BOOK CLUB: Suitcase Of Dreams

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Author: Tania Blanchard
ISBN: 978-19-2559-616-8
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: November 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

We featured Tania Blanchard’s bestselling debut novel The Girl from Munich as a book club title when it released and I adored it, so when I saw the upcoming release of another novel I knew that it would be a book our readers would love. Suitcase of Dreams is the sequel that I was so looking forward to.

Suitcase of Dreams is a dramatic tale of identity, of love, of new beginnings and it’s inspired by a true story. Blanchard’s family has a multicultural heritage that is rich with stories just waiting to be told and she has a beautiful way of telling them.

Lotte Drescher and her family have endured the horrors of Nazi Germany and the postwar occupation before finally setting off for a new life. Full of hope they arrive in Australia in 1956. Lotte and her husband Erich dream of offering their children the future they always wanted in this new land of opportunity.

Years of struggle see the Dreschers finally finding their feet and creating successful businesses. The struggles and the sacrifices seem worth it, until the past reaches out them and Erich is threatened for his role in the trade union movement.

Lotte will finally discover the true meaning of home when a visitor forces her to a crossroad that will change her life forever.

Tania Blanchard can be followed on her website and Facebook.

Suitcase of Dreams is published by Simon & Schuster and available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster 30 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading Suitcase of Dreams so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

32 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Suitcase Of Dreams

  1. Thank you to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Suitcase of Dreams written by Tania Blanchard.
    Lotte Drescher, her husband Erich and daughters Johanna and Greta leave Germany after the horrors of World War II and head to Australia. It’s 1956.
    They begin to dream of a peaceful life and more importantly they begin planning for the future. They first set foot in the migrant camp Bonegilla in NSW then spent some time in the Villawood hostel in Sydney. before finally moving into their own property.
    Erich was qualified as an engineer in Germany however his qualifications are not recognised in Australia. he is able to work as a wood carver and Lotte is able to find her dream job in photography.
    Lotte and Erich struggle for years. They work long hours for little money. It’s a hard road to happiness which could all come undone when her husband Erich gets involved in the trade union.
    Erich means well advocating for equality, safety and fair pay for his fellow migrants. There is a marked difference to the treatment of Australian workers and migrant workers.
    Australia’s attitude towards German immigrants was still frosty given the atrocities of World War II were still fresh in people’s minds.

    Notwithstanding their challenges they were determined to make a better life.
    it was incredibly frustrating to read this book in a way. Every time they seemed to get somewhere either Erich would lose his job or something would happen to him which undid all their hard work. The young girls were resilient and went with the flow however it must have been incredibly difficult for Lotte. It seemed like Lotte gave her all and received nothing but hardship in return. There were even moments where she considered returning to Germany.
    The resilience, determination and hard working migrants of Australia should be proud. They worked so hard for so little to achieve a dream of owning their own homes and creating a safe place for their families and children to thrive. We take this for granted now but back then it was hard fought and treasured like expensive jewellery.
    This story was based on the true story of her grandparents who migrated to Australia. Its a fascinating read.

  2. I really enjoyed this book; even though it is a sequel to The Girl From Munich, I don’t think you would have to read it to still enjoy this story.
    Suitcase of Dreams spans a number of decades and gives the reader some wonderful characters who undergo all sorts of life events but the story is more than anything a reflection on society, culture and politics. It is interesting because I wonder whether we have really learnt anything from the past and the issues new immigrants to our country endure.

    The Drescher family arrive in 1956 at Bonegilla, a migrant camp in Victoria after a long sea trip from Germany. Lotte, her husband Erich and daughters Greta and Johanna are excited but also very nervous about their new life and future in Australia.

    Life isn’t easy for the family. Erich struggles to find a job as his qualifications as an engineer aren’t recognised in Australia. He eventually turns his hand as a wood carver just like his father. Lotte makes a career in photography a life long passion of hers. They want to give their daughters a better life no matter how difficult it is for them but Erich’s role in the trade union movement and a number of events start to causes issues for the family.

