Skip to main content

The Spring of Kasper Meier by Ben Fergusson

Set in 1946 Berlin, the war has left the local population struggling to survive. With curfews and the military still in place and everything in short supply, many turn to the black market to buy and sell precious commodities. 

Kasper Meier is a regular trader on the black market. He can find anything anyone needs as long as it is for the right price. A young woman named Eva arrives at his home out of the blue one day asking him to help her find a British pilot. 

Lacking in sympathy and reluctant to interfere with the military, he tries to decline. But Eva has come prepared; she knows his secrets and uses them against him and so he has no choice but to get involved. 

He soon learns that Eva is only a small part of the puzzle, and Kasper is soon embroiled in an intricate web of secrets, lies and betrayal that become far more dangerous than he could ever have imagined for him, his elderly father and the young woman he is fast becoming fond of. 

This is my second review of a Young Writer of the Year Award 2015 shortlisted book and I can see why The Spring of Kasper Meier has made the cut. I’m a big fan of historical fiction anyway but for me the most striking thing about this novel is how brilliantly the author recreates the desolate setting of post-war Berlin. With images of crumbling, ruined buildings, underground bars and rubble filled streets; it fully immerses the reader in that time and place and is an excellent backdrop for the storyline that takes place. I enjoyed the theme of trading on the black market, and the fact that information is at times even more valuable than food and goods; which Kasper finds out the hard way. 

Kasper himself is surly and sometimes cold, but as the story unfolds, you uncover so much about his past and you can’t really help but feel for him at times. I especially liked the relationship that develops with Eva despite all the secrets between them. 

So with an evocative setting and well drawn characters, there is also a thrilling mystery running through the heart of the story that will keep you gripped right up until the end. I was completely absorbed into this novel and I think other historical fiction and thriller readers will be too. After this I’m eager to see future novels by Ben Fergusson. 


Popular posts from this blog

Roald Dahl Books

“The success of a short story is simple, it must have a beginning, a middle and an end. The reader must never want to put it down.” – Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was a huge part of my childhood reading. My sister and I had most of his books, from his single stories, picture and rhyming books and even a short story anthology. There was something magic about his way of storytelling that was the perfect mix of entertainment and genuinely engaging storyline. And of course who could forget the iconic illustrations by Quentin Blake!
One winning formula that I loved with a lot of his stories was the wily nature of the hero of the tale who would use cunning and brains in quite a humorous way to overcome their situation. For example in George’s Marvellous Medicine, my favourite part was always when George mixes his most foulest mixture of medicine to administer to his awful grandmother. And in Fantastic Mr Fox when he pulls of his amazing heist is another classic moment. 
There is usually quite a cl…

Goosebumps by R.L. Stine

Halloween is fast approaching. Pumpkins are appearing in shops, costumes are on sale and everyone bookish is discussing their favourite scary reads. With an abundance of skulls and spiders, ghosts and ghouls everywhere, it got me thinking about my own experiences of Halloween and relevant reads. 
Nothing to me, reminds me of Halloween in book terms than the Goosebumps books by American author R.L. Stine. They were a huge part of my literary childhood; my sister and I loved the spine tingling tales and collected many of the books. We had stand alone novels, the 3-in-1 collection books, Goosebumps 2000 series, and even a hardback Goosebumps book that wailed when you opened the cover! 
Since the release of the first novel, Welcome to Dead House in July 1992, the books gained immense popularity and commercial success worldwide. As of 2008, the series sold over 350 million books worldwide in 35 languages and has been listed on many bestseller lists, including the New York Times Best Selle…

The Salt Marsh - Prologue

It's my spot on The Salt Marsh blog tour today so below is the prologue from the novel by Clare Carson. Enjoy!
Monday 1 May 1978
Jim did his vanishing act the day of the spring fair. Sam was sitting in her room reading, the last of the apple blossom drifting past her window, Jim and the dog downstairs, her mother Liz and her sisters visiting the new baby of one of Liz’s old friends. Liz often went out on the days that Jim was at home. Her mother’s departure had been preceded by an argument. Sam had half heard Liz shouting, Jim shouting back, but hadn’t taken much notice because she had her head stuck in a book and, anyway, they always argued these days. Liz laughed, and that did catch Sam’s attention because there was something manic about the cackle. She clocked Liz yelling, ‘So if I want to know where you are, I’m supposed to call the fucking Home Secretary, am I?’ The front door crunched. Sam was glad to hide in her room, curled up on her beanbag with her book. As she read, s…