german herione with no content warnings at all. The way the assualts are handled and how she is turned into a play thing of the Russians is done very poorly. We get it the invasion of the Berlin was horrible we know that. I do not need to read about the repeated assualts of the herione. Yes rape happened I am well aware but I am sick of that being a plot device.Next thing is the repeated racists caricature of asian characters. Along with some weird phrasing around the treatment of black characters. This book is just unpleasant. It is not worth even to bother finishing given the treatment of both the heriones and poc side characters.
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  • Cristie Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    This book was well written and you can tell that the author knew a lot about the time period that it was set in. I felt for the characters in this book that were suffering from events that took place during the war.
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