The Girl Behind the Wall – ARC Book Review

The Girl Behind the Wall: The new novel from the internationally bestselling author of WW2 historical fiction for 2021 by [Mandy Robotham]

A city divided.
When the Berlin Wall goes up, Karin is on the wrong side of the city. Overnight, she’s trapped under Soviet rule in unforgiving East Berlin and separated from her twin sister, Jutta.
Two sisters torn apart.
Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the Wall. But Karin finds one reason to keep going: Otto, the man who gives her hope, even amidst the brutal East German regime.
One impossible choice…
When Jutta finds a hidden way through the wall, the twins are reunited. But the Stasi have eyes everywhere, and soon Karin is faced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West and be with her sister, or sacrifice it all to follow her heart?

No. of pages:- 416 pages

Date published:- will be published on July 6th 2021

Publisher:- Avon

Genre:- Historical Fiction/Women Fiction

After reading The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham, I have always wanted to read her books and was excited when I got the privilege to get an ARC copy of The Girl Behind the Wall.

The story is set during the early 1960’s, the year when Iron Curtain was formed and Berlin Wall built, dividing East and West Berlin, separating the loved ones. That’s what happened to Jutta and Karin, the identical twin sisters. Karin goes to East Berlin side to the hospital and on the same fateful day when East and West Berlin were divided. In the midst of political drama, Jutta who lives in a free spirited life in West Berlin was determined to bring Karin back home. Karin meanwhile tries settling down in East Berlin, adapting to the harsh communism rule and then falling in love with an architect. Jutta through a tunnel she comes across risks her life to meet Karin on the other side and the two sisters see each other through that secret tunnel, until the wall will divide them for good.

Normally, Mandy Robotham’s books are based on WWII with Nazi Germany background, this book was quiet different–set when the whole world watched the Iron Curtain being built and the power between capitalists and communists, the year when Berlin Wall was built that would separate the East and West. The sisters, particularly Jutta’s courage and willingness to bring her sister back to the West was powerful, overwhelming as she knows the consequences of what will happen to her own life if she was discovered. The author has done tremendous research during that period, in both West Berlin, where life is nothing but freedom and luxury and East Berlin, where many lived in fear and also in poverty so the reader could get a glimpse of what the life really like in West and East Berlin. The first part of the story was a bit slow and boring but the story gained momentum towards the middle when Jutta discovers a secret path that will help her to get to East Berlin to meet her sister, Karin. I was kept on the edge of the seat as I was worried if Jutta will get caught. Though the characters in the book was fictional, as I did a part of this Berlin Wall for my history lessons, I know how countless lives have been lost while crossing the wall to the other side–the East Berliners to the West Berliners and the fear and the bravery to do so was so realistic and overwhelming–which I applaud, the author did a good job of making the story as realistic as possible. The story starts with 1961 with the building of the wall, through 1963 when the wall was firmly built separating the twins forever and ends with 1989 with the Berlin Wall demolished–the momentous moment in history. I really like the characters particularly Jutta as she has become one of my favorite characters.

Overall, the story is touching, heartbreaking and emotional. Mandy Robotham did a very good job with this book and as this is the second book I have read from this author, I cannot wait to read more books from this author!

Worth four stars!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Avon publishers for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.

Mandy Robotham


I’ve been dreaming of writing of a book since the age of nine, when I read ‘Harriet the Spy’ and carried my notebook around the school playground trying to look interesting. I was waylaid, however, by journalism and children, which led me into midwifery, and more years away from my keyboard. But I’m immersed again in the world of words, having completed an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University. Now I write about birth, death and anything else in between (when I’m not called out to birth with women in the small hours).

‘A Woman of War’ is my first novel, combining a continued passion for birth with a fascination for wartime history and the tenacity of the human soul – survival, regardless of culture or creed. It’s reception among readers worldwide has been beyond my wildest dreams; in the Kindle bestseller lists in the UK & Canada, and in paperback bestseller lists too.

My second novel – ‘The Secret Messenger’ – continues a wartime theme, this time in occupied Venice and charts the contribution of the thousands of courageous women to the Allies hard won victory. Now I’m researching and gathering for the next two novels with Avon Books/Harper Collins. Thanks to book lovers, I’m one happy little scribe.

In any spare time away from writing and babies, I’m a keen gym-goer, a knitter of what my children call ‘strange things’ (placentas included!), and pride myself on being Jack Savoretti’s number one fan.

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