A review by dannafs
A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell


Hannah Vogel is a German journalist in the period preceding World War II. She walks through the police station one day and is shocked to come across a photograph of her younger brother, murdered. Ernst was a flamboyant, cross-dressing, homosexual, and the center of the local gay nightlife scene. Since Hannah and Ernst lent out their identity papers to a Jewish friend escaping Germany, Hannah does not feel she can come forward to identify Ernst's body. Instead, Hannah embarks on a mission to uncover the cause of Ernst's death and who is responsible for it. In the process, a young boy, Anton, is dropped on her doorstep, claiming he is Hannah's son, and that her brother Ernst was the boy's father. Inheriting a child of unknown lineage becomes an equally pressing focus in Hannah's life: who are his biological parents? Where has he been living? And,how can she protect him?

Trace of Smoke is a novel that interweaves historical facts in a way that educates the reader. Characters like Ernst Rohm are real-life personalities that fit right into Hannah's story. It is an entertaining and easy read. Even though it's around 600 pages long, it's fast-moving and a speed read. Trace of Smoke is part of a series and I was eager to read the next book when I finished the first, however, the next book wasn't really very good and I gave up after one hundred pages or so.