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Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite
Life changes dramatically for fifteen-year-old Ella Kühn in August of 1961 in Leah Moyes' book Berlin Butterfly: Ensnare. Berlin is divided by a wall that East Germany is building to keep its residents in. Unfortunately, Ella and her dying father get stuck while she sends her little brother and sweetheart ahead to the west and to freedom. After the death of her adoptive father, Ella gets employment with the wealthy well-to-do mortician Herr Franke in order to pay off the debt of the burial she couldn’t afford. The Franke household is a world of its own with its owners lacking for nothing while chaos erupts as people are killed while desperately trying to seek freedom in the west. The lady of the house is cruel and the older son seems determined to torment her as well. Ella never gives up hope that one day she’ll be able to get past that wall to the family that awaits her. As the months of her servitude continue, things change, people change, and Ella finds herself conflicted between the need to escape or staying with a boy she has come to forgive and love.
I was absolutely captivated by this book from the first page. I admit my history is a bit rusty when it comes to after WWII and what happened to Germany when the wall went up. I was a year old when it finally fell; my father-in-law was there with the US army when it happened. It’s so refreshing to read historical fiction from a period not written about much in that sense. Leah Moyes has done a fantastic job in telling the at times heartbreaking story of Ella Kühn and those first couple years the wall was up and what occurred in East Germany. There are so many colorful and amazing characters that I can’t really choose one that I liked the most. I am anxiously looking forward to the second book and what the future holds for Ella, Anton, and the Franke family.