Clara. Once a wartime icon and heiress to the Falkenberg iron works; now on the run from the Allied authorities, accused of complicity in her father's war crimes.
Jakob. A charming black marketeer, badly wounded in the war but determined to help what's left of his family survive the peace.
Willy. A teenage boy diligently guarding a mine full of Wehrmacht supplies, his only friend a canary named Gertrud. Convinced the war isn’t over, he refuses to surrender his post.
When Clara returns to her hometown expecting to find her best friend, she finds everything she once knew in ruins. But in war-ravaged Germany, it’s not just the buildings that are scarred: everyone is changed, everyone lives in the wreckage of their own past.
To survive, Clara must hide who she is. But to live, she must face up to the truth of what she’s done.
Grew up in the Detroit area, Spartan undergrad (international politics), Columbia U grad (journalism). Print journalist in Philly and Chicago, moved to Germany, been there ever since writing, traveling, sampling beer and chocolates, raising a family, staying sane. More about me at www.anikascott.com. Also on Insta - mostly vacation pics! -- as @anikawritesbooks.
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
Clara hides in post-WWII Germany under a different name until someone recognizes her and unveils her true identity. Is that all she is? Her whole life comes down to the years during the war when she made poor choices. The focus of this novel illuminates morality through the eyes of a female war criminal.
Clara's circumstances put the reader in tight spot, and it is hard to trust her sometimes. As soon as I leaned one way, the next chapter would sway my feelings towards the opposite direction. I wanted hope, but I wanted justice.
Other characters thrown into the mix went well with the progress and principles of the story. One character particularly, who I don't want to say because it would spoil it, had a really sad story regarding the influence that the war had on him even after it is over. Secrets, betrayal, and deception are buried deep within Clara's family. Expect a twist or two!
Chapters are told in third person. While there are small flashbacks here and there, the bulk of the novel takes place after the war in 1946. There is one brief animal abuse scene near the beginning of the story.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy. Opinions are my own.
Anika Scott writes a post WW2 piece of intriguing historical fiction from the unusual perspective of the defeated and humiliated Germans, now living under Allied occupation of the victorious forces. Germany is a ruined and devastated nation, with ordinary people facing poverty and starvation, whilst having to come to terms with their part in and complicity with the horrors and terrors of their recent past. The allied forces are looking for war criminals to arrest, and a British Captain Fenshaw is seeking justice in his hunt for Clara Falkenberg for war crimes. She is the German heiress, the Iron Maiden, the only daughter of a wealthy, privileged and corrupt Nazi supporting family that owned and ran factories that were supplied with slave labour by the Nazi regime with whom they were well connected. Clara was a celebrated figure for the fascists and served as propaganda for the Nazi Regime.
It is 1946, and Clara is now living a very different life in hiding, having assumed another identity in her efforts to escape being caught. In her eyes she tried to do all that she could to help the horrendously treated slave workforce but is this true? She heads for her home industrial city of Essen, wanting to find and see what happened to her best friend, Elisa, and her son, Willy, who turn out to have unexpected connections to her family and its past. Willy is suffering from severe mental health issues, unaware that the war has been lost, still guarding a mine with its Wehrmacht supplies, unwilling and unable to relinquish his post. Jakob Relling is a former soldier who lost his leg in the war, now a black marketeer, trying to do the best he can to provide for his family. Scott writes a well researched atmospheric story of survival, family, secrets, complicity, guilt, conscience, love and redemption. She captures the hard and turbulent post war times, providing us with complex characters in this fascinating and insightful period of history.
This is an intense, dark and twisted historical read that skilfully portrays the often common experiences, horrors and dilemmas of being on the losing side in a war for ordinary people. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.
I had some mixed feelings here with The German Heiress. The story started off slow for me and I felt like I was missing something here with Clara's characters. I struggled with finding her convincing and the overall plot of the story. Once I stop trying to find her convincing or compelling and just go with the story, I started to enjoy the story. I found it to be more of a thriller than historical fiction.
