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The Amber Crane

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Chafing at the rules of the amber guild, Peter, an apprentice during the waning years of the Thirty Years’ War, finds and keeps a forbidden piece of amber, despite the risk of severe penalties should his secret be discovered.

Little does he know that this amber has hidden powers, transporting him into a future far beyond anything he could imagine. In dreamlike encounters, Peter witnesses the ravages of the final months of World War II in and around his home. He becomes embroiled in the troubles faced by Lioba, a girl he meets who seeks to escape from the oncoming Russian army.

Peter struggles with the consequences of his actions, endangering his family, his amber master’s reputation, and his own future. How much is Peter prepared to sacrifice to right his wrongs?

264 pages, Paperback

Published June 25, 2021

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About the author

Malve von Hassell

13 books58 followers
Malve von Hassell is a freelance writer, researcher, and translator. Working as an independent scholar, she published The Struggle for Eden: Community Gardens in New York City (Bergin & Garvey 2002) and Homesteading in New York City 1978-1993: The Divided Heart of Loisaida (Bergin & Garvey 1996). She has also edited her grandfather Ulrich von Hassell's memoirs written in prison in 1944, Der Kreis schließt sich - Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft 1944 (Propylaen Verlag 1994). She has self-published two children’s picture books, Letters from the Tooth Fairy (Mill City Press, 2012), Turtle Crossing (KDP Amazon, 2021), and her translation and annotation of a German children’s classic by Tamara Ramsay, Rennefarre: Dott’s Wonderful Travels and Adventures (Two Harbors Press, 2012). She has published The Falconer’s Apprentice (namelos, 2015) and Alina: A Song for the Telling (BHC Press, 2020), and The Amber Crane (Odyssey Press, 2021). She is working on a biographical account of a woman coming of age in Germany during World War II and a historical fiction trilogy featuring Adela of Normandy.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 46 reviews
Profile Image for Angel (Bookn.All.Night).
1,476 reviews30 followers
December 17, 2021
I haven't read much YA Historical Fiction but I do enjoy the genre itself. When I was asked to read this one, I couldn't resist.

The best thing about any historical fiction is learning something I didn't before. I had no idea how valuable Amber was or how hard it could be to not only find, but to shape. This was an extremely interesting and fun part of this book

I LOVE a dual timeline, and with this one it's done so well that when you leave one for the other you quickly want to go back to where you left off to see what is happening next.

Another thing I love in books is time travel, so the format with this dual timeline was perfect for me. It's not often a YA keeps my attention the way this one did.

I think this is perfect for historical fiction fans and would definitely recommend this one for the younger fans as well. Well-written, engaging story.

I sincerely appreciate the publisher and Black Coffee Book Tours for providing me with a review copy. All opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.
Profile Image for yuprettylittleshelf.
51 reviews2 followers
August 10, 2021
“𝑊𝑎𝑟 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑙 ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤𝑛. ℎ𝑒 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝑡𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑠.“

Taking place during The Thirty Years' War (1618-48), a fifteen year old Peter, an amber apprentice, found a forbidden piece of amber.

It's not until later when he goes to sleep, he time travelled to the year 1944, 300 years into the future, at the end of World War II. There he met Lioba, a seventeen year old girl, who is searching safety from the raging war.

“𝑊ℎ𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑦𝑜𝑢 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑖𝑛ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒𝑏𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠, 𝑦𝑜𝑢 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑛 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠𝑒𝑙𝑓 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑐𝑙𝑎𝑖𝑚 𝑖𝑡 𝑎𝑠 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑜𝑤𝑛. 𝐼𝑡’𝑠 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝐺𝑜𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑟𝑜𝑡𝑒.“

The time travelling and the twist, is intriguing. I keep on reading the book, curious on what will happen next. The plot of the story is quite suspenseful and thrilling sometimes throughout the book. I love the settings in both time periods. The author did a very great job in potraying the life for them both, in 1644 and 1944, the similarities (being in the war) and differences (modernisation).

This is my first historical fiction, so I would say it's a good one, and I look forward to read more of this genre.

I am not sure if this book is for everyone, but if you love historical fiction, love to read war-themed book, enjoyed classical fiction, fascinated by the people who lived centuries ago, I bet you'll love this book 🙌🏼, like me (who only recently finds out) 😂
Profile Image for Nansi Kunze.
Author 6 books25 followers
July 20, 2021
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of The Amber Crane, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! While books about WW2 are a dime a dozen, this time slip novel has something far rarer to offer: an insight into life during the 17th-century Thirty Years War. Following Peter, an amber worker’s apprentice, as he navigates the dangers of his own war-torn life in 1644 and helps the refugees he meets when his dreams take him to 1944, the tale is gripping and suspenseful. The settings in both time periods are authentic and fascinating, and it’s clear that von Hassell has researched these extensively. While themes of conflict and freedom are obviously at the forefront of the story, the exploration of Peter’s relationships with his family and the friend he finds three centuries in the future is even more engaging. The allure of amber binds the narrative together, and the author’s beautiful imagery and detailed description of how this precious substance is worked were one of my favourite things about the novel. (Another was von Hassel’s excellent translations - not an exciting aspect for most readers, perhaps, but as a German translator myself I found them a cool reading bonus!) Well worth a read for fans of time slip and historical stories, this is a YA that I can see having appeal for adult readers too.
Profile Image for Margot Meanders.
133 reviews26 followers
December 23, 2021
I've received a free copy with a request for an honest review. Thank you, Blackthorn tours and the writer!

"The Amber Crane" is an elegant, melancholy, thoughtful and reflective YA historical fiction that makes me think about how our actions and emotions echo through centuries and may impact those who come after us. When we leave behind a piece of kindness, that kindness may bring light in the dark. I love this message and I love how elegant the prose is, the author also chose a very interesting topic to focus on - amber work and her writing reflects the magic of the craft and of the amber figurines themselves.

