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Stella

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,209 ratings  ·  185 reviews

From the internationally bestselling author of The Club comes a gripping historical novel of love and betrayal, set in wartime Berlin

In 1942, Friedrich, an even-keeled but unworldly young man, arrives in Berlin from bucolic Switzerland with dreams of becoming an artist. At a life drawing class, he is hypnotized by the beautiful model, Kristin, who soon becomes his ener

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Hardcover, 208 pages
Published January 12th 2021 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 2019)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,209 ratings  ·  185 reviews


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Ceecee
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Friedrich lives in Choulex near Geneva with his heavy drinker mother and wealthy father who imports velvet. As he grows up he becomes impressed with what he perceives as Nazi strength especially as he sees himself as ‘small’. In January 1942 he goes to Berlin ostensibly to attend art school but in reality to seek ‘truth’ and there he meets Kristin/Stella Goldschlag and Tristan von Appen.

Friedrich is a good, clear narrator capturing Berlin in the 1940’s, in places the language is staccato which
...more
Ingrid
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on real events, a good book.
Ellie Spencer
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Rounded up from around 3.5 stars ⭐️
This novel seamlessly blended fact and fiction in a wonderful manner. It left me feeling very thoughtful.

The story follows the life of Friedrich (a fictional character) through his childhood and into early adulthood. He decides to travel to Germany, despite WWII raging on around Europe. In Germany he meets and falls in love with Kristen (a person that existed in real life). But Kristen is keeping some dark secrets, including her real name- Stella.

I think any
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Maine Colonial
I received a free advance review copy from the publisher, via Netgalley.

I read a lot of WW2-era fiction and non-fiction, particularly about Nazi Germany and the war in Europe. I learned a long time ago that the term “U-Boat” has two meanings. Of course there is the German submarine. The other is slang for those 5,000-7,000 Jews who “submerged” into hiding in Berlin during WW2. About 1,700 were successful, surviving until the end of the war.

U-Boats were always scrambling to survive, often without
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Natalie Mackay
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was given a free copy of this book from Readers First in exchange for an honest review

I have to start by saying that I’m a big fan of pretty much any book set, or in any way related to Germany during this time period - so I am a little biased.

I was actually surprised by this book - I’m not big into romance, and I was concerned it would wishy washy but it wasn’t.

The author is fantastic at setting a scene, brilliant use of imagery really help the setting of the book.

Each chapter begins with
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Joseph
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1942, despite the raging war, would-be artist Friedrich leaves the relative safety of his native Switzerland for Berlin, a city which haunts his imagination. Friedrich has barely started his art classes when he falls for the model, Kristin. Kristin appears to Friedrich to be whatever he is not – confident, worldly, enigmatic, glamorous. Despite Friedrich being something of an introvert, the two soon become lovers, sharing his rooms at the Grand Hotel and seemingly oblivious to the cataclysmic ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The novel takes place during the rise of Hitler and the anti-Semitic aggression that spread throughout Germany. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would engage, as the protagonist, a young Swiss man born into wealth, is an amorphous character, vague even to himself. I’m not fond of nebulous main characters, but I settled into it once I realized that this is a coming-of-age story, one that may sting. Friedrich, the protagonist, travels from the safety of his Swiss home to Berlin, to attend art classes, ...more
Kerry
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received an advance copy of the paperback version of book from Readers First - thanks for the opportunity to read it.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would - historical fiction is not really my bag, but I found this to be very engaging.
It's the story of Friedrich and Stella (or maybe Kristen?) and at its core, it's a study of people and what we do and how others affect us. Friedrich is Swiss and decides to go to Berlin in 1942. He admires the Germans from afar, feels they are st
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Ashleigh Legate
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a big historical fiction fan. Especially when the book takes place in this particular time period. One of the first thing that stands out to me when I read is whether or not things mentioned in the text are true to facts. I must say, this author did their research well. The author wrote a compelling novel which mixes facts and fiction about a real Jewish woman who betrayed her fellow Jewish people to the Gestapo in wartime Berlin. Stella Goldschlag actually committed these heinous acts duri ...more
Sookie
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Based on a true story, Stella is and about a woman who helps Gestapo identify Jews in WW2 Nazi Germany. It is heartbreaking at parts, terrifying at many and the protagonist finds himself falling in love with a complicated woman. A Swiss man touring Berlin - Germany, he wants to see the war for himself and "experience" Berlin, borrow some German courage - as he tells his father.
Their love story is constricted and claustrophobic.