The story takes place post-WWII and the perspective is unique here. During World War II, Clara took on the role of operating her family's ironworks empire. Now she is on the run from a British officer who's is determined to make her answer for war crimes committed while she ran the company. This is where things became a bit foggy for me. I didn't pick up on any connection emotionally to Clara that I thought I should of, instead I just found it all entertaining. I enjoyed the chase and the twists that came along the way and the dynamics between Clara and Jakob, who she meets while trying to find her best friend and her son. I found myself rooting for Clara but feeling I should be wanting justice instead. For me it lacked any depth for me to get the feeling for her motivation or any themes I felt I should have picked up on. Or maybe I just missed the boat here with this one.
Things wrap up a little too easy, however it all work for me. I enjoyed the lighter, more entertaining feel to the story and right now I appreciated that. I highly recommend for readers who enjoy historical fiction but are looking for something a little more entertaining then substantial right now.
Author Anika Scott delves into postwar Germany (1946) in this debut historical fiction novel, and how losing the war affected its Nazi-following citizens.
Likes: 1. strong character development: it's a good author that can make a reader "empathize" with the three not-so-innocent main characters, each struggling with their own demons through their conscience, pride and guilt. This story made me think - how would've I reacted if I were a German citizen living under the Nazi regime?; 2. setting: the "Armory of the Reich" industrial city of Essen, which used slave labor from other European countries to work in its factories and coal mines, is so atmospheric in its desolation after being bombed by the Allies; 3. plot: fast-paced; ties the characters together in a most interesting fashion; and, 4. interesting tidbit: I had to Google just what the heck is "canned bread"!
Niggles: 1. Was Scott trying to paint Allied British officer, Fenshaw, as a "villain" through his questionable interrogation techniques to "de-Nazify" Germans? I felt a little uncomfortable with this premise (which I'm sure she was hoping for!); 2. I had to reread a couple of the earlier chapters to figure out who was who and what was going on, but once I did, the pages started turning!; and, 3. Why couldn't Max marry Clara? If it was said, I guessed I missed it!
All in all, I was riveted by these morally-compromised characters and their search for the missing Elisa with mysterious clues to bring them together. A story to ponder on!
Clara Falkenberg was nicknamed “the Iron Fraulein” during World War II because she operated her parents large iron business. An heiress before war, she is now potentially in ruin with interrogators at her door.
Clara flees in hopes of finding her friend, Elisa, and quickly sees her home city in ruins. As she searches for Elisa, she meets Jakob, who works on the black market and is also seeking Elisa. All the while, the officer is still looking for Clara to make her answer his questions about potential war crimes.
While this is definitely historical fiction, there’s great tension and suspense throughout. Where is Elisa? What did Clara do? It’s a thoughtful story of the Germans who were caught in between acting ethically and morally and perhaps their own survival. It’s dark at times and twisty. I enjoyed the relationship Clara had with Jakob.
Overall, The German Heiress made my mind spin, and I appreciated that. It was a captivating read.
I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.
Clara Falkenberg, was once Germany’s most eligible and richest heiress and during World War II she took over operating her family’s iron works empire. It’s been nearly two years since the war ended; Clara has been in hiding using a false name and she now calls herself Margarete Muller. Post war Germany was a mess, it was easy for Clara to get false documents and change her name. Like everyone living in Germany she had lost weight, her clothes were worn, she stopped coloring her hair blond and she no longer resembled the rich young women she once was. She decides to return home to Essen, to find her best friend Elisa, she’s also curious to know if the family mansion is still standing and what happened to her mother Anne?
She has no idea she’s been under investigation herself for committing possible war crimes by Captain Thomas Fenshaw, he knows about her fake identity, her father has been arrested awaiting trial and the determined English officer wants to apprehend her as well. Clara manages to escape from Thomas Fenshaw, she continues on her journey to Essen and on the way she encounters Jakob Relling. He’s a handsome ex German soldier who lost a leg fighting the Russians, and he’s now working on the black market and is also searching for Elisa. Clara and Jakob decide to join forces and try to find Elisa and also what happened to Elisa young son Willy?