Peter Glienke is a young amber craftsman living his life during the Thirty Years' War. He works with amber, a rare and precious substance whose possession is banned unless you work for the guild. But he comes across two pieces with special properties and is transported to the final years of World War II, where he meets a young girl, Liboa, escaping from the Russian army. The story flips back and forth between the two time frames, as Peter fades in and out of existence in both through dreams.

Life in the 17th-century township is very vivid as Peter experiences first-hand how people, broken by the long war, may act with suspicion and hysteria. He witnesses how damaging rumours may be, how jealousy might drive people to lie about others. In his other life, he becomes committed to helping Liboa survive, witnessing the struggles, the tragedies, and the hopelessness but also the will to carry on and act with compassion. His decisions and actions affect the lives of those around him. Peter strives to do what is right and he is very likeable in his sense of honour and integrity.

The piece that connects both is amber, a timeless substance or a substance through time. I loved how the writer chose two war-ravaged eras to show universal struggles and echo and mirror human actions in both and showed that kindness can return, even reverberate through the ages and that honesty and integrity have a way of paving through difficult moments.

And to give people beauty and hope is ultimately Peter's decision, to do what only he can do.

Aside from historical details, there is rich and lovely lore. It's enchanting, elegant and thoughtful.

I rushed a bit in order to finish this review so sadly, I feel I did not properly connect with everything this book has to offer but I could feel a warmth from it that I find very genuine.

YA is not really my genre but this one is really elegantly crafted with a lovely prose, original idea and setting and lovely execution. Thank you for the opportunity.
August 10, 2021
I am so happy I was asked to read and review this book, because this is one of those gems I wouldn’t have come across otherwise! But oh my goodness, for historical fiction fans (and beyond), this book is an absolute must-read. The author knows her history, but it doesn’t feel like you’re reading a textbook - instead, it is done so that it feels like you are following likable characters and an engaging plot. On top of that, I learned so much about the 30 years war and WWII that I didn’t even learn in school! Both wars, even though in very different times, were really sad and scary. There’s a great time travel element in the book as well, which touches on themes about how history tends to repeat itself, whether it is from a war in the 1600s or 1900s. The two MCs, despite being from different times, are the kinds of characters you want to follow throughout the book. All in all, this book was really fun to read - one of those books where the story is riveting, but you learn a lot as well. Perfect for many ages, I would highly recommend this one. Consensus: 5/5

For more reviews and book boards, follow me on IG! @katiebreads
Profile Image for Sarah Oakey.
292 reviews2 followers
July 18, 2021
The synopsis:
"Clutching precious amber found in a clump of seaweed, PETER, an amber guild apprentice in Pomerania in the waning years of the Thirty Years’ War, has a choice to make. Despite the severe penalties imposed on such an action, Peter keeps the amber and works on it in secret, with potentially disastrous consequences for people close to him. Meanwhile, unaware of the amber piece’s magical powers, Peter finds himself drawn into a world three hundred years in the future where he gets embroiled in the troubles of a mysterious stranger."

There is so much to this book. The research that has gone into all aspects of it were phenomenal, creating a really enveloping, adventurous and captivating story.
I'm fascinated by crystals and loved that amber was the centre of the whole story, the properties of amber have always fascinated me.
The book is set in Pomerania close to the Baltic Sea in 1644 and 1944, the story constantly inspired me to seek further information on topics and subjects which piqued my interest ...from The thirty years war to the history of Pomerania and Baltic amber (leading me to learn about the 3000 year old Slupsk bear made of amber found in a peat bog!) The story is gripping and well paced and I really enjoyed the time travel elements. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Jess | dapper.reads.
1,030 reviews10 followers
December 5, 2021
This isn’t my usual read. Something about it called to me and I had to join this tour.

There is a dual timeline - but different than usual since the main character is doing some time traveling which I find interesting.

This book takes place during the Thirty Years War and WWII. Peter, our main character, lives during the time of the Thirty Years War. One day he stumbles upon a hunk of amber. He knows it’s illegal for him to keep it but he just can’t resist. He’s drawn to it. One night he discovers this piece of amber is magical - and it transports him 300 years in the future - to Lioba and WWII.

Eventually Peter gets the courage to carve the amber into a crane (ahem - book title anyone?). What it is about this amber crane that allows him to time travel? Is it his imagination? Why is it that he always travels to Lioba?

So many questions, and they’re all answered within the pages of this book!

So why 4 stars and not 5? This book starts SLOW. And I cannot with that. Once it picks up it’s hard to put down but I found it hard to get into for awhile. It’s definitely worth reading though.
August 18, 2021
“I do not know how this will go on. I do not even know if any of this is just in my dream. I do not think I am supposed to know. But I am sure of one thing. Sometimes you have to be willing to leave something behind.”

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*
The Amber Crane by Malve von Hassell
appropriate for age 13+
eBook received from Odyssey Books in exchange for an honest review
my rating: 3.5/5 stars,
✧・゚: *✧・゚:*

I personally really love learning (and reading about) history - it was my favorite subject to study in high school. Thus, naturally, I'm drawn to historical fiction where I got to read more about history in a more fun and exciting way. This was no exception; telling the story of Peter, an amber-worker apprentice living in 1644 Pomerania which was in the middle of a war we later call the Thirty Years' War, The Amber Crane was an interesting read. Though as a non-English speaker, it is quite hard to follow seamlessly because of the many difficult words used according to the time period and the fact that I knew little to none of Europe in that era. Nevertheless, it is always very compelling to read from the perspective of civilians affected by wars like these. Peter's stories about his deceased soldier brother, Lorenz, and the situation of his family trying to steer through life in between that same life that's filled with fear and discontent we never got to see in textbooks just feels heartbreaking and shows how devastating and awful wars truly can be.

Apart from that, the sci-fi/fantasy element also adds to the pleasure of reading. After discovering a piece of amber at the beach and keeping it, which was at the time forbidden and punishable by law, Peter found himself transported to the year 1944 during the World War Two era and being met with a girl named Lioba. These dream-like encounters were so much fun to read, especially seeing Peter discovering and trying to make sense of things undiscovered yet in his time (like matches, stoves, trains, taps, and even indoor Christmas trees). Lioba was definitely the highlight too - her character and story were so captivating.

