Wunderland

Wunderland

by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Hardcover(Library Binding - Large Print)

$30.39 $31.99 Save 5% Current price is $30.39, Original price is $31.99. You Save 5%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Wunderland 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Couldn%27t++put+the+book+down.
BringMyBooks 6 months ago
I've said it before and I'll say it again - one of my favorite things about Historical Fiction is that, even after reading so many different books covering one single era, there are SO many more stories to be told. Sometimes I start putting pressure on myself to read outside of the WWI/WWII eras of Historical Fiction - and sometimes I do - but for the most part, I just have such a genuine love for well written accounts of that era and if something is working for me, why mess with it? All of this being said, I have been so excited for Wunderland for at least 6 months. Something about the cover and the font immediately drew me in and then the synopsis hooked me well and good. The synopsis alludes to this (and I think anyone that has ever read a book centered on WWII had an idea what was coming), but what follows is a spoiler so read at your own risk - the best part of this book references what I mentioned in my opening paragraph: the ability to tell so many untold stories in a genre that is filled with hundreds of thousands of titles. In all of my WWII era books, I haven't read a single one from the perspective of a German that espoused early Nazi propaganda ... until they realized that their own lineage was far from the Aryan ideal. Renate, Ava, and Ilse were all incredibly compelling characters, and once this book really snagged my focus (it did take about 60 pages) I was a total goner. I think I ended up reading about 300 pages in one day?? I was blown away by the stories that were told, and the small yet ever growing indignities Renate and her family faced - made all the worse after being so sure that she was, at best, on the right side of things, and, at worst, safe enough in her own life to not worry too terribly much about others. Living in Ilse's head for the chapters from her POV was so interesting, and, to be completely honest, terrifying. The lengths some Germans went to in order to soothe their minds while being the bystanders of (and sometimes the perpetrators of) violence and criminal activity towards those of Jewish ancestry are ASTOUNDING ... yet you can see, in the most reprehensible way, how some were able to do it through the reading of Ilse's chapters. As Ilse's duplicity grows and Renate's terror increases, you're also ping ponged back and forth through Ilse's daughter's life. Following the war, Ava was left in the care of her grandparents until a bombing forced them from her lives and forced her into an orphanage. Her mother did come from her, but their relationship was forever strained and never got any better - and you see the beginnings of such issues in Ava's life with her own daughter, Sophie. I never knew exactly where the book was headed, although I had some ideas about what was to come. For the things I "guessed," I was typically right - but there were other things that came totally out of left field that enhanced the story so thoroughly. This book is 100% recommended for fans of WWII Historical Fiction - with as much as you might have read, I truly believe this is an important new entry into the genre.
CharJones2525 4 months ago
This compelling novel reveals the horrors of Nazi Germany, both in its anti-Semitism and the hypnotic way in which Hitler mesmerized the German population. It tells the story of two best female friends — Renate , whose family is declared Jewish, and Ilse, who supports Nazism. The reader’s heart is doubly broken as one suffers terrible persecution and the other endorses it. Evil when “explained” is still evil, so it was hard for me to ever find Ilse a sympathetic character. I especially mourned for her daughter Ava as she learns of her mother’s true history. A unique entry into the spate of WWII novels flooding the literary market today. 4/5 Pub Date 23 Apr 2019. Thanks to the author, Crown Publishing, and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #Wunderland #NetGalley
LlamaJen 7 months ago
I loved this book!! I give it 4.5 stars. The book alternated between Ilse and Renate during the 1930s in Germany and Ava in 1989 in New York City. My favorite parts were about Ilse and Renate. They were the best of friends until the Nazi party comes between them. Renate was definitely my favorite character. I loved reading about her and her family. I can't imagine what school was like for her. It's hard to believe people really acted that way. I felt the complete opposite about Ilse. She was a horrible human being and had no redeeming qualities. Ilse didn't know what it was to be a friend or a mother. I had no good feelings about her. The scene with the baker was truly awful. The book had me feeling every emotion. It was beautifully written. I loved the story, characters and writing style. I look forward to reading more books by the author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crown Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Lynne Ernst 7 months ago
Ava gets a package from her estranged mother, Ilsa....only to discover she has passed. The package is letters that her mother had written to Renate and Epstein takes us back to Germany and World War 2 when Renate and Ilsa were attending school together. Deep complicated book at gives a close personal view of Germany at the beginning of the war. When 2 girls are just going to school and stopping for treats on the way home......and then Hitler started with new party lines and rejecting the Jews.....so what happens to the two little girls. Can't say I enjoyed reading Wunderland but I really appreciate seeing the war from these little girls eyes and how it changed their lives forever. Great job Jennifer Cody Epstein. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher and am voluntarily reviewing it
bookluvr35SL 7 months ago
This story switches back and forth between Berlin in 1933, and the East Village 1989. It is about Ilse, growing up in Berlin, and her best friend Renate. Although her family doesn't practice it, Renate discovers her lineage is partly Jewish. When she discovers this, Ilse renounces their friendship, and goes on to betray Renate and her family in the worst way possible. Years later, Ilse's daughter Ava discovers letters written to Renate by her newly-deceased mother and attempts to uncover missing pieces of her past and hopefully answers as to why her mother always kept her at arms=length. I had trouble really getting into the book at first, but once I did I couldn't put it down. It was equally horrifying and captivating. I felt immersed in the story, as if I were actually there watching it all unfold. It is very hard to read (emotionally) but was well worth it. 1 like
