Beneath a Starless Sky by Tessa Harris #BookReview

Munich 1930: Smoke filled the air. Lilli Sternberg’s quickening heart sounded an alarm as she rounded the street corner. Lifting her gaze to the rooftops, a roaring blaze of thick flames engulfed the side of the building and joined the stars to fill the black sky. Her father’s shop was no more.

Lilli Sternberg longs to be a ballet dancer. But outside the sanctuary of the theatre, her beloved city is in chaos and Munich is no longer a place for dreams.

The Nazi party are gaining power and the threats to those who deviate from the party line are increasing. Jewish families are being targeted and their businesses raided, even her father’s shop was torched because of their faith.

When Lilli meets Captain Marco Zeiller during a chance encounter, her heart soars. He is the perfect gentleman and her love for him feels like a bright hope under a bleak sky.

But battle lines are being drawn, and Marco has been spotted by the Reich as an officer with great potential. A relationship with Lilli would compromise them both.

Will Lilli be able to escape the threats facing her family, and how much is she willing to risk for the man she loves?

My Review

AS Lilli Sternberg dreams of being a famous dancer or a Hollywood star she ignores the worries and political concerns of her earnest younger brother, Leon. Intending to train as a lawyer, he is often outspoken about the plight of Jewish families like theirs. Naively when Lilli meets the charming Marco Zeiller, she hopes her family will accept the Italian/German army officer into their family but when her hopes are dashed, she takes up an opportunity to achieve her ambition.

As the 1930s progress Lilli is amazingly successful, mixing with the rich and powerful, but at some point, she must return to see her family. There she finds an impossible situation and she is prepared to put herself in danger in order to help the opposition to Hitler. Reading the story of this brave, likeable young woman we learn about the horrors building up to the Nazi atrocities and we desperately want her to find love and happiness, however unlikely that might be.

At times I found the interaction between Lilli and real people such as Fred Astair or Wallis Simpson unbelievable, but Lilli herself is very engaging. There are gaps in her story which are explained later but this maintains the pace of the plot. An interesting novel in its reflection of contrasting cultures in Germany, England and Hollywood in a turbulent era.

Beneath a Starless Sky on Amazon UK

Published by lizannelloyd

Love history, reading, researching and writing. Articles published in My Family History and other genealogy magazines.

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