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The German Heiress: A Novel

The German Heiress: A Novel

Написано Anika Scott

Озвучено Lisa Flanagan


The German Heiress: A Novel

Написано Anika Scott

Озвучено Lisa Flanagan

оценки:
4/5 (28 оценки)
Длина:
10 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Apr 7, 2020
ISBN:
9780062937759
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Описание

For readers of The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris, an immersive, heart-pounding debut about a German heiress on the run in post-World War II Germany.

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.

Издатель:
Издано:
Apr 7, 2020
ISBN:
9780062937759
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Также доступно как...

Также доступно как книгеКниге


Об авторе

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.

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3.8
28 оценки / 21 Обзоры
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  • (5/5)
    This novel exceeded my expectations. It had suspense, love, regret, agony, and more. The story wound itself through twists and turns, but remained believable. I very much enjoyed the unique historical perspective of this book. Well imagined and well read!
  • (4/5)
    *I received a copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.*I don't know if more historical novels are being published about postwar Germany or if I'm just reading more, but I'm noticing an interest in this era and the questions it poses about guilt and responsibility. This novel addresses how complicated the answers can be when the family and friends one thought they knew are involved. Clara Falkenberg was the heiress of a wealthy family and she gained acclaim during the war for managing her family's ironworks. But the war's end brought to light the horrors which kept German factories operating, making Clara a target for the British occupiers. Clara struggles with her own guilt and attempts to piece together what happened to her friends and family as the war changed all of their lives. This is a hard historical period to write about and I don't know how I feel towards the justice and morality the characters experienced, but perhaps there is no right answer.
  • (4/5)
    I read a lot of novels about WWII and always find it very interesting to find one from the German perspective. The war has been over for two years and the allied forces are busy trying to find war criminals to prosecute. Germany is still in disarray with people struggling to find food and shelter so it's fairly easy to hide from the authorities with a fake identification card. Margarete Muller is the fake name that Clara Falkenberg is using to try to return home. During the war, she ran her family ironworks company and used forced labor and inhumane practices to make cars and planes. As she returns home to find her best friend, she is also realizing how many people she hurt during the war and beginning to question her actions She always felt that she had done her best to protect her workers but the world saw her differently. Was she a cruel inhumane person, only concerned with increasing her family's wealth or was she compassionate and caring and just caught up in family's legacy? This is an excellent novel about someone making a personal journey and trying to make sense of their past while they strive for a better life in the future. It's an extremely well researched novel about love and family, acceptance and betrayal and forgiveness and redemption.
  • (4/5)
    What good does guilt do? It comes after the fact, never changing the past action that inspired it. The one thing that guilt does do though, is that it confirms the conscience of the person experiencing it. And without guilt there can be no true remorse, no hope that a person will do better going forward. This is particularly interesting in the context of the actions people take during wars like WWII. So many people just put their heads down and carried on. Some people truly agreed with the Nazis, throwing themselves into working for the party willingly, eagerly, while others did what they felt they must to survive. But when the dust settled, who was who? And does it even matter? Do guilt and remorse after the fact, coupled with small gestures during a great evil, balance out the immeasurable harm, known and unknown? What price does loyalty carry, especially loyalty to the wrong thing or person? Anika Scott asks these perhaps unanswerable, unknowable questions in her debut novel, The German Heiress, especially in the person of her main character, Clara Falkenburg, once known as the Iron Fraulein for her position assisting her father in the running of the family's massive ironworks, a key contributor to the Nazi war machine.Almost two full years after the end of WWII, Margarete Muller gets engaged to her doctor boyfriend just before telling him she needs to return home to search for her missing best friend. But this man with whom she thinks she might start a new life is not who he seems and she is repulsed by the hints of who he truly is. Then again neither she is not who she claims either. Margarete Muller is an alias and she is really the missing heiress to the Falkenburg ironworks, Clara Falkenburg, who fled her home before the Allies arrived. Now she feels pulled to return to Essen to find her friend Elisa and Elisa's son Willy. She is discovered on the train back and is briefly captured by the English Captain Thomas Fenshaw, who has been hunting her for war crimes for two years. She manages to escape but thus starts a cat and mouse game with Clara searching for Elisa and Fenshaw searching for Clara. As Clara searches, she finds an unexpected and unlikely ally in Jakob Relling, a black marketeer, who is searching for Elisa for his own