"The Girl From Berlin" by Ronald H. Balson; St. Martin's Press (384 pages, $27.99)
At the heart of "The Girl From Berlin" sits a simmering property dispute involving an idyllic home in Tuscany where Gabriella Vincenzo sometimes plays a violin in the early morning as the sun rises over a small vineyard.
But the disagreement over who owns the farm spans generations and countries and touches on some of the most significant horrors of the 20th century – Jewish life in Nazi Germany, wartime atrocities, refugees. It touches on the very nature of family. And it turns out that being able to prove your right to the land where you found peace is complicated indeed.
When Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart decide to take the case at the behest of an old friend in Chicago, they are forced to transplant themselves to Tuscany in an attempt to untangle the threads of the case. In "The Girl From Berlin," best-selling author Ronald H. Balson creates a fascinating mystery that will stick with readers for weeks. His characters are empathetic and interesting, and the unwinding of the tale strikes just the right balance between page-turner and historical fiction.