The book I most associate Judith Kerr with is When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and it’s another of the very few primary school class books I actually enjoyed. It’s a fictionalised autobiography, describing how Judith’s (Anna in the book) family leaves Germany as Hitler comes into power. Her father (actually the Jewish drama critic and journalist Alfred Kerr) was a noted opponent of the Nazi party and the family escaped Berlin with little time to spare. Pink Rabbit, the first in a trilogy, ends as the family arrives in England as hopeful refugees. This was the first novel I read set in this time period and is one of the most impactful books I read as a child.
A Hidden Beauty by Tessa Barclay covers a great swathe of time, sweeping through the fifties and early sixties in the wake of Corie Duggan. Corie is a photographer and through her job is present at many of the major events of the period. I love this kind of book with a long look at the main character. Tessa Barclay is a great storyteller and this epic example of her work keeps moving along at a cracking pace. London life in the early fifties, Grace Kelly’s Monaco wedding, war-torn Korea, Cuba in turmoil and the Berlin Wall all feature and are surrounded by a fascinating supporting cast including the up-and-coming politician Jack Kennedy and his PR man, German-American Drew Richter.