It’s Remembrance Sunday tomorrow, which makes it particularly apt that my sombre (but hopeful) super-quick read set in the aftermath of WW2, Wild Flowers of Berlin, is out today.
When I was researching this story, I watched colour footage of Berlin in the immediate post-war period, and it struck me powerfully how much of the city was reduced to piles of rubble – street upon street of endless grey.
So here’s a (rainbow) snippet, with Henny reflecting on how her home city has changed:
Ruth won’t remember the times before the devil took our country and our people’s hearts, not as I do. So many clubs, like the Dorian Gray and the Topp-Keller, where you could buy a drink and watch handsome women singing in drag, and where pretty boys picked up foreigners for love and money. Berlin was beautiful then, gleaming white and red and gold. Now, the pretty boys are all dead and the clubs long since closed down or destroyed. I had a lover then, Anna, with cornflower eyes and wide, red lips that laughed and swore and kissed me with equal abandon. When she was killed in the bombings of 43, I thought my heart died with her.
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Wild Flowers of Berlin
In post-WW2 Berlin, Henny grieves for her fallen lover, Anna, killed by an Allied bomb. As she joins other women rebuilding their shattered city from its ash-grey ruins, Henny recalls happier times and finds her eye caught by a young woman in a green dress. Ruth is too young to remember the heyday of pre-war Berlin, when the bars were full of handsome women and pretty boys—but perhaps her youthful spirit and optimism can bring Henny to hope for the future.
This super-quick read first appeared in the Call to Arms anthology