reasons.While Clara is the main focus of the story, the narration centers on both Clara and Jakob Relling, showing the impact of the war on not only a figurehead suspected of war crimes (Clara) but also a regular German swept along in the war (Jakob). Jakob fought in the Nazi army in Russia, lost his leg, and now must do his best to provide for his two young sisters, one of whom is pregnant by a long disappeared English soldier, and the only family he has left out of a once large clan. Clara is on the run from the Captain, barely staying one step ahead of him and his relentless search, living in the rubble and ruins of her once proud city. Jakob has discovered a treasure trove of Nazi supplies in an old coal mine, a stash that would keep his family fed for a year or more, but he is wary of the teenage boy guarding it, a boy who doesn't believe the war is over and whose mind may be permanently affected by his experiences during the war. How Jakob's discovery and Clara's search are related is not a surprise to the reader but it is to Clara. And it is just one of the secrets that she uncovers over the course of the novel, life-changing secrets about her friends and family. As she comes to understand the truth about others, Jakob also helps her understand the truth about herself, the knowledge that she didn't do enough, that her small acts of conscience never made up for the terrible evil, the exploitation, the abuse, and the death that her position and public actions condoned. Scott beautifully evokes the bleak winter landscape of Essen and the desperate poverty and threat of starvation throughout the devastated city. The bombed outward landscape reflects the frozen piece at Clara's moral core, the place that she has pushed the remorse, the guilt, and the knowledge of her culpability. The story is an intense one, balancing both the thrill of the chase with deep, personal reflections and the ending itself reflects this careful balance. What is right and fair might remain unanswered but this compelling and propulsive historical fiction certainly gives readers a lot to think about in the characters of Clara, Jakob, and Fenshaw.
  • (4/5)
    1946 Essen Germany - post-war German perspective. Clara Falkenberg, “Iron Fraulein”, is hunted by British Captain Fenshaw for war crimes. Clara is looking for her best friend, Elisa, and her son, Willy. Jakob Relling is also looking for Elisa and bans together with Clara. Well-researched book about family secrets, guilt, forgiveness & justice. Complex characters & well-paced plot. Thoroughly engaging. Recommend to historical fiction lovers. 4/20
  • (2/5)
    ** spoiler alert ** All the bits and pieces of this book were great, but I'm not sure they told the right story or maybe they just didn't tell the story in a way that intrigued me. The time period of Germany directly after WWII is super interesting and eye-opening. I had never thought about how long it would actually take to re-build to the extent people would have homes and food. I'm not sure Clara, the main character, was the right character to carry the story. I didn't find her particularly sympathetic and found her actions pretty confusing. When you are being hunted by British officers why would you go back home and visit the places of your best friend, your mother, your home and your work? Maybe I missed the reasoning for that. Also, there was so much of her life during the war that was hinted at and never, I thought, given enough detail. In my opinion, Jakob, the hero of the story, was the most interesting character and I think I would have been much more engaged if it had been written around him. Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy. I have provided my honest opinion.
  • (3/5)
    This was a fairly quick and interesting read. Set in post WWII Germany, readers get a look into how the Germans were living with the Allied forces among them and their fellow-Germans being hunted, tried and convicted of war crimes.Clara Falkenburg was one of the Germans the Allies had on their radar. After several narrow escapes, Clara is finally captured, but what happens next is quite surprising. Add in a budding romance and this makes for an interesting read.I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher and am happy to offer my honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Clara Falkenberg was handed the reins to her family's ironworks empire in Germany during World War II.  As the War ends, Clara flees the ironworks and takes the alias of a secretary that had worked there, Margarete Muller.  Two years later, Clara desperately wants to find the best friend she left behind, Elisa Sieland.  As Clara heads back home, her cover is blown by British Officer Fenshaw who wants Clara to pay for her war crimes.  Clara escapes Fenshaw's grasp only to find Elisa's home destroyed.  In her search for Elisa, Clara connects with Jakob.  Jakob is now a black marketeer who has lost a leg in the war.  Jakob is also in search of Elisa since he stumbled into  a mine shaft with a young soldier named WIlly Sieland who is guarding a stockpile of German supplies and believes that the war is still raging.  Clara and Jakob form an alliance to find Elisa and help Willy, but Fenshaw has not let up on his quest to capture The Iron Fraulein.The German Heiress is a unique look into post World War II Germany and the many layers and situations that the German people faced in the aftermath of the war.  Clara is a very well-developed and intense character.  For the entire story, she is struggling with her identity as well as her morality for what happened at the factory during the war.  