There are many historical fiction books about wartime Germany. A Night Divided deposits the reader in post-WWII Germany — in Berlin, on the wrong side of the wall.
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
In A Night Divided, 12-year-old Gerta, narrates the dangerously oppressive lifestyle into which she was unwilling thrust,
It was Sunday, August 13, 1961, a day I would remember for the rest of my life. When a prison had been built around us as we slept.
Erected without warning, the fence (and later, the wall) that separated East Germany from West Germany sprang up overnight - a night when Gerta's father and brother had been visiting the West. Gerta is trapped in the East with her resigned mother, and her rebellious older brother, Fritz. Rebellion in East Germany is costly, and the price can be your life.
"We will never be able to leave," Mama said. "The sooner you both accept that, the happier you will be."This is a deeply affecting novel that does not gloss over the reality of living under the constant watchful eyes of the police, the Grentztruppen or border police, and the brutal secret police, the Stasi. In 1960s, East Germany, even a casual comment to a neighbor can be life-threatening.
I nodded back at her. But I new I could never again be happy here. And I refused to accept my life inside a prison."
Each chapter is introduced with a quote or German proverb that sets up the rationale for Gerta's continued, secretive resistance. "The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. — Albert Camus, French novelist"
Gerta Lowe is a character that the reader will cheer and remember. A Night Divided is a chilling and riveting book, balanced by the hope of one family's love and courage.
Note: My copy of this book was provided by the publisher.