Kuhstedtermoor by Helen Waldron is certainly a book that is different than what I would normally read. At least I thought so at first. I was unsure what to expect when reading a story set in Germany, with some German words and dialect thrown in, as I am not familiar with Germany, per-se.
I was very pleasantly surprised as I was at the beginning of the story, and kept saying to myself, “just one more chapter!” It pulled me in right from the start, and it took some chaotic Christmas holiday events and personal family issues to make me put the story down for more than a day.
This story is written in the first-person, but you also get to experience the intertwining lives of the people in this small German town on a very personal level. On the outside, it appears as any regular run-of-the-mill small town where everyone knows everybody, including their secrets. But not all of their secrets.
Each character is intertwined with the next, but it did not feel cluttered or complicated. It felt like I was observing the people of Kuhstedtermoor from the outside, looking in. A silent watcher of the personal triumphs and tragedies of the townspeople, like seeing someone on the wrong path that you know you cannot help.
My almost-strict rule of no spoilers holds true for this story, but I will give you the scenario. A woman, new to Kuhstedtermoor, slowly gets to know the residents, even though she feels like an outsider; so very different from everyone else who lives there. As one young girl goes missing, the town gathers to search for her. With no trace or clues, the woman continues to watch, observe, and try to fit in. Gossip is idle, and contagious, and then girl #2 disappears.
You hope for the best, while expecting the worst, and will be turning pages until you get to the ending! At 22 chapters, this is a quick read (minus any personal-life interruptions!) and you will be glad you spent your time getting to know the residents of Kuhstedtermoor.
Kuhstedtermoor is the first part of The History Lovers trilogy and Helen Waldron’s first novel.
Helen works as an English Language Coach in Hamburg and has created a blog about the day-to-day business of two such language professionals which can be found here: http://speakeasyandwritewell.wordpress.com/.