The German government gave Clara the moniker of the Iron Fraulein, which is a name she tried to run from; however, it is Clara's iron will that helps her through the toughest of obstacles. Other than the suspense of Clara constantly being on the cusp of capture by Fenshaw, I found Clara's internal moral fight the most intriguing. I was absorbed as Clara fought with herself in trying to decide whether or not she did enough for the people forced to work for her.  Willy's character also surprised me, Willy's mental health is fragile and his secret the most explosive.  Through Willy, I was able to see the influence of propaganda and the Jungvolk. The writing transported me to the bleak, destroyed landscape of Essen, Germany.  Home were demolished, landscapes were changed and food scarce, but the people found a way to carry on.  This book took me a little while to get into as Clara's character developed and some of her secrets are revealed as this happened, I was pulled deeper into her and Jakob's quest as well as the cat-and-mouse game with Fenshaw.  The ending is surprising and shows the hope that post World War II Germany kept. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
  • (3/5)
    I am a fan of historical books both fiction and nonfiction. Thus the reason that I wanted to read this book. The story starts after Clara is escaping to find her friend, Elisa. Which in this case, I kind of wanted to read about Clara's efforts in which she earned her nickname, The Iron Fraulein. It would have helped me to form that quicker bond towards Clara. Despite, this fact, I did like Clara. Jakob was the other main character in this story. He and Clara worked well together. He did not overshadow Clara but helped to add to the story. However, I struggled with this book a bit. There was not that strong bond that I ever formed with Clara or Jakob. Additionally, the story did seem to move slower at times. Overall, though I did find this book to be a good read.
  • (4/5)
    Living two lives - one during the war and one after.During the war she was Clara Falkenberg who was in charge of her family's iron works and was cruel to the workers. After the war, she assumed another name, Margarete Mueller, lived in a boarding house, and worked as a secretary.Could she hide her identity forever? She thought so, but the British had been following her for years and had extensive records of her war crimes.They found her on a train back to her hometown to find a friend, was pulled off, interrogated, and the search was over. Or was it over?Clara denied everything, but she knew they had enough evidence to charge her with war crimes. When being transported to another area, she escaped.She hid for a few days, and then found the house she was looking for. It was the house of her friend Elisa. It definitely was NOT the house it used to be. It was rubble.Clara did find something through it all. She found a family living in the basement and a family that had known Elisa.The search for Elisa began, but where to begin was the question. Just as Clara was digging through the rubble, another person came along who was looking for Elisa too. It was Jakob who needed Elise to tell her some news.Could they work together to find Elisa?And....could Clara remain hidden from the British officer looking for her?THE GERMAN HEIRESS has family secrets and is very well written and researched. The descriptions are detailed and vivid.The story line is captivating with authentic characters.Historical fiction fans will be extremely pleased with THE GERMAN HEIRESS. 4/5This book was given to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    An effective, highly suspenseful post WWII saga-Clara Falkenberg, once an heiress to the Falkenberg Iron Works has been living under an assumed name since the end of the war. She earned a tough reputation while at the helm of the Iron works, but whenever possible, Clara snuck extra rations to workers who were brought in from Russia and Poland to work for them. But eventually she fled Essen fearing retaliation from the Nazis.However, Clara hasn't heard from her best friend, Elisa, and her teenage son, Willy, and fears the worst. Traveling with fake credentials, Clara attempts a return to Essen to look for them. However, before she reaches her destination, she is detained by Thomas Renshaw, a British Captain who suspects her of having committed war crimes. Clara makes a brave, dangerous, and desperate escape from him and continues her quest to find her friend.She soon meets a black marketeer named Jakob Relling, who agrees to help her find Elisa. Jakob guesses early on who Clara really is, but he is also holding back some startling information about Clara's friend.Meanwhile, Renshaw catches up to Jakob, tempting him to betray Clara in exchange for much need supplies and food for his family.What choice will he make and what will be the consequences of his decision? Where is Elisa? What happened to her son?This is a thought-provoking novel, very absorbing and with stark, realistic and vivid depictions of post war Germany.The story probes the after effects of war, the toll it takes once the impact of the damage sinks in on the ordinary citizens who must grapple with the ravages left behind, and the soul searing personal reckonings of deeds they had no control over and those they did.The age old questions of complicity, of good versus evil, and justification or rationalization for what one does to survive during war, and the guilt that rides shotgun, are probed, as the characters face their own personal demons, looking to find peace, and a way forward.While Clara is our main protagonist, I think Jakob is the character that truly stands out. There are some very surprising twists and revelations along the way and plenty of moral dilemmas to sort through. There is sadness and disappointment, but there is also a light at the end that gives one hope, despite all the evil and human frailty that will haunt these characters forever.This is a compelling read and touches upon topics not often examined in books set in this era of time. I was surprised by how quickly the story grabbed me and by how much time had passed before I finally looked up from the book, realizing I had nearly finished it in one sitting.While there is a mystery, much of the book is about drawing attention to the complexities of the war, exposing the grey areas, the denial, and the moral reckoning of the characters. The plot isn’t all the deep, but there are some extremely taut moments of suspense and intrigue and will give readers plenty of food for thought.Overall, this book appears to be well-researched and offers a lighter, but interesting and different angle of the second world war to explore.4 stars
