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Publisher's Summary

Berlin, 1989. Siblings Rune and Lotte are shaken awake by Mama and told to follow her quietly into the night. Last time they snuck away from Papa, with Mama bruised and broken, they were back within a week. But this time they are starting a new life, Mama says - where nobody can ever hurt them again.

Ten years later, the memories of their escape are blurry; Mama is long gone, and the siblings are back at Papa’s house. But when they receive a mysterious notebook that seems to have come from Mama, Papa tears it apart. Could there be more to their past than they’ve been led to believe?

With Rune paralysed by fear, Lotte takes their fate into her own hands. When she learns about the ‘Puzzle Women’ working tirelessly to reconstruct files shredded by the former secret police, she begs them to help her piece Mama’s story back together. But as Papa’s threats against both siblings escalate, can they unite to learn the full, brutal truth in Mama’s own words at last?

©2020 Anna Ellory (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Puzzle Women

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jo Ann Roussey
  • 2021-01-17

Heartbreak to Joy

The book starts slowly, stay with it and feel your spirit lift at the end. I could feel the pain and the joy of the characters, whose humanity opens and expands to welcome possibilities of love.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sandra
  • 2022-05-13

Historical fiction - The Puzzle Women

Trigger warning: this book depicts extreme emotional and physical abuse. The Puzzle Women was a difficult read for me and I recommend it with reservation because of the subject matter..
The title refers to a real group dedicated to reassembling shredded files of the Stasi secret police agency in the German Democratic Republic from 1950-1990. In the book they are instrumental in piecing together a fractured family. It is set in dual time periods, around the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and ten years later..
The book is beautifully written, the first-person voice of each major character (Rune, Lotte, and Mama) is compelling, and the audio narrator is exceptional.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Just Chris
  • 2021-12-02

Very moving listen

This is not my normal genre. Although I keep getting drawn back to WWII and post-WWII literature due to my German heritage, I continue to have a hard time processing the evils inflicted on others by narcissists. I'm glad I stuck with this one. It's a beautiful story of the strength of a mother's love from her own perspective and that of her traumatized children, the unexpected community that lends their support and strength, and the power of forgiveness. Kristin Atherton is a masterful audio performer and a perfect match for this genre. She deftly and with great care conveys pain, innocence, and love as well as leaves you uncomfortable and disturbed with her portrayal of fear and wickedness. Her rich voice magically morphs between characters providing an immersive and flawless audio experience. This one will stay with me for a while.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Joan M. McNamara
  • 2021-07-13

This was a 3-4 star book for me

The audible performances were excellent and the story was pretty good. I had a hard time deciding between 3 and 4 stars but ended with 3 stars. A nice listen all around.