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The Secrets of the Notebook: A Woman's Quest to Uncover Her Royal Family Secret

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“The beautiful owner of this book is dearer to me than my life – August your protector.” This one sentence was the key to a mystery involving some of the greatest and most infamous figures in European history, from Frederick the Great to Napoleon and Hitler—and solved by the author of this book. Eve Haas is the daughter of a German Jewish family that took refuge in London a “The beautiful owner of this book is dearer to me than my life – August your protector.” This one sentence was the key to a mystery involving some of the greatest and most infamous figures in European history, from Frederick the Great to Napoleon and Hitler—and solved by the author of this book. Eve Haas is the daughter of a German Jewish family that took refuge in London after Hitler came to power. Following a terrifying air raid in the blitz, her father revealed the family secret, that her great-great grandmother Emilie was married to a Prussian prince. He then showed her the treasured leather-bound notebook inscribed to Emilie by the prince. Her parents were reluctant to learn more, but later in life, when Eve was married and inherited the diary, she became obsessed with proving this birthright. The Secrets of the Notebook tells how she follows the clues, from experts on European royalty in London to archives in West Germany and then, under threat of being arrested as a spy by the Communist regime, to an archive in East Germany that had never before opened its doors to the West. What she unearths is a love story set against the upheaval of the Napoleonic wars and the antisemitism of the Prussian court, and a ruse that both protected Emilie’s daughter and probably condemned her granddaughter—Eve’s beloved grandmother, Anna—to death in the Nazi camps. When first published in the UK, The Secrets of the Notebook was an Irish Times bestseller. A movie based on the book is in production.


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“The beautiful owner of this book is dearer to me than my life – August your protector.” This one sentence was the key to a mystery involving some of the greatest and most infamous figures in European history, from Frederick the Great to Napoleon and Hitler—and solved by the author of this book. Eve Haas is the daughter of a German Jewish family that took refuge in London a “The beautiful owner of this book is dearer to me than my life – August your protector.” This one sentence was the key to a mystery involving some of the greatest and most infamous figures in European history, from Frederick the Great to Napoleon and Hitler—and solved by the author of this book. Eve Haas is the daughter of a German Jewish family that took refuge in London after Hitler came to power. Following a terrifying air raid in the blitz, her father revealed the family secret, that her great-great grandmother Emilie was married to a Prussian prince. He then showed her the treasured leather-bound notebook inscribed to Emilie by the prince. Her parents were reluctant to learn more, but later in life, when Eve was married and inherited the diary, she became obsessed with proving this birthright. The Secrets of the Notebook tells how she follows the clues, from experts on European royalty in London to archives in West Germany and then, under threat of being arrested as a spy by the Communist regime, to an archive in East Germany that had never before opened its doors to the West. What she unearths is a love story set against the upheaval of the Napoleonic wars and the antisemitism of the Prussian court, and a ruse that both protected Emilie’s daughter and probably condemned her granddaughter—Eve’s beloved grandmother, Anna—to death in the Nazi camps. When first published in the UK, The Secrets of the Notebook was an Irish Times bestseller. A movie based on the book is in production.

30 review for The Secrets of the Notebook: A Woman's Quest to Uncover Her Royal Family Secret

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dem

    The is a great read(a true story) and a wonderful insight into a family going back and tracing their roots for four generations and what interesting roots they have, with prince August of Prussia being related and this family's travels to East Berlin during the Cold war. I really enjoyed this book. The is a great read(a true story) and a wonderful insight into a family going back and tracing their roots for four generations and what interesting roots they have, with prince August of Prussia being related and this family's travels to East Berlin during the Cold war. I really enjoyed this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ellen

    This book is not what I expected it to be, but it held my attention surprisingly well. It is basically a summary of the research the author has done to delve into her family's past and discover the truth about her ancestors' royal lineage that had mysteriously been erased from the history books. While the book's content was really interesting, I found the format a bit boring and the author seems to jump around a lot with her dates which is confusing. Since it is a summary of her research about h This book is not what I expected it to be, but it held my attention surprisingly well. It is basically a summary of the research the author has done to delve into her family's past and discover the truth about her ancestors' royal lineage that had mysteriously been erased from the history books. While the book's content was really interesting, I found the format a bit boring and the author seems to jump around a lot with her dates which is confusing. Since it is a summary of her research about her family, it is understandable that it would not be linear, but in creating a book about it, I would have expected it to be a bit more organized.It was worth reading, but it was not wonderful.