  • (4/5)
    Germany, 1946. Clara, accused by occupying Allied troops of war crimes committed while she was operating her family's business (a formidable ironworks) during the recent Second World War, is living under an assumed name. Frantic to locate her dear friend, Elisa, a single mother, and Elisa's teenage son, Clara cautiously emerges from hiding and is promptly detained by an English officer, for whom capturing and punishing her seems to be a personal mission. But Clara--determined, resourceful, and courageous--isn't giving up without a fight. She finds an unlikely ally in Jakob, an amputee with street smarts who also is looking for Elisa. The result is a compelling tale of love and hatred, both in many forms.As other reviewers have noted, The German Heiress presents Europe-after-the-war from a different perspective, that of a vanquished woman trying to survive in the aftermath of love and loss. What Clara endures is too horrific to be an enjoyable read, but it is an important one that stands out among the current bumper crop of World War II novels. Highly recommended.
  • (3/5)
    This was a quick and easy read, though not as suspenseful as I expected from the description. Jakob was interesting, but I never felt invested in Clara. I usually count character growth as a good thing, but the changes here happened too quickly. Someone told Clara that many of her memories and perceptions were lies. Even though Clara had a strained relationship with this person, she accepted their account without hesitation. Clara's feelings about her own actions changed just as quickly. Unfortunately it didn't move me or feel believable.The story ended abruptly, and the lack of author's notes disappointed me as I enjoy reading about an author's motivation.Thank you to the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program for the ARC.
  • (4/5)
    The German Heiress is different from the many WWII novels being published today. It tells the story of Clara Falkenberg, a German who has been on the run from Allied Forces Forces. She is wanted for war crimes for her role in running her family’s iron works company, a company that used slave labor to produce weapons for the Reich. She has been justifying her behavior by reasoning that family comes first, and that she did the best she could to help the laborers. She finally has to confront her actions. It’s an interesting premise that makes one think. Good Book!
  • (3/5)
    I received an ARC for this book through Early Reviewers. This book was a different POV for WWII historical fiction novels in that the main character was a German woman who was escaping arrest after the war had ended. I thought the overall plotlines and characters were good but felt the writing and character development could be improved. It felt like Clara, the main protagonist, could only think about two things: regret for what she did during the war and trying to justify her actions to herself, and her family and what they mean to her. This was a quick read and I give it 3 stars. It would not be in my first 10 historical fiction books I would recommend to others.
  • (3/5)
    There is such a glut of World War II fiction on the market these days that it’s becoming hard to distinguish one book from another. Even their covers are so similar that they all begin to blend together in the mind of anyone who has read more than one or two of them. Anika Scott’s The German Heiress, though, has just enough of a plot twist to make it stand out some from the crowd.Oh, don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of the usual living-in-the-shadows -while-trying-to-avoid-the-authorities kind of stuff going on here. But in The German Heiress, it’s not an allied soldier or a persecuted Jew trying to escape or avoid capture by the Nazis. Instead, in this one World War II is over, and the German woman who ran her family’s ironworks during the war’s last months is trying desperately to stay clear of the British troops who have occupied her region of a defeated Germany for the past two years. The search for German war criminals is on, and Clara Falkenberg’s father has already been arrested and imprisoned to await his trial for exploiting the slave labor supplied to him by the Nazis. As her father’s successor, Clara is suspected of having committed the same crimes, and one British officer is determined to bring her to justice.Now, after having run out of places to hide, Clara decides to return to Essen, her home, figuring that she will be more effectively able to hide from the officer there. What she does not expect is to find a city so destroyed by Allied bombing that she will barely recognize it – or that she will be pulled off the train and arrested long before she even gets to Essen. And it is only after a narrow escape from her interrogators that Clara manages to make her way to the city of her birth, a place where her face is so well known that everyone she encounters on the streets is a potential informer. But in Essen she hopes to find the only person she still trusts, her best friend Elisa. Instead, she meets Jacob, a