I love historical fiction, so I was eager to grab Berlin Butterfly to read, and I’m glad I did. Moyes did an excellent job blending fact in fiction in this account of the awful time when the Berlin wall was put into place.
We meet Ella, who is living in East Berlin, and when rumor turns fact, and the wall is imminent, she chooses to stay behind with her ailing father, rather than travel West with her brother Josef, and her best friend, Anton.
Growing up an orphan, she had only Anton as her close friend and companion. He helped her during the dark times at the orphanage, he was her first kiss, and their bond is close. After being adopted, she finally found family only to lose her mother and then shortly after the wall is in progress, her father. She’s now trapped in the flailing and dangerous East Berlin, away from the ones she loves and forced to work off the funeral debt of her father by working for a wealthy family.
This is where the story incorporates romance as she meets Stefan, the son of the family she is working for, who was awful to her during their first encounter. But as time is known to do, her hatred for Stefan starts to turn into something more. Life isn’t easy in the East, especially when you aren’t born into a wealthy and influential family, one who wouldn’t want their son dating someone like Ella. So we read and watch as they traverse their relationship and life in East Berlin.
This was a really good story. I enjoyed the portrayal of what life was like for Ella, her constant need to be alert and cautious with whom she speaks with. She also went through a lot of personal growth learning how to navigate her new world while trying to keep ties with her past. I was a bit disappointed in how the book ended, but I know that the next book will pick up right where this one left off. I am anxious to see what is to become of both Ella, Stefan, her family, and how Moyes continues to tell the history of the future of West and East Berlin. Nicely done.