    The hardships the family suffer are not dissimilar to any migrant family coming to a new country and trying to start a new life full of hope and promise.

    The Suitcase of Dreams is based on true events as the author Tania Blanchard notes at the conclusion of the book. It Is her grandparents story and what a story it is.

  3. I was sooo excited to be reading the next book by Tania Blanchard. I loved her first book, The girl from Munich.

    After I read the first few chapters I think I had to stop and reflect on what I was reading and her previous book, maybe I had worked myself up to expect more, but I was kind of disappointed. It didn’t read like a story, more like a diary and breezed over some things, like a person watching what was happening rather than being in the story. But I kept reading and the more I got further into the book and the flow of the story, it made more sense. I will admit it took me a while but at the end, that style of writing actually suited it and I enjoyed it. You got to know the bones of what was happening, nothing more, it didn’t bring out my emotions like many other books that I have read. I didn’t feel frustrated at the way some family members treated Lotte, I didn’t get sad at certain events, they just happened.

    I loved the ending. That Lotte found herself and realized how strong of a woman she is, that she didn’t do what was expected of her because she should, it was her time for her.

    After the story finished, I read that it was based on her grandmothers true story which put it in a different light and I also understood that she ( Tania) may have felt the need to remove herself emotionally from it and tell it how it is which is why I thought it read like a diary.

    I mentioned the first book, but this can be read as a standalone, even tho there are references to The girl from Munich. Tania perfectly includes explanations of these references so there was no confusion or a need to try to understand what she was mentioning if you hadn’t read it.

    A good rainy day book, thank you Beauty and Lace for the chance to review it!

  4. A Suitcase of Dreams by Tania Blanchard follows the story of Erich and Lotte Drescher and their children as they arrive in Australia in 1956 to start a new life away from the ravages of war.
    They arrive full of optimism but find that life for a New Australian is not easy, their work skills and talents are not recognised, and they have to struggle to achieve a comfortable life.

    I enjoyed the story, but found the writing style became a bit boring, each chapter seemed to have the same theme, with an occasional break from the pattern.

    Overall, a good story, but the writing style was not to my personal taste.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  5. Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Beauty & Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read Suitcase of Dreams.

    I was delighted to be chosen to read Tania Blanchard’s latest book. I discovered Suitcase of Dreams is in fact a sequel to The Girl From Munich which I had not read. As I’m a stickler for reading books in order, I quickly downloaded the ebook version and proceeded to read it while waiting for the sequel to arrive. Although, Tania has written the book in such a way that you could read it as a standalone, I strongly recommend you read both as they are equally as good as the other.

    I found the style of writing very easy to read. Lotte, her husband Erich and their children travelled to Australia on the promise that there would be plenty of work and better opportunities for them to build a new life after leaving post war Germany.

    The hardships and struggles the family faced were numerous. Coming to a foreign land where they soon discovered that life was not going to be as easy as they thought tested them in many ways.

    Both Lotte and Erich were strong characters who had dealt with loss and adversity through a very difficult time in our history.

    I particularly enjoyed reading the story from a migrant’s perspective especially the parts relating to Australian culture and politics at that time.

    If you enjoy reading historical fiction and biographies, you will not be disappointed.

  6. Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Beauty & Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read Suitcase of Dreams.

    I was delighted to be chosen to read Tania Blanchard’s latest book. I discovered Suitcase of Dreams is in fact a sequel to The Girl From Munich which I had not read. As I’m a stickler for reading books in order, I quickly downloaded the ebook version and proceeded to read it while waiting for the sequel to arrive. Although, Tania has written the book in such a way that you could read it as a standalone, I strongly recommend you read both as they are equally as good as each other.

    I found the style of writing very easy to read. Lotte, her husband Erich and their children travelled to Australia on the promise that there would be plenty of work and better opportunities for them to build a new life after leaving post war Germany.

    The hardships and struggles the family faced were numerous. Coming to a foreign land where they soon discovered that life was not going to be as easy as they thought tested them in many ways.