  3. 4 out of 5

    A. L.

    This book centers on the author, Eve Haas, and her discovery of a family secret: she was the descendent of the great (but forgotten) Prince August and a seemingly Jewish woman, married in the mid 1800's. The family secret begins with a notebook, given by the prince to his wife. From there, Eve and her husband begin a decades long quest to learn more about her mysterious great-great grandmother. To find the truth, they have to finagle their way into the heart of East Germany, in the heart of the This book centers on the author, Eve Haas, and her discovery of a family secret: she was the descendent of the great (but forgotten) Prince August and a seemingly Jewish woman, married in the mid 1800's. The family secret begins with a notebook, given by the prince to his wife. From there, Eve and her husband begin a decades long quest to learn more about her mysterious great-great grandmother. To find the truth, they have to finagle their way into the heart of East Germany, in the heart of the Cold War. And with each new bit of evidence she finds, another layer of mystery is added. This was a good book; it would be fascinating to discover that you were actually descended from royalty, especially after years of being persecuted for being a Jew. However, the storytelling fell short of expressing the excitement that should have been included. The author's family, and her husband's, both had to secretly escape from Nazi Germany and make their way to England. Then, years later, Eve finds this long kept, closely guarded family secret and everyone warns her away from trying to discover more. But she can't let it go. So, amidst the suspicions of the Cold War, she and her husband bluff their way into East Germany to gain access to the archives, despite hostility, armed guards, bugged rooms and loads of bureaucratic nonsense. Then, just when she's on the brink of finding the last missing piece, the Communists tell her they will give it to her in exchange for her husband turning spy for them. All very exciting, but the story is told almost entirely in passive voice and with the bare minimum of suspense build-up. A very large part of the story is about the two reading through old documents. That said, it's a quick read and not dull, just not as exciting as it could have been. It is interesting material and the secret the prince and his wife create does end up having a tragic effect on the generations to come. I would encourage you to read it, but look for a cheap copy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    The story itself was fascinating but the story telling was awful.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    Eve Jaretzki was 16 years old when she learned she was the great-great-granddaughter of Prince August of Prussia, the fabulously wealthy Warrior Prince who had defeated Napoleon. It was 1940. Six years earlier, her parents had fled from Nazi Germany and relocated the family to Hampstead, near London. They were Jewish. So, how could Eve and her father be direct descendants of Prussian royalty, a family notorious for its anti-Semitism? In The Secrets of the Notebook, Eve Haas tells the astonishing Eve Jaretzki was 16 years old when she learned she was the great-great-granddaughter of Prince August of Prussia, the fabulously wealthy Warrior Prince who had defeated Napoleon. It was 1940. Six years earlier, her parents had fled from Nazi Germany and relocated the family to Hampstead, near London. They were Jewish. So, how could Eve and her father be direct descendants of Prussian royalty, a family notorious for its anti-Semitism? In The Secrets of the Notebook, Eve Haas tells the astonishing story of her two-decade quest to learn the answer to that question. She knew only the barest facts from the notebook her father showed her at age 16: her great-great grandmother was named Emilie, and Emilie had given birth to Prince August's daughter, Charlotte. But somehow all three had disappeared from the pages of history. There were no records available anywhere to learn about their lives together—except possibly behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany. Eve's concern about the fate of her grandmother, Anna, added urgency to her quest. When her family fled Germany for England, they had been forced to leave Anna behind in Vienna. There was no trace of her after 1942, so the family assumed she had died in the Holocaust, probably at Auschwitz. But what really happened to Anna? And why had Hitler killed a direct descendant of the Hohenzollerns whom he so greatly admired? Eve's pursuit of the answers to all these questions became her obsession from 1973 to the 1990s, when she finally learned exactly what had happened to her grandmother. Her quest had taken her on two perilous trips into East Germany at the peak of the Cold War. The Secrets of the Notebook tells the tale of that obsession, and it's a brilliant portrayal of the challenges historians face when they embark upon research into original source materials. Remarkably, her dogged efforts forced century-old secrets about Prussian royalty to see the light of day. About the author Eve Haas died earlier this year at the age of 94. The Secrets of the Notebook appeared in 2009, when at 85 she was already old enough to be classified as "old old" by demographers. Yet the book reads like the work of a writer at the top her game. It's suspenseful to a fault—a page-turner as surely as any mystery story. And the book climaxes with as great a surprise as any novel of suspense.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ilze

