The Berlin Zookeeper – ARC Book Review

The Berlin Zookeeper: An utterly gripping and heart-breaking World War 2 historical novel by [Anna Stuart]

Two women. One shocking wartime secret. And a family mystery just waiting to be discovered…

Berlin Zoo, 1943:Ten-year-old Adelaide and her newborn sister are orphaned after a devastating night of bombing. Heartbroken and frightened, Adelaide runs to her mother’s closest friend, Katharina Heinroth, and the kind zookeeper takes the two little girls under her protection. As the bombing intensifies, Adelaide tries to shut out the horrors of war by caring for her tiny sister and playing with the adorable baby monkeys. But when Katharina organises a dangerous operation to enable children and animals to escape the battle-scarred city, something goes wrong. And Adelaide has to promise her adopted mother to keep a shocking secret. A secret that will change Adelaide’s life forever.

Berlin Zoo, 2019: Bethan Taylor notices the elderly lady sitting on the bench next to her seems confused, her thoughts flitting between past and present. Ada talks of her childhood, played out in an underground bunker beneath the animal enclosures during the war. As Ada’s story unfolds, Bethan is surprised to hear a name she recognises…

Katharina Heinroth is at the top of a list of German names Bethan found in a hidden compartment of her late mother’s jewellery box. Bethan’s father couldn’t tell her anything about the crumpled piece of paper and she’s been searching for the meaning ever since.

As the two women are brought together by the pain of the past can they help each other to heal? And after decades of silence, can Ada help Bethan to uncover a long-buried family mystery?

An unforgettable and heart-wrenching novel of a brave orphan girl and a shocking wartime secret. Inspired by a true WW2 story and perfect for fans of Orphan Train, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Alice Network.

No. of pages:- 367 pages

Date published:- 4th May 2021

Publisher:- Bookouture

Genre:- Historical Fiction

As many of you all know…I am a sucker for historical fiction based anything on Holocaust and WWII. But this book, though based on WWII is a bit different–it’s not about Holocaust but about German woman Katharina who is secretly opposing the rule of the Nazis and…who saves the children and babies.

This book actually reminds me of the Zookeeper’s Wife which is based on the real life story of a woman who along with her husband saves many Jews as they could in their Warsaw Zoo in Poland. The only difference is, no Jews are in the story but saving many babies as she could. The story spans back and forth from present day, a woman named Bethan Taylor who moves from England to Berlin after finding a list of German women’s names in her mother’s jewelry box. The past tells of a woman named Katharina, a brave and courageous woman who owns Berlin Zoo with her husband, Oskar. The author has done a good job of drawing the reader into the story and getting to know more about the history, especially during the final years of the war. I also like how Bethan, whose mother was German and who apparently was adopted was determined to find her real grandmother while working in the Berlin Zoo. The story kept me hooked from the beginning and I was totally engrossed into the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this beautiful book–a story of two women, both determined and would do anything and was really engaging story. Worth five stars!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the ARC of the book. The review is based on my honest opinion.

Anna Stuart

I wanted to be an author from the moment I could pick up a pen and was writing boarding-school novels by the age of nine. I made the early mistake of thinking I ought to get a ‘proper job’ and went into Factory Planning – a career that gave me some wonderful experiences, amazing friends and even a fantastic husband, but didn’t offer much creative scope. So when I stopped to have children I took the chance to start the ‘improper job’ of writing. It’s not been easy but I love it and can’t see myself ever stopping.

Bonnie and Stan, my first novel, is a tale of how love matures, set in Liverpool in both the modern day and the swinging sixties. Four Minutes to Save a Life is a timely story of how a quiet delivery driver unites three lonely people in a quest to make their lives better that may ultimately cost him his own…

I also write historical fiction as Joanna Courtney.

I’d love to hear from you via my website –, on twitter – @annastuartbooks,or on facebook – @annastuartauthor

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