    Both Lotte and Erich were strong characters who had dealt with loss and adversity through a very difficult time in our history.

    I particularly enjoyed reading the story from a migrant’s perspective especially the parts relating to Australian culture and politics at that time.

    If you enjoy reading historical fiction and biographies, you will not be disappointed.

  7. I love historical fiction and this novel is up there with the best.

    Suitcase of Dreams I would definitely recommend.

    This is the story of Lotte and Erich who leave Post-War Germany for a new life in Australia in 1956 with many promises. They want to give their girls many opportunities in life but find that the qualifications they had in Germany are not recognised in Australia as they were lead to believe and so struggle to find their feet as new Australians facing many hardships as migrants had to face at that time.

    Lotte and Erich show how their love for each other and their two daughters helps them to face many challenges.

    They undergo all sorts of events and this story displays the society, culture and politics of that time which in many cases we as a nation have not learned from.
    It is impossible not to get caught up in the disappointments that Lotte and Erich suffer as they try to make a life for themselves in a new country.

    Then as things seem to improve, Erich’s involvement in the trade union movement threaten their ongoing prospects.
    Later as their lives appear to be stabilizing things happen that turn Lotte’s world upside down.

    This is such an emotional and well written story full of wonderful characters and settings based on real people and events.

    My thanks to Beauty & Lace and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read this wonderful story.

  8. Thank you to Simon and Schuster, and Beauty and Lace Bookclub for the opportunity to read Suitcase of Dreams.

    Suitcase of Dreams by Tania Blanchard is the sequel to The Girl from Munich. I had read The Girl from Munich last year, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so was excited to read Suitcase of Dreams. The book did not disappoint.

    The story follows Lotte and Erich on their journey from Germany to Australia. It tells of the hardships they face when they arrive in Australia, and also the triumphs they experience. There are many twists and turns throughout the book, many of which are unexpected, hence why it is such a page turner.

    Tania Blanchard is a master story teller. Not only did I enjoy the story, I learnt so much about the struggles new migrants faced when they came to Australia. I think we all appreciate the richness that different nationalities have brought to Australia, but that wasn’t always the sentiment. It was good for me to see what migrants went through, and also wonderful to see how much we have changed from that time. Do new migrants still experience this same prejudice? Probably, but hopefully not to the same extent. I’m hoping that all who read this book will be more accepting to new migrants/ refugees.

    I thoroughly recommend this book. I hope to read many more of Tania Blanchard’s books.

  9. This book is actually the second of two books. When I began reading I didn’t feel that it made a difference to the story and felt enough information was provided on the characters past as the story progressed. I was immediately drawn into the story and the characters and the book stands on its own in that respect.

    The main characters are interesting, Lotte and Erich developed as characters and we saw the highs and lows in their life. As parents they often express their angst regarding their children in this new country but I felt this could have been explored more as ther is little on the children’s lives. Erich and Lotte have a great relationship and it is interesting to see them tackle their new life in Australia. This book has much to say about Australia back then and now. The struggles they went through then are no less relevant today for migrant families.

    I do like the book being written from Lottie’s perspective. She is a bright, intelligent and kind woman; willing to work hard and prove her life in Australia is worth the hardship. In fact the language used by Lotte is rich and vibrant. I also liked seeing the friendships they developed as time went by and how everyone pitched in to help each other, even if they had nothing to give.I feel that this is very much a migrant Australian attitude, even to this day.

    However, I found the first two thirds of the book the most enticing and struggled with the last part. I think it has more to do with the writers style than the plot of the story and found it disengaging when years passed between chapters. Maybe I am not used to this, but I found it challenging to stay engaged the further I got into the novel, feeling like I missed something. Particularly at the end, it felt rushed and quickly wrapped up.

    One thing that I loved reading in this novel was the locations where the family spent much of their lives. I loved reading how the Western Sydney area grew and how Liverpool and Villawood existed in that time period.

