Searching for Gertrude

Where the Orient Express ends, our story begins …


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Searching for Gertrude

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While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position working at the consulate in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile.

With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago.

How far would you go to find the woman you love?

~ What Readers Are Saying ~

Looking for a book with romance, mystery, and espionage? Your search is over.

~ Laura Sandonato, Picking Books

A book which opened in such an exciting fashion so that it was hard to put down, right from the start.

~ N. N. Light

For anyone who has read DE Haggerty, you know that most of her books are lighthearted, funny as all get out and so entertaining-with this book we see the breadth of talent as a story creator she is.

~ Books Are Love

It’s 2am and I just can’t put it down.

~ Goodreads Reviewer

This WWII era story, set in Istanbul, is emotional, captivating and amazing.

~ Goodreads Reviewer

~ Book group discussion guide ~

Warning! May contain slight spoilers

  1. The novel is packed full of history about not only World War II but Turkey and Istanbul during this time. Is this a time period and location with which you were familiar? If not, did reading the novel pique your interest in Turkish history during this time?
  2. Rudolf fell in love with Gertrude when he was young. Despite their years of separation, he is determined to be reunited with her. Was his determination realistic? How far would you go for love? Would you travel to foreign lands? Pretend to agree with ideologies that made your stomach turn?
  3. Rosalyn wants to save the world. In fact, she goes to great lengths and moves to a strange land during a time of war. Are her actions believable? How far would you go to further a cause?
  4. The main characters of the novel represent the three main religions of the West: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. How well did the various religious work together in Istanbul?
  5. Rosalyn tries a variety of exotic Turkish dishes such as haydari (yogurt with herbs), ezme (a tomato and pepper salad), and, of course, kebab. Have you tried any of these dishes? Did you associate them with Turkish food? Did the novel make you curious about Turkish cuisine or was this merely background noise to the story itself?
  6. Searching for Gertrude takes place primarily in Istanbul, but there are also glimpses of New York, Germany and Israel. Which place would you most like to visit? Why?
  7. The search for Gertrude is eventually successful. Was the result a surprise? Were you disappointed with the result of the search for Gertrude? Would have written a different ending to Gertrude’s story?
  8. What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? What idea was she trying to get across? Was there a morale to this story?
  9. How did the book effect you? Did it change your opinion of actions taken by men and women who find themselves caught in a war? Do you think you could hang onto your beliefs and ideals during a war or would you do anything to survive?
  10. The topic of World War II and the fate of the Jews is one of the most written about historical subjects. Did the author have anything original or unique to add to this stack of books with Searching for Gertrude? In other words, how original and unique was the story?

~ Read an Excerpt ~