Thank you Grove Press and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an
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Thilo Mischke
It’s ok.
Liana
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I regretted that there wasn't not much background information. Only in the last chapter I read some answers on the questions I had.
It is an eye opener.
...more
Sue
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After having read several World War II novels by American and British women, I received an advance reader copy of Stella, a controversial 2019 German novel now translated into English and scheduled for release in early 2021. Written by Takis Würger, a young reporter for Germany’s news magazine Der Spiegel, Stella is a fictional look at a little-known fragment of WWII history that has led some German readers and critics to condemn the novel as pro-Nazi.

To do so, seems tantamount to condemning Har
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Lou
Mar 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Stella is a story about fear and hope - and about the decision to betray yourself or your love. It is inspired by the true story of Stella Goldschlag, also known as 'The Blonde Poison', and the loyalty and deceit present in World War II Berlin painting the portrait of a woman caught in the tragic cycle of history. In January 1942, Friedrich, aka Fritz, an even-tempered and unworldly young man of twenty arrives in Berlin from Switzerland in search of the truth about the Nazi war machine, to seek ...more
Cathy
As the author reveals in the afterword, although many of the characters are fictional, Stella herself is based on a real historical character.  And Takis Würger’s personal connection to the story that unfolds is underlined by the book’s dedication to his great-grandfather, killed by the Nazis in 1941.

Arriving in the city of Berlin in January 1942, Friedrich falls immediately under the spell of the woman he initially knows as Kristin, but whose real name is later revealed to be Stella Goldschlag.
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The Cookster
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: readers-first
Rating: 2.3/5

As someone who speaks the language, I prefer to read books in the original German when I can. No matter how capable the translator, certain nuances of the original writer's work are invariably lost in translation. However, in this instance I read the (American) English translation rather than the original text.

"Stella" is based, in part, on the life of Stella Ingrid Goldschlag, a German Jewish woman who collaborated with the Gestapo during WWII. She was responsible for exposing nume
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Asteria
Mar 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Friedrich lives in Choulex near Geneva with his heavy drinker mother and wealthy father who imports velvet. As he grows up he becomes impressed with what he perceives as Nazi strength especially as he sees himself as ‘small’. In January 1942 he goes to Berlin ostensibly to attend art school but in reality to seek ‘truth’ and there he meets Kristin/Stella Goldschlag and Tristan von Appen.

Friedrich is a good, clear narrator capturing Berlin in the 1940’s, in places the language is staccato which m
...more
Emily Chapman
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the first look for Stella and immediately text my friend saying I loved the sound of it and so was super excited to receive the email saying I had won a copy! The book arrived in the post on Friday and I started reading that afternoon - I very rarely read a book instantly. Its over 200 pages long and despite being a translation is a fairly easy writing style so I flew through it over the weekend. I love historical fiction and hadn't read one for ages so it was such a treat. I loved the st ...more
Kristine
Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
I don't know about this one. The best part was the historical fact about the real Stella (I mean "best" pretty lightly; it was pretty awful, but it was definitely the most interesting bit I got out of the book).

I absolutely love WW2 hist fic, especially drawing on real people/real events (by events I'm talking more than just WW2 actually happened, but like these specific niche events). But this one didn't land for me. Friedrich was soooooo painfully naive; so flipping easy to be taken advantage
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Kon Frankowski
Mar 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
What choices would you make? No... You don't know. And I don't know, either. As Wisława Szymborska, the Polish Nobel prize-winning poet, said: "We only know about ourselves only what we've been tested."

World War 2 historical fiction is difficult to write, especially when it touches upon the topics Holocaust and the persecution of Jews.

Takis Würger writes a compelling love story set in 1942 Berlin, where a young, naivé man madly falls for a woman who is not what she initially seems.

Again, it's
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Andy Weston
Mar 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
There are plenty of books about the heroes and heroines of the Second World War; people who sacrificed their own lives to stand up to the Nazis and in many cases save the lives of many more - but few like this one, about someone who decided to do everything possible to save their own skin, even at the expense of others.
Such a person was Stella Goldschlag, a singer and artists' model, Jewish, and also a liar and betrayer. This is her story, fact blended with fiction, as her path crosses with the
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Lucy
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eye Opening.....