    I believe the story is strong but I am not a fan of the writing style. But if you are interested in migrant stories and learning about the lives of migrants this is an interesting read.

    Thank you Simon and Schuster and Beauty and Lace for the chance to read this book.

  10. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for giving me the opportunity to read and review this amazing book loaded with adversity.
    Definitely my kind of book even though I didn’t read “The Girl from Munich”, ‘‘Suitcase of Dreams” wasn’t compromised. Tania Blanchard told the story so well I found myself deeply moved and very difficult to put the book down. I was even more touched when I read the ‘Authors Note’ was based on the true life stories of her Grandmother to her granddaughter….. Well done Tania Blanchard

  11. Thankyou Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for a Suitcase of Dreams by Tania Blanchard. I enjoyed the book and am pleased to provide this review.

    This story is based on the authors discussions with her grandmother, the real experience of war, love and the dreams of a German couple emigrating to Australia in 1956.

    The family, Erich and Lotte and their two girls, Greta and Johanna. arrive in Australia with high expectations of beginning a new life. What they discover is quite different. Their experience parodies that of many migrants with issues such as racism, equal opportunity, political activism and feminism having significant effects on their attempts to assimilate.

    After a myriad of disappointments, the family begin to develop a sense of belonging and work hard to achieve their goals of a safe life in a country far removed from war torn Europe.
    This book is an enjoyable read, describing life for new migrants in this country. It spans several decades and provides a view of the changing Australian cultural, social and political way of life.

    I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a little romance , a little history and a story of emigration in Australia.

  12. Suitcase of Dreams is based on the true story of Tania Blanchard’s grandparents, which has been woven into a engrossing tale spanning the lives of the Drescher family.

    The Drescher family immigrate from Germany in 1956. Lotte, her husband Erich and daughters Greta and Johanna are excited first begin their new lives in Australia at the Bonegilla Migrant Camp in Victoria.

    Erich struggles to find work at first, before becoming a wood craver, while Lotte pursues her dream career in photography. They work extremely hard for years to give their daughters a better life in their new home, however Erich’s role in the trade union movement and other issues, including racism, causes issues for them. Despite this, their hard work, resilience and courage in the face of these events means they ‘put down roots’ so to speak, and create a safe, loving home for themselves in Australia.

    Suitcase of Dreams is a mix of history and romance, and provides a well-written insight into the lives of migrants in Australia and the issues they face while trying to achieve their goal of creating new lives for themselves and their families.

  13. I quickly got hooked within the first few pages of Suitcase of Dreams, it made no difference that I hadn’t read its predecessor The Girl from Munich which I was thankful for.

    After surviving the horrors of the Second World War, and the chaotic post-war occupation of Germany, Lotte, her husband Erich and their daughters travel to Australia with dreams of new opportunities and better life. After arriving in Australia, they discover that the future may not be as bright as what they had thought as “New Australians”

    The sacrifices they have made finally seem worth it until Erich’s role in the trade union movement threatens to have him branded a communist and endanger their family. As the shadow of the Vietnam War looms, the unexpected arrival of her former fiancé Heinrich forces Lotte to a turning point. She must decide whether to stay in Australia or return to Germany with him. Her decision will change her life forever.

    It is impossible not to get caught up in the story of Lotte and her family and the many disappointments they suffer as they try to make a good and happy life for themselves in Australia. This book spans decades and gives insight not just into the family but society, culture and politics of that time.

    I really enjoyed this book and it gave an extra special meaning Tania Blanchard based this story on the experiences of her grandparents. I will be purchasing The Girl from Munich so see how it all started but until then I highly recommend this book.

    Thank you Beauty & Lace and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read this wonderful story and review.

  14. I loved this book, and very highly recommend it.

    It is a story of love, war, loss, heartbreak and above all the importance of family- when you think things are going to fall apart, when life is just too tough the ending of this story will shock you

  15. I really enjoyed reading The suitcase Of Dreams by Tania Blanchard. This was my first book that I read written by Tania and I would say I am pleased with her writing style.
    It was easy to follow and quite entertaining for me. It was hard to put this book down.

