Cover Image: The Bookseller of Dachau

The Bookseller of Dachau

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Member Reviews

Great, multi-faceted characters. Very interesting plot. Vivid descriptions. I felt every emotion. Kept me intrigued from the first page to the last. A fabulous and moving read!

*I received a complimentary ARC of this book in order to read and provide a voluntary, unbiased and honest review, should I choose to do so.
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Grace receives a package through the post, a lawyer's letter saying she has inherited a book shop in Dauch; from her long-lost grandmother. 

Matilda is in love, but she is in love with a Jew. Standing up for what she believes in, she will stay true and never give up. This is her story. 

This novel is beautiful and intense. Ryan writes a novel leaving us guessing until the end. 

Told from two points of view during two different time periods; these two narratives intertwine creating two love stories. 

A novel about fighting for love, survival, and having hope throughout the worst possible experiences
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When the Jews are rounded up and taken away, Matilda hides her childhood sweetheart Hans in an attic passageway.  Months later, when Matilda's father betrays Hands to the Nazi's, Matilda is left pregnant.  She leaves her family and travels to the town of Dachau, hoping to be near her love.  In the present day, Grace is told that through DNA, she has been matched to a grandmother, who left her property in Dachau.  Unhappy with her job and feeling adrift, Grace travels to Dachau determined to uncover her past.

The characters themselves were well developed but the story itself was slow moving.  I could have done without Grace's point of view/timeline entirely.   Grace's storyline felt very predictable and took away from Matilda's storyline.  Overall, 3 out of 5 stars.
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A love story between Hans a  Jew and Matilda a German set during world war 2.
A duel story line in  the present day and the tale of  Grace ,an American discovering who her ancestors were.
I thought this was non fiction but discovered it was fiction. This did not put me off and I loved this book.
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It's probably not too much of a spoiler to say that this is not a light and fluffy read. The subject matter itself sees to that. It's not as gut-wrenching as some of the other titles out there (given that the WWII narrative is told from the eyes of someone not experiencing horrors up close and personal, that's not surprising) but it still packs a punch. So, if you're going through an emotionally vulnerable time, this may be one to put on the shelf for later. 

With that said, this is my overall opinion on "The Bookseller of Dachau". It was decent. Not a favorite, but I certainly don't regret the time that I devoted to reading it. 

The overall plot was good with dual narratives stretching between WWII and modern-day (2018 to be exact). It's a structure that I've seen before, and I like how it allows for events to gradually be revealed. In that aspect, this book did not disappoint. It was enjoyable to see how the story unfolded. However, the characters and language kept me at arm's length.

In the case of Grace, there was not much to offend or entice. I enjoyed her relationship with Carla and would have enjoyed a scene with her telling off her boss, but beyond that, she was pretty bland. Even her romance subplot fell flat for me. I attribute it to too much tell and not enough show in the writing, but the relationship seemed forced. Grace and Carla's ignorance in regards to Germany irked me slightly as well. From her friend's reaction and constant messaging, you would have thought Grace was headed into a war zone. There was a lot of potential here, but in the end, it just didn't work.

On the other hand, Matilda also failed to hit the mark. She was better developed than Grace and I admired her moral compass, but...she struck me as very juvenile. That's not to say that she was wrong in any of her views, but they seemed unnuanced. It was like they were coming from the mouth of someone who wasn't there. I did enjoy seeing her growth after becoming a mother, but that could have been taken much farther. 

Finally, the writing. Now, keep in mind that this is very much a personal preference. I thought that the writing was too over-the-top for my liking, as though the author was trying too hard.  Still, that does not mean it was bad. Some moments managed to make me tear up and chances are that another reader would find this style exactly to their taste. 

So, if you are considering reading this book, I'd recommend going ahead and giving it a try. You might just love it.  Many thanks to NetGalley for providing my copy.
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A dual timeline story The Bookseller Of Dachau is the journey of Matilda, Hans and Grace. Set in 1940's Germany and present day United States its a novel of finding lost family and their stories. 
Grace and her mother have been searching for their family for quite sometime but unfortunately her mother passes away without knowing her true heritage. Grace unexpectedly receives a letter which takes her to Dachau where she begins her journey into the past of her family and Matilda's and Hans's story converge. This novel does not take us into the insides of the Dachau concentration camp but shows us the life of people who lived in that town. Some of the quotes by the author in this novel which Hans speaks are completely on point in today's world where religion, color of the skin and blood type or what language you speak matter more than just being a human. Books like these encourage us not to commit those mistakes so that history won't be repeated again.
This novel is beautifully written love story, friendship, courage and ultimately sacrifice for the right thing. I couldn't put it down once I started it. A very engrossing, emotionally touching and hopeful story. 5 Stars
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The Bookseller of Dachau by Shari J. Ryan is one of the most interesting story I've read in the recent time. 