    That a little notebook could have such repercussions, is quite something! I found Haas' search into her family's past and its genealogy fascinating. Here you have a woman who thought her family had been Jewish all along, who had to flee from WWII, only to find out the "Jewishness" came from her great great grandfather who wanted to protect his daughter ... if you like history and enjoy finding out how difficult it actually is to discover the truth about your past, this is a good book to read. That a little notebook could have such repercussions, is quite something! I found Haas' search into her family's past and its genealogy fascinating. Here you have a woman who thought her family had been Jewish all along, who had to flee from WWII, only to find out the "Jewishness" came from her great great grandfather who wanted to protect his daughter ... if you like history and enjoy finding out how difficult it actually is to discover the truth about your past, this is a good book to read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I first thought to give this book 3 stars. I would imagine this book isn't for everyone. Since I love history and have done genealogy for many years, I found the story fascinating. While others many have wanted more "story", I wanted less speculation and more facts. I wanted to know more of exactly what was written in the records. Perhaps even excerpts. Nevertheless, I couldn't put it down so I ended up giving it 4 stars. I first thought to give this book 3 stars. I would imagine this book isn't for everyone. Since I love history and have done genealogy for many years, I found the story fascinating. While others many have wanted more "story", I wanted less speculation and more facts. I wanted to know more of exactly what was written in the records. Perhaps even excerpts. Nevertheless, I couldn't put it down so I ended up giving it 4 stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Janae

