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The Puzzle Women

By: Anna Ellory
Narrated by: Kristin Atherton
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Summary

Berlin, 1989. Siblings Rune and Lotte are shaken awake by Mama and told to follow her quietly into the night. Last time they snuck away from Papa, with Mama bruised and broken, they were back within a week. But this time they are starting a new life, Mama says - where nobody can ever hurt them again.

Ten years later, the memories of their escape are blurry; Mama is long gone, and the siblings are back at Papa’s house. But when they receive a mysterious notebook that seems to have come from Mama, Papa tears it apart. Could there be more to their past than they’ve been led to believe?

With Rune paralysed by fear, Lotte takes their fate into her own hands. When she learns about the ‘Puzzle Women’ working tirelessly to reconstruct files shredded by the former secret police, she begs them to help her piece Mama’s story back together. But as Papa’s threats against both siblings escalate, can they unite to learn the full, brutal truth in Mama’s own words at last?

©2020 Anna Ellory (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

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Powerful and emotional

Beautifully written and narrated; I found this book affected me very deeply. It covers the whole spectrum of humanity, from calculating cruelty to extraordinary courage within some memorable characters.

6 people found this helpful

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Emotional and totally absorbing

This book had me captivated from the beginning, raw emotions and such a tough subject to deal with . But it was done so well. I felt uncomfortable at times with the subjects and emotional violence discussed but I continued to listen as the characters build and we invest in their outcomes. Not sure what I expected when I downloaded this audiobook but it exceeded everything. So well written, presented , and absorbing.

3 people found this helpful

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A hard read

This is a book about domestic violence and therefore isn’t a pleasant read. I struggled to get into it but then found it fascinating and disturbing. Sadly it ends in the most ridiculous way with no proper explanation!

3 people found this helpful

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Speechless

Wow. Words escape me. What a story. If I wanted to be critical I could nitpick about some of the writing, but why!? I can't remember a time I have been this drawn in by a story. Absolutely stunning. Riveting. I couldn't put it down. The themes, the characters... truly, there are no words. Read it. Read it. Read it.

2 people found this helpful

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beautifully emotional, heartbreaking book

I loved this book, some parts were hard to listen to , but it's heartbreakingly beautiful.

1 person found this helpful

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Insightful, page Turner

Have listened to both Anna Ellory’s books and both gripped me. I learnt a lot about a time and events that we do not visit. I will definitely re listen to both books again. While both books cover horrific scenarios which happen today, it makes one think and reflect and hopefully will never happen to us, or the events which are historic will NEVER happen again. Would highly recommend

1 person found this helpful

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Fabulous book

I don’t usually write reviews but just had to for this book. Absolutely loved it and listened on my commute which for the first time just wasn’t long enough.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant, traumatic, hopeful

A gut wrenching tale of the human spirits determination to survive especially when you have something precious to you to fight for.

1 person found this helpful

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A moving, thought provoking and beautiful story.

I have just finished listening to The Puzzle Women, and still feel caught up in its spell. The story is so beautifully written; Anna Ellory is a master wordsmith, and chooses the perfect words to bring this moving story to life. I loved it and would thoroughly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Very engaging

Helped me put in several sleepless nights during the worst of a cough. Characters that you care about and love to hate. Well narrated with a good range of different character voices. A period in history we are coming to understand more and more and learn from.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jo Ann Roussey
  • 17-01-21

Heartbreak to Joy

The book starts slowly, stay with it and feel your spirit lift at the end. I could feel the pain and the joy of the characters, whose humanity opens and expands to welcome possibilities of love.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sandra
  • 13-05-22

Historical fiction - The Puzzle Women

Trigger warning: this book depicts extreme emotional and physical abuse. The Puzzle Women was a difficult read for me and I recommend it with reservation because of the subject matter..
The title refers to a real group dedicated to reassembling shredded files of the Stasi secret police agency in the German Democratic Republic from 1950-1990. In the book they are instrumental in piecing together a fractured family. It is set in dual time periods, around the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and ten years later..
The book is beautifully written, the first-person voice of each major character (Rune, Lotte, and Mama) is compelling, and the audio narrator is exceptional.

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  • Just Chris
  • 02-12-21

Very moving listen

This is not my normal genre. Although I keep getting drawn back to WWII and post-WWII literature due to my German heritage, I continue to have a hard time processing the evils inflicted on others by narcissists. I'm glad I stuck with this one. It's a beautiful story of the strength of a mother's love from her own perspective and that of her traumatized children, the unexpected community that lends their support and strength, and the power of forgiveness. Kristin Atherton is a masterful audio performer and a perfect match for this genre. She deftly and with great care conveys pain, innocence, and love as well as leaves you uncomfortable and disturbed with her portrayal of fear and wickedness. Her rich voice magically morphs between characters providing an immersive and flawless audio experience. This one will stay with me for a while.

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  • Joan M. McNamara
  • 13-07-21

This was a 3-4 star book for me

The audible performances were excellent and the story was pretty good. I had a hard time deciding between 3 and 4 stars but ended with 3 stars. A nice listen all around.