THE GIRL THEY LEFT BEHIND by Roxanne Veletzos
Published 1 December 2018
Inspired by a true story, this haunting tale of love and survival spans two decades of war and revolution, from war-torn Romania in 1941 to New York in 1960.
On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.
Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.
When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.
SUITCASE OF DREAMS by Tania Blanchard
Published 1 November 2018
From the bestselling author of The Girl from Munich, a sweeping, dramatic tale of love and identity, inspired by a true story
After enduring the horror of Nazi Germany and the chaos of postwar occupation, Lotte Drescher and her family arrive in Australia in 1956 full of hope for a new life. It’s a land of opportunity, where Lotte and her husband Erich dream of giving their children the future they have always wanted.
After years of struggling to find their feet as New Australians, Erich turns his skill as a wood carver into a successful business and Lotte makes a career out of her lifelong passion, photography. The sacrifices they have made finally seem worth it until Erich’s role in the trade union movement threatens to have him branded a communist and endanger their family. Then darker shadows of the past reach out to them from Germany, a world and a lifetime away.
As the Vietnam War looms, an unexpected visitor forces Lotte to a turning point. Her decision will change her life forever . . . and will finally show her the true meaning of home.
THE GIRL FROM MUNICH by Tania Blanchard
The runaway Australian bestseller about love and loss in wartime Germany, inspired by a true story
Growing up in Hitler’s Germany, Charlotte von Klein has big dreams for the future. Her mind is full of plans for a sumptuous wedding to her childhood sweetheart Heinrich while working for the Luftwaffe, proudly giving her all for the Fatherland.
But in 1943, the tide of the war is turning against Germany, and Lotte’s life of privilege and comfort begins to collapse around her. As Hitler’s Reich abandons Germany and the country falls to the Allied forces, Lotte is forced to flee from the unfolding chaos to the country with the darkly attractive Erich Drescher, her Luftwaffe superior.
Amid the danger, pain and heartbreak of a country turning on itself, Lotte must forge a new life for herself. But as the country struggles to find its future, shadows of the past come rushing back and Lotte finds herself questioning everything she has fought for – love, duty and freedom.
The choices she makes will change her life forever.
AT THE WOLF’S TABLE by Rosella Postorino
Published 1 February 2019
The international bestseller based on the shocking true story of the women conscripted to risk their lives as Hitler’s food tasters
‘They called it the Wolfsschanze, the Wolf’s Lair. “Wolf” was his nickname. As hapless as Little Red Riding Hood, I had ended up in his belly. A legion of hunters was out looking for him, and to get him in their grips they would gladly slay me as well.’
Germany, 1943: Twenty-six-year-old Rosa Sauer’s parents are gone, and her husband Gregor is far away, fighting on the front lines. Alone, she has little choice but to leave war-torn Berlin behind and live with her in-laws in a village near the Wolfschanze, the Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s hidden headquarters.
Convinced that the enemy wants to poison him, Hitler conscripts ten women, including Rosa, to be his food tasters. Even though food is a luxury, eating the rich and decadent feasts Hitler will soon be served is an act of torture – after each meal, the women must wait an hour to see if they will die. Every minute seems like an eternity. None of the women are allowed to meet Hitler, none can enter the Wolfschanze, but the Führer is a constant presence. He is in every conversation, in Rosa’s thoughts, and forever on the radio. He looms large above them all, like some kind of deity.
As the war outside goes from bad to worse, so do the lives of the ten women trapped in the tasting room, forced to eat what may kill them. Rosa’s friends are keeping explosive secrets, the vindictive SS officer put in charge of the tasters takes a special liking to her, and Rosa must figure out how she can stay alive as it becomes clear that she and her friends, her Hitler, everyone she knows, are on the wrong side of history.
THE LACE WEAVER by Lauren Chater
A breathtaking debut about love and war, and the battle to save a precious legacy
Each lace shawl begins and ends the same way – with a circle. Everything is connected with a thread as fine as gossamer, each life affected by what has come before it and what will come after.
1941, Estonia. As Stalin’s brutal Red Army crushes everything in its path, Katarina and her family survive only because their precious farm produce is needed to feed the occupying forces.
Fiercely partisan, Katarina battles to protect her grandmother’s precious legacy – the weaving of gossamer lace shawls stitched with intricate patterns that tell the stories passed down through generations.
While Katarina struggles to survive the daily oppression, another young woman is suffocating in her prison of privilege in Moscow. Yearning for freedom and to discover her beloved mother’s Baltic heritage, Lydia escapes to Estonia.
Facing the threat of invasion by Hitler’s encroaching Third Reich, Katarina and Lydia and two idealistic young soldiers, insurgents in the battle for their homeland, find themselves in a fight for life, liberty and love.
THE BETRAYAL by Kate Furnivall
Discover a brilliant story of love, danger, courage and betrayal, from the internationally bestselling author of The Liberation.
Could you kill someone? Someone you love?
Paris, 1938. Twin sisters are divided by fierce loyalties and by a terrible secret. The drums of war are beating and France is poised, ready to fall. One sister is an aviatrix, the other is a socialite and they both have something to prove and something to hide.
The Betrayal is an unforgettably powerful, epic story of love, loss and the long shadow of war, perfect for readers of Santa Montefiore and Victoria Hislop.
Further praise for Kate Furnivall:
‘Wonderful . . . hugely ambitious and atmospheric’ Kate Mosse
‘A thrilling plot … Fast-paced with a sinister edge’ Times
‘Gripping . . . poignant, beautifully written …will capture the reader to the last’ Sun
‘Truly captivating’ Elle
‘Perfect escapist reading’ Marie Claire
‘An achingly beautiful epic’ New Woman
‘A rollicking good read’ Daily Telegraph
THE YOUNG LION by BLANCHE d’ALPUGET
Queen Eleanor of France, said to be the most beautiful woman in Europe, has not been able to give birth to an heir. A strategic liaison with Geoffrey the Handsome, the virile and charming Duke of Normandy, could remedy that – or lead to her downfall and Geoffrey’s death.
What begins with cool calculation becomes a passionate affair. Despite his love for Eleanor, however, Geoffrey has larger plans: to help his warrior son, Henry, seize the English throne.
When Henry saves his father from discovery and execution by the French, he falls foul of Eleanor – and madly in love with her Byzantine maid. Should he become King of England, however, this dazzling woman will never be acceptable as his queen.
These intertwined relationships – heated, forbidden and perilous – are the heart of a vivid story of ambition, vengeance and political intrigue set in the glorious flowering of troubadour culture, mysticism and learning that is twelfth-century France.
THE LION RAMPANT by BLANCE d’ALPUGET
After years of manipulation and political cunning, young Henry II accedes to the throne of England, with the beautiful and indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine by his side.
But the kingdom he inherits is an impoverished shambles after the long, troubled reign of Stephen the Usurper. Together, the tempestuous royal couple use their charisma and shrewd diplomacy to restore England’s prestige and power and ensure the future of their mighty dynasty.
In order to replenish the English treasury, Henry appoints Thomas Becket, the unordained Archdeacon of Canterbury, as Chancellor. Becket is no ordinary man: born without rank, he is charming, quick-witted, a masterful intriguer and a lavish dresser with a genius for raising money. Beneath this lies a man seething with ambition, jealousy, treachery and desire.
In a dance of scheming, vengeance and forbidden passions, during one of the most turbulent and compelling periods of English history, Henry, Eleanor and Becket fight for political power and control against forces seen and imagined – each with their own agenda, each determined to hide their own shameful secrets.
‘The character of Thomas Becket will rivet readers as they have not been riveted since Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell.’ Thomas Keneally, AO