(Review) Midnight in Berlin by James MacManus

Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martins
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 416
Source: Free hardcover copy from Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc., in exchange for a review
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

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James MacManus
JAMES MACMANUS is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. His other novels includeThe Language of the SeaBlack Venus and Sleep in Peace Tonight. In 2006, his film script about the life of British journalist George Hogg, based on his novel Ocean Devil, became the major motion picture, The Children of Huang Shi, starring Jonathan Rhys MeyersFor more information, please visit www.jamesmacmanus.com

British Colonel Joel Macrae is a military attache. His new post is Berlin, Germany. Macrae's wife is Primrose. They are both middle-aged, no children. Early in the story it is apparent their relationship has chilled to the point of tepid water.
It is the spring of 1939. Macrae's job is to gather intelligence information on Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, the Gestapo is gathering information on Macrae.
Macrae meets Sara, a beautiful Jewish woman working in a brothel. Macrae takes on another assignment in helping Sara.
Midnight in Berlin is a historical fiction novel set during the spring before World War II officially began in September 1939.
Several supporting characters from this period in time are in the novel: Kitty Schmidt owner of Salon Kitty, Reinhard Heydrich, William Shirer, Nevile Henderson, and Neville Chamberlain.

Several points led me to award Midnight in Berlin 5 stars for excellent:

  • A strong supporting cast from this period in history. 
  • Setting of the scenes are vivid and led me to easily picture the story in my mind. 
  • A love story hindered by several situations. This point led me to continue reading to the last page, because I had to know the revealing of their story. 
  • Every scene is weighty, and feels like at any moment a betrayal may happen or a nasty incident or the death of one of the primary characters.
  • The story showed the sacrifices of those who hoped to stop the war, tried to sound an alarm a war was approaching, and to gather information on the enemy. 
  • Macrae is a character who struggles to do the right thing. He has external and internal struggles. He is a masculine character, yet I saw vulnerability in him. 
I did not care for the ending, it is just not how I wanted the story to conclude. However, it does not take away from the brilliance of the story.