Clara was rather naïve, when she took over running her father’s factory she tried to help the starving people being forced to work and when she fled she had no idea what happened to them after she left. Was she a war criminal or a gullible young woman left to run her family’s business due to deception, lies, betrayal, and infidelity that she knew nothing about and had been hidden from her?
I enjoyed reading The German Heiress it’s an interesting story, it looks at WW II from the German point of view, and it’s full of twist, turns and many surprises. Thanks to Edelweiss for my digital copy, I gave the book five stars, I have shared my review on Edelweiss, Goodreads, Twitter, Australian Amazon and my blog. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/
If you are looking for a pro-nazi book you might enjoy this thriller more than I did. Clara ran an ironworks factory in Essen during the war. Her father has been accused of being a war criminal and now the British are trying to capture her too. Knowing that the British are after her, inexplicably she decides to return to her home town, where they are sure to look. She wants to find her friend Elisa and Elisa’s 15 year old son Willy. In Essen she encounters Jakob, a former German soldier.
Willy was an unbalanced child and Jakob wasn’t too awful, so I didn’t loathe them, but everyone one else in the book was reprehensible. Hypocritically, they kept accusing each other of wrongdoing. Clara, in particular, had an unjustifiable superior attitude. I am just not interested in feeling sorry for nazis, and these weren’t even repentant. After being confronted with the consequences of her actions, Clara spent about 10 seconds on remorse and then returned to her self-justifications. I spent the whole book wanting the British to capture Clara and then at the horrible ending . That definitely deducted a star from my rating. I am not the right audience for this book. This isn’t historical fiction in which you learn something. It’s more like propaganda.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
What a slippery thing conscience could be. It had driven her in two directions. To her father, with all the duties of family and work… And then she had been driven to help the workers, an act that put everything else at risk. One side of her conscience undermining the other. And still she had listened to both. She had thought she could do justice to both.
In Jakob’s experience, you had to watch the Tommies when they were being too nice. You never knew when they’d turn on you, remind you of what a Nazi you’d been, regardless of the truth. The Tommies would call you a lowly foreigner in your own country.
She was called The Iron Fräulein, Clara Falkenberg was a curiously captivating and intriguing study of contrasts. Her mother was British yet appeared far more fanatic about the Nazi agenda than her opportunistic German father. Clara was the only daughter and the publicity darling for her wealthy family’s ironworks business, which made several more fortunes during the war using forced labor. Clara was also the former Reich’s most eligible heiress and graced magazines on both sides of the ocean. However, in post-war Germany, her notoriety worked against her.
This was my introduction to the powerful and emotive word voodoo of Anika Scott and wow, does this gal have some major skills! The storylines were smartly crafted and absorbing, intricate, well scaffolded, intriguing, thoughtfully observant, and heart-squeezing while cast with a peculiar assortment of broken, flawed, complex, and often unlikable yet deeply compelling characters. I felt conflicted yet totally engaged from start to finish. And all this in a debut novel… the little pea in my brain just exploded.
This one is set in post-WWII Germany and follows Clara Falkenberg. She’s from a prominent family that ran an iron business before and during the war. Once her father is off at war, Clara is the one who takes the helm. I say that this one made me think because Clara’s motives and thoughts feel a bit muddled. It made me think, what would I do in her place? Would I step into my father’s shoes and just carry on the business or would I question the humanity of what is happening?
Now that the war is over, Clara is living under an assumed name and on the run from Allied soldiers that are hunting war criminals. She finally decides to make her way back to her hometown in the hopes of reuniting with her best friend and starting over. She meets a few interesting characters along the way, including Jakob, a black-market expert. They make a bit of an odd couple, but I found myself rooting for them.
This one had the thrill of the chase and at times I rooted for Clara and then I remembered that she had likely done terrible things so she should be caught. Again, it made me think! And realize that it is not always black and white in the world. Should there be justice or does Clara deserve a second chance? You won’t know until the very end of this one, but it was worth it!
