Sunday, 6 October 2013
One Last Summer by Catrin Collier
Shouldering the rifles I had given them, the men went walking back down the line against a tide of refugees, heading towards the town and the Russian army. Only Sascha remained. As I looked back, his face became blurred by the falling snowflakes and my tears.'
One Last Summer is the captivating new novel from bestselling author Catrin Collier. From its opening lines, the mesmeric voice of Charlotte von Datski's diary will hold you entranced. Charlotte must live through a series of challenging - and often terrifying - events, as Hitler plunges the world into war...
Allenstein, East Prussia, 1939 - Charlotte's parents hold a glittering ball to mark her eighteenth birthday and to announce her engagement to a Prussian Count. But as they celebrate, Europe teeters on the brink of war and young Charlotte will be forced to leave behind her beloved homeland and flee to England. But she carries a secret that both strengthens and torments her.
Years on, Charlotte's granddaughter, Laura, is shocked when the truth of her grandmother's past comes to light. As Charlotte re-reads her diary and recalls the one great love of her life, she finally faces the demons that have haunted her for over half a century.
CATRIN COLLIER was inspired to write One Last Summer when she discovered the truth about her own maternal family's history.
This is the first book I've read by this Author and if her other books are as good then I'm in for a treat reading the back catalogue and read them I will.
I can thoroughly recommend this book and as others have said, it's a change reading a book from a mostly German/East Prussian POV based on WWII, it shows us how not all Germans were as supportive of Hitler and his views as he might have liked us to believe. Part based on factual events and real people this book weaves a great fictional story surrounding the events and people.
The story is very well written and is definitely a page turner. Told in modern times with the past being told from a series of diary entries this story tells the history of Charlotte von Datski as she re-reads her diary. Charlotte is a formidable matriarch of her family and returns to the country of her birth with her granddaughter Laura, in an attempt to revisit where she grew up and come to terms with what happened to her.
As we read the book we are enlightened to facts that have caused her to have a slightly unusual relationship with some of her family members.
This will be in my top 10 books of this year. A cracking read 10/10.