Tainted Amber by Gabriele Goldstone (Ronsdale $12.95)
BCBW 2021

It’s hard to beat the context of wartime for focusing a reader’s attention on matters of good and evil. A servant girl, Katya, working on a horse breeding estate in East Prussia in the pre-war year of 1937, is at the core of Tainted Amber by Gabriele Goldstone. Katya travels one hot summer day with her good friend Minna to a spa town on the Baltic, looking for a special piece of amber. The girls are accompanied by the estate owner’s two sons, Helmut and David. But terrible things happen on the trip, turning the amber into a bad talisman. After Minna suddenly leaves for Vienna, the servant hired to replace her is a fervent Nazi supporter, who catches the eye of Helmut and they marry. David, whom Katya loves, and who will have nothing to do with Nazism, has an epileptic seizure. According to the country’s new race laws, David must be sterilized. Katya learns that the piece of amber from the Baltic is a symbol to Minna of her rape by Helmut. War is about to break out and life gets even more complicated for Katya. 978-1-55380-614-1