Thank you to NetGalley, Anika Scott, and Harper Collins/Morrow for an early copy of this one to read in return for a review. You won't have to wait long, it releases 4.7.2020.
I won an ARC through Goodreads, and I could not have been more ecstatic. I've always been obsessed with World War II historical fiction. This one had a German view. This had all of my emotions in overdrive. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and couldn't wait until I could get back to reading it.
i have loved this book so much! i was tensed while reading it anticipating the end. great historical novel set from a different point of view - german side and their role and choice during the second world war. strongly recommend it!
The German Heiress by Anika Scott is a gripping post WWII historical fiction centered in Germany 1946. While the country lay in ruins and chaos, many were trying to create a sense of order and justice against the mayhem. This book centers around 31 year old Clara Falkenberg, the only daughter of an aristocratic and wealthy family that rose to high ranks through industrialism, slave labor, and important connections with the Fascists during WWII. While Clara herself did not believe in “the cause” and, in her own way, tried to help the suffering of her workers as much as she thought that she could, was still thrust into the evil workings of her corrupt parents until the war ended, and not in their favor. After fleeing, a cascade of incidents and consequences occur that alters many lives forever.
This is a story about finding oneself, about acceptance, forgiveness, justice, redemption, love, family, and loyalty. It is a story about overcoming odds and changing oneself for the better.
I liked Clara. I liked the positive changes that she went through despite the adversity and blows handed to her throughout the story. I also liked the chemistry of Jakob and Clara and how by being together, each one brought out the best in each other. I also enjoyed the surprise ending. It was the best part of all.
Excellent book. 5/5 stars
Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.
Clara Falkenburg is living under an assumed name. She is being hunted down for was crimes by Captain Fenshaw. Clara decides to look for her best friend, Elsia after returning home to find her city destroyed and Elisa and her young son missing. Clara's father is in prison waiting trial for war crimes. Thenstory touches slightly on her family and there is a shocking secret revealed.
This story revolves around Clara's search for her friend, Elsia and her son. Clara is also trying to elude capture and imprisonment. The story is well written. I liked Clara ut I also found her frustrating. It's also pretty dark in places. This book is different to most post war stories that I've read.
I would like to thank NetGalley, Random House UK, Cornerstone and the author Anita Scott for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
These days I’m usually not tempted by World War II-era historical fiction. It’s a crowded subgenre and most of it is historical romance... not my cup of tea. However, The German Heiress intrigued me because, as the name implies, it presents a German perspective, which is uncommon.
Despite its unconventional approach, this book definitely suffered from comparison. I’ve read many truly spectacular WWII books; next to them, The German Heiress was good, but not great. It didn’t pack the emotional punch I expected, although it had its moments. It was an enjoyable reading experience, and well-paced; when I sat down to read the book, I was surprised by how fast I flew through it.
For the first half of the book, Anika Scott went out of her way to establish Clara as unequivocally “good,” a woman with virtuous beliefs who tried to do the right thing. Not only did I find this boring and flat, I also wasn’t buying it. Clara’s moral righteousness seemed all talk and little action. She was also surprisingly naive, considering who she was and her experience during the war, and acted recklessly for a woman on the run. This version of Clara was nothing like the calculating, morally gray, iron-willed woman I expected based on the book’s synopsis.
Starting at around the halfway point, Clara finally begins to question the morality of her family’s actions during the war and grapples with feelings of guilt and regret. While this was a refreshing change of pace, it happened so abruptly it didn’t seem believable. The book had a few well-developed side characters – Jakob, in particular, was wonderfully complex and realistic – and I would have been more invested in the story if they had played a more prominent role from the beginning. The romance was better than most, which coming from me (a heartless cynic) is a significant compliment.