Although the very interesting premise of multiple timelines/alternating time sequence and its beautiful ending (which got me teared up but shhh), the slow pace was not it for me. I found times where I struggled to continue or pick up the book again due to its slow plot. Though, I still very much love and appreciate the [MILD SPOILER ALERT] closure that's foreshadowed in the synopsis - of how Peter would have to 'right his wrongs'. I love how he truly got to learn from his actions and their consequences, and we as readers got to be in that journey of realization and contemplation of his. I just think it's very very beautiful.

✧・゚: *✧*:・゚✧

"It has never occurred to him to question the world he lives in. It just is, with all the good and the bad. It is not as if there is any way to change it. Now, confronted with images of worlds that do not even exist yet, it makes him think about possibilities. His own world can change."

more of my thoughts with visuals on my bookstagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CStnFlLBhnA/
Profile Image for Joey Madia.
Author 17 books19 followers
December 20, 2021
The Amber Crane is richly researched historical fiction with complex metaphors and a touch of magical realism. Before you begin, have a look at the cover, which holds a clue: a squadron of World War II planes and, amidst them, a crane carved in a chunk of amber.
Once you begin to read, you’ll see that the story primarily takes place in 1644, during The Thirty Years’ War (although no one living and fighting in that time knew how long it would be).
The story’s protagonist is Peter, who is training under a master to join the amber guild and become a paternostermaker, so named because they mostly made rosary beads. Like my 22-year-old daughter, Peter has never known life without war, and it has touched him in many ways. His older brother Lorenz—handsome, charming, and popular—who served in Queen Christina of Sweden’s Army, was killed during the war, although it was not combat related.
Peter’s mother died of grief at the news of the death of her son, and his father sometimes seems as though he would have preferred it to be Peter. The novel has many characters who lost their husbands and children on the battlefields. Peter also has a sister named Effie, who had suffered severe seizures as a child, is unable to look after herself and becomes the target of rape. His love for her is so great, at the halfway point of the book he makes a decision concerning Effie that we immediately know will have terrible consequences for him.
As Peter struggles to finish his studies before testing for membership in the amber guild while also looking after Effie, he interacts with members of the town, including Marte, the privileged daughter of the mayor.
The carnage and disruption of war is the central theme of this book. Von Hassell is masterful at showing us how it is the ordinary, everyday people—the soldiers and merchants and their families—that suffer so greatly while leaders of countries make war upon each other.
The Duke of Prussia oversaw the amber guilds at the time, having taken control of them back from a private company, and there were many stringent rules concerning how much amber one artisan could have. When Peter finds pieces of amber washed up on the beach and decides to keep them to work on in secret, he is in defiance of the law. One of those pieces reminds him of a crane. This piece also sets the magical realism of the novel into motion.
Von Hassell’s stories read like fairy tales, with multilayered metaphors and provocative, haunting images. Despite the bleakness of war, there are abundant references to flowers. In terms of the magical realism, a quarter of the way through the story, Peter begins having conversations in the dream world (where everything appears in gray and black) with a girl named Lioba who lives in the war-ravaged world of 1944, when the Nazis are on the decline and the Russians are marching closer. Von Hassell writes these chapters in present tense—an excellent device to help the reader delineate between Peter’s waking and dreaming states. Although humankind has progressed technologically (electricity, coal furnaces) in the three centuries that separate them, warfare has also become more deadly. Lioba is usually on the run. There are several violent encounters and narrow escapes from death. She gives Peter perspective while Peter tries to help her evade the encroaching Russian army and the thugs who have taken over her town.
The stakes for both of the worlds Peter inhabits simultaneously raise as Peter nears his guild test and the Russians arrive in 1944, with violence and despair in abundance whether Peter is sleeping or awake. In Lioba’s world, parents are committing suicide and ships full of refugees are being torpedoed (another example of the technology–morality gap).
A beautiful bridge scene between the waking and sleeping states is a piece of theatre presented on Shrove Tuesday, just before Lent. The play is a stylized confrontation between Death and Community. In the course of the scene, the theme of not seeing what is right before your eyes because of your being ensconced too deeply in your own private world is prevalent, and illuminates the dangers of the artist who must see all but sometimes only sees what they wish to. Further examining the world between the Real and the Imagined, and the overlapping Liminal zone of the supernatural, von Hassell presents us with the trial of an accused witch, which, in 1644, reflects the thousands of death during that time as a result of the witch hysteria in Europe, especially Scotland, and the American colony of Massachusetts. The story also reflects the supernatural in the connection between Peter and Lioba made through the amber crane—and what it ultimately means to both of their lives.
For those interested in learning more about the considerable research that went into making The Amber Crane an authentic piece of historical fiction, von Hassell has included a section in the back that provides place names, key events, and an extensive glossary. She also includes a section with the origins of the songs and poems used throughout the book.

Profile Image for James.
234 reviews6 followers
December 19, 2021
As we come to the end of an unprecedented (God, I’m beginning to hate this word) year, I never fail to remind myself of the comfort I got from reading. I’ve read a lot this year: close to 60 books of various lengths and genres. On the whole, none of them have let me down. I left each one feeling better about life upon reading it. The Amber Crane, from Italian born but well-travelled author Malve von Hassell, is the last book I’ll read this year for Black Coffee Book Tours. It rounds 2021 off in a majestic, profound, and deeply affecting style.

A work of historical fantasy fiction (and I hope I’m not pigeon-holing the author when I write this), The Amber Crane tells the story of Peter Glienke, a 15-year-old boy apprenticed to Master Nowak, a merchant in amber. It’s the tail-end of the Thirty Years’ War and the Europe of 1645 has been devastated, with many millions left destitute or dead. It’s a war that shows no sign of ending, but in Peter’s home town of Stolpmunde, life goes on. Peter spends his time either living with his father and ailing sister Effie or the house of his master, along with the other apprentices, Anne and Cune. He gets by, grieving for his dead brother and mother. He has few people he could call friends, although he has a passing crush on the mayor’s daughter Marthe. The only person he could class as a confidante is his father’s housekeeper, Clare, who’s more concerned about Effie’s well-being than anything else.

