Cold Peace

Helena P. Schrader

Publisher: Cross Seas Press Pages: 516 Price: (paperback) $23.95 ISBN: 9798987177006 Reviewed: July, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

In her compelling novel Cold Peace, Helena P. Schrader delves into complexities of post-WWII Germany and the roots of the Berlin Airlift.

The first in a planned trilogy, the novel reprises some characters from Schrader’s past work, including former RAF fighter pilots David Goldman and Robin Priestman. Priestman is now the Wing Commander at an RAF base just outside Berlin. Goldman, now a civilian, is creating an air ambulance business located at the same base. The narrative revolves around their interlocking stories, culminating in the attempt to airlift food and medicine to Berliners trapped behind Soviet lines.

Schrader’s plotting is intricate and engaging. She deftly guides readers through the political and cultural landscape of a Berlin divided into four quarters: French, American, British and Russian. In this Germany, Russians have replaced Nazis as the primary enemies, while British and American forces play a key role in keeping the city from being completely absorbed into the new Soviet Union.

Cold Peace introduces entrancing new characters, such as Charlotte Walmsdorf. A German citizen with a complicated past, Charlotte becomes critical to the success of Goldman’s air ambulance business. Charlotte’s sympathetic characterization provides readers with a contrast to the sinister former Nazis who also populate the narrative.

Schrader’s fiction is deeply rooted in historical fact, interweaving fictional characters with real historical figures such as American Military Governor General Lucius D. Clay. She effectively uses detailed maps, historical notes and a comprehensive “Recommended Reading” list to buttress readers’ understanding of this nuanced historical period.

The book suffers from some copyediting issues, including missing and misused commas, and repetition (ex: “Kathleen glanced over her shoulder toward the radar room” is used twice in the span of three paragraphs). Additionally, the dialogue is sometimes used to convey background information, making it a bit stilted.

Nonetheless, fans of Schrader’s prior work will find Cold Peace rewarding, as will new readers interested in the origins of the Cold War.

Also available as an ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Blue Hill, Maine
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