The plot was interesting, and probably the highlight of the book. There were several narrative threads that Scott wove together seamlessly. She wrote from a third person point-of-view following three main characters: Clara, Jakob, and a third whose identity you’ll discover partway through the book. Each of these characters had multiple goals they were working toward, and there was even an element of mystery as Clara and Jakob searched for Elisa and Clara uncovered secrets about her family. The ending was perfect.
If you go into this book knowing what to expect, I think you’ll enjoy it.
This book contains a brief scene depicting animal abuse.
Clara Falkenberg, once Germany's heiress and nicknamed "the Iron Fraulein" during World War II. She's taken on another name, after running away, only to return two years after the war is over to discover her home town in ruins and her friend she's been in search of is nowhere to be found. Running from a British officer wanting to interrogate her for war crimes. This novel will keep you turning the pages until the end. I stayed up way past my bedtime unable to put it down until I finished.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC.
This was an excellent story of historical fiction of post World War II Germany that explores the German people's condition after the war. This novel takes place about eighteen months after the war has ended. The allied forces are occupying Germany. The Americans have gone and the British are hunting down who they consider to be war criminals. Margarete Muller is the name by which Clara Falkenberg is going by in Hamelin. She is proposed by Dr. Blum the small town doctor who says to Margarete, something like he doesn't believe she is who she says she is. He goes on to tell her he thinks she is not really German and that he thinks she is really Jewish. Then he whispers to her that he has secrets also. He repulses her and discloses that during the war he worked in one of the Nazi camps that she knows did horrendous things to innocent people who we all know suffered unspeakably cruelties that are sickening. We all would do anything we could if we could magically undo what 6 million innocents suffered at the hands of Hitler and the Nazi regime. We must never forget the unimaginable horrors that so many innocent people suffered for being in Hitler's twisted mind the wrong ethnicity. I am sickened by how long this went on without the rest of the world not getting involved sooner.
One of the things that I love about this novel it explores the protagonist's growth over the course of this story in that she always had a conscious but it evolves even more. This is about one German woman's journey on a quest to find her best friend after the war and she also is simultaneously on an inner journey to realize how her families empire indirectly hurt so many innocent people. Even though this family detested the Nazis they are considered war criminals because they built airplanes and other iron materials. I really liked Clara Falkenberg the youngest child and only daughter of a snobby and emotionally unavailable mother who is British and didn't work in the family business so doesn't get arrested after the war. However, the British Allied forces that are occupying their family mansion and Anne Health is appalled to be living in what she considers squalid conditions. She is luckier than most of the city of Essen to have a roof over her head with electricity and water to bathe and enough food to eat. The majority of the rest of the German people are starving and homeless because of the bombing of the city of Essen during the end of the war. I don't understand why Clara's mother wasn't considered a war criminal since she benefited from being married to Clara's father who ran the family business before asking a young Clara to take over for him. Her father Theodor had the philosophy that he hated the Nazi regime but he felt like it was okay to continue to produce goods that he had done before the war and that the Nazis were only going to be in power during the war and then things would go back to normal when they were not in power. In other words, their iron empire was his families legacy that was a business and how they earned their money and he felt that he had no choice but to keep the business going or to be arrested and shot by the gestapo or sent off to a concentration camp which would include his whole family. I can certainly see his reasoning in not wanting to have his own family shot or sent to their deaths in a concentration camp by running a family business that ran before the Nazis came to power because he saw them as a temporary regime. He really had no choice but to do what he he has always done or face death or take his family and flee Germany and emigrate where?
In Theodor's efforts to save his family from getting shot, arrested and death in a concentration camp or emigrating and being homeless he has a young Clara fill in for him to keep the business going. She becomes known as the Iron Fraulein. Unlike her father she helps the refugees by demanding from Berlin more food and building more housing for the refugees forced into labor with the help of her best friend Elisa and her first love Max. She really had a conscious and tried to protect the refugees who worked for her. She tried her best to help the forced labor done by refugees. She couldn't stand to see anyone suffer or being treated inhumanely. At the end of the war she had to flee because the Allied forces considered her a war criminal for taking her father's place at the helm of the iron production and for manufacturing goods that helped Hitler fight the war. I thought that she was different than her father and she was highly misunderstood and I was routing for her. She is being hunted by a determined British Captain Fenimore and his troops whom despite her false identity papers, he knew he had captured Clara when he stopped the train while she was trying to return home. She tried convincing him that he was mistaken but he was resolute in arresting her. Her father was already arrested and failing in health.
