Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Trace of Smoke

A Trace of Smoke
Rebecca Cantrell

Another story about a woman reporter in the early twentieth century but they could not be more different. Think Cabaret, think Christopher Isherwood, this story of murder and the rise of Nazis combined with gay clubs, "boot girls" or prostitutes catering to a rough trade, drugs, lost people, hunger, money worth nothing. This is the world of Weimar Berlin in 1931 at the brink of the Nazi takeover of Germany. Ernst Rohm, the gay leader of the Sturm Abteilung (the SA or brownshirts) shows up as a character.

The main character, Hannah, is barely surviving and is at the edge of desperation as she bravely tries to help Jewish friends to America while trying to protect her beautiful gay performer brother. The atmosphere of this novel is near perfect, the exhilarating yet terrifying days in Berlin come alive in this tale. Not for the faint hearted.

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