CG FEWSTON’s “A Time to Forget In East Berlin” won two (2) titles in the most recent BREW Book Awards – BREW Book Excellence Award – Spy Thriller Fiction of 2021 and BREW Readers’ Choice Award – Spy Thriller Fiction of 2021/2022.
“A Time to Forget in East Berlin,” the second installment of John Lockwood’s adventures penned by C.G. FEWSTON, raises its curtains in the divided Berlin in 1975. As an ex-CIA agent, John’s assignments often involved undercover missions. When such an assignment in Tehran went awry, a Russian woman saved his life, bringing him to East Berlin. Here, he meets Nina Rosenberg, and despite the age difference between them, falls in love with her. Yet, the ever-observant Stasi watches his every movement and warns him to stay away from Nina. On the other hand, his frequent meetings with strangers rouse Nina’s suspicions. What would John do when his work faces a conflict with his love?
Although I did not read the first book of this series, it did not prevent me from enjoying the second book. FEWSTON incorporated plenty of references that helped me understand the links between the two novels. Reading the second book first made me feel like I was glimpsing a snapshot from an ongoing life. It was as if I focused on the present, not knowing the past nor bothering about the future. This attribute fitted perfectly with this particular story.
The novel was a curious blend of an espionage thriller and a romantic story featuring love at a politically turbulent time. The scars from the past affected every relationship and polluted every joy. There was a perpetual, inherent sense of tension throughout the book. It seemed like everyone was under surveillance, and no one was free to live or love. Yet, the novel reminded us that life was fleeting, urging us to make the most of it.
FEWSTON provided an authentic portrayal of world politics circa 1975. The seemingly impenetrable Berlin Wall impacted every aspect of people’s lives. Some dared to cross it in foolhardy attempts, vanishing forever. The rest dreamt of the wall coming down one day. FEWSTON created a unique symphony of life and death, hope and despair in his novel.
FEWSTON seemed to emphasize more on the characters than the plot. My heart cried for Nina, who wished to be free and lead an ordinary life without fearing repercussions from the Stasi. Having lost her family in childhood, she craved a life with love as its foundation. I could feel her yearning for a wholesome family. On the other hand, John’s character remained enigmatic, although we were privy to his thoughts. I loved the glimpses into the softer side of a man many revered as a killing machine. As a well-read scholar, he appreciated and found inspiration in classic literature and poetry. I liked FEWSTON’s portrayal of John’s dilemma, dreaming of a stable life yet reluctant to set roots. Despite caring deeply for Nina, he could not express any words of love. His character showed the downside of life as a secret agent. Each choice he made could have severe ramifications for his beloved Nina.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves character-driven historical fiction. This novel would be perfect for readers who love thought-provoking reads questioning the meaning of life at every turn.
SC, 31 March 2022
- Title: A Time to Forget in East Berlin
- Author: CG FEWSTON
- Genre: Fiction
- Theme: Espionage, Suspense
- Publication Date: 4 January 2022
- ISBN or ASIN: B091XZV1D3
- Number of Words: 68,000
- Minimum Audience Age: 18
(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)
- Sexual themes: 2
- Religious themes: 0
- Violence, self-harm, etc.: 3
- Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 2
- Other adult themes: 1
- Content: 5 stars
- Writing Style: 5 stars
- Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
- Uniqueness: 5 stars
- Editing: 4 stars
- Other factors: 5 stars
- Overall: 5 out of 5 stars