I really don't want to say too much but there is so much more to this novel. I loved Clara's character because she is not a war criminal at all despite the fact that she oversaw an iron factory that manufactured airplanes and military goods that the Nazis used to fight the war. She really helped so many of the refugees who were transported there by the Nazis. She didn't force them to work for her Hitler did. She was really only twenty years old and had so much compassion for them. She helped them to improve the quality of their lives by advocating for them by getting them more food and better housing. She got them medical care and never hurt them by informing on them she even hid them at her home and helped the ones who didn't want to work for her escape. Captain Fenimore is relentless in tracking her down and she is concerned about finding her best friend Elisa who is missing. This is so much more than a cat and mouse game.
I loved this novel for so many reasons that I recommend highly to all readers who love historical fiction to give this one a try. I am really impressed that this is a debut novel. This is one that is already a favorite novel and five star reading experience that I plan to purchase it when it goes on sale in April of this year. I want the physical copy to add to my own personal collection. It is unique in its depiction of the dilemma of the double edge sword that the German citizens had to face with trying to survive a war that they had not wanted. Most of them were kind people who hated Hitler and the Nazis who abhorred anyone that participated in helping Hitler in his cause to wipe out an entire race of innocent people. What he did was evil and we must never forget it. This book was well written and it hooks you in at the beginning and never lets you go. I was sad when it ended. If you love this genre and love a strong female protagonist you will love this book. I will never forget Clara and some of the other characters in this book that I have not mentioned in this review.
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Thank you to Net Galley, Anika Scott and Harper Collins Publishing for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
I listened to The German Heiress by Anika Scott on audio CD. It was pleasantly narrated by Lisa Flanagan. This historical fiction was not only the author’s, Anika Scott’s, debut novel but it was meticulously researched. It touched upon a whole different aspect of World War II than I have previously read about. The characters were intriguing and well developed, some more likable than others. I found The German Heiress to be fast paced and hard to stop listening to once I started it. It was full of action, well plotted and explored aspects of bravery, friendship, family, love, resourcefulness, courage, trust, guilt, consequences and forgiveness. It portrayed how the German citizens were also preyed upon by the Nazi regime during World War II. The German Heiress told the story of ordinary Germans that were left with no alternatives but to do what was asked of them. When The Reich gave direct orders, German citizens were expected to obey without question, even if they disagreed and knew what they were doing was cruel and unjust. The German citizens had nowhere to turn. They were expected to do what they were told to do.
Clara Falkenberg grew up in Germany and led a very privileged life. At one time she was considered Germany’s most eligible heiress. During World War II Clara was nicknamed “ the Iron Fraulein”. Her family owned and ran an ironworks empire. Clara took over the role of chief operator of her family company during the war. She was forced by the Nazis to use the slave laborers the Nazis sent by the train loads from the camps to work in her factory. Clara tried, in her own way, to help these people but it was far from enough. Now that the war was over, Clara was being sought after by the Allies for the war crimes they were convinced she committed. Even now, two years after the war had ended, Clara still struggled with the part she played during the war. She was so tired of running and living under the guise of a false identity that Clara decided to make her way back to her home. Clara was desperately in search of the solace of her best friend Elisa. Clara was still burdened with so many questions about her family’s past and their involvement with the Nazis. As she carefully traveled home to find Elisa, a very determined British officer was focused on arresting Clara for the war crimes he believed she committed. Clara was lucky to have narrowly escaped from his capture and interrogation once but knew he would stop at nothing to find her. To Clara’s disappointment, she discovered that her dear friend was missing and no one knew where she had vanished to. Clara’s search for Elisa brought her to the unlikely acquaintance of a handsome man named Jakob who was also trying to track down Elisa for his own unique reasons. The two forged an alliance together and tried to find out where Elisa disappeared to. Clara always had a watchful eye out for the British officer who seemed to never give up on tracking her down and arresting her. What fate awaited Clara?