    This is an autobiographical account of Eve Haas' search to discover the truth of her family's secret - whether or not Prince Augustus of Prussia is her second great-grandfather and if he was married to the daughter of a Jewish tailor. Haas' search took her to Eastern Germany during the Cold War, where she faced many difficulties to find information of Prince Augustus, who was a hero of the Napoleonic Wars. The book is of her journey to find her roots and discover her history. The story itself is This is an autobiographical account of Eve Haas' search to discover the truth of her family's secret - whether or not Prince Augustus of Prussia is her second great-grandfather and if he was married to the daughter of a Jewish tailor. Haas' search took her to Eastern Germany during the Cold War, where she faced many difficulties to find information of Prince Augustus, who was a hero of the Napoleonic Wars. The book is of her journey to find her roots and discover her history. The story itself is compelling. The execution is a little clunky with unnecessary details sneaking into the story (Princess Charlotte of Wales) that were a distraction from the true story. As a semi-professional genealogist I was at times concerned about the conclusions being made about the information that Haas obtained throughout her search. She could have easily built another brick wall rather than tearing one down. I'd like to see the story re-told by a professional biographer with Eve Haas' emotions, which were not mentioned, as she sought her family.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dianne McMahan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Tragic but True,Story off a Prince's Daughter Eve spent many of her adult yrs.Looking for her grandmothers family that had been taken in the Holocaust. A prince fell in love with a commoner,Jewish at that,they had a daughter and wanted to keep her safe,so they had her baptized,but not as a Jew and She was unable to live with her real family. Eve left no stone unturned,until the mystery was solved, outliving her husband,who has been such a help in her search. Tragic but True,Story off a Prince's Daughter Eve spent many of her adult yrs.Looking for her grandmothers family that had been taken in the Holocaust. A prince fell in love with a commoner,Jewish at that,they had a daughter and wanted to keep her safe,so they had her baptized,but not as a Jew and She was unable to live with her real family. Eve left no stone unturned,until the mystery was solved, outliving her husband,who has been such a help in her search.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    The writing in this OK, but not fantastic, but the story itself is fascinating. The author and her husband were both Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, although they were fortunate enough to go to England early enough that their parents were able to take their businesses and money with them. Sadly, her grandmother did not come with them due to her age, and disappeared after being transported to Auschwitz. The author inherits a notebook from her father who tells her that it is about her great gra The writing in this OK, but not fantastic, but the story itself is fascinating. The author and her husband were both Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, although they were fortunate enough to go to England early enough that their parents were able to take their businesses and money with them. Sadly, her grandmother did not come with them due to her age, and disappeared after being transported to Auschwitz. The author inherits a notebook from her father who tells her that it is about her great grandmother and her parents, one of whom was the Prussian Prince, August, a hero of the Napoleonic Wars. Her father cautions her about trying to do any further research, but eventually she can't resist trying. In 1973 she begins trying to research, but finds that most of the information she needs is in East Germany, and not readily accessible to people from the West. Both she and her husband had plenty of concerns about totalitarian governments after their childhood escapes from Germany, but she is determined, and begins a long research effort. Having lived in West Berlin during the time she was researching in the archives of East Germany, I found myself holding my breath as they braved the East German government to get permission to visit the archives. Eventually they found enough information to flesh out the story, which is pretty amazing, and not what they were expecting. If you have an interest in genealogy and/or German history, you should give this one a try. 3.5 stars

  11. 4 out of 5

    Magda

    Awesome! Very captivating as well as a great history lesson. You do not have to be into genealogy to enjoy this book. I read this within 24 hours. As a family researcher and one that is stuck on some road blocks of her own I was amazed at how her Major obstacles unfolded and were revealed. Highly recommend this book. Would love to hear the author speak about it in person!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Coleen Dailey

    A true story of a woman's search for her ancestors. Her family fled Germany before the war because they were Jewish or thought they were but really ended up being descended from the German royal family. A great read for people who love history and geneaology. A true story of a woman's search for her ancestors. Her family fled Germany before the war because they were Jewish or thought they were but really ended up being descended from the German royal family. A great read for people who love history and geneaology.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    A very moving book and an amazing true story - recommended.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rai

    The story was okay. The writing was monotone and disengaging. Nothing I didn't expect. The story was okay. The writing was monotone and disengaging. Nothing I didn't expect.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Isla Scott

    First off, this book really appealed to me as it was a true story. I was a bit put off by the mention of the second world war on the back page, as I've never been keen on reading much about that obviously very grim time, having felt somewhat bombarded with TV footage and in depth descriptions about it during my time studying history in secondary school but the royal connection intrigued me. I found it a fairly engrossing read - I was intrigued to discover more about the authors family tree and th First off, this book really appealed to me as it was a true story. I was a bit put off by the mention of the second world war on the back page, as I've never been keen on reading much about that obviously very grim time, having felt somewhat bombarded with TV footage and in depth descriptions about it during my time studying history in secondary school but the royal connection intrigued me. I found it a fairly engrossing read - I was intrigued to discover more about the authors family tree and the various circumstances the authors relatives found themselves in. There were some surprising twists and turns as Eve slowly learnt more and more about her family tree. I could feel Eve's excitement as she tried to piece everything together. There were some moments set in somewhat contemporary times, where potentially sinister things happened too, which added to the suspense. I got a bit muddled with some of the details towards the end and it is a potentially emotional read at times but overall I found it an engrossing and enjoyable, fairly fascinating 'true story' read. It won't suit everyone but I've certainly read worse books. I just wish things were maybe explained a bit more clearly from time to time but I understood most of it and found it a good read regardless.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christine Ottaway