And she has good reason to be. Effie comes home one day from a trip into town and it’s obvious to Clare that the young girl, who suffers from a form of epilepsy, has been raped. Peter suspects who the rapist might be but he’s powerless to do anything about it. While all this is happening, Peter finds himself transported to the year 1945, again at the tail-end of a war that has brought Europe close to its knees. How this happens is a mystery to him, but he comes to realise that an ornate piece of amber he picked up at the beach may have strange qualities. He doesn’t know if he’s dreaming or if the events he’s witnessing and the people he meets, in particular a young German girl called Lioba, are in fact real. The more he visits this strange environment, the more he begins to care for Lioba and her flight for freedom. He learns a lot about himself and in those visits, he changes and becomes more assertive in those times he returns to 1645. It’s the perfect coming-of-age story, perfect for readers of all ages.

Malve von Hassell is a renowned researcher, anthropologist, and scholar. She brings all these attributes, as well as an innate talent for telling a good story, to bear in The Amber Crane. It’s not a gentle read: indeed, there are moments of horrific violence in both timelines. However, the nature of the story is, humanity has faced much adversity over the centuries, and undoubtedly will face a lot more until we’re no longer around, but it’s the actions of ordinary people like Peter and Lioba that will have a deep and meaningful effect on the lives around us. Regardless of whether you live in 1645 or 1945, you have a place in this world and its history. What you do with that responsibilty is down to you. All it takes is a piece of amber and a hell of a lot of courage.
Profile Image for lacy white.
543 reviews54 followers
December 22, 2021
Find this review and others like it at https://aravenclawlibraryx.wordpress.com

tw: death by drowning, mentions of war, death by war and battle, rape, animal death, attempted rape, suicide, mass suicide, brief mentions of Holocaust horrors

I am back with another book tour with the lovely Blackthorn book tours! Today, they have brought me a book that, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like. In the synopsis, it mentions the Thirty Years war. I know a lot about a couple time periods in history, like Russian tsars, King Henry the eighth and World War II, but I know absolutely nothing about the Thirty Years war besides the fact that it lasted thirty years. I don’t even know who the monarchs were during that time and what countries were involved in this war. But luckily, I didn’t need to know that information because this book provided you with all the basic information you needed. Anyway, over the past couple years, I have made it a bit of a goal to read books that are outside my historical areas of comfort. When Blackthorn asked me if I wanted to read this, I jumped at the opportunity. Anything to help contribute to a goal that I haven’t really worked on but I digress.

This book ended up being way more interesting than I thought it was going to be. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I would actually consider it one of my favorites of 2021. I read it in just a couple days. I haven’t done that to a book in such a long time. What won me over, in this book, was character growth. If you have been with me long enough (I’ve been on Goodreads since 2016 and have blogged on and off since then), you know that I am the biggest sucker for character growth. A book has even slight character growth and I’m immediately in love with it. And the MC, Peter, had some excellent character growth. He started off as pretty snotty and just rude. He was so selfish but since he was a second son, I can understand that. Back in those times, second sons weren’t always treated the best. Even though he was a bit of a brat in the beginning, I still enjoyed his character from the beginning.

The bouncing back and forth between Peter’s time and Lioba’s time in World War II was interesting. I appreciated that Lioba’s time wasn’t confined to one place. She was traveling all over and I found that refreshing. I found that I actually enjoyed both time periods equally. I would have loved a little bit more time with Lioba but I’m just being greedy. The author knew how to balance the time in a way that was fair.

This wasn’t a typical historical fiction book and I’m so excited to see what else this author has to offer. I want to read more historical fiction books like this. So historical fiction authors, take note of this! This author is on my radar and I can’t wait to see what else they have to offer. Hopefully Blackthorn offers more tours with this author as they deserve all the recognition and attention!
Profile Image for L.S..
724 reviews25 followers
December 17, 2021
I’m rather fond of a dual timeline or the occasional time-slip novel, but this story attracted me for other reasons. A) For its diverse location, B) for its focus on an era I’m totally unfamiliar with and C) for the enchanting tale that unites those eras.

Peter, an apprentice to an Amber Guild Master, dreams of becoming a Master one day but worries he will never be put forward to take the exam that will prove him skilled enough to start the journey towards becoming a professional amber craftsman. Amber is such a precious commodity and he loves working with it but making rosary beads is not the challenge he strives for. Against all the rules imposed on society in 1644, he’s not even allowed to source amber from the beach. But temptation comes his way and he cannot resist. He even spends the night-time hours crafting something for his sister, who he truly wants to help and protect but knows not how.

When his secret amber possession transports him in his dreams to 1944, a time when the world is at war once more, he is engrossed by Lioba, a young girl who is trying to get back to her parents’ home amid the dangers of Nazi occupation and the risk to her life. As much as Peter wants to better himself in his own time, he can’t help but want to follow Lioba in hers.

Comparisons between the two time periods highlight the impact and futility of war, but Peter learns some invaluable lessons, none so important than learning The Thirty Years War will soon end. This gives him hope for the future he wants, but also leaves him worried about the responsibilities that will fall upon him.

Throughout, his crafting of an amber heart (illegally) for his sister keeps him going, and the final product does appear to bring her some joy and peace, although Peter is unaware of the extent of this until it’s almost too late. His attention has already turned to crafting a crane from the rest of his amber stash, an act that is both risky and yet sublimely entrenched into the narrative as to form an unbreakable and beautiful connection between his present era and Lioba’s future existence.

