The Foreign Service Journal, November 2023

44 NOVEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Cold Peace: A Novel of the Berlin Airlift, Part I Helena P. Schrader, Cross Seas Press, 2023, $23.95/paperback, e-book available, 516 pages. Cold Peace is the first book of an intended trilogy about the Berlin Airlift, the Soviet-imposed blockade on the western sector of Berlin in 1948. Western governments either needed to withdraw from Berlin or find another way to support the 2 million civilians living in what came to be West Berlin, and they made the risky decision to deliver food and fuel by air. Author Helena Schrader lived in Germany for 26 years, earning a Ph.D. in history from the University of Hamburg before becoming a Foreign Service officer in 2005. When commissioned by the History Press to write a book on the Berlin Airlift for the 60th anniversary, she began interviewing eyewitnesses to the event who lived in Berlin and the U.K., which inspired her to write a novel (or three) about the airlift. This first part covers the period from 1947 until the blockage in June 1948. It is intended to introduce all of the main characters and give readers a feel for what it was like to live in postwar Berlin. Retiring from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2018, Helena Schrader now writes full-time from an island in Greece. As an FSO, she spent most of her career in Europe and Africa. Her last post was as an economic officer in Addis Ababa. She has published 18 historical novels; Grounded Eagles (2021), an anthology of three novellas set during World War II; and a nonfiction book, The Holy Land in the Era of the Crusades: Kingdoms at the Crossroads of Civilizations, 1100-1300 (2022). Beautiful in Death Caroline Taylor, Tuxtails Publishing, 2023, $16.99/paperback, e-book available, 290 pages. When Roxy Halstead finds business partner Mandy dead in the office, she knows she’s going to be a suspect—not only did she dislike the lying, cheating Mandy, but Roxy has her own secret past, including a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army, that would interest the police. But then Roxy’s brother is murdered; she knows she needs help. She turns to Kane Llewelyn, a fit and handsome musician who lives in her building. The story unfolds in a flurry of hidden flash drives, insulin overdoses, and armed intruders. Meanwhile, Roxy finds herself falling for Kane—if only his music weren’t so terrible. Caroline Taylor was in the Foreign Service from 1969 to 1972 as a secretary in Tel Aviv and Quito. She has since written numerous mysteries, including her most recent, The Killer’s Stepsister, The Pit Road War, and Juror Number 10 (all published in 2023). A member of Mystery Writers of America, Taylor lives in North Carolina. The Damascus Affair Shawn Tenbrink, Scoutswell, 2023, $12.99/paperback, e-book available, 217 pages. Dubbed Shawn Tenbrink’s “debut novel,” this book reads much more like a memoir. Tenbrink’s protagonist is also named Shawn, and like the author, the character is a Foreign Service officer whose first overseas assignment is to Damascus, just after the start of the Arab Spring. The novel elucidates what embassy life is like in a country embroiled in civil war, where the host government is at odds with the U.S. He describes everyday life, from learning to navigate traffic circles to meeting with the ambassador. Tenbrink also describes how Shawn falls in love with a Syrian woman, Amal, before ending on a cliffhanger: He departs Damascus as the violence heats up, leaving Amal behind and leaving the reader to wonder what will become of their relationship as Syria collapses. An active-duty political officer with the State Department, Shawn Tenbrink joined the Foreign Service in 2010. He has served in Damascus, Muscat, and twice in Beirut. Currently the political and economic chief at the U.S. consulate in Casablanca, Tenbrink was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco from 2006 to 2008. Mañana Is Yesterday Irving Tragen, independently published, 2023, $9.95/paperback, e-book available, 370 pages. At 100 years old, retired Foreign Service Officer Irving Tragen embarked on a new challenge: writing his first novel. Mañana Is Yesterday tells the story of Leona, a woman from a wealthy Salvadorean family whose silence during a critical political meeting will move her country backward, unleashing a series of development errors.