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Michael Newman
Between These Walls

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Publish)

A novel of historical fiction that turns on two key events: the discovery of a beautiful blonde woman’s body in the back seat of a burnt out SS staff car during the last days of World War II, by US Army Medical Corps Colonel Samuel Singer, and the unsealing more than four decades later of a security-taped package from Germany, bearing a secret that changes the life of New York art curator Daniel Singer, the adopted son of Colonel Singer. As Daniel learns more about the package’s contents, he unlocks the history of three families -- one American and two German – through tumultuous times, from the end of the First World War to the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and through to three Middle East wars. Along the way, he gets entangled in the web of the Mossad, Israel’s top secret spy agency and Naomi one of its beautiful operatives, and is ultimately faced with a life-altering choice – and the opportunity to right the most heinous of wrongs.
Newman’s gripping debut novel draws on first-person accounts of people who survived imprisonment in concentration camps during WWII, creatively combining several plotlines into a compelling narrative. Parallel stories highlight Maj. Bruno Schmidt’s rise in the ranks of Hitler’s Nazi Party and attorney Arnold Weisz’s efforts to protect his family from Nazi persecution. Dr. Samuel Singer, a WWII U.S. Army surgeon, is stationed in Germany, where he adopts a baby, names him Daniel, and brings him home to New York. In 1973, when Daniel and his father travel to Israel to celebrate the 25th anniversary of independence, Daniel is recruited by the Israeli government to undertake a mission identifying high-ranking Nazis who escaped to Egypt after the war. Fifteen years later, Daniel, now an assistant museum curator, receives a mysterious package from Germany and must unravel its secrets.

Though Newman’s protagonists are fictional characters, he intertwines their stories with accounts of real historical figures. His extensive research focuses on the chilling rise of the Nazi Party and the horrors endured by Jewish residents of Germany as they were stripped of their rights and sent to concentration camps. He also examines the fight for Israel’s independence as people liberated from the camps travel to the Holy Land in search of safety.

Newman effortlessly uses flashbacks and other clever devices to tie the stories together. Each narrative is richly drawn, revealing the characters’ emotions and motivations while adding the perfect amount of historical background to make their experiences believable and real. The even pacing continues throughout the novel, conveying an undercurrent of suspense that develops to a stunning conclusion. This powerful novel will enthrall any reader of historical suspense fiction.

Takeaway: Fans of WWII fiction will not want to miss this gripping story, which brims with authenticity and suspense.

Great for fans of Hayuta Katzenelson’s The Jewish Spy, Pam Jenoff’s The Diplomat’s Wife.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Online Book Club

Official Review: Between These Walls by Michael Newman

 [Following is an official review of "Between These Walls" by Michael Newman.]

4 out of 4 stars

Between These Walls is a historical fiction book by Michael Newman. The scenes in this gripping novel unfold in different locations and cover decades of history, including Hitler’s rise to power and the establishment of Israel as an independent state.

It is the summer of 1988. Daniel Singer, an assistant art curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, is dumbfounded by the arrival of a large envelope. The contents of the package are official-looking documents that haven been written in German. Daniel’s efforts to make sense of the documents uncover a grim truth about his roots. The documents also lead to the exposure of a ghastly injustice that involved two German families and that happened more than four decades ago, just a year before the end of WWII. The documents and the truth they hold forever alter Daniel’s perception of his time spent in Israel and Egypt and his involvement with Israel’s Mossad spy agency in 1973.

Between These Walls has not been written in chronological order. Each chapter encompasses significant events in the life of one of the characters. For example, chapter 4 introduces us to Arnold Weisz in the winter of 1944. Chapter 5 then takes us back to the early 1930s where we learn of Arnold’s life as a young lawyer before the Nazis’ Nuremburg race laws strip him of his livelihood. Although the story did not unfurl sequentially, this did not affect my comprehension of the plot as a whole nor did it affect the book’s readability. It made me wonder how all of these seemingly unrelated events and characters would come together. To my great delight, the ending did not disappoint. Everything merged together seamlessly.

Pictures of documents, identification cards, and means of correspondence between characters have been included in the book. These pictures look authentic and made the story feel real, as though the events narrated in the book actually took place. They also served as evidence of the diligent effort that the author put into this book. His diligence is also evident in how well researched this book feels.

It is likely that you will enjoy this book if you are a history enthusiast or a historical fiction fan. You might learn a thing or two while being entertained by this enthralling book. I enjoyed it from start to finish. There’s nothing I disliked about the book. Not only is the content great, but it also contains very few errors. Thus, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.