*AD-Gifted – A copy of The Watchmaker of Dachau was kindly gifted in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links are marked with a *
I’m really into my reading at the moment, and the second tour I’m on for 2021 is this historical tear jerker *The Watchmaker of Dachau inspired by a true story.
An unforgettable novel of human kindness, inspired by an incredible true story.
Snow falls and a woman prepares for a funeral she has long expected, yet hoped would never come. As she pats her hair and straightens her skirt, she tells herself this isn’t the first time she’s lost someone. Lifting a delicate, battered wristwatch from a little box on her dresser, she presses it to her cheek. Suddenly, she’s lost in memory…
January 1945, Dachau, Germany. As the train rattles through the bright, snowy Bavarian countryside, the still beauty outside the window hides the terrible scenes inside the train, where men and women are packed together, cold and terrified. Jewish watchmaker Isaac Schüller can’t understand how he came to be here, and is certain he won’t be leaving alive.
When the prisoners arrive at Dachau concentration camp, Isaac is unexpectedly pulled from the crowd and installed in the nearby household of Senior Officer Becher and his young, pretty, spoiled wife. With his talent for watchmaking, Isaac can be of use to Becher, but he knows his life is only worth something here as long as Becher needs his skills.
Anna Reznick waits table and washes linens for the Bechers, who dine and socialise and carry on as if they don’t constantly have death all around them. When she meets Isaac she knows she’s found a true friend, and maybe more. But Dachau is a dangerous place where you can never take love for granted, and when Isaac discovers a heartbreaking secret hidden in the depths of Becher’s workshop, it will put Anna and Issac in terrible danger…
A gorgeously emotional and tear-jerking read set during World War Two. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, We Were the Lucky Ones and The Alice Network.
What I Thought
I love the way the author tells us this story from multiple points of view. Each of those points of view are very important. You hear from Isaac who is the glorious watchmaker and can fix anything elder character. 29 year old Anna’s point of view from inside the house of the Bechers is of courage and kindness, although I’m pretty sure she would tell you she’s not very courageous! The third character you are told the story from is 11 year old Friedrich Becher. He has been taught by his parents (who share no love for him) to despise Jews. People he has never met. Friedrich learns what is really going on beyond his garden wall at the Dachau camp and is repulsed by it. He becomes firm friends with Anna and Isaac, who listen and have time for him, unlike his parents.
Isaac works all day long fixing watches in the cold shed down in the garden. He finds some old letters under the floor which could spell trouble for him and Anna who he shares his discovery with.
It’s a book that will absorb into you, will bring emotions and tears. You will wonder where the time went! There are a couple of parts of the book that shocked me so please be warned it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s such a fantastic read, that I’ve found it hard to get the words right for this review. Highly recommended and a well deserved 5 stars for the author.
Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the advance copy.
Carly Schabowski worked as a journalist in both North Cyprus and Australia before returning to Oxford, where she studied for an MA and then a PhD in creative writing at Oxford Brookes University. Carly now teaches at Oxford Brookes University as an associate lecturer in Creative Writing for first and second-year English literature students.
Where Can I Buy The Book?
Here are the other blogs on the tour if you wish to read their reviews before *you buy.
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this review. You can check out my bookcase of past reviews here.