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Sex, drugs and rock and roll. What more does a novel need?

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Book By Author:  Gerard Shirar

 The Girl Called Princess Charlotte


The Girl Called Princess Charlotte

 Boston attorney Theodore Murphy,Teddy to his friends, has been handed a seemingly straightforwardcase: to recover a valuable paintingby Franz Winterhalter, Young Girl

Called Princess Charlotte, which wasstolen by the Nazis from Jewish art dealer Dr. Markus Steiner.
Date Reviewed:   



A powerful novel that shows us the fragility of our world even in these modern times.


An emotional historical mystery thriller, The Girl Called Princess Charlotte by Gerard Shirar, is essentially two stories. Both stories center around a valuable stolen painting with the same name as the novel title. Boston lawyer Teddy Murphy is handed a unique civil case to reclaim the painting for a foundation started by the original owner, Dr. Markus Steiner. Teddy must argue that the painting was stolen from Steiner’s art gallery by the Nazis during the start of WWII and, regardless of how the current owner obtained it, it should be returned. In preparation for the trial, Teddy is given several of Steiner’s diaries to read and then the other story begins.

Shirar, the author, now takes us on a unique journey of historical importance that I was truly entranced with. Starting in 1907, Steiner’s diaries follow his life from a young man who enters the First World War as a German Jew fighting in the trenches against the French and British, to living in a completely different Germany at the start of WWII where he is persecuted. His business is ruined and he is forced to flee. Shirar’s renditions of the First World War are shockingly honest. His writing shows how life in the trenches was brutal and lonely. He also dwells on the sexual frustration of young men trapped with no release for weeks at a time. Be warned that is not a novel for adolescents as he continues on with the sexual exploration for the rest of the diaries. That being said, it shows how the human psyche needs release during difficult times to survive. The continuing diaries follow Steiner throughout the tumultuous 20’s; Berlin at the height of its sexual awakening and Germany falling apart after WWI. The memoires of living through the 30’s offer a history lesson that all should read on how the Nazis came to power. 

What I found interesting was not only were Steiner’s diaries written in the first person but Teddy, the narrator, was also written in the first person which made for a fascinating perspective.  Although Teddy’s personal life was a bit dry sometimes, through his experience of Steiner’s life, he began evaluating his own.  As the intriguing investigations and revelations of the upcoming trial continued, Shirar showed through the diary entries how the German people of the time, even some Jews, deceived themselves into believing that Hitler’s rise to power through the early 30’s was nothing at all - thinking that life would stay the same and eventually return to normal. The Girl Called Princess Charlotte, is a powerful novel that shows us the fragility of our world even in these modern times.


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Author:  Gerard Shirar