Monday, July 9, 2012

Breaking Glass

A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell (Forge hardcover, 17 July 2012).

Reviewed by Marlyn Beebe.

Since we met journalist Hannah Vogel in A Trace of Smoke, she's lost her beloved brother Ernst, adopted a boy named Anton, and messed up several relationships.

This time around,  writing fluff pieces for a Swiss newspaper called Neue Zürcher Zeitung, she's in Poland to write a feature about the town of Poznań's November 11th St. Martin's Day Festival.  Although her editor has given this assignment in order to keep her from harm after some anti-Nazi articles she wrote resulted in a spate of threatening letters, Hannah is unhappy.  

Thinking that her son might enjoy the Festival, she's brought Anton with her, and almost immediately she regrets it.  She learns that the Germans have arrested a thousands of Polish Jews and forced them back across the border.  Certain that she can get a story out of this, she instructs her driver to take them to the village where the refugees are being held.

And just like that, Hannah once again lands herself in the middle of trouble.  Questions raised by her talks with the refugees lead her back into Germany, where she's persona non grata, and where Anton has no identity.  Hannah is determined that news of the German's injustices be made public, and since she's ideally situated to do this, she does, regardless of what danger she lands in. 

Although the story is  fictional (it's based on the real Kristallnacht), Cantrell's prose is so vivid that the reader feels involved in incidents that could quite easily be real, especially since the narrative is written in the first person from Hannah's point of view.  

The next book in the series is in the works, and it can't come soon enough!

FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the author, who sent me an advance copy of the book for review purposes.


  1. Thanks for a great review. This series sounds terrific and has won awards, so it's on my TBR list. I always enjoy female reporter characters!

    But I didn't know that Rebecca had moved to Berlin. I hope we still see her at conferences sometimes.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the review, L.J.
    I like female reporters, too. They can skirt the law in ways that officials can't.

  3. I love reading about strong and independent women who have screwed up and complicated lives. It makes me feel so much better!

    I'm adding it to my list too!

    Thanks, Marlyn.


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