It’s 2am and I just can’t put it down. I’m peeling through the pages of Searching for Gertrude, absolutely riveted. Will Rudolf find his love? Will Rosalyn help the refugees? Will they get caught? Upon first receiving the book, I was put off by its cover. With seven different fonts and a amateur photoshopped image of a black and white bench in a park, I never would have picked it up at a bookstore. How wrong I was! If the author hadn’t reached out to my blog to review her book, I never would have experienced the joy and surprise and pleasure of reading this book.
Set in Istanbul during World War II, the city is a hotbed of spies and danger. Rudolf works for the German Consulate and has been trying to get to Istanbul since his Jewish childhood love Gertrude fled there in the 30s. He meets Rosalyn while trying to find out more about Gertrude’s family. Rosalyn is a twenty-four year old Jewish American girl from New York who moves to Istanbul because she wants to “do something to help the refugees.” How I connected with her / could have been me! Rosalyn loves a good romance, and so helps Rudolf to find Gertrude while getting involved in the underground network. They quickly find themselves over their heads.
D.E. Haggerty’s language and descriptions are so vivid, I felt that I was there walking home past Galata Tower. Reading her bio, I learned that she lived there for a period of time. (She sounds like a badass woman.) The love and excitement she had for the city really shows. I found learning about what it was like in Istanbul incredibly interesting, as I have only really learned about the Western world narrative of WWII. It really was a world war.
I found her novel depressingly still relevant. Recently, I attended Middle Eastern Monitor‘s Jerusalem: Legalizing the Occupation conference. It was a very intense morning, contextualizing the Israeli-Palestine conflict and discussing what should be done regarding the Trump’s statement about Jerusalem. I find it so upsetting the way that the Jewish refugees have created a home, but only by creating Palestinian refugees, and I do not agree with the US’s decision. Searching for Gertrude discussed the Jewish refugees passing through to Palestine, and the tragedy of the Struma disaster. How much it sounded like the situation going on in the Mediterranean sea today!
This book reiterated the cheesy but true, “Never judge a book by its cover.” I look forward to reading more of D.E. Haggerty‘s work. If you are looking for a gripping historical romance read then I would highly recommend Searching for Gertrude.
Searching for Gertrude by D. E. Haggerty
Available at Amazon