A gripping tale, fraught with danger and hope, exploring life in two eras three hundred years apart. Peter’s daily thoughts about his friends and family, about injustice and conflict perfectly translate into the future, making him both relatable and likable. The historical narratives blend together effortlessly, bound by the beauty and enigma of the amber gemstone. As historical fiction, it’s a story of two young people living through war; as historical fantasy, it’s a story of two young people only able to connect by the magic of amber. It’s such an easy read to get wrapped up in with an ending that is heartwarmingly moving. Well-paced, engaging and vividly written. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Micki Berthelot Berthelot.
Author 1 book23 followers
July 1, 2021
Fifteen-year-old Peter lives in two world centuries apart. In his current life, war is raging, restrictions abound. Peter comes across as a serious adult, working as an apprentice making amber beads every day with goal of passing an exam that will potentially exile him from everything he knows, especially his sister Effie who needs him, particularly after the death of their brother Lorenz to the war. I mourn Peter’s childhood.

The guild controls everything, even a walk on the beach. When Peter finds a piece of amber, his life changes, but he has to keep it a secret to protect his loved ones from persecution. He starts traveling in his sleep into the future three hundred years later and meet Lioba, a seventeen-year-old, who is searching for safety from yet another war.

When his sister Effie who is non-verbal is raped, Peter wants to help her, so he uses a piece of the amber to fashion a heart for her to wear on a string around her neck, believing in the healing power of the stone. He secretly works on the other piece of amber molding it into a crane that he carries in his pocket all the time. In the future, Peter seeks to help Lioba escape the war while trying to understand the atrocities humans can visit on each other.

When the guild learns about the amber heart, they arrest Effie and Peter. He admits to being responsible for breaking the rule and see to it that Effie is released. As a punishment, Peter is exiled for five years from home. He boards a ship knowing that Effie will be all right, his father will start working again and Clare will be there to help them.

This book will inform young readers about a time period not too different from today, but how even in the face of adversity you can show empathy and generosity even when you feel you don’t have much left to give.

As for the amber crane nestled in his pocket, you’ll have to read the book to find out what Peter does with it. Great story!

Profile Image for J.R. Alcyone.
Author 2 books64 followers
January 23, 2022
"The Amber Crane" is historical fiction ~ coming of age ~ time slip. It features dual timelines.

The novel tells the story of Peter, an amber apprentice in 1644, and Lioba, a girl who lives in Europe during 1944 during World War II. The basic plot is Peter, who toils as a not too terribly successful amber apprentice, one day finds two special pieces of amber and dreams of shaping those pieces into a crane. (Hence, also, the title!) Those amber pieces also happen to have the special power to transport Peter three hundred years into the future. It is there he meets Lioba and her non-verbal sister. The novel draws parallels between World War II and the Thirty Years War as its dual timelines weave back and forth into an intricate tapestry.

Part of the reason I love historical fiction is I love learning new things. I'm pretty familiar with the World War II-era but I knew next to nothing about the Thirty Years' War taking place in Peter's time. I also knew very little about amber and its history. I loved that I was able to learn about both the Thirty Years' War and amber through this novel.

Like most coming-of-age stories, this novel is aimed at a younger audience. I thought the author did an especially good job capturing the horrors of war without going overboard in a way that remained age-appropriate. In fact, I could see this novel finding a happy home in the classroom. While this novel may be aimed at a younger audience, it is intelligently written, and I see no reason why adults will not enjoy it too. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, and the characters are well-drawn and fully formed. The plot contains enough twists and turns to create a sense of suspense (and, indeed at times, danger), and the entire novel just seemed wonderfully conceived and creative. And I loved the ending, although I was sad when the novel ended as I had come to care about the characters.

I would highly recommend this novel. Like Peter and his crane, the author has painstakingly crafted something beautiful and special.
11 reviews1 follower
December 19, 2021
I'm not going into the details of the plot as most reviewers in here have already explained it.

Personnally, I like that a magical piece of amber allows Peter to time travel, meet Lioba and help her through her own journey. It is quite funny to see through his point of view of a futuristic world that he's trying to grasp (electricity, tap water, trains, planes, etc ...). I didn't know anything about the amber trade and very little about the 30 years war, so I discovered it through Peter's eyes.

At the end of the book there's a glossary explaining historical facts, the amber trade and that the names of the cities have changed after WW2. I read it at the end, I'm ok with just letting the narrative tell me about the setting without knowing exactly where the story takes place and discover more details after finish reading the book. That's how it works when the setting is in a made up world or with parallel universes and to me it was a bit like diving in a magical universe.

If you decide to read the glossary first, be aware that it does contain some spoilers (not major but still) and the reason is that Malve von Hassell did historical research in order to write the story the more accuratelly possible.

I'm ok with the pacing and the vocabulary (english is not my first language) and had no problems in being curious and keep reading.

I enjoyed reading this book and reccomend it.
Profile Image for thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich).
912 reviews41 followers
December 18, 2021
The Story: Set in Pomerania 1644 during the waning years of The Thirty Years' War, Peter, a fifteen year old amber apprentice, finds a piece of amber and decides to keep it for himself. Unbeknownst to Peter, this is a magical amber that will transport him to 1944 - the final months of World War II.

My thoughts: I liked this coming-of-age story with a dash of magical realism and I love a good time travel story! This was a slow paced story and the atmospheric writing transported me to both these worlds. It was really interesting to read about the similarities of these wars although they were hundred years apart.

Lioban is the friend whom Peter befriended when he travels to WWII and I liked the friendship between them. It was endearing!

I liked the historical information I learned from this book especially the Thirty Years War which I knew nothing about. And as always read the Author's Note!

Overall, this was a good historical fiction and I am glad that I've read it!

***Thank you HRPR Book Tours and author Malve von Hassell for this gifted copy to read and review and for having me on this tour. All opinions expressed are my own.***
Profile Image for Sophie.
141 reviews1 follower
July 16, 2021
I received a free copy of this eBook from Odyssey Books in exchange for an honest review.

(Actual rating 3.5)

The Amber Crane is a historical fiction with a fantasy/time travel twist.

The story follows Peter, a 15-year-old amber apprentice across two timelines, one in 1644 during the Thirty-Year War, and the other during 1944 in the final months of World War Two.