nfam 7 months ago
Secrets, Love, and Betrayal in WWII In 1989 Ava receives her mother’s ashes and a packet of unsent letters. She has always had a fraught relationship with Ilse. Her mother seemed hard and distant. Ava can’t get close to her and then there’s the question of who Ava’s father was and why Ilse left her in a German orphanage for almost two years at the end of WWII. The story is told from the point of view of Ava in 1989 and Ilse in 1933. Ilse’s part of the story deals with her close friendship with Renata, who turns out to have Jewish blood, and her increasing involvement in the Hitler youth movement. Although the characters are separated by over 50 years and reside in different countries, the story line is easy to follow. The book starts slowly. At first the relationship between the main characters is unclear, but as Ilse and Renata face the terrors of life in Hitler’s Germany, the story heats up. Although I didn’t care for Ilse I could understand the pressures of her life in Germany. Ava grows through the novel. As she understands her mother better, she finds that she can in some measure forgive. If you enjoy novels with at WWII background, this is a very good one. At times it’s hard to read because of the inhumanity in Germany at the time. However, it’s worth the effort. I came to understand the era better, as did Ava. I received this book from First to Read for this review.
Peppyob 7 months ago
You might know the history of the the growth of Nazism in Germany, however this novel brings it to life with a stark and sickening realism. The result is an intense chilling account of the ramifications of Nazism on life in Germany, as it became fully embraced by the German populace, especially the youth in the 1930’s. The unveiling of the relationship between childhood friends Ilse, Renate and Franz will break your heart. The novel also has some surprise twists as well in the story of Ilse and her daughter Ava. I have to applaud Jennifer Epstein for writing not only a suspenseful novel that will keep you on your toes,but one one that will shake you to your core.
TJReads 7 months ago
This was a great read. The main story is told from letters written by Ilse, given to her daughter after she had passed. The story switches between time frames of four women, Ilse, Renate, Ava and Sophie. We follow along the lives of the main characters, Ilse and Renate (best friends from childhood) as they take very different paths during WWII since Renate is found to have Jewish lineage. Then we switch back to the younger years and livelihood of Ava, Ilse’s daughter, her troubled youth caused by her mother’s actions and as she finally learns the truth of who her father was by reading these letters written by her mother. This is a story of love, hate, secrets, lies, miss-understandings, bad choices, sacrifices and not learning from mistakes done unto you. The research done for this story was impeccable from what I could tell, of course I am not a historian, but it was all very believable. Sometimes going from the letters of Ilse to Ava’s adventures was a bit confusing but all and all this is a very good story. Learning of the methods of the Hitler youth training (Girl Scouts) was especially interesting. The ending tidies up all the loose ends and makes it all worth it and is very well done. I highly recommend, even though I still can’t figure out how Wunderland would be the title. I must have missed something along the way. I was given an advanced copy from Crown Publishing through Net Galley for my honest review, this one gets 5*****’s.
wjane 7 months ago
Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein is a Historical Fiction story of love, friendship and tragedy. The story is told in various time periods from the 1930‘s to the 1980‘s. It shows in detail how both Jewish and non Jewish Germans were affected by Nazi policies and propaganda. The book helps the reader to understand if possible the evil of the Nazi Regime and magnitude of destruction in the lives of people for over fifty years. It reminded me to ask myself what I may have done in the same situations. It also reminded me to beware of other movements that may have the appearance of good but in reality their purpose may be evil. I hope there may be a sequel and other books by this author to look forward to reading. My thanks to the author, publisher and netgalley for making this exceptional book available for me to read, enjoy and review.
SecondRunReviews 7 months ago
This one had a slow start. I actually started it months ago, but just couldn't get into it until this past weekend. It takes off around page 80 or so and doesn't let up until near the end. Wunderland explores the indoctrination of children into the Nazi party — how just a few whispered words can destroy friendships and separate families, and in the end, the lies we tell ourselves when forgiveness can not be given.
CapriciousNiteOwl 7 months ago
Wunderland is a beautifully written story about two friends, Renate and Ilse, and their struggle to fit and survive during time in Germany, when Nazism was growing and spreading like wildfire. Both girls face impossible and horrifying situations. They have to make choices with which consequences they will have to live for the rest of their lives. This was a hard book to read for me. I have connected with both, Renate and Ilse, on a personal and emotional level and reading their stories was heart wrenching at times. I loved Renate’s character and I rooted for her and her family, while I tried so hard to understand Ilse’s choices and actions. It is so easy to dislike Ilse and all she stands for. Her actions and her way of justifying them was making me sick and uncomfortable. There were times when I had to put the book down, and reflect on what I just read. The things we tell ourselves and the things we lie about to make our crimes bearable are astonishing. However, Ilse’s justification for her actions was always “sacrifices have to be made”, which is so unnerving and horrifying when those sacrifices affect other people’s lives and many times are death and life situations. I have read many historical fiction books and it gets to be a little challenging now to find a book that will introduce a new insight into the WWII time period. Wunderland surprised me with a new perspective and I was completely engrossed in the story. I highly recommend this book to all historical fiction genre readers. Thank you Netgalley, Crown Publishing, and the author, Jennifer Cody Epstein, for giving me an opportunity to read an ARC of this brilliant book in exchange for my honest opinion.