The War of Flowers
About the Author
Jane Thynne was born in Venezuela and educated in London. She graduated from the Oxford University with a degree in English and joined the BBC as a journalist. She has also worked at the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Independent, as well as numerous British magazines. She appears as a broadcaster on Radio 4. Jane is married to the writer Philip Kerr. They have three children and live in London. A War of Flowers is Jane’s sixth novel.
This book is about the Oster Conspiracy which was a wide ranging military plot to oust Hitler in September 1938. The planned coup involved senior German military and intelligence leaders, members of the Berlin police and many other individuals. The plan was to mount a raid on the Reich Chancellery.
This novel starts off with our main protagonist, Clara Vine who is in Paris to film her latest movie having left Berlin under a cloud. Clara is British German and some senior Government officials are not very sure about where her alliances lie and therefore keep a close watch on her. With war becoming increasingly likely, Clara is approached by an undercover British operative, Guy Hamilton who asks her to perform a task for her country – to befriend Eva Braun, Hitler’s girlfriend and to pass on any information she can gather regarding Hitler’s intentions. Clara knows that to agree to this task would mean putting herself in even more danger than she is already in. But she also knows that she has chosen duty before and this time, she may have to do everything in her power to protect the country.
This is an absolute stunning piece to read. It is fast paced and gripping from the start. You feel Clara’s anxieties when she feels like she is being followed, you can understand the fear that Berlin faces and this is one of the rare books that explores the female side of the Third Reich.
More than Clara and Hiter, it is Eva Braun that fascinated me. When I checked on the facts, it seems Eva Braun had expected Hitler to marry her as disclosed to her intimates. Her suicide attempts are also well known. Many of the women associated with Hitler attempted or committed suicide and Eva made her first attempt in 1931 and then another in 1935. The situation in Germany was appalling – apart from the concentration camps. Jews were not allowed to hold property, all property, gold and family heirlooms were to be handed over by the state. Kids that had abnormalities were treated differently and parted from their parents and single women were frowned upon. There were tabs kept on all single women and who they were fraternising with to ensure that they only associate with males who were descended from the Aryan race to ensure ‘pure offspring’. This book perfectly captures the turmoil that the Third Reich had inflicted. It’s a behind the scenes look at World War 2 that seems less brutal but still difficult to digest.