Lilly's story is a classic Bildungsroman as the reader follows her from the day of her birth, through her childhood and beyond. Throughout the novel CLilly's story is a classic Bildungsroman as the reader follows her from the day of her birth, through her childhood and beyond. Throughout the novel Colin weaves in elements of the history of the period to contextualise the things that are happening in Lilly's life and with a particular interest in this period and having studied it previously, I really enjoyed this. As Colin mentioned the Wall Street Crash and the Beer Hall Putsch and other historic events which had huge impacts on the lives of ordinary Germans the reader is able to place Lilly in all these moments. This really really worked for me and made the novel more believable, genuine and enjoyable.
The characters Colin creates are fascinating, from those who only appear fleetingly such as Lilly's mother and her Bavarian lover to those who we get to know well like Lilly and her best friend Hanne. Hanne was probably my favourite character, despite all the tragedy surrounding her, she is instantly likeable and I felt myself drawn to her more than any other character. Lilly's life is extraordinary, from orphanage to Hollywood, but throughout she seems to remain grounded and as her interior monologue frequently shows, remains the same little girl from the beginning of the novel. I'm not especially interested in the film industry but found the descriptions towards the end of the novel, when Lilly becomes Lidi the movie star, captivating. With a huge interest in German history, particularly this period, I could not have been more pleased with this novel. I haven't read many novels from the perspective of someone living in this particular point in time before and I'll be looking to find more now. Lilly's life is captivating from the lowest low points to the highest highs and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it....more