Thank you first of all to Readers First for a free copy of Stella in return for an honest review.

This book to me was rather eye opening and offered quite and insight and a revelation into a dark period of history.

The book is set in Berlin in 1942 and follows Friedrich, who after a childhood of feeling lonely and abandoned by his parents in his home county of Switzerland, decided to travel to Berlin, in the hope of discovering the truth and to attend art school. Whilst in Berlin,
...more
Jill
Apr 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the early pages of Stella, inspired by a true story, we discover the most important attribute of our narrator Friedrich: he is passionately devoted to the truth. His inability to tell a lie quite literally marks him as a child. He quickly confesses to throwing a snowball and is branded with an anvil horn by the victim.

He reflects, “Father had told me that telling the truth was a sign of love. Truth was a gift. Back then I was sure that was right.”

That belief is sorely tested later on in life
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Shirley McAllister
Poison Girl

This book is very different from other books I have read. I loved the history in the book, the story not as much. In between sections of the story was a section listing Jewish people that had been arrested by the Gestapo upon being pointed out by a Jew Catcher. A person working for the Nazi's (usually a Jewish person) denouncing Jewish people in return for their life and often other concessions.

Freidrich a young man from Switzerland travels to Berlin to find out if the rumors he has h
...more
Raquel
Feb 27, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel, translated from German, is based on a true story set in World War II–era in Berlin about a young woman who was an informant for the Gestapo during the war.

A young man from Switzerland, Friedrich, travels to Berlin to see if the stories and rumours of the war are true. He falls in a love with a young woman, who is hiding her Jewish identity, yet she often leaves in the night and he wonders where she goes. When Friedrich finds out what she is doing and where she goes, he is torn betwee
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Ellie
Feb 09, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if it's the way the book was written, or if it happened in translation, but it almost reads like a childrens book. Short, sharp sentences. It took me a while to get used to the style.
Friedrich is Swiss, a lonely only child, with a father who is away a lot and a mother who is a drunk. When he was young she was determined he would become the painter she could never be, but after an injury robs him of the ability to see colours, she loses interest and almost seems to forget about him.
A
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Jennifer Barry
This book is about the real life story of Stella goldschlag. It starts with the fictional character Fritz, from Switzerland. He decides to travel to Berlin with the intention of meeting up with his dad in Istanbul later on.
While there, he becomes enchanted by young woman called Kristen, who he later realises is called Stella. He falls head over heels in love with her. She has completely bewitched him with her mysterious, fun loving behaviour. It soon becomes clear that fritz is so enamoured with
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Helen
Feb 15, 2021 rated it liked it
I received a free copy of this book from Readers First in exchange for an honest review. I read this book fairly quickly, as although it is 20o plus pages it has a fairly easy writing style. With that being said it is also a translation and some parts of this were hard to engage with and this frustrated me slightly. This is very different to other books I have read about events in World War 2 and I found it very thought-provoking, moving but also quite depressing which left me overall with bitte ...more
Anna
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was ok
I gratefully received a copy of Stella from Readers First in exchange for an honest review. I am very interested in German history, particularly Berlin life in WW2 which is what attracted me to this book.

The writing style of this book is beautiful - the opening chapters detail memorable moments in the main character's childhood home. The way it's written, you feel like you are right there in those memories. Once Fitz travels to Berlin, I felt the pace for me had eroded. I didn't quite understan
...more
Gila
Apr 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
This is a fictionalized account of the real Stella Goldschlag, a German Jewish woman who collaborated with the Gestapo during World War II, exposing and denouncing Berlin's underground Jews. The book is translated from German, and the writing may have deterioted in the translation.

In the book, Stella becomes romantically entangled with Friedrich ("Fritz"). The Swedish Fritz lives near Geneva with his alcoholic, anti-semitic, painter, mother, and a wealthy father who imports velvet. Fritz heads
...more
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Takis Würger, geboren 1985, ist Redakteur beim Nachrichtenmagazin »Der Spiegel«. Im Alter von 28 Jahren ging er nach England, um an der Universität von Cambridge Ideengeschichte zu studieren. Dort boxte er als Schwergewicht für den Cambridge University Amateur Boxing Club und wurde Mitglied in verschiedenen studentischen Klubs.

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