The story is set between two different times and places completely opposite. I've always been a fan of historical fiction but the switch between the contemporary and history is written so well by the author that the transition is so smooth. I so want to visit the small town of Dachau at least once. I can only imagine how that town survived amidst that huge war and atrocities. 

I liked both Matilda and Grace very much. They are very influencing characters with great determination, patience and love. The love between Hans and Matilda is so special. I was so anxious myself reading the letters from Matilda and was so eager to know what happened to Hans.

The title is so apt for this book. I personally loved the way the author built a love story amidst the war set up. A great read for any age group.
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This book is a dual timeline + dual PoV story: one PoV is Matilda, a German teen girl during WWII, and her Jewish friend Hans; the second one is Grace, an american 30-ish woman who finds out she is Matilda’s kin.
I enjoyed more Matilda’s PoV, her kindness and devotion (even if there were some - let’s call them ‘logistic’ - issues that quite bothered me), while I found Grace’s story slightly annoying. Also, I don't know how much the author knows about current Europe (2019 I remember being mentioned), but it is quite safe for women to travel alone, especially in highly touristic areas, and there's no need for an over controlling friend to check on you non-stop.

It probably says a lot that my favourite character was a secondary one, Galina, the owner of the bookstore - I loved how the story perfectly depicts her dual feelings for her son: motherly selfless love and disappointment for him being a Nazi soldier.

Overall, the story is quite juvenile, even if somewhat emotional. Just because a book has a sensitive subject doesn't mean I will like it and will give it a high rating, as was the case with this one. Actually, I think it's quite hard to write a good book about the Holocaust without seeming frivolous/superficial.

As a conclusion, most probably romance aficionadoes will enjoy this book, even if, unfortunately, it was not my case.

Note to the author and her editors: if the action takes place in Europe, you might as well use kilometers, surely a German girl wouldn't think/write in miles: "Maybe it’s only been a mile, but it could have been three or four for all I know."
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This is the first book I have read by Shari Ryan and immediately after finishing it I went over to Amazon to order some more.
This book will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, particularly world war two/ holocaust. I enjoyed the book because it was different to most other holocaust books because it didn't concentrate on the camps but people left on the outside.
 It had a good cast of characters and a well written engaging plot about family, love, hope and long lasting friendships.
Highly recommended!
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The Bookseller of Dachau by Sheri J. Ryan 

I Loved this book! from the very first pages I could feel I was going to enjoy reading it and it did not disappoint.

Grace’s mother has been searching for her birth relatives all her life until she died from cancer three years ago. All they know is that Grace’s mother came to America as a baby with no name or any information regarding where she came from. Then suddenly out of the blue Grace receives a letter from a solicitor from Dachau, Germany saying that Matilda, Grace’s maternal grandmother, has passed away and as the only surviving relative she has inherited some property. Grace gets on a plane for Germany the very next day to find out more information about Matilda. In Germany she meets Archie who knew her grandmother and he gives her the pages containing the story of her grandmother, Matilda and her best friend Hans of their friendship and love.

I enjoyed how as the reader you learn what happened to Matilda and Hans along with Grace. 

I loved this book, such a heart-warming story of love and hope during the most devastating time in history 

I would like to thank Net Galley and Bookouture for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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What a unique and interesting perspective on a historical time period.  I found this story to be an easy one to follow and the characters were loveable, and some were even despicable. I enjoyed how the story lined was told in varying time periods, all the while knowing this is something that people did (and are) going through.
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I have read many novels with a WWII setting and yet, the Bookseller of Dachau left me speechless because of the strength and perseverance of the characters in this novel.

Matilda is a teenager who falls in love with her best friend Hans.  However, Hans is Jewish and both Matilda and Hans are aware that Jewish people are disappearing every day.  Matilda's love for Hans is so strong that she decides to hide him in her attic - a secret she even keeps from her parents. 

