Searching for Gertrude
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While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position working at the consulate in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago.
How far would you go to find the woman you love?
Romance, Mystery, and Espionage in One Satisfying Book
Looking for a book with romance, mystery, and espionage? Your search is over.
'Searching for Gertrude' by D.E. Haggerty follows two characters, Rudolf and Rosalyn in their attempt to find Rudolf’s lost love Gertrude. Gertrude’s family leaves Germany in 1933 after Germany appoints Adolf Hitler as chancellor. According to the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum, it didn’t take long for the Third Reich to strip German citizens of their human rights and open its first concentration camps.
Gertrude’s family was Jewish. Rudolf was not. Consequently, Gertrude’s father chooses to move his family to Turkey, favoring his family’s safety over his daughter’s love for Rudolf. Rudolf is devastated. He assuages his hurt and anger by openly opposing the Nazis, but his father points out: “’I didn’t say you should stop opposing [the Nazis]. I said you can’t continue with your current activities. Activities, may I remind you, which have gotten you noticed at college.’” Rudolf’s father asks, “’Have you ever considered you can do more damage from within than from without?’”
Rudolf heeds his father’s advice and studies Oriental history and culture, which gets him a job with the German consulate in Turkey where he hopes he can finally find his Gertrude. In his quest for Gertrude, Rudolf enlists the help of Rosalyn, an altruistic Jewish-American nanny, and Malcolm, a British spy.
I’m not a huge fan of romantic books. I have no idea why. I love chick flicks. I was obsessed with 27 Dresses for years. I should like romantic books too right?
Because historical romance isn’t usually my favorite genre, I didn’t think I was going to love this book. As with 'Carnegie’s Maid', however, I was wrong. 'Searching for Gertrude' is satisfying in a way few books are, and I enjoyed it. 'Searching for Gertrude' is well written and tidy. There are no loose ends or trying to be more than it is: a sweet love story set in World War II. Haggerty's writing style is to-the-point, no flowery language or overblown setting descriptions, which helps make 'Searching for Gertrude' a light read as far as World War II novels go.
I also enjoyed the espionage and mystery in 'Searching for Gertrude'. Did anyone else want to be a spy when they grew up? Malcolm’s slight-of-hand and other “tricks of the trade” fascinated me. I also sympathized with Rosalyn. Although Nazi Germany no longer exists, the world is still rife with injustice, and I often find myself asking, “but what can I do? I’m nobody.” Unlike me, however, Rosalyn persists and gets involved in her own little spy ring.