The Girl from Berlin by Ronald H. Balson
Gabriella Vincenzo has lived nearly her whole life on a small vineyard in the Tuscan region of Italy. But now, at 78 years old, a multi-million dollar corporation is trying to take her land, claiming to be the rightful owner. In the course of investigating, Gabi gives Catherine, her American lawyer, a memoir to read. It details the life of Ada Baumgarten, the daughter of the concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic and a gifted violinist herself. Beginning when Ada was just a child, it charts her Jewish family’s persecution by the Nazi regime in Berlin and Italy. But who is Ada? And what connection does she have to Gabi?
This novel, which is part of the 2019 Illinois Reads, is told in alternating “now” and “then” chapters, showing the horrors inflicted on Jewish families, the heroes who fought against tyrants, and the hope and passion of one young girl to achieve her dreams against all odds. Recommended for readers in high school and up who are fans of historical fiction, especially World War II, and those who enjoy stories of young people persevering in the face of injustice.