The Watchmaker of Dachau – ARC Book Review

The Watchmaker of Dachau: An absolutely heartbreaking World War 2 historical novel by [Carly Schabowski]

An unforgettable novel of human kindness, inspired by an incredible true story.

Snow falls and a woman prepares for a funeral she has long expected, yet hoped would never come. As she pats her hair and straightens her skirt, she tells herself this isn’t the first time she’s lost someone. Lifting a delicate, battered wristwatch from a little box on her dresser, she presses it to her cheek. Suddenly, she’s lost in memory…

January 1945, Dachau, Germany. As the train rattles through the bright, snowy Bavarian countryside, the still beauty outside the window hides the terrible scenes inside the train, where men and women are packed together, cold and terrified. Jewish watchmaker Isaac Schüller can’t understand how he came to be here, and is certain he won’t be leaving alive.

When the prisoners arrive at Dachau concentration camp, Isaac is unexpectedly pulled from the crowd and installed in the nearby household of Senior Officer Becher and his young, pretty, spoiled wife. With his talent for watchmaking, Isaac can be of use to Becher, but he knows his life is only worth something here as long as Becher needs his skills.

Anna Reznick waits table and washes linens for the Bechers, who dine and socialise and carry on as if they don’t constantly have death all around them. When she meets Isaac she knows she’s found a true friend, and maybe more. But Dachau is a dangerous place where you can never take love for granted, and when Isaac discovers a heartbreaking secret hidden in the depths of Becher’s workshop, it will put Anna and Issac in terrible danger…

A gorgeously emotional and tear-jerking read set during World War Two. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of AuschwitzWe Were the Lucky Ones and The Alice Network.

No. of pages:- 272 pages

Date published:- will be published on 20th January 2021

Genre:- Historical fiction

Thank You Netgalley and Bookouture for the ARC! This review is based on my honest opinion.

Based on true events and set during the Holocaust and WWII, the story tells about a man named Isaac who arrives to Dachau Concentration Camp. The camp leader, Herr Berscher realizes that Isaac is a watchmaker and asks Isaac to repair the grandfather clock which was gifted by the Fuhrer and which no one was able to repair. Isaac managed to repair the clock impressing Berscher thus he starts giving more items for Isaac to repair by giving him a garden shed as his workshop, away from the atrocious working conditions at the camp. In the same house, Isaac befriends Anna, who is also the prisoner at the camp working in the kitchen at Berscher’s house, Greta, a friendly German who feeds Isaac and Anna. Levi, the gardener and Friedrich who is the young son of Herr and Frau Berscher who befriends both Isaac and Anna. Isaac then comes across bundles of letters written by someone named J.A.L who used to be the gardener at the Berscher household.

As like most Holocaust books, this story was emotional and sad at the same time. The fact that these events happened in real life was too much to bear to read–the atrocities at the camp, the hunger and starvation, the brutal conditions at the camp was too horrifying but one should never forget that these things happened in real life. The author has done so much research that she has made the book as realistic as possible. The ending was sad and the author did a good job, drawing the reader into the story. I also like how the author balanced out the characters–the good Germans like Greta who tried to feed Anna and Isaac as much as she can and Friedrich who doesn’t care to develop friendship with the Jews, since most of the Holocaust books are only one sided. As such, many of the characters in the book are likable. Some of the parts in the story was too emotional to read and at times, particularly towards the end, I cried at some parts…

Overall, this is an emotional book to read, unputdownable and that will make you cry till the end and you didn’t want to miss this story about friendship and courage at the will to survive the horrid conditions. Worth five stars!

five-stars | FootSteps Marketing
Carly Schabowski

Carly lives in a tiny cottage in Oxfordshire,  with barely enough room to swing a cat. Yet, she has managed to dwell in such a hobbit-type abode for some years with her two dogs, who keep her company as she reads, writes, eats chips, and drinks the occasional gin.

An occasional runner, gym goer, and walker, Carly is also an habitual binge-watcher of box sets and reader of anything she can get her hands on, including the back of cereal boxes.

Her interest in WWII history spans from a familial connection, and inspired her to complete a PhD regarding the author’s responsibility to historical fiction. Whilst an achievement, she gained 20 lbs, and became a hermit. 

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