    Surprised to learn that this story was based on a true story.

    This story is based on the life struggles of a family trying to establish themselves into a new country (Australia) after leaving their family , friends and all their belongings back in Germany.

    I could relate to the story so much as a migrant to Australia.
    Any migrant to Australia will appreciate reading this book as it will bring/relive memories of their own life struggles when they moved to this beautiful country. It was so enjoyable to read this book and at the same time pause and relive my memories and compare and contrast the struggles and successes my family went through when we moved to Australia. This book is truly an insight or a glimpse of the lives of migrant families and the ups and downs they face when they move here. It inspired me to right down a journal of my own to pass it on to my kids so that my grand-kids have a piece of history to read.

    I loved how the author described all the areas and landscapes of Australia. It was like a history lesson of how the past was.

    The twists and turns happening in the lives of the main characters made an interesting read and that’s why I could not put the book down because I was always curious to know what will happen next.
    There is some bit of romance in this book.

    The story also teaches me the powerful strong bond of a family and how that kept the characters of the book going amidst the struggles.

    Great read, recommend if you want a glimpse of migrant families and what they face when they move to Australia.

  16. I absolutely loved reading Suitcase Of Dreams by Tania Blanchard.
    It was certainly one of those novels that once I started I didnt want to put down until I finished.
    Revolving around the story of a family and their struggles trying to settle and establish themselves in Australia after the 2nd World War, this is a story ofLotte , her husband Erich and their daughters.
    Having left Germany with barely any of their nbelongings , it is not the fairytale new start in a new country that they would have expected.
    So many twists and turns , heartbreak and loss and even some romance.There is something to keep everyone enthralled in this great novel.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for allowing me to read and review Suitcase Of Dreams.

  17. I have to say I really found this book a hard read. It seemed that every chapter there was a new problem and the characters never seemed to get ahead.

    The reference to politics and unions was a bit much for me and I felt dragged on.

    I realise not everyone will feel the same about this book as I did.

    If you wanted to have an understanding of how migrants where treated and felt when they first arrived back in the early years then this is for you. It certainly makes it look easy for our migrants today.

  18. This is a great book which gives a real insight into the post war migrant experience. I now look at the “new Australians” of my childhood in a different way.
    Lotte and Erich flee the horrors of war in Europe only to have to face another horrible war in Vietnam.
    I haven’t read Girl From Munich but I will be now.

  19. I was really looking forward to reading Suitcase of Dreams as I had read The Girl from Munich and fell in love with the characters and Tania Blanchard’s abilities as a storyteller. I was certainly not disappointed, Suitcase of Dreams was every bit the emotional, heart pounding story I had expected.

    This story reminded me of my own family who experienced many similar circumstances as they arrived in Australia and lived in a shanty on the outskirts of Sydney. It amazes me the bravery of families willing to leave their homelands and travel by ship to the strange land of Australia, hoping for a better future for themselves and their families.

    I often read books whilst sitting in a cafe enjoying a cappuccino; a few hours reprieve and a special time for me. I found this difficult to do with Suitcase of Dreams as I found the story evoked much emotion and many tears as we learned of the struggles this family endured.

    I wish to commend Tania Blanchard on another beautiful book. The care you have taken in telling your family story, the research you have clearly done to help bring an honest reflection of the post-war era, and then the trials of the Vietnam War, has made this book a very enjoyable and emotional read. You are certainly very talented and I imagine your family are very proud to have their story told so beautifully.

    Thank you very much to Simon and Schuster Australia and Beauty and Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read this wonderful book.

  20. I hadn’t read The Girl From Munich so I was unsure how this would read as a stand-alone novel. But I loved it. Lotte was a woman who was ahead of her time. Her courage and determination made me want the best for her, her family and friends.

    As an immigrant myself, I empathised with the Drescher family. Luckily I was from the UK so my challenges were different. But fitting in to a new environment is always hard and reading about what it was like for German immigrants in the 1950’s, post WW2 was very interesting.