We also alternate between the present (2018), where we are introduced to Grace Laurent, an architect in Boston.  Grace receives a letter from German lawyers informing her that she just inherited a bookstore.  Grace has no ties to Germany other than the fact that her mother arrived from Germany in the 1940's as an orphan.  Grace's mother had passed away 3 years ago and was never able to find out anything about her past.  Grace is struggling in Boston with her job and her life overall and decides to travel to Germany and find out more about this mysterious inheritance.  

Grace learns that the bookstore that she stands to inherit is a library of sorts dedicated to preserving the writing of Jewish authors from WWII.  She also meets Archie, the current caretake of this bookstore and who becomes to key to providing Grace with the information to understanding her linkage to the bookstore and Matilda. 

Grace embarks on an adventure of self discovery that helps her better understand herself and her family's past and gives her life new meaning that she was truly missing. 

This is an amazing story that no one should miss and I appreciate having received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Bookseller of Dachau by Shari J. Ryan is an beautifully penned novel set in WW2 Germany and 2018. 
In 2018 , Grace, an architect living in Boston, receives a letter informing her of an inheritance left to her in Dachau , Germany  by her maternal grandmother Matilda whose existence she has been unaware of all her life. Grace travels to Dachau to find out more about her mother’s biological parents whom her mother had been searching for till her death a few years back.
Matilda‘s story takes us to World War II Germany where the atrocities of war and the Holocaust are wreaking havoc . 17 year old Matilda , a German schoolgirl, is in love with her friend Hans , a Jewish boy , who is she hides in her in her room to keep him from being taken away to the Nazi labor camps. They are eventually discovered by her father who deceives her and has Hans taken by the Nazis unbeknownst to anyone but Matilda that she is carrying his child. Their fate is slowly revealed to Grace through the letters and memories documented by Matilda and Hans during those years that have been carefully preserved by a family friend she meets and befriends while in Germany. While Matilda waits for news of Hans we are given a vivid picture what life was like for those living in the vicinity of the concentration camps - the confusion, the anguish and the sheer violence that these places and people were witness to.
“There is no other place in the world where one can stand before an eleventh-century abandoned palace cloaked by delicious sprigs of greenery while concurrently bearing witness to the ash-filled human remains funneling up into the crying sky.”
While unraveling her grandparents’ story Grace starts to take stock of her own life in Boston and in the process of discovering her family history is made to rethink her own priorities.
This engaging novel will break your heart and bring you to tears at times but will also make you believe in the enduring power and resilience that love instills in people even in their darkest days. As Hans tells Matilda when in hiding “Life is about lessons and what we can overcome.”
The author’s descriptions of the concentration camp and the surrounding towns and landmarks are vivid and will take you on a journey through history . I do feel, however, that Grace’s and her mother’s backstories needed to be delved into a bit deeper but ultimately the story does belong to Matilda and Hans and I could not put this book down until very end. Fans of  WW2 historical fiction will definitely love this book!
Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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'He reaches for the paper as if it’s gold. “You are the most thoughtful person I’ve ever known, Matilda.”

“It’s only paper and a pencil.” 

He shakes his head. “This paper is my door to someplace better."'

2018. Grace finds an unexpected letter and some documents that say that she has inherited some property in Germany. 

Grace's mother, who died three years ago, spent her life looking for her roots but couldn't find anything, so this information is overwhelming for Grace.
But it's too important so she travels to Germany in the quest for truth, which is going to change her life.

1941. The Bookseller of Dachau basically tells the story of Matilda, a strong, spirited and compassionate girl. She hid Hans, her best friend, lover and unfortunately a Jew, in her attic (crawl space) for eight months, just to protect him from the soldiers. 
But they found him eventually and took him to Dachau, and Matilda, determined to find him, travels to Dachau in search of Hans.

This is a heartbreakingly beautiful story love, loss, endurance and perseverance. And hope. The story is told from two points of view: Grace and Matilda. So there are two parallel stories, in two different times, going on. So well written and smartly executed. The writing creates wonderful imagery and evokes the emotions like you could feel the sadness. Matilda is the hero of the story. I liked Archie's and Galina's character, too. It's a war story but it captures the outside scenario in a poignant manner. 

A beautiful, engrossing read! One of my favourites this year. 

