Friday, April 10, 2020

Book Review - The German Heiress by Anika Scott

My Review
The German Heiress is the story of Clara Falkenberg. When we first meet Clara, it is 1946 and she is living under an assumed name in Hamlin, Germany where she becomes engaged to a doctor who has secrets of his own.  However, her past compels her to return to Essen.  Her family owned a huge ironworks business in Essen and Clara helped run it during the war.  Her wartime work makes her sought after by the Allies, and especially one British officer who is determined to bring her to justice.  As she searches for a mysterious childhood friend, she meets Jakob, a marketeer on the black market who Clara calls on for help.  

I wanted to read this novel because I am interested in the 1940's and World War II historical fiction.  This story sounded very intriguing and different.

This book is a whirlwind ride.  Although it is beautifully written historical fiction, it is also a fast paced mystery.  The story of Clara's past, her family's many secrets, and her missing friend Elisa is peeled back layer by layer on the pages.

Clara is such an interesting protagonist -- not an admirable character but one who is very human and multi-layered.  Jakob is similar -- he is a black market seller but he is brave and caring.  (I loved the character of Jakob and thought his scenes were particularly compelling.)

The settings in this book were so atmospheric - the bombed out iron factory, Clara's childhood home (now occupied by Allied officers), and a mysterious bunker full of rations and weapons.  It would make an amazing movie!

A few chapters in I had to stop and re-read the author's biography from the back of the book. It is astounding to me that this is Anika Scott's first novel. It is so skillfully written and complex, and the language often sings like poetry.

I won't say more about the plot because there are so many twists and turns in this story.  I will say the ending of this book absolutely blew me away.  It was so unexpected and powerful.

I cannot recommend The German Heiress highly enough for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone who loves 1940's settings.  This is a must read!

Book Synopsis
Clara Falkenberg, once Germany’s most eligible and lauded heiress, earned the nickname “the Iron Fräulein” during World War II for her role operating her family’s ironworks empire. It’s been nearly two years since the war ended and she’s left with nothing but a false identification card and a series of burning questions about her family’s past. With nowhere else to run to, she decides to return home and take refuge with her dear friend, Elisa.

Narrowly escaping a near-disastrous interrogation by a British officer who’s hell-bent on arresting her for war crimes, she arrives home to discover the city in ruins, and Elisa missing. As Clara begins tracking down Elisa, she encounters Jakob, a charismatic young man working on the black market, who, for his own reasons, is also searching for Elisa. Clara and Jakob soon discover how they might help each other—if only they can stay ahead of the officer determined to make Clara answer for her actions during the war.

Propulsive, meticulously researched, and action-fueled, The German Heiress is a mesmerizing page-turner that questions the meaning of justice and morality, deftly shining the spotlight on the often-overlooked perspective of Germans who were caught in the crossfire of the Nazi regime and had nowhere to turn.


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio
Anika Scott was a journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Chicago Tribune before moving to Germany, where she currently lives in Essen with her husband and two daughters. She has worked in radio, taught journalism seminars at an eastern German university, and written articles for European and American publications. Originally from Michigan, she grew up in a car industry family. This is her first novel.

Find out more about Anika at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.


Sara Strand said...

This sounds so great! Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

trish said...

Your enthusiasm really shines through in this review! You've made me excited to read it!