Book Review: That Summer in Berlin by Lecia Cornwall

Posted October 10, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger, Uncategorized / 41 Comments

That Summer in Berlin
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

by Lecia Cornwall
Publication Date October 11, 2022
Published by Penguin
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Genres: Fiction / Historical / World War II, Fiction / Romance / Historical / 20th Century, Fiction / Women
Pages: 464
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

In the summer of 1936, while the Nazis make secret plans for World War II, a courageous and daring young woman struggles to expose the lies behind the dazzling spectacle of the Berlin Olympics. 

German power is rising again, threatening a war that will be even worse than the last one. The English aristocracy turns to an age-old institution to stave off war and strengthen political bonds—marriage. Debutantes flock to Germany, including Viviane Alden. On holiday with her sister during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Viviane’s true purpose is more clandestine. While many in England want to appease Hitler, others seek to prove Germany is rearming. But they need evidence, photographs to tell the tale, and Viviane is a genius with her trusty Leica. And who would suspect a pretty, young tourist taking holiday snaps of being a spy?
Viviane expects to find hatred and injustice, but during the Olympics, with the world watching, Germany is on its best behavior, graciously welcoming tourists to a festival of peace and goodwill. But first impressions can be deceiving, and it’s up to Viviane and the journalist she’s paired with—a daring man with a guarded heart—to reveal the truth.
But others have their own reasons for befriending Viviane, and her adventure takes a darker turn. Suddenly Viviane finds herself caught in a web of far more deadly games—and closer than she ever imagined to the brink of war.

That Summer in Berlin by Lecia Cornwall is a historical novel set just before World War II’s outbreak and set in Britain and Germany.  

Story Recap: 

In order to escape a marriage to an unsuitable man, debutante Viviane Alden decides to accompany her sister to Germany to visit their aristocratic cousins.  The time is 1936, and the women are promised they will be able to go to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.  

Vivianne isn’t the typical debutante; she has a talent for photography and isn’t just visiting Germany as a holiday.  She has a covert mission to try and photograph Germany’s build-up to the war in order to help convince British leaders that Hitler is a real threat.  When Vivienne’s fundamental mission is revealed, she finds herself in a life-threatening situation and she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to return to England.  

My Thoughts: 

I enjoyed this book very much.  I liked that it showed the build-up towards war and not the actual war itself.  Vivianne was one of the few in her family that could see the Nazis for what they were.  She used her camera to show her country what was really going on behind all the glamour and beauty of the Olympic Games.  Her “holiday photos” were actually photos to expose the build-up of arms in Germany.  Vivienne is such a courageous and intelligent heroine in this story, she didn’t want to marry for money and live a life of aristocracy in England, instead, she chose to work for her country and spy on the Germans.  

I never realized that the British Aristocracy sent young women to Germany to try and heal relations with Germany before the war started.  At that time, it wasn’t known how horrible the situation was in Germany, and that’s why Vivienne’s photos were so important.  

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to get into a historical novel right away, but that is not the case with That Summer in Berlin.  I was immediately swept away and the exciting pace continued throughout the book.  


I highly recommend That Summer in Berlin to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Lecia Cornwall

Lecia Cornwall, acclaimed author of numerous historical romance novels, lives
and writes in the beautiful foothills of the Canadian Rockies with four cats and a
wild and crazy ninety-pound chocolate Lab named Andy. She has two grown
children and one very patient husband. When she is not writing, Lecia is a
dedicated volunteer at the Museum of the Highwood in High River, Alberta. The
Woman at the Front is her first novel of historical women's fiction.

Have you read That Summer In Berlin? Do you enjoy historical fiction set during World War II?

41 responses to “Book Review: That Summer in Berlin by Lecia Cornwall

  1. This sounds good and like you I had no idea about British young women being sent into Germany to heal relations. I really like that this takes place before the War and the Olympic setting also appeals to me. Great review!

  2. I never read a story set in build up to WWII time, this might be very sensitive and important time. Excellent review!

  3. Historical fiction is not my thing. This book, however, sounds like one I could give a try. I would need to be in the mood though.

  4. I like that you pointed out that this book is about the buildup to the war. Wars don’t happen overnight, and we tend to forget that when we read history. Good review, Wendy!

    • It was interesting to see how so many people during this time period didn’t see it coming at all, and that seems realistic to me.

  5. This sounds like a good one, I’m glad you enjoyed it. That’s interesting about them sending women to Germany before the war started. Great post!

  6. Vivianne does sound like a courageous heroine. And I love that this one is set during the Berlin Olympics in 1936! 😀

  7. What a scary mission. Didn’t know Britain did that either. I enjoy books set in this time period. I’ll have to check it out. Wonderful review, Wendy!

  8. Sounds a wonderful read. I haven’t read many books that are set in or around the build up to the war either, it’s mostly in the war itself. Great review, Wendy🙂

  9. Jenny+McClinton

    I sometimes find it hard to get into historical fiction too, but usually if I keep reading I enjoy it. Great review 😊

  10. I am usually apprehensive about reading stories at this point in history but this story sounds lovely! I appreciate your wonderful review letting me know it does not show the war as this is a definite no for me. I’ll see if my library will carry this book!