The Glimmer Palace
by Beatrice Colin
Short Version: Lilly is an orphan who survives Berlin in the early 1900s to eventually make her way to being a film star.
Why I Read It: This book has been on my shelf for awhile so I decided to finally read it.
The Book: From Goodreads
As the clock chimes the turn of the twentieth century, Lilly Nelly Aphrodite takes her first breath. The illegitimate, orphaned daughter of a cabaret performer, she finds early refuge at a Berlin Catholic orphanage. From there follows a lifetime of reinventions, from orphan to maid, war bride, tingle-tangle nightclub girl, and script typist. Her eventual transformation into one of Germany's leading silent-film stars, and a partner in a remarkable romance that crosses decades and continents, could ultimately cost her everything she has worked for.
Gripping and seductive like few other literary novels, The Glimmer Palace showcases the glamour, spectacle, and theatrical energy of the brief heyday of the Weimar Republic, while at the same time telling the story of that other great twentieth-century illusion--cinema.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I have not read much historical fiction lately and I sort of forgot how much I like it. Once I started reading I immediately liked Lilly. I felt for her the whole way through the book. Born to an actress and her Bavarian lover whose jealousy killed them both, Lilly was sent to the orphanage where she learned to be alone. She eventually makes a friend, Hanne, before the orphanage closes its doors for good. Hanne is the friend who pushes limits but is always forgiven. Sometimes I loved her and other times I couldn't believe how she treated Lilly. But Hanne had what it took to survive Berlin and she passed that on to Lilly. The book is set during World War I, the cabaret era, and the beginnings of World War II. Following the German side of history is not a perspective you get to read too often. I really liked the dark side of it and the turmoils the girls had to go through. It was a new way of seeing the history. The ending was very good but one that you could not believe the betrayal. That is all I will say in fear of spoiling it!
Book #1 of 25 for Mount TBR Reading Challenge
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