This is not an easy book to read. For me, the best part was the description. Gillham paints a stark and very realistic picture of Germany during the second world war. It made me feel as though I could peer into the past and see what ordinary people were thinking and doing.
The reason I didn't particularly enjoy the book was the main character. Sigrid was not likeable. She starts very self-centered. She takes risks, but instead of doing it out of a moral commitment you feel that she'd doing it for a bit of excitement. She doesn't seem to have any compunction about taking a lover and even considers denouncing his family to have him all to herself.
While the description of Berlin is excellent with all the brutality and sexuality of a city in the throes of war, the dialog leaves a great deal to be desired. Sigrid's speech is stiff and she often repeats back to the person she is conversing with. Altogether, I found the characterization in this novel poor. However, it's worth reading for the description of a city at war, and the moral choices and betrayals made by the people in such a dire situation.
I reviewed this book for Net Galley.