    I especially loved the historical aspect of this novel, it was brilliantly executed and a pleasure to read

  21. A really interesting story and perspective on the lives of migrants in Australia in the 50’s. My own family came to Australia in a similar way and I think I had forgotten what it must have been like for them.

    My heart broke for the family as they faced one adversity after another. I did really enjoy the way the characters evolved throughout the book.

    Easy to read and beautifully written. I will absolutely be keeping an eye out for further books by Tania Blanchard.

  22. What a beautiful book this was, I loved the story and the characters.
    How can a family suffer so much ? I kept asking myself.
    This true story of struggle in everyday life was very well written.
    It is fantastic that I was given the opportunity to read suitcase of dreams and I feel more enriched about learning about people’s struggles in life

  23. Suitcase of Dreams by Australian author Tania Blanchard is the sequel to the hit, The German Girl. As I haven’t read The German Girl I saw it as an opportunity to see if this saga could be read as a stand-a-alone. Blanchard has provided enough background information that it could be read without reading The German Girl first. While the prequel is set in Germany, Suitcase of Dreams is set in Australia between 1956 and 1976, based on the life of Blanchard’s grandparents. The narrator is Lotte Drescher, a migrant from Germany, along with her husband, Erich, and their two children, Greta and Johanna, chronicling their new life down under.

    The story begins with the family arriving on the shores of Western Australia and quickly moving from Victoria to New South Wales, where they eventually settle. Just like the Drescher family, I felt breathless on arrival, as if I didn’t have the opportunity to absorb and take in my new surroundings in a time so different to now. Everything moved so fast for people who were still recovering from the war. From here, Blanchard paints an honest picture of life for European migrants. I felt like I was living in Australia for the first time as she shows the difficulties Lotte and Eriche faced as they tried to get work and the racism they experienced daily. It was shocking and made me thankful that times have changed since then. I was most surprised to read about the lack of jobs for men and the distances they had to travel to secure a position. In contrast, their children seemed more adaptable. With the guidance of their parents, Greta and Johanna are able to navigate problems and have a good life.

    Erich’s character showed me that the unions played a vital role in helping migrants gain equality and rights that the Australians took for granted. Through their extended family, such as Lotte’s mother, I came to realise why the migrants of the past and the present stay in their own groups, reluctant to take up another life and culture. They feel that they are giving up their own culture to assimilate with another, however the generation gap is plays its own part too. On the flip side, I admired Lotte and Eriche for trying to embrace all that a new country had to offer them. The inner strength in both Lotte and Erich as individuals and as a couple was inspiring as they worked hard to make a better life for their children that they themselves never experienced. It’s a timely reminder of the many sacrifices made by the war generation that have allowed us the privileges we have today.

    This is a great read for fans of A Place To Call Home. With themes of war, migrants, racism and family, this is a novel to remind you of just how far we have come because of the sacrifices that the war generation made for their family.

    1. thanks for your in-depth review Nicole. I enjoyed this novel and her writing style and also reminded of previous generations struggles. It also allowed me to ask about my own family what their experiences were and gain some insight into what they struggled with in 1957 and they were remarkably similar. I think Tania has managed to capture the period and the families that came out here in the post war era beautifully

  24. Thanks you S&S and Beauty and Lace for the chance to read this.
    I have not read any of Tania Blanchard’s previous books, especially the Girl from Munich and I found it easy to read and follow as a stand alone novel.

    I enjoyed the writing style as it was evocative yet simple and thoroughly believable – I could easily have been reading a biography or autobiography. As my family were migrants from the same time, I could relate to their tales of displacement and racism experienced by Australians towards post war migrants at this time and found the family likeable and was able to empathise with their struggles.
    As others reviews have left in-depth synopsis of the storyline, all I will say it I really enjoyed reading this, I will certainly read Girl from Munich and pass Suitcase of Dreams around to others for them to enjoy as I did.

