After I closed the pages of A Game of Lies, I immediately wanted to know what would happen next to Hannah Vogel and especially to her relationship with Lars Lang. Would Hannah choose Boris over Lars? How would Anton react to Lars? My main theory was, though, that something indeed would happen to Lars on his trip to Russia…but that he had to be reunited with Hannah again no matter what. Therefore, my eyes were widely open and my jaw dropped open when I read the newly released synopsis for A City of Broken Glass. I literally had to stop myself from jumping up and down and screaming “yes!” ecstatically.
Hannah and Anton are in Poland to catch a story. They never dreamed of witnessing the deportation of Polish Jews from Germany on the way. Or meeting a very alive Lars after believing him to be dead for 2 years. After one unexpected stop-over and a kidnapping, Hannah’s agenda turns deadly: find her best friend’s missing daughter, escape Berlin and the Gestapo, save Anton and Lars, and evade the one person who is determined to kill her.
No, Rebecca Cantrell never does make it easy for Hannah. But each novel in the Hannah Vogel series has been a thrilling historical ride so far, and A City of Broken Glass is no exception. I enjoyed seeing Anton again, now a young teenager who finally meets Hannah’s last love interest face-to-face. Hannah was as quick-witted and determined as ever, fighting for her life and injustice when she can. This time, however, she is injured at the start of the novel, which makes her situation even more difficult. I confess that Lars is my favorite of Hannah’s love interests, so I was very pleased to see him in the picture again, physical injuries, heartache, and love scenes included. I was impressed how Cantrell has made him more human of a character than ever before, pointing out his flaws and his mistakes more acutely and polishing over my high opinion of him. She also completes what she started in A Game of Lies by ultimately pushing Boris out of the story for good.
In A City of Broken Glass, Hannah gains a lot, but she also loses a lot. She ends up back in Berlin, meets old friends, confronts a new enemy, and receives a marriage proposal—all of which result in either added joy or a lot of extra trouble. Or both. In comparison to previous novels in the series, there are more major events here happening at the same time in a short time span. There also is more violence. Historically speaking, the author creates an “inclining plane” to lead into the beginning of World War II. Just as Hannah reaches another climax in her life, the world she lives in is just on the edge of its own, teetering between hidden and open oppression. One of the things that drew me to the Hannah Vogel series in the first place was how Cantrell painted a sharp, visual experience of history for her readers and how her main character is not only admirable but also very likeable.
And I never, ever got bored during the course of the plot. The story flowed in a smooth combination of action, drama, and romance. And I loved every step taken. From Hannah’s defense against her kidnappers and her conversations with Anton to her reunion with Paul and the rescue of his daughter, A City of Broken Glass was graphic and exciting. It was bitingly suspenseful, emotionally moving, and just a little bit tantalizing. The Kristallnacht scenes were very eye-opening and they made me cringe, as they should. The ending was just as satisfying as in A Game of Lies—it left me still wondering what is going to happen to Hannah (and Lars) next.