I enjoyed listening to The German Heiress by Anika Scott and look forward to reading more books by this author in the future. If you enjoy historical fiction that is well paced and plotted I recommend this book for you.
Edgy, heat-pounding, gripping fiction… The German Heiress by Anika Scott isn’t the typical post-World War II historical fiction novel. It has bite and suspense that had me completely immersed in the story!
Clara is not your average heroine from historical fiction. I always find the best characters to be enthralling but maybe a bit bad sometimes. Clara is certainly flawed which in my mind made her all the more compelling. This is my first Anika Scott book but I’d venture to call her a daring author in that she wrote a book that broke the mold in a way, and still made it beat with the heart of historical fiction. No small feat, if you ask me!
Since the War, Clara has been living under an assumed name. Though she is the heiress to her family’s ironworks empire, the war took all of that from her and left her with more questions than answers. Even as an heiress and privileged member of society, Clara always had a heart for those lose fortunate than her, sneaking extra food to the workers at the ironworks. This quality really endeared me to Clara. She is someone who may not always do everything the right way, but she does have morals and compassion.
When Clara hasn’t heard from her best friend, she disregards her own safety to try and return to Essex to look for them On her way, she is detained by a British officer accusing her of war crimes. After a daring escape, Clara continues her journey meeting another person who may not be operating entirely within the law—Jakob. As the two realize they may be able to help one another, the two also try to keep a hold of their own secrets. Now, either could betray the other, but they also may be one another’s key to salvation.
This was a side of post-World War II Germany I hadn’t seen before. I loved the characters and the gritty yet refined feel to the story itself. A book that can take me into the highest and lowest parts of society will always grab my attention. Thought-provoking, suspenseful, and edgy. A story of good versus evil that you won’t want to stop reading.
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for my copy. Opinions are my own.
There are many World War II era novels, but this one is unique. The protagonist is a young, beautiful German woman, Clara Falkenberg, who during the war ran an iron works for the Nazis; they called her “The Iron Fraulein.” Many of its workers were forced or slave laborers. Yet she was not all bad as the Javert-like British officer, pursuing her after the war, believes. She’d run the factory out of loyalty to her idealized father and did her best to alleviate the terrible conditions of the workers. The novel opens as, under an assumed identity, she tries to return to the scene of her “crimes,” the city of Essen, to find her childhood friend, but she is taken from the train by the British officer for questioning. She knows a trial and imprisonment await if they can determine who she is. The officer is convinced of her real identity but cannot prove it, and she does not budge in her story. The novel continues from there, full of suspense. The background of post-World War II Essen is well-researched and described. We see deprivations the German people suffer; their fear of the Allies who wish to arrest adults for their political affiliations even as they hand out chocolate to the children; their wondering why the Allies had kept bombing the city, killing civilians, when the war was really over. Flashbacks and memories seamlessly fill in Clara’s backstory. While in no way espousing Nazism, the novel opens our minds to different views while presenting a fascinating drama of mystery and romance. This is one of those novels that you can’t put it down.
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. 4/5
This book was given to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Between the heights of the superhero and the lairs of the total villain lies a vast expanse occupied by ordinary people struggling to make choices under extraordinary circumstances. Set in post-World War II occupied Germany, THE GERMAN HEIRESS is the story of Clara, fleeing from accusations of war crimes, Jakob, a survivor of the Russian Front now struggling to care for his family, and the British officer who searches for Clara. Meticulously researched, this gripping historical fiction deals deftly with issues of justice and forgiveness, love and family. It kept me mesmerized throughout. This is a book you will long remember and an excellent option for book club discussion. I am thankful I got to read an advance copy through a Goodreads Giveaway.