    A wonderful read of how Eve Haas traced her ancestry from a little notebook handed down to her father. The notebook was given by Prince August of Prussia, part of the mighty Hollenzohler dynasty, to her great great grandmother who was one of his wives. The inscription in his handwriting authenticated the little book. The hunt took Eve and her long-suffering husband Ken back to the land of their birth, but then East Germany, to try and gain access to the archives. It is an incredible tale with so A wonderful read of how Eve Haas traced her ancestry from a little notebook handed down to her father. The notebook was given by Prince August of Prussia, part of the mighty Hollenzohler dynasty, to her great great grandmother who was one of his wives. The inscription in his handwriting authenticated the little book. The hunt took Eve and her long-suffering husband Ken back to the land of their birth, but then East Germany, to try and gain access to the archives. It is an incredible tale with so many twists and turns, disappointments and unexpected successes. The unyielding archive opened by a helpful Minister, one of the few helpful people at that time in East Germany. The attempt to get Ken to spy for them in return for copies of documents. A letter that turned up unexpectedly, a testimony from an unlikely source. This story traces the ups and downs of Eve's search to find out the truth about her family and in particular what had happened to her beloved grandmother during the War. Much of the story is sad but Eve was finally able to successfully trace the lives of her ancestors. A fascinating read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Samara

    This was a pleasant surprise. I was not sure what to expect. There were twists and turns, and surprises throughout this book. It was clear and well written, and you really felt like you got to personally know the author, her personality and her insatiable appetite to learn and understand her ancestry. Her husband sounds like a really special person, patient and kind, helpful and smart. Having him by her side definitely made things more fun, safe and enjoyable. He was a source of strength for her This was a pleasant surprise. I was not sure what to expect. There were twists and turns, and surprises throughout this book. It was clear and well written, and you really felt like you got to personally know the author, her personality and her insatiable appetite to learn and understand her ancestry. Her husband sounds like a really special person, patient and kind, helpful and smart. Having him by her side definitely made things more fun, safe and enjoyable. He was a source of strength for her throughout her search. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a quality book, about a woman’s quest to better understand her family, their story and how political and economic turmoil affected these individual people. I really loved that this author felt so connected to her grandmother and wanted to ensure her life was commemorated properly. I wish for everyone they had the insight and knowledge of their family members the way that Eva had. She definitely made it a life goal to search for the missing pieces and it was truly interesting and inspiring to read about her journey.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    As a genealogy buff, I found this to be a fascinating story. Eve Haas fled Germany with her family during WWII, leaving behind her grandmother. Her father showed her a family notebook that was supposed to be proof that her great-great-grandmother had married a Prussian Prince, August, who turned out to be a military hero for defeating Napoleon (and therefore a threat to the King.) Her father admonished her never to ask questions or look into the story. But after the deaths of her parents, she co As a genealogy buff, I found this to be a fascinating story. Eve Haas fled Germany with her family during WWII, leaving behind her grandmother. Her father showed her a family notebook that was supposed to be proof that her great-great-grandmother had married a Prussian Prince, August, who turned out to be a military hero for defeating Napoleon (and therefore a threat to the King.) Her father admonished her never to ask questions or look into the story. But after the deaths of her parents, she could not resist -- traveling to East Berlin in a hair-raising trip through the Iron Curtain to find information about August. It is quite a tale and a quick read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patrice

    During the pandemic I am made it a point to read books around World War II and Nazi Germany to help me keep my perspective and feet on the ground. Nothing we lived thru in 2020 is as terrible as what humans did to one another during the war and Hitlers quest for the final solution . This is a gripping story taking place over many decades of a woman trying to solve the mystery of her family’s heritage. It can be slow at times but it’s filled with fascinating information and history about what happ During the pandemic I am made it a point to read books around World War II and Nazi Germany to help me keep my perspective and feet on the ground. Nothing we lived thru in 2020 is as terrible as what humans did to one another during the war and Hitlers quest for the final solution . This is a gripping story taking place over many decades of a woman trying to solve the mystery of her family’s heritage. It can be slow at times but it’s filled with fascinating information and history about what happened to her great great grandmother, Great grandmother and her very own grandmother at the hands of the Nazis