It wasn’t what I expected from reading the synopsis, it felt quite slow paced and I think I expected more action-packed scenes for a story set in war times.

Malve von Hassell did a fantastic job of world building through the descriptions of the book which I thoroughly enjoyed.

It was definitely a good read; it was funny to read about Peter being perplexed by electricity and trains and other more modern things. It was also quite nice as a coming-of-age story, Peter seemed very disinterested in his family to begin with but then he seems to mature and understands them better and wants to help them out, which I think is relatable for most modern teenagers.

Please don’t let my star rating put you off from picking this up, I would definitely recommend this to people interested in historical fiction, it felt really well researched, I just don’t think it was the right book to get me absorbed in this genre. The notes at the end of the book stated that the author is working on a biographical work about a woman coming of age in Nazi Germany so I’ll be interested to read that when it comes out!
Profile Image for Mary Yarde.
Author 6 books146 followers
September 10, 2021

As long and almost as wide as his hand, with an elongated shape, this piece of amber was dark honey-brown with tinges of red. He turned it over and rubbed the long shank sticking out. It reminded him of a crane, with its wings furled, one leg hidden inside the feathers, as if asleep just before setting out for the long journey south.

Peter Glienke dreamed not of following in the footsteps of his father, a shipping merchant, nor did he want to become a soldier, like his late older brother, Lorenz. Instead, Peter dreams of becoming a journeyman, moulding amber and turning it from a piece of fossilised tree resin into a beautiful treasure. Peter can see in his mind all the splendid colours of the amber, he can see the possibilities of what could be and what might be.

However, with the restraining hand of the amber guild hovering over him, Peter is given the boring and repetitive task of making prayer beads. But when he finds two pieces of raw amber, he cannot help himself. Despite knowing the laws against keeping any amber found, Peter can’t bear to part with the two pieces. He feels a connection to the amber, a feeling unlike anything he has ever felt before.

The Amber Crane by Malve von Hassell tells the story of how those two pieces of amber would change Peter’s life forever.

Despite having been an apprentice for nearly three years, Peter struggles with the craft—he does not have the patience to sit around making beads all day. He is trapped by the repetition of the job. When he pockets the amber, Peter begins to feel alive, the images of what the pieces could be are very clear in his mind. To work on the pieces in Master Nowak’s workshop would be to betray his master’s trust. However, he can’t get out of his head the image of the larger piece of amber, masterfully crafted into the image of a crane.

Peter’s attachment to the amber is more than just that of an object he wants to keep. The amber transports him to a world unknown, where he meets a girl, Lioba. This world is full of words and objects he is not familiar with, and yet, there is a sense of the familiarity in both centuries (1644 and 1944). The parallels between the end of the Thirty Years’ War and the Second World War cannot be overlooked. War always creates fear and anguish, and both wars lead to an influx of refugees who are desperately trying to find somewhere safe to reside and rebuild their lives. Both eras are very violent, there is seemingly endless fighting, but also civilian homes are ransacked and torn apart. However, while Peter still has his home and his village, Lioba has no one. The whole concept of time-travel is magical if done right, and that is certainly the case in this novel. But, unlike conventional time-travel novels, Peter cannot travel to Lioba’s era when he is awake, he has to be asleep. I really liked this idea, it reminded me somewhat of James Cameron’s, Avatar.

Amber is like a crane in many ways—a rock of little beauty and a disproportionate sized bird. The true wonder shines through when the rock is polished, when the bird takes flight and the beauty of both soars. Peter longs to be as free as the cranes in the sky, but his situation denies him every ounce of freedom he could hope for. The amber guild may restrict his creative freedom, but at home, he is forced to live in Lorenz’s shadow. Peter’s father is swallowed up by the intense grief at the loss of both his eldest son and his wife, and Peter’s sister is a burden that Peter never wanted. His sister, Effie, is not healthy, nor strong, and suffers terribly, spending most of her time rocking back and forth, never speaking a word. Lorenz understood Effie, he cared deeply for her, but Peter couldn’t understand how, and never developed a deep bond with his sister, never quite understanding, and never taking quite long enough to listen to the stories her silence had to tell. As this novel progresses, both the stories of Lioba and Effie take their place alongside Peter’s, and, it seems, the amber that Peter took from the beach connects them all, whether it be a good thing or not.

The Amber Crane is aimed at a younger audience so it is no surprise that this novel brushes over some of the details of the horror of history, and indeed, with regard to Effie’s storyline, the author has taken particular care in how much she shares with the reader. The quickness of the narrative also means that there is no time to linger on some of the horrors in this novel. While an older audience may wish for a more in-depth emotional response, I thought the depiction of certain scenes was written with an empathetic understanding of this book’s intended audience.

The historical background of this novel has been depicted with a keen sense of understanding for both periods. Malve von Hassell has penned a novel of intrigue, danger, and consequence. All actions have outcomes, and this book gives a wonderfully rounded idea of the significance of Peter taking the pieces of amber, breaking the rules, and how it affects the lives of those around him. Everyone is affected in some way by his actions, and that extends far into the future, three hundred years into the future, to be exact. Taking the amber had both good and bad outcomes, and this novel explores the idea of just how far the effect of one decision can spread.

The Amber Crane by Malve von Hassell is a novel that is well crafted. Like a master craftsman working with the finest of ambers, this novel is an object of beauty and elegance.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Ellie Yarde
The Coffee Pot Book Club
Profile Image for Debbie Viscosi.
334 reviews9 followers
December 19, 2021
Many treasures come from the sea. In Sweden, the Baltic Sea is the source of amber. Amber has many uses and is carefully regulated. Since most amber is collected on the beach, a simple stroll along the beach was forbidden. Frustrated by a bad day as an amber apprentice, Peter Glienke goes for a walk. He realizes he is on the beach without permission but doesn’t care. When he hears the beach patrol coming, he hides under a tree root. As he tries to edge further under the roots, he finds two pieces of amber. Should he turn these pieces in? The local laws say he should turn it in.

