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The House by the Lake

The House by the Lake - Thomas Harding Berlin. One House. Five Families. A hundred years of History.

The above description on the cover of The House by the Lake caught my attention straight away because I love stories about old houses and their inhabitants down through the years and the fact that The house by the Lake by Thomas Harding was located on the outskirts of Berlin and Harding's ancestors were forced to leave when the Nazis swept to power really enhanced my interest. A home which played a major part of so many family's lives, a home where a concrete footpath cut through the garden marking where the Berlin Wall had stood for nearly three decades.
Thomas Harding was eager to save his ancestral home from demolition and began the mammoth task of researching the house's history and that of the five families who were connected with the house. A noble farmer, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned Nazi composer, a widow and her children and a Stasi informant.

This book is a wonderful read well researched and well written, and and what could easily have been just a family memoir turns out to be a book that will be of great historical interest to many. The author has a talent for research and turning his research into a terrific historical read and account of life behind the Iron curtain. I have read a few books about the Iron Curtain and German reunification but this is one that really really offers so much more and brings to life twentieth century Germany for the reader.

I picked up a hard copy of this book in my local bookstore and had never come across the writer before. I have enjoyed every minute I spent with this book so much so that I announced to my husband on finishing the book " I have to visit Berlin" and his usual response was " another book another trip"

A great read for those interested in social history and twentieth century Germany and a book that is moving and evocative but never too sentimental. The book contains numerous photographs, Family trees, Maps of Germany & Berlin and an extremely detailed notes section which I really appreciated.