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Wunderland

A Novel
Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
Length: 15 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (118 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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“Searing...a heartbreaking page-turner.” (People (Book of the Week)

An intimate portrait of a friendship severed by history, and a sweeping saga of wartime, motherhood, and legacy by an award-winning novelist

East Village, 1989
Things had never been easy between Ava Fisher and her estranged mother Ilse. Too many questions hovered between them: Who was Ava's father? Where had Ilse been during the war? Why had she left her only child in a German orphanage during the war’s final months? But now Ilse’s ashes have arrived from Germany, and with them, a trove of unsent letters addressed to someone else unknown to Ava: Renate Bauer, a childhood friend. As her mother’s letters unfurl a dark past, Ava spirals deep into the shocking history of a woman she never truly knew.  

Berlin, 1933
As the Nazi party tightens its grip on the city, Ilse and Renate find their friendship under siege - and Ilse’s increasing involvement in the Hitler Youth movement leaves them on opposing sides of the gathering storm. Then the Nuremburg Laws force Renate to confront a long-buried past, and a catastrophic betrayal is set in motion....

An unflinching exploration of Nazi Germany and its legacy, Wunderland is at once a powerful portrait of an unspeakable crime history and a pause register contemplation of womanhood, wartime, and just how far we might go in order to belong. 

Praise for Wunderland

“Engrossing.... Epstein reveals the devastating choices these women make.” (Real Simple)

Wunderland is both an engrossing family drama and a foray into a dark period of history...a wholly original angle to the WWII novel. You’ll read it in one shivered sitting.” (Refinery29)

“A vividly written and stark chronicle of Nazism and its legacies.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A wealth of history turns Wunderland into a novel that’s both beautiful and devastating.... Epstein taps into the 1930s prewar era, laying out an unsparing narrative that details tragic events and horrifying legacies...opening a new door that may lead to redemption and joy for future generations.” (BookPage (starred review)

“[A] heartbreaking historical tour de force.... Man’s inhumanity to man - and the redemptive power of forgiveness - is on stark and effective display in Epstein’s gripping novel, a devastating tale bound for bestseller lists.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

©2019 Jennifer Cody Epstein (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Take a fascinating inside look at the twisted world of Nazi Germany in Wunderland, Jennifer Cody Epstein’s wonderful new novel. Both heartbreaking and hopeful, this story of a daughter searching for the truth about her mother’s secret past, tangled up in old secrets and terrible lies, kept me up late turning pages.” (Martha Hall Kelly, author of The Lilac Girls)

“[A] heartbreaking historical tour de force... Man’s inhumanity to man - and the redemptive power of forgiveness - is on stark and effective display in Epstein’s gripping novel, a devastating tale bound for bestseller lists.” (Publishers Weekly

"A vividly written and stark chronicle of Nazism and its legacies.” (Kirkus

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Amazing book

I have exclusively read WW2 books over the last couple of years. Some of the books have become slightly redundant as the number grows; however, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have to say that this is my favorite WW2 book. The storyline slowly escalated throughout the book with a most amazing ending. Narrator is one of the best I’ve heard.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Wunderful

I was just a young child during WW II,many news reports were did not interest me at the time. I found this book informative and very interesting. I knew the Jewish people were persecuted but the author painted a very realistic picture of the horrors during this terrible chapter in our history. I enjoyed the book immensely and was sorry when it was over.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Glad I saw this thru

At the start of book I wanted to return it. Too much time spent on pre teen prattle. Took way to long to establish the deep friendship of two girls. But when story actually did get started it was excellent and heartbreaking I learned so much of pre war berlin and Germany and how easy it was for hitler to ease his way into the people’s hearts didn’t realize fully how countries seemed to turn a blind eye to the way nazis were treating the Jews a long time prior to WW2. This book is worth It could d have been a little shorter

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Wow, Just Wow!

This book is so well written, the story so compelling, that I couldn’t stop listening. I am a child of WWII parents. My mother lived through the Blitz in London, met and married my father who was a Major in the American Army. His heritage is almost solidly German and particularly Prussian. This book filled in so many of the gaps for me. I have studied WWII and Hitler’s life and I found this book to be very believable and authentic. The ending was very satisfying and unexpected. Love eventually wins over anyone with a will to open themselves themselves up to it. I was thoroughly immersed in this book and feel like I knew all involved in this story. I know that I will listen to it again eventually. Thank you Jennifer Cody Epstein.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So good

I cannot even tell you how much I enjoyed this book. The story the characters the narration. All of it. Perfect. Thank you to the author. I absolutely love when you have an amazing story and you finish sad it is over. It is the sign of an amazing story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gail
  • jackson, NJ, United States
  • 07-13-19

Outstanding!

On my all-time top 10 list. Well developed characters, extraordinary story line spanning decades and generations. Beautifully written and performed. A perfect 10! Bravo!

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heart breaking and amazing

enjoyed
broke my heart
transported me to another time
clear and strong characters
woven story

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Riveting

A powerful and important story of a family trapped by Hitlers mission to destroy the Jewish people. But this it is also about family,identity, love and sacrifice. The characters are strong and surprising as they act in all too human ways sometimes severing the ties they need to hold on to that humanity. The performance is excellent but it is this compelling story of good people facing profound evil that makes one wonder when do you resist ? At the very beginning or when it is too late?
Don’t miss Wunderland.

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Loved it!

Compelling read! My favorite genre of books. Listened to it almost constantly. The narrator was excellent. The most compelling moment was the realization that Franz was Ava's father.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mintychristine
  • 05-13-19

A Great Audii

Really enjoyed this book Audio very authentic Storyline was good Totally immersed into story Shame about the ending