The Berlin Letters Book Review

Posted by abakersp in Historical, Reviews / Spotlights / 0 Comments

Do you ever come across a book written about a place or time period that you haven’t read before? That was me when I came across The Berlin Letters. I couldn’t wait to start reading, and I’m glad I did.

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About the Book

The Berlin Letters Book ReviewThe Berlin Letters
Author Katherine Reay
Published by Harper Muse
on March 5, 2024
Genres: Fiction / Romance / Historical / 20th Century, Fiction / Thrillers / Espionage, Fiction / World Literature / Germany / 20th Century
Pages: 368

Bestselling author Katherine Reay returns with an unforgettable tale of the Cold War and a CIA code breaker who risks everything to free her father from an East German prison.

From the time she was a young girl, Luisa Voekler has loved solving puzzles and cracking codes. Brilliant and logical, she’s expected to quickly climb the career ladder at the CIA. But while her coworkers have moved on to thrilling Cold War assignments—especially in the exhilarating era of the late 1980s—Luisa’s work remains stuck in the past decoding messages from World War II.

Journalist Haris Voekler grew up a proud East Berliner. But as his eyes open to the realities of postwar East Germany, he realizes that the Soviet promises of a better future are not coming to fruition. After the Berlin Wall goes up, Haris finds himself separated from his young daughter and all alone after his wife dies. There’s only one way to reach his family—by sending coded letters to his father-in-law who lives on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

When Luisa Voekler discovers a secret cache of letters written by the father she has long presumed dead, she learns the truth about her grandfather’s work, her father’s identity, and why she has never progressed in her career. With little more than a rudimentary plan and hope, she journeys to Berlin and risks everything to free her father and get him out of East Berlin alive.

As Luisa and Haris take turns telling their stories, events speed toward one of the twentieth century’s most dramatic moments—the fall of the Berlin Wall and that night’s promise of freedom, truth, and reconciliation for those who lived, for twenty-eight years, behind the bleak shadow of the Iron Curtain’s most iconic symbol.

  • A Cold War novel that takes readers to the heart of Berlin to witness both the early and final days of the Berlin Wall
  • Stand-alone novel
  • Book length: approximately 107,000 words
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs
Amazon | Goodreads

My Perspective

This book was simply fascinating to me. To my recollection, I have not read a book about the Berlin Wall, and so my interest in the history there is what first drew me to the book. But it was different then what I was anticipating, in a good way. Reay’s inclusion of the code that her grandfather used (and another important character!) was so intriguing. I wanted more of it! But what also sealed the deal for me was her decision to have the POV’s of Louisa and her father.

I admit, in the beginning I thought Haris was a bad guy. I just did. I didn’t like how he did things, I didn’t appreciate that he chose work. But through his letters, you see a different side to him. Reay was brilliant in not only chanigng my mind about him, but having empathy and compassion for him. I mean he wasn’t a villian lol, I just didn’t like him. But he changes over the course of the book. He grows, and you as the reader seem to grow along with him. I thought his POV was perfectly put together.

Reay not only included a ton of history in the pages of this book, she included a lot of family dynamic, something I enjoy reading. I cried as Louisa’s mother made a tough decision in the beginning of the book. I could imagine myself being in her very shoes, wanting to do what’s best for my daughter. I became emotional as Louisa had scenes with her grandmother (I can’t really say spoilers, so sorry I can’t dive into these emotions too much). Secrets have a way of coming out eventually is all I will say on that. And, of course, the dynamic between Louisa and her father. Simply put – it was beautifully written.

The Berlin Letters is a stunning novel about lies, secrets, family, history, and so much more. Historical fiction fans will enjoy this lesser talked about time period and historical event. I kind of already want to read it again!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About the Author

Katherine Reay is a national bestselling and award-winning author who has enjoyed a lifelong affair with books. She publishes both fiction and nonfiction, holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois, with her husband and three children. You can meet her at

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