black marketeer who has his own reasons for helping Clara survive the harsh winter conditions they face long enough for her to learn the truth about her family - maybe even long enough for her to clear her name or strike a deal with the British that will keep her out of prison.Bottom Line: This is a reminder that not everything about German behavior during World War II was black and white, that some people were dangerously caught in a clash between Nazi authorities and their own beliefs. The most dangerous position Germans could find themselves in were those in which they had to appear to be cooperating with the Nazis while, at the same time, doing whatever they could to save as many innocent lives as possible. Clara Falkenberg was one of those people, but while The German Heiress does address this question, it is still more of a thriller than anything else, including at least one character that is not particularly believable as written. Considering the book’s basic premise, this one should have been better than it is.
  • (4/5)
    A fascinating novel from an unusual perspective. Clara Falkenberg is the daughter of a German industrialist and on the run from the British in 1946. Though not often spoken of let alone written about, the German industry used slave labor in all their war-time production industries. Because she ran her family ironworks empire, Clara is accused of war crimes. Questioning her own morality and culpability in how she handled her laborers and the quotas and requirements of the Nazi regime is what makes this novel interesting and unique.What's not so unique if the usual menace found in the current crop of WWII novels -- false papers, family secrets, love interests past and present and the hope that there is a savior at the end of the road (a best friend that can offer shelter and a hiding place). I must admit, Scott did develop that part of Clara's story with an unusual flair for a first-time novelist. I'd recommend The German Heiress.
  • (4/5)
    Clara Falkenberg's family owns an ironworks in Essen Germany. During the war the business had many defense contracts with the Nazi government. Their factories also had to use slave labor from conquered countries and concentration camps. Clara's father spent the latter part of the war years in Berlin. Clara was left in charge of the family enterprise. This included factories as well as mines. Clara was written up as "the Iron Fraulein by Nazi propagandists. During those last war years Clara tried to keep the workers alive, insisting on extra rations for the workers, so they could work better, as a cover. Of course this was not known by the Allies. As the book opens in 1946 an English captain is searching for Clara as a suspected war criminal. Clara has been living under an assumed name some distance from Essen. She has decided to return to Essen to look for a missing friend. Her mother, an English woman, still lives in Essen in reduced circumstances. Her mother was an English fascist in prewar years. Her father is being held in an Allied prison on war crime charges. A family secret is part of the plot as Clara tries to stay free of war crime charges and being thrown in prison. This is an interesting look at post-war Germany in the western zones of occupation.
  • (4/5)
    This book makes you think.What would you do if running a major iron works company in Germany during the war. Your father is German and your mother is English.WWII and Clara has taken over the running of her father's iron works companies. You have Nazi contracts to fill but you also have empathy for your workers, many of which are forced labor.The story takes place after the war and Clara has a British officer after her for war crimes. So far she has been able to elude capture.Until she returns to Essen in search of her missing friend. The story takes twists and turns with family secrets brought to light. Who can you trust when being hunted?A different post WWII story that I enjoyed reading.
  • (4/5)
    This intriguing novel is set in 1946 Germany when that country is dealing with the loss of the war and the crimes against humanity committed by many German citizens. Clara Falkenberg, dubbed the "Iron Maiden," comes from a family that ran factories manned by slave labor. She lives quietly under an assumed name to avoid detection by the Allies occupying Germany who are determined to make the guilty pay for their crimes. Her identity comes to light when she attempts to return to her home town to find a lifelong friend. Although Clara did surreptiously treat the factory workers as humanely as possible given the deplorable conditions in Germany, she is still hunted by the Allies as a war criminal. Her memories of a father she admired are in question in a world she no longer knows.This book made me think about Germans who did what they could for those in need during WWII without endangering themselves or their families. What would any of us do to alleviate hunger and suffering while surviving ourselves under a hideous regime? This is a thought-provoking book in the best sense.My thanks to the publisher and to Library Thing for the opportunity to review The German Heiress.
  • (3/5)
    I was intrigued by the premise of the German Heiress because as the title suggest, the story is from the point of view of a German during World War 2. It was a fast paced-read however quite depressing in subject matter although a little but of fresh air from all the romantic drama that seems to be flooding the WW2 historical fiction genre as of late. The suspense plot was the most interesting thing about this book even though I didn't very much like any of the characters. There are three main characters that work towards their goals and secrets are revealed slowly and in perfect time that just made me want to continue to read more.