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Blanchard

    Once I started reading this books I couldn’t put it down. (Finished awhile ago also just never updated) I loved learning about her family’s history. It’s so amazing that her family had this notebook. I felt for her whole entire family. It was awesome to see the photos in the middle of the book and be able to see what the family looked like and not just what your mind thinks they look like after reading. It makes you feel like you are in this journey with her discovering the truth about her famil Once I started reading this books I couldn’t put it down. (Finished awhile ago also just never updated) I loved learning about her family’s history. It’s so amazing that her family had this notebook. I felt for her whole entire family. It was awesome to see the photos in the middle of the book and be able to see what the family looked like and not just what your mind thinks they look like after reading. It makes you feel like you are in this journey with her discovering the truth about her family. It was heartbreaking to know what had become of her family but I was glad to see she found out. Wonderful wonderful book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

    To me, there is intrigue to reading true stories. In this book, Eve Haas discovered a family secret on her 16th birthday. Her father decided it was time to uncover the secret and give Eve the little notebook-a diary that was never mentioned beforehand. Eve was astonished to find out that she was a descendant of Prince August! Filled with so many questions Eve knew she had to somehow find out more answers. When she married, she and her husband Ken began a journey, and at times dangerous journeys To me, there is intrigue to reading true stories. In this book, Eve Haas discovered a family secret on her 16th birthday. Her father decided it was time to uncover the secret and give Eve the little notebook-a diary that was never mentioned beforehand. Eve was astonished to find out that she was a descendant of Prince August! Filled with so many questions Eve knew she had to somehow find out more answers. When she married, she and her husband Ken began a journey, and at times dangerous journeys to find her family history. A very fascinating and suspenseful story.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    This was a quick read and I enjoyed the story. Eve includes much of what she learned about Prince August, his life and others around him, including Napoleon; so that history was a bonus. Her actual research and ventures into East Germany were at times, quite exciting. She expressed her feelings and thoughts throughout the story but I found them very repetitive. I think the history, her research adventures and feelings, could all have been put together in a more engaging and captivating manner.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vlora

    I started reading this book thinking it’s historical fiction, but turns out it’s about the author’s quest to unravel the secrets from her family’s past. Her great grandmother was the child of prince august and emilie von ostrowska, but her (author’s) great grandmother’s birth and life were kept secret for reasons you will find out only after reading the book. It’s fascinating, and the story is uncovered bit by bit as the author spent decades researching the past. It is written in form of a novel I started reading this book thinking it’s historical fiction, but turns out it’s about the author’s quest to unravel the secrets from her family’s past. Her great grandmother was the child of prince august and emilie von ostrowska, but her (author’s) great grandmother’s birth and life were kept secret for reasons you will find out only after reading the book. It’s fascinating, and the story is uncovered bit by bit as the author spent decades researching the past. It is written in form of a novel, which i found delightful, and kept my interest going until the last page.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I will give this book a 3 1/2. The first thing that came to mind was ancestry on steroids with a smidgen of James Bond. It was really quite interesting in parts...the lengths she went thru to find and validate her ancestry were beyond what I could imagine. The story itself was fascinating but I found it lacking in how it was presented. I have spent multitudes of hours doing Ancestry for my family and I could really put myself in her place and understand her frustrations, excitements, and disappo I will give this book a 3 1/2. The first thing that came to mind was ancestry on steroids with a smidgen of James Bond. It was really quite interesting in parts...the lengths she went thru to find and validate her ancestry were beyond what I could imagine. The story itself was fascinating but I found it lacking in how it was presented. I have spent multitudes of hours doing Ancestry for my family and I could really put myself in her place and understand her frustrations, excitements, and disappointments. Worth reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bobbie