Peter simply cannot bring himself to turn it in even though he knows he is breaking the law. In his mind he can envision what could be made with each piece of amber. He knows the danger but decides to keep the pieces. Holding the amber he falls asleep and has the strangest dream. Is his conscience trying to tell him something?

What will happen to Peter and his family if his amber is discovered? Can Peter keep this secret at any cost?

Malve Von Hassell is a superb storyteller. She combines two historic periods creating a unique historic fiction/time travel tale. Her ability to paint scenes with her descriptions engages you, instantly transporting you into the story. She entertains and educates the reader page by page. This is a creative and well researched book.

I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction involving wartime life. This book will also appeal to people that enjoy time travel stories like “The Time Traveller’s Wife”.
Profile Image for Tawny Molina.
98 reviews6 followers
December 22, 2021
The Amber Crane by Malve von Hassell wonderfully combines historical fiction and fantasy. A curious combination, but one that settles comfortably when you read the book. The story follows a young amber artisan apprentice as he does his best to balance his work and life, as well as discover the seemingly magical properties of the amber he works so closely with.

Hassell’s use of well studied historical facts carefully researched alongside the dreamy time travel aspects fit comfortably. The main character’s ability to follow the future of his workmanship through his dreams to the dark days of World War II is well done. The characters fit the settings and are realistic, even given the fantastical aspects of the story.

Given the story takes place in war times, there are some dark but very real aspects, they are presented with care and not simply dropped in to the story for the sake of drama.

Is The Amber Crane worth reading? For both fans of historical fiction and fantasy, I would suggest you pick this up. Yes, I know that seems like a strange combination, but you will enjoy it! I had a hard time putting the book down.
Profile Image for Wendy(Wendyreadsbooks) Robey.
1,012 reviews48 followers
December 17, 2021
An intriguing historical fantasy with interesting characters and clever twists and turns. I enjoyed following Peter on his journey and thought the historical elements were really well researched and thought through. The link of the amber through the two settings and timelines was also clever and I found the history of the amber trade fascinating.
Profile Image for enjoyingbooksagain.
593 reviews40 followers
December 23, 2021
This was a interesting story about a boy who finds a big piece of amber on the beach and knowingly takes it even if he can get in big trouble. However after he shapes the amber he discover it has magical powers. Thank You Blackthorn Book Tours for letting me read this for my review.
Profile Image for Sarah Cole.
Author 1 book22 followers
July 18, 2021
Von Hassell combines actual historical events with fantasy and fiction enabling readers to learn without knowing they're 'learning.' Readers follow MC Peter an apprentice, brother and son who moves through two time periods from the Thirty Year War to WW2. Dropping in and out of these periods two stories unravel, both equally facinating, well written and engaging. Great read!
June 25, 2021
I received a free copy in return for providing an honest review. The Amber Crane seamlessly blends historical aspects with polarizing, relatable characters. The plot is twisting and unpredictable, leaving me in suspense throughout the story. With an ending that will leave any reader satisfied, The Amber Crane is a book I truly couldn’t put down.
Profile Image for D.K. Marley.
Author 7 books89 followers
September 6, 2021
Malve von Hassell does an outstanding job in setting up a very exciting and unique story from the opening pages and inciting incident. Peter is an 17th-century apprentice amber-crafter with his sights set on becoming a master craftsman in the Amber Guild at the waning years of the Thirty Years War. While walking along the beach one day, he discovers two pieces of raw amber and is instantly drawn to the warm energy pulsating from the stones. Knowing full well that taking the amber is forbidden by the ruling Duke, the one whose heavy-hand controls the amber trade, the desire is too strong to resist and ultimately leads to a sort of “out of body” experience in his dreams, propelling him forward to the 1940s and an encounter with a young girl desperate to escape the Russian armies surging across Central Europe.
There are several linked plot lines dealing with secondary characters, such as Peter’s sister, Effie, and the mysterious modern-day girl, Lioba, which create a chain of events in Peter’s storyline all culminating in the mistakes he made and the consequences of his actions. I give credit to Malve von Hassell for creating a world moving us seamlessly through the past and future in a believable way. There were times I wished for more depth from the actions happening around them, the two wars, a bit more understanding of Effie’s “condition”, the nitty gritty of history pushing Peter forward to his ultimate sacrifce, and a little more backstory to Liobe to flesh her out, but even in that, the story did not disappoint. Overall, the story flowed in a pleasant and easy manner. The author has a knack for sentence structure and word usage which engages a reader every step of the way as if pulled along by the magical amber stone.
This is recommended for someone who wants a taste of fantasy and history woven into one, focusing more on the characters rather than the massive details of the Thirty Years War and WWII.
Profile Image for Réal Laplaine.
Author 30 books206 followers
October 30, 2021
The Amber Crane, by Malve von Hassell, is an historical fantasy, elegantly written, well-paced, and moving. In this story we follow, Peter, in 1645, during the Thirty Years' War, a war that resulted in an estimated eight million casualties and engaged every European nation. As an apprentice, sculpting amber, which at that time was a valuable substance, Peter happens upon two pieces of amber which he keeps, a crime in itself because no one is supposed to possess it except at the behest of The Guild. These amber pieces, however, possess a special quality, and Peter soon discovers that he is transported from 1645, to the final months of World War II in 1945, where he meets Lioba, a young woman who is trying to escape the on-coming Russian army which is advancing into Germany. Peter is unsure of what is happening to him. Is he dreaming - he wonders? The story flips back and forth between 1645, his life in a small village in Germany, to 1945, as he continues to cross paths with Lioba, both of whom come to realize that he is somehow traversing 300 years of time - none of which makes sense to either of them, but nonetheless, Peter becomes engaged with helping Lioba escape the Russians. The historical details are excellently woven into the story. One feels and senses the life he lived in 1645; the trials and tribulations he endures in an age, not only of protracted war, but the oppression of the common people. This is the age when mere whispers and rumors can tag a woman a witch and send her to a gruesome death - and it is this very scenario that Peters finds himself battling as his sister is accused of witchery. Meanwhile, Lioba, in his other life, is also running for her life. Every choice he makes will affect the lives of two people he loves. The ending is brilliantly done - not expected, but certainly haunting and touching.
Profile Image for J. Victoria.
Author 3 books12 followers
November 2, 2021
If you love the contrast of two different time periods, hundreds of years apart, and you enjoy a coming-of-age story, then this is a book for you.
Peter Glienke, fifteen years old and apprenticed as an amber craftsman, is poised on the threshold of adulthood and assailed with the recognisable trials of shyness, uncertainty, and frustration. He is ill-prepared for an unexpected and illegal find, one that has the potential to turn his life, and the lives of those close to him, into a nightmare. Peter’s journey in both time settings begins to tease out his maturity and his relationships. Can good come from the unkind events of life? What do we learn from them? And what will Peter do with the amber crane?
The genre is part fantasy, part historical fiction, which means there’s a lot of non-fictional material. Von Hassell has researched her subjects well and gives interesting and believable insight into the individual, family, and village life in 1644, when guilds ruled a significant part of the economic structure. The character of Peter sits well in the clearly portrayed world of Stolpmunde, on the Baltic. His forays into the Europe of 1944, and the heartbreaking plight of refugees desperately trying to escape the encroaching Russians, turn him into a young man who cares. It is here that he understands the purpose of the crane.
I reluctantly turned the last page of The Amber Crane, a ringing endorsement from this reader who seldom likes stories of fifteen-year-olds.
Profile Image for Chelsie.
1,032 reviews
August 21, 2021
Strange things start to happen now that he has this amber he carries with him at all times, as it could be found by anyone even if he hid it. This stone has seemed to transport him to a different time, a time in the future and there is a girl that is always in need of help it seems. But he doesn’t understand half of the words she uses. They don’t make any sense. What are the Russians doing? Where is he? What is a train, it is powered by steam? A tank? So the war is still going on?

