The Arts in Twickenham

While we are stuck at home in lock down, I thought I’d review an upcoming literary event that doesn’t require getting off our sofas. Local debut novelist Louise Fein’s People Like Us is published in May. Another local connection is that Louise holds an MA in Creative Writing from St Mary’s University, Twickenham. I’ve just finished reading a review copy and here’s why I think you’ll love this novel. The novel is set in Leipzig, 1930s Germany and the plot revolves around Hetty Heinrich, an SS officer’s daughter who falls in love with a Jewish boy. Eventually Hetty must make an impossible choice between Walter and her country. The novel ingeniously combines a fast-paced potboiler love- story narrative with a profound exposition of fanaticism and jingoism. The chillingly paranoid atmosphere of Nazi Germany is brilliantly and vividly evoked; this graphic backdrop makes the tension of whether the lovers end up together or not fretfully unbearable. The chapters are short and jittery in a style reminiscent of Louis De Bernières’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, this is a superb technical hallmark which adds to the intensity of the story. People Like Us is a gripping and heartrending love story! Fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Book Thief will love this!

Dr Richard Mills is Senior Lecturer in Literature and Popular Culture at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Contact: richard.mills@stmarys.ac.uk