    Very good read. Enjoyed the historical information and the way it was presented as Eve unravels her own family's history. At first I thought is was going to be a historical fiction, but found out it was really Eve Haas' search for the secrets her family had hidden decades ago. Her perseverance over those decades to find the truth was admirable. I was so relieved to see the final satisfaction Eve got when the pieces of the puzzle came to together. I listened on Audible and the narrator, Jane Carr Very good read. Enjoyed the historical information and the way it was presented as Eve unravels her own family's history. At first I thought is was going to be a historical fiction, but found out it was really Eve Haas' search for the secrets her family had hidden decades ago. Her perseverance over those decades to find the truth was admirable. I was so relieved to see the final satisfaction Eve got when the pieces of the puzzle came to together. I listened on Audible and the narrator, Jane Carr, did a really good job. I highly recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Fascinating story of one woman's search for information about her great-great grandfather, Prince August of Prussia. Her search took her to East Berlin where she and her husband endured the horrors of that part of Germany. August's memory seemed to have been wiped out of all the history books which made her research difficult and took many years. The next time I'm in London, I will go to the Wallace Collection (my favourite anyway) to see the miniature portrait of August. Fascinating story of one woman's search for information about her great-great grandfather, Prince August of Prussia. Her search took her to East Berlin where she and her husband endured the horrors of that part of Germany. August's memory seemed to have been wiped out of all the history books which made her research difficult and took many years. The next time I'm in London, I will go to the Wallace Collection (my favourite anyway) to see the miniature portrait of August.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    Family History at it's most intriguing! Eve Haas tells us of her search for her great great grandmother Emelie and her great grandmother Charlotte. Somehow all mention of them has been hidden. Eve works hard to uncover the past. She enters eastern Berlin at the height of the cold war-a dangerous thing to do in the 70's. As the story of her grandmothers unfolds we become almost as excited as she is. One of those stories you wish could go on Family History at it's most intriguing! Eve Haas tells us of her search for her great great grandmother Emelie and her great grandmother Charlotte. Somehow all mention of them has been hidden. Eve works hard to uncover the past. She enters eastern Berlin at the height of the cold war-a dangerous thing to do in the 70's. As the story of her grandmothers unfolds we become almost as excited as she is. One of those stories you wish could go on

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dana Crano

    In thinking about my rating, initially I felt 4 stars, but then I added a star for the sentimental value. The author is in my late grandparents' generation, and I kept replacing people in my life with the people in her family, and it made her quest for understanding and answers more personal for me. My family emigrated prior to World War II, but they were German and Polish and this book resonated. In thinking about my rating, initially I felt 4 stars, but then I added a star for the sentimental value. The author is in my late grandparents' generation, and I kept replacing people in my life with the people in her family, and it made her quest for understanding and answers more personal for me. My family emigrated prior to World War II, but they were German and Polish and this book resonated.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    True story of author’s quest to unravel a family secret. While the premise was interesting and provocative, the book was poorly edited and quite redundant. It would have read better as a magazine article, rather than a full length book. I thought it rather naïve of the author to imagine that her 15-year-old ancestor was actually madly in love with the 55-year-old man that she married. Especially since he apparently had his aides watch her every move for “safety.”

  30. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Turner

    I felt the manner in which this was written was rather dull, especially for such a large amount of rich colorful histories. Four stars for having put this much time and energy into the research, even against the paranoia and restraint of east Berlin. However, while this book had so much potential, it is very much a dry account of the process of uncovering the facts more than about the facts themselves, and I guess could at least be the necessary groundwork for future accounts given more...substa I felt the manner in which this was written was rather dull, especially for such a large amount of rich colorful histories. Four stars for having put this much time and energy into the research, even against the paranoia and restraint of east Berlin. However, while this book had so much potential, it is very much a dry account of the process of uncovering the facts more than about the facts themselves, and I guess could at least be the necessary groundwork for future accounts given more...substance.

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