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Confession With Blue Horses

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  17 reviews
"Tobi and Ella’s childhood in East Berlin is shrouded in mystery. Now adults living in London, their past in full of unanswered questions. Both remember their family's daring and terrifying attempt to escape, which ended in tragedy; but the fall-out from that single event remains elusive. Where did their parents disappear to, and why? What happened to Heiko, their little ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 6th 2019 by Head of Zeus
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Joseph
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was still a child in 1989 and could hardly grasp the implications of what was happening. Yet, even as a little boy watching events on television thousands of miles away, I could feel that something momentous was taking place. Of course, the fall of the Wall was symbolic not just of a new era for Germany, but also of a more widespread collapse of communist regimes in Europe, and a thawing of relations between East and ...more
Heidi
Are you old enough to remember the fall of the Berlin Wall? As a child growing up near the (then) Czechoslovakian border, a line of barbed wire that, according to my grandmother, gave way to a minefield, with watchtowers casting beams of light into the night, I had always been aware of the divide between East and West. We grew up with stories of people trying to flee across borders, concealed in cars, swimming across dark waters or running through dense forests, and getting shot by border ...more
Gumble's Yard
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
‘Once upon a time, there were three children who lived in a bathtub. Then one day, the sorcerer came and…’ His voice was half drowned by the noise of the creek, but it did not matter, I knew the story so well. ‘… and took the children away,’ I continued. ‘And he carried them off to his castle, and there he turned them into three horses, into three blue horses.’ ‘But their grandmother went after them. She killed the sorcerer, she lifted the spell, and she brought the children home.’ ‘Except she
...more
SueLucie
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I am drawn to stories set in the divided Germany of the decades after WWII and people’s experiences when reunification began in the 1990s. In this one, Ella’s journey to Berlin to look for her youngest brother, separated from the family as an infant when their attempt to escape over the border went catastrophically wrong, leads her to the Stasi archive. Here she meets an English intern, employed in the task of painstakingly piecing together shredded documents, who helps her to identify people ...more
Theresa Smith
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Confession with Blue Horses is a rather magnificent novel that I enjoyed every moment of. It had me spellbound right from the beginning through to the end. Predominantly, this is a story about a family torn apart, but it also intimately explores what it was like to grow up in Berlin under the shadow of the Berlin Wall: that constant looming presence, the separation of families and friends, where life on one side was so vastly different to life on the other. This is the first novel I have read ...more
Helen
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘She thought what a relief it would be to make a big bonfire and burn all this paper. Reading her file destroyed the past and poisoned the present. It was the Stasi’s language that did this. It distorted reality as she remembered it and covered it in dirt until she herself felt dirtied.’

I am of an age to remember East and West Germany in the Olympic Games and the stories of people trying to flee and cross over from one to the other. I remember the momentous occasion that was the fall of the
...more
Brona's Books
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was chosen as my November book group read. I haven't read very much about East Germany so I decided to tackle it for this year's October Dewey's 24 hr readathon.

What a great decision!

Yes, it was a lightly told story but it was well-told. There was a sense of it being solidly based on oodles of research without being smacked in the face by said research. It was a quick, easy read that kept me engaged and on tenterhooks for the entire readathon. I had never thought about the number of
...more
Roo James
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
Touching and informative.
Breakaway Reviewers
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
An emotional and thought-provoking tale of heartbreak and betrayal in a divided Germany


Ella is an artist living in London, but her childhood was spent growing up in East Berlin. She and her brother Tobi are still haunted by the memories of her family’s daring escape attempt that ended in tragedy, and how their younger brother Heiko was taken away from them afterwards, never to be seen again. When Ella finds a stash of notebooks written by her mother, she decides to travel back to Berlin to try
...more
Kiwiflora
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
So hard to believe that it is 30 years ago since the breaking down of the wall that divided the city of Berlin - east vs west, communism vs democracy, freedom vs oppression. It took a while but it is really only in recent years that the stories are beginning to come out. Terrible stories of betrayal, torture, imprisonment, people disappearing, families destroyed, life lived in fear, any individual thought or action subject to intense scrutiny.

It is the 80s, and the Valentin family, living in a
...more
Wendy Greenberg
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Usually a quick reader, I found myself completely slowing down with this novel. At first I thought I was not liking it, but quite the reverse, it is definitely a book to savour.

The Berlin Wall and its personal consequences define the reading, told on different timelines and different voices. This gives a perspective on German history that felt personal (even though a work of fiction) Sophie Hardach gets really into the heart of the characters, ex-Nazi, ex-Stasi, apparatchiks and those who just
...more
Zuzu Burford
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love, betrayal, guilt, families, friends, persecution all with moral, ethical and social questions that challenge the reader along the way. Finished the book and just sat stunned, thinking, taking in the complexities woven into one fantastic journey. Life is not black and white it's the total colour spectrum and I feel this novel demonstrates this perfectly.
"When we are done, there will no part of your mind we won't know. We will be completely at home in your mind"
Thank you Sophie Hardach and
...more
Donna
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you enjoyed Stasiland this one is for you. This tells the tale of a family's experience living in Communist East Berlin and the consequences that follow during the period of upheaval during the re-unification of Germany. It has fascinating insights into the meticulous record-keeping of the Stati and the intricate work of those piecing together the human history of those involved.
Delcene Jones
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite a lovely book. Probably closer to a 3.5 star but it’s an easy book to read with a bittersweet story which captures the life of a family who lived in East Berlin before and immediately after The Wall was smashed down.
I enjoyed it.
Subhash
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Poignant and lovely
MariaWitBook
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The type of book that breaks your heart into little pieces. The type of book that leaves you in pain. The type of book that all of us should read at least once a year. Thank you to the author.
Diane Dunn
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin wall, I'd given no thought to the archival information that would be out there. As a volunteer in our local archives I found it fascinating as well as the research that would have bean involved in writing the book. The piecing together of snippets of family history kept me interested to the end. Definitely an author to watch. Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
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Sophie Hardach was born in 1979 and grew up in Germany. She studied economics and political science at Edinburgh University and the National University of Singapore. After graduating, she worked as a correspondent for Reuters news agency in London, Milan, Tokyo and Paris, where she now lives.