The Glimmer Palace – Book Review

The Glimmer Palace by Beatrice Colin

“The Glimmer Palace” is the story of Lilly Nelly Aphrodite, a young girl born illegitimately to a cabaret performer and a Bavarian count in Berlin in the first minutes of the year 1900. Orphaned before her second birthday, Lilly would have to figure out how to survive Berlin during World Wars I and II.

When I first started reading this book, I was a bit skeptical, partly because I hadn’t read the description on the back of the book. First of all, there were all of these references to old movies at the beginning of each chapter, and I simply couldn’t see how they tied in. In addition, towards the beginning the book seemed to me to be not exactly boring, but not super gripping either. Due to this, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I had read over 70 pages during my lunch hour, even though I had walked across the street for lunch, then walked over to the University to find a bench and continue reading.

I was even more surprised the next day when I found myself really starting to care about Lilly and her friend Hanna, and becoming very invested in their stories. I have seen some comments stating that what happened to them was simply one bad thing after another, but I thought that Colin portrayed Germany from the first half of the century very well. I felt that I could see Berlin, from its glory before WWI; to the deprivations during the war; to the devestation wrecked by reparations; to the build up of hatred, scape-goating, and Nazi power before WWII.

I would highly recommend this book to people interested in a good story, or wanting a representation of Berlin between the wars. The information about period movies did end up tying in very well towards the middle of the book, so I would also recommend this novel to those who have an interest in early film. Go ahead, try “The Glimmer Palace” and let it sneak up on you!

Buy this book on Amazon.

6 comments to The Glimmer Palace – Book Review

  • This is something I’m really going to have to read. I went to Berlin in 97 and I just loved it there. When I was there it felt like I had always been destined to be there at some point. The Berlin Wall fell at the end of my senior year of high school. Those kinds of events always stay with you. You can see at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium where Hitler sat during the games. It was very spooky. While we were there we crossed over the border between West and East Berlin and it was like walking from plenty to destitution almost immediately. Even the architecture of the newer buildings was drab. And, despite the fact that the Communists were gone, we all still felt the need to watch our backs. Thanks for the early morning walk down memory lane. :) I’d love to read a little bit about the city’s history.

  • Oh great…another book joins the TBR pile. So many books, so little time!!
    (Thanks for the great review!!)

  • Oh glad to hear you enjoyed this! I’ve got this one on my TBR stack and hope to pick it up soon.

  • I also received an ARC of this book. It does look good! Glad you liked it!

  • I really feel for these poor people, no wonder they were so looking for a great leader to help them (even if Hitler turned out to be otherwise)
    I thought it was well written, very decriptive, covered love, trust, and what one has to do to survive.
    The ending was GREAT AND SAD

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