Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein is a historical fiction story that begins in 1989 in New York when Ava Fischer receives a box from her estranged mother’s lawyer that contains her mother’s (Ilse von Fischer) ashes and a bundle of letters written over the past five decades to a woman named Renate Bauer. These letters will finally give Ava some of the answers she has sought from her mother. These letters and the story behind them will also take the reader back in time to 1930’s Berlin where they will see the story of two best friends and how events will shatter their friendship, their families and change their lives forever.
This is a story of how the events of the Nazi’s rise to power in the years 1933 to 1939 and beyond impacted and changed the lives of the young people of Berlin and beyond. We see the change in a young girl who finds out she is half Jewish, and we also see how the draw of Nazi power changed the lives of young German children through the Hitler Youth movement. It is a story of friendship lost, of treachery, betrayal, survival and regret. It is also a story of how far some may go to be accepted.
I’ve always loved to read historical fiction, and as a former teacher and the daughter of a WWII veteran, I’ve often chosen books about this period of our history. I can tell you that if you like to read about this period, this is a good book to choose. The author has obviously done her research. The setting and events around these fictional characters are factual. The plot is riveting, and I like the way she tells the story with each chapter written in a character’s voice during a specific year. The years do jump around a bit and go back and forth from chapter to chapter, but I got used to that.
If you like historical fiction, this is a good book for you. If you like reading about the events leading to WWII, this is a good book for you. If you are like me and feel that these events should never be forgotten since we are doomed to repeat the history that we forget, you should read this book. It will be available in April of 2019.
I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher and Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.