Peter continues to get transported for moments of time to the midst of WWII, while Lioba is trying to figure out how to escape or where to go. The two have learned to look out for each other, and soon enough they realize that there may be a reason why they keep connecting up after all, and it might have to do with what Peter found.

This was a different type of time travel, in that it is time travel from 1644 to 1944. I learned a lot about amber, and had no idea it was so coveted and regulated for a while. The folklore stories were interesting to read about as well. Thank you to HFVBT for the invite, and to the author for sending me a free book!
Profile Image for Kayla C..
61 reviews2 followers
December 21, 2021
The Amber Crane by Malve von Hassell started off slow and stayed that way for the majority of the story. I expected a faster-paced story, but in the end, I wouldn't change a thing about The Amber Crane. The slower pacing gave me time to consider the weighty themes presented and to truly get a feel for the characters, primarily Peter. I started this book expecting a plot-driven adventure. Instead, I got a character-driven drama that tugged at my heart. I enjoyed reading about Peter's development and how his view of certain people changed as he matured. At the start of the novel, I didn't particularly care for him. He was evasive toward his friends and family and often came off as selfish and distracted. As the story continued, he grew a lot mentally and emotionally, and I couldn't stop myself from rooting for him toward the end. Other characters weren't quite as dynamic, but they were still intriguing, especially Lioba.

Malve depicted some of the harsh realities of war well, but the kindness of several characters managed to shine through that darkness, giving me hope. She expertly explored how different people respond to hardships in varying ways, often encouraging readers to put themselves in another's place rather than be judgmental. I also loved that she never tried to fully explain how the time travel in her story was possible. Had she done so, it would have taken away some of the magic, which helped lighten the heavy narrative. I felt she superbly captured Peter's disorientation and awe at finding himself thrust so far into the future. I'm not an expert on the Thirty Years' War, but based on the research I've conducted since reading this book, The Amber Crane is exceptionally accurate to the time periods of its settings and the events that occurred then. Reading The Amber Crane by Malve Von Hassell was a singular experience, and I highly recommend it to those looking for historical fiction with a touch of magic.

(Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this work from Black Coffee Book Tours for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own and are honest and unbiased.)

Trigger Warning: This work includes some disturbing material, including violence and references to the Holocaust, rape, and suicide.
Profile Image for Amisha Bahl Chawla.
67 reviews5 followers
May 8, 2022
War shreds everything around us for generations to come. It breaks us.

The Amber Crane by Malve von Hassell talks about war; it’s harrowing after effects and the life that sometimes rises like a Phoenix out of it. Battered yet resilient, to make the world a better place.

The book is an interesting mix of historical fiction and time travel; albeit historically and not futuristically. Set during two wars 300 years apart, the Thirty Year’s War and World War II, the book traces the life of Peter Glienke. An apprentice to an amber master, Peter is learning to be a master craftsman.

Struggling against the constraints of following the rules of the amber guild during the war and his master, Peter is longing for freedom. Freedom to craft what he wants, Freedom to be what he wants to be.
Unfortunately he doesn’t know what he wants to be.

Surrounded by gloom at his home since his brothers passing away during the war Peter seeks refuge at a forbidden beach and finds the one thing that changes his life. A piece of Amber.
Defying rules, Peter smuggles the piece to his workshop. It is here that he discovers the magical properties of this piece of Amber. Not the golden, curative and holistic healing properties associated with all Amber but one of time-travel.

Through the powers of the Amber, Peter travels to the future, to World War II and meets Lioba, a young girl trying to find her family while escaping from the onslaught of the army.

It is the consequences of his interaction with Lioba that shape Peter’s life. Will he endanger his family and his reputation or will he grow up and soar like a crane.

Malve’s storytelling is filled with intrigue, hope and a lot of history. She has the ability to suck you into the story and become a part of it. One that you don’t’ want to leave till you know the end.

Superbly woven, her stories, just like this one, are filled with life lessons that enrich our lives.

A must, must, read The Amber Crane is a book that shows us that humanity can be healed, if only it wants to heal.

So glad I got this RC it had me at tenterhooks the whole time. Hope you liked my fair and honest review.
Happy Reading:)
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