Anna, an elderly woman in her nineties, grabs her suitcase and leaves her home to escape. But what is she running from…?
The Woman Outside The Walls is a historical novel set at various times in Germany during the Second World War, and also the present day in England.
Anna is a troubled woman in both the past and present. We first meet her in 2016 as she prepares to leaves all she loves, and then in 1945 as she returns to Hamburg to search for her parents. There are plenty of implications of the things that she has seen and possibly done. This adds a sinister dimension while we wait for the truth to be revealed.
The emotion in this book is evident from the start. Anna is haunted by the past but also fears the future. This is also true of her character in 1945 as she reflects on her own actions while searching for how to move forward.
I felt emotionally invested in all parts of Anna’s timeline. Her fear in the present mixed with her developing mental confusion was quite heartbreaking. It was interesting to read about the devastation she witnesses at the end of the war. The historical detail was well researched and carefully balanced against Anna’s personal experiences.
The Woman Outside The Walls is an emotional multiple timeline novel that had me hooked from start to finish.
I always knew it would come out one day. They are finding everyone who has stayed hidden. They would have come to me in the end.
Hamburg, 1942 Seventeen-year-old Anna knows she can never tell her proud parents the truth about where she is going. She must hide the fact that she is pregnant, that the father of her unborn child is dead and that she is on her way to a special maternity home, where her baby will be given to a perfect family. She tells herself that this is the best solution. Anna doesn’t expect to feel the rush of love for her beautiful baby boy in the white blanket, or the devastation when he is snatched from her, never to be seen again.
Desperate to forget her grief, she sees an advert for a secretary in a prison, far away in the east. Days later, she leaves Hamburg, travelling eastwards by train, feeling as if a whole new life is about to begin. It is the biggest mistake she will ever make.
London, 2016 Ninety-year-old Anna sits on the edge of her bed, hands trembling, eyes brimming with tears, as she looks at the picture of the soldier in the newspaper. Her friends and neighbours know her as a kindly old lady who bakes cakes and always has time to listen to their troubles. They don’t know about the hated green uniform she burned, the memories of the prisoners she tried to help and the bombed and blackened city she once called home. But now the time for a reckoning has come, will revealing the truth free Anna or destroy her?
A gripping read that will break your heart and have you hooked, perfect for fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and My Name is Eva. The Woman Outside the Walls will take you on an emotional journey and show you that in war, even when you are on the wrong side, you can still do the right thing…
Following an eventful career as a public relations consultant, specialising in business and travel, Suzanne Goldring turned to writing the kind of novels she likes to read, about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Whether she is working in her thatched cottage in Hampshire or her seaside home in North Cornwall, Suzanne finds inspiration in the secrets hidden by everyday life.