Thank you Netgalley, for the ARC.
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I was given an ARC from the publisher. 
This book tells the tale of a family and friendship broken by the Nazi program to remove Jewish people from Germany. It's a heartbreaking take that intertwines fiction and history in the best way possible. At times i found it a little long winded but it is a fantastic story of a very real situation.
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Set in the dual timelines of Boston in 2018 with Grace Laurent and Germany in 1940 with Matilda and Hans, this historical fiction novel will stay with me for a very long time. As a longtime fan of historical fiction, I firmly believe it is only through the emotion and experiences of others that we can truly understand the plights of those who lived before us. History comes alive through these pages as we learn of the ripping apart of two families - both physically as the Jews were rounded up by Hitler's regime and emotionally as Matilda and her parents' relationship was destroyed at the same time due to fear of the regime. We see Grace in the present time, learning of a grandmother she never knew existed, who bequeathed a bookshop just outside of Dachau to her. At the time Grace learns of this generous (?) gift, she is still grieving the loss of her own mother, and the trip to Dachau, just outside of a horrific concentration camp, not only helps her piece together her own life story but also discover a new life for herself. The dual timeline was beautifully woven and it certainly kept me wanting to turn the pages faster and faster with the hope that Matilda and Hans each had a happy ending, which we know was not usually the case for many victims of the Holocaust. The manner in which the author tells Matilda and  Hans' stories is touching and well-crafted, leaving the reader to feel as if they were transported back to one of the saddest points in our world's history, and yet, as Archie is introduced to Grace, we see a beauty that rises from the ashes. A five--star book for me. Recommended to WWII historical fiction readers and readers who enjoy present/past timelines, as well as those who are interested in the many facets of humanity - our worst and best moments.
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“In honor of those who didn’t make it, we will stay and guard their graves and give new life to the ground they are part of”
“If no one stays to make this town good again, it will forever be a prison and I don’t want that”
“We are all the same inside, and yet we are at war with each other for the beliefs we own, the color of our skin, and the type of blood that runs through us”
The Bookseller of Dachau is a duel timeline story (1939 and 2018) that I highly recommend.  But, be prepared to go on a astonishing, inspiring journey.
 Such a emotional read as most stories are about the Holocaust.  
We were stationed in Germany while in the Air Force and we visited Dachau.  It is a visit I will never forget.  There are no words to express the feelings I felt.
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book for my honest opinion.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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Hans and Matilda loved each other from a young age. They were never meant to be together because Hans was a Jew in Germany when the Nazi’s were in power. After Hans is taken away, Matilda is determined to find him and recover their daughter.

I am a huge fan of WWII fiction and this books focuses more on the love story. I found the book very interesting and hard to put down.
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Heartbreaking yet heartwarming, this story drew me in from the start and held on to me until the very end.
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The Bookseller of Dachau follows two storylines: one of Matilda during World War II, and one of Grace during 2018. When Grace receives a notice that she has inherited property from family in Germany, she travels to Dachau to learn about her family's history and get the answers to all of her questions.
We then learn of Matilda's story and her connection to Hans, a Jewish boy whom she vows to protect from the Nazis. When Matilda's parents betray her and Hans is taken away, Matilda vows she will reunite with him if it is the last thing she does.

I have rather mixed feelings about this one. I'm usually not a fan of dual timelines, and that was still the case for this one. Matilda's storyline was so much stronger than Grace's in my opinion. Every time I turned the page and found out it was one of Grace's chapters, I immediately started skimming so that I could get back to Matilda's.

The story of Matilda and Hans was one that was so heartbreaking and so well done. I can't say that I enjoyed it because it was so hard to read at times, especially when Hans was taken to the concentration camp, but it was also told so well, and I was engaged to the point that I just kept turning and turning the pages.

While Matilda's storyline was filled with emotions and meaningful conversations, Grace's storyline fell flat in comparison. All of the dialogue felt stilted and unnatural, and the romance was unbelievable and undeveloped. I almost wish that this had been told purely from Matilda and Hans's points of views rather than switching back and forth from the 1940s to 2018. I understand why it was told this way, and I do think it added another layer of emotional depth, at least when we got to the end of Matilda's story. I just wish that Grace's point of view had been developed a little more so that I could feel as attached to her as I did Matilda, because I loved reading about her and Hans.

Still, I did love Matilda's storyline, and even with my mixed feelings, I'm so glad I read this one. It was a captivating, heartbreaking story about the horrific experiences lived during World War II, and the strength and resilience it took to defy the impossible odds.
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