The Berlin Zookeeper: An utterly gripping and heartbreaking World War 2 historical novel, based on a true story

· Bookouture
7 reviews

About this ebook

Two women. One shocking wartime secret. And a family mystery just waiting to be discovered…

Berlin Zoo, 1943: Ten-year-old Adelaide and her newborn sister are orphaned after a devastating night of bombing. Heartbroken and frightened, Adelaide runs to her mother’s closest friend, Katharina Heinroth, and the kind zookeeper takes the two little girls under her protection. As the bombing intensifies, Adelaide tries to shut out the horrors of war by caring for her tiny sister and playing with the adorable baby monkeys. But when Katharina organises a dangerous operation to enable children and animals to escape the battle-scarred city, something goes wrong. And Adelaide has to promise her adopted mother to keep a shocking secret. A secret that will change Adelaide’s life forever.

Berlin Zoo, 2019: Bethan Taylor notices the elderly lady sitting on the bench next to her seems confused, her thoughts flitting between past and present. Ada talks of her childhood, played out in an underground bunker beneath the animal enclosures during the war. As Ada’s story unfolds, Bethan is surprised to hear a name she recognises…

Katharina Heinroth is at the top of a list of German names Bethan found in a hidden compartment of her late mother’s jewellery box. Bethan’s father couldn’t tell her anything about the crumpled piece of paper and she’s been searching for the meaning ever since.

As the two women are brought together by the pain of the past can they help each other to heal? And after decades of silence, can Ada help Bethan to uncover a long-buried family mystery?

An unforgettable and heart-wrenching novel of a brave orphan girl and a shocking wartime secret. Inspired by a true WW2 story and perfect for fans of Orphan Train, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Alice Network.

Why readers love The Berlin Zookeeper:

Heartbreaking but amazing!… I was gripped from the very beginning and honestly I didn't want this book to end! The writing was just fabulous loved it! NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wow! What an emotional readright from the very start the author was pulling at my heart strings and my emotions, there was times I had to put down my kindle because I had tears in my eyes five star read.’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Loved, loved, loved this gem!... incredible story and the characters walked off the pages and into my heart… This is a must-read!’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Brilliant… loved this book so much… hankies at the ready cos you will need themheartbreaking.’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book grabbed me from the very beginning... this book was a home run… I loved every page of this book… terrific!!’ toreadistobreathe, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Kept me hooked from the beginning… I was totally engrossed in the story… beautiful book… Worth five stars!’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

FANTASTIC!’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

An unforgettable historical novel that will have readers reaching for the tissues… a poignant tale guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings. Emotional, affecting and beautifully written… will keep readers gripped throughout.’ Bookish Jottings, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Heartwarming… I honestly felt like I couldn’t read this book fast enough & the setting of Berlin Zoo was just magicalDon’t miss out!’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Just beautiful and poignantHeart-breaking and heartwarmingI cried... Just beautiful. Do read this one.’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ratings and reviews

7 reviews
Kim Carter
May 4, 2021
What a lovely book! I was lucky enough to be given an advanced copy of this book by @netgalley .. This book just hits all the right notes for me: Historical fiction - WW2 setting Berlin Zoo Discovering Family History A little bit of Romance .. I found the book to be well paced & heartwarming. The story is split into two timelines & told from two perspectives. Bethan in Modern day Berlin & Katharina in Berlin in 1944. The story takes you on a journey of not only Bethan’s self discovery as she realises what isn’t right for her but also helps uncover her family history .. I honestly felt like I couldn’t read this book fast enough & the setting of Berlin Zoo was just magical. I love a trip to a zoo & would love nothing more to visit this particular zoo in future .. Book pairing: if you loved the Dressmakers Gift by Fiona Valpy, then this book is for you!
Nadia Murphy
May 4, 2021
So back in March, I was led in a hospital bed and I didn't think I'dbe able to concentrate on anything. I was in for 4 days and 2 of those days, I was kept occupied by this beautiful book. The Berlin Zookeeper is about the true story of Katherina Heinroth and her love and passion for keeping the Berlin Zoo going during World War 2. Throughout the book, we flip between 1943 and today, following the lives of Katherina and her zoo family, and Bethan Taylor. When Bethan was young, her Mum passed away and amongst her Mother's jewellery, she finds a list of names of women who worked at Berlin Zoo in 1943, Katherina's being one of them. Her father refuses to explain to her the meaning of the list, so all grown up and a certified Vet, she travels to Berlin Zoo to work for a year and piece together the mystery of the list. I found this book to be an easy yet heartbreaking read of the devastation that war brings and how that can bring people closer together.
Annette Johnson
May 4, 2021
I’ve read a lot of WW2 books but none have taken place in a zoo. I never thought about any zoos or the animals that might have to survive the bombings. This book is told in dual timelines, each story just as interesting. I thought the book was really good, it was hard to put down. Definitely recommend to historical fiction fans. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy

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