  25. I’ve just finished reading this and it was definitely a book I’ve enjoyed.

    Reading about the family evolve over the timeline portrayed really helped the story move along.

    This was definitely easy to read and it gave a great human touch to an era that I’ve only known through articles and museum exhibitions.

  26. Thank you beauty and lace for this book. I hadn’t read the girl from Munich but I really enjoyed this book and reading about the family migrating to Australia. It felt so real and was very well written. Highly recommend

  27. Thanks Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read Suitcase of Dreams
    Sorry this review is so late!

    Great reading but found tough going in some sections but as the story portrays it is based on a true story & life then & even now is tough going

    Enjoyed the history of early migrants & being from a family of migrants could find some similarities in the text

    This all said I enjoyed the book & once again thank you for the chance to review

  28. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this title. It didn’t hit me straight away that this was a sequel to The Girl From Munich which I was lucky enough to have been given the chance to review as well.

    Once I realised I was happy because I remembered reading the first one and wanting to know what happened to Lotte and Erich and co,

    That being said, I must be honest and say that I didn’t enjoy Suitcase of Dreams as much as its predecessor. It was nothing really in particular, I think it was just the fact that this one covered a larger time period and gave little snapshots of the background but I didn’t feel like the picture was painted as well as it could have been.

    With all of that out there it was still a great historical novel and certainly better than I could ever write.

  29. The story follows Lotte and her family on their journey to Australia after they leave their home of Germany post war. They arrive full of hope and try to find their feet as new Australians. It isn’t until years later when Lotte has to make a life changing decision whether to stay in Australia or move back to Germany with a past love.

    I loved the characters in the book as it reminded me of a time where my own family would have travelled from Europe to Australia in order to find a better life for themselves. As it is based on true stories it really brings you into the mind set of just what it would’ve been like to shift your whole life and to try and start a new life in a new unknown country without havering much knowledge of where you were going.

    I liked the fact that this book was written from Lottes point of view, as it gives the reader a real insight into the emotions and feelings of someone going through such big changes in their lives and the roller coaster of emotions that go along with such a big change.

    I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to others.

  30. Suitcase of Dreams by Australian author Tania Blanchard is the sequel to the hit, The Girl from Munich. As I haven’t read The Girl from Munich I saw it as an opportunity to see if this saga could be read as a stand–alone. Blanchard has provided enough background information that it could be read without reading The Girl from Munich first. While the prequel is set in Germany, Suitcase of Dreams is set in Australia between 1956 and 1976, based on the life of Blanchard’s grandparents. The narrator is Lotte Drescher, a migrant from Germany, along with her husband, Erich, and their two children, Greta and Johanna, chronicling their new life down under.

    The story begins with the family arriving on the shores of Western Australia and quickly moving from Victoria to New South Wales, where they eventually settle.
    I felt the story was very realistic for European immigrants- faced with very little jobs, Racism and prejudice.
    But also on the other side of that, you do also have the European immigrants that don’t want to change- they are stuck in their ways from their own country.

    I liked Lotte and Erich for trying to embrace all that a new country had to offer them. The inner strength in both Lotte and Erich as individuals and as a couple was inspiring as they worked hard to make a better life for their children that they themselves never experienced. It’s a timely reminder of the many sacrifices made by the war generation that have allowed us the privileges we have today.

    A great book for those who like A Place To Call Home or Victoria Puurman’s The Bonegilla Girls. With themes of war, migrants, racism and family, this is a novel to remind you of just how far we have come because of the sacrifices that the war generation made for their family.

    Thanks to Beauty and lace for this great read!

  31. I found this book to be quite boring. To me, there wasn’t much substance to the story. There was no real excitement or anything in the story that drew me in. I felt very much like an outsider, like a fly on the wall, as life drags on for the characters. Time did jump a fair bit too – at one point, the girls were children, then all of a sudden they are teenagers? It was a bit frustrating to read.

    I didn’t know until I started writing this review that this is actually a sequel to The Girl from Munich. I’m curious to read it – hopefully it will be a bit more engaging.

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