Such a beautiful story, with such detail that puts you right into the middle of a strong woman on her quest for answers! All of the characters you meet continuously keep you intrigued. The story never goes off track into rambles or stories that do not coincide with the big picture. It was amazing to see a story where the woman was the main focus and the men did not overshadow her story of development and discovery. The ending will have you on the edge of your seat, and though you find the answer to ‘Where is Elisa’ long before the end, the story continues leaving your heart pounding as you anxiously read faster!
Clara Falkenberg, nicknamed ‘The Iron Fraulein’, daughter of a German father and English mother. Rich industrial family having scattered when the war is almost at an end and the Allies are bombing their town and taking poisoners.
We meet Clara, in the first chapter, with false identity papers now calling herself Margarete Muller. She is visiting her boyfriend Dr. Blum. He proposes marriage and only just now reveals to her that he did some not so nice things during the war. Clara is upset by this but she had already decided to go back to her hometown to find her best friend Elisa.
Clara has false papers and is on the run. The Allies are searching for her because she was working at the family business during the war.
Oh dear, really, how unfair – Dear Clara was a kind hearted German woman who tried to make things better for the slave workers their mining operations were forced to use as labour. She and her family, of course, had no choice in the matter. The Nazis, after all, were in control.
When Clara finds her way back to her old home she finds her ex-boyfriend SS soldier Max now helping the Allies so as not to be tried as a war criminal. He wants to get together again never mind his wife and three children.
On page 146 when Max says: “What we did in the past…it doesn’t matter anymore. We could start again. Wine and music the rest of our lives. We’ll be free. We didn’t have a chance before, but now –" That did me in!
It would seem the author seeks to present a look at the Germans who were caught in the middle of the Nazi regime and had nowhere to turn. I DON’T CARE!!!!!!
Furthermore the writing is confusing and I can’t be bothered.
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.
3 1/2 stars rounded up to 4. I think it was a strong debut novel for this author with a lot of interesting characters. What made me toss back and forth between 3 and 4 stars was the ending. It seemed like there was a lot of build up, throughout the novel, but then the ending seemed a bit....rushed? That is the only word I can think of to describe it, as if the novel was left unfinished. Aside from that, I would recommend the book for anyone who is interested in historical novels based in post WW2.
As always, a copy of this book was provided by the authors in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.
Being cooped up in the house for quarantine means more time for reading--like, SO much more time for reading. (And avoiding anxieties. Er, at least, attempting to by avoiding reality and drowning in fiction. Or is that just me?) Fortunately for readers seeking their next form of escapism, that is still rooted in reality, Anika Scott has us covered with The German Heiress. One glance at the synopsis and I knew I had to read this novel.
When living in uncertain times, there's something very drawing about novels that take place in varied types of uncertainty. Surely, it doesn't always help with the anxieties of our 'now'. But, it does allow us to see different times through different lenses. For me, The German Heiress took me from these times, and thrust me into a more obvious timeline.
Structured in a way that makes the hours fly by, The German Heiress proved to be the right choice. It is beautifully written, clearly well-researched and downright impossible to put down. Emotionally charged and utterly intriguing, The German Heiress is amongst the best of the year's historical fiction.
Unsurprisingly, I was hooked from the very first page and could scarcely find myself able to put it down. The German Heiress hit all the right marks and took me out of the unpredictable nature of the present, and into the familiar tangles of history. (Although, naturally, familiar doesn't necessarily mean comfortable when it comes down to the WWII era setting.)
The German Heiress combines many tropes and archetypes I positively adore in historical fiction.
The possibilities, too, were endless for its potential when it came down to both the era in which it takes place and Anika Scott's highly indulgent, compelling, and intricate, prose. In fact, it is in these traits, that makes me want to shout that The German Heiress is essential reading material for all historical fiction lovers.
In short? The German Heiress was a total hit, for me, and I positively adored this book from start to finish.
I received this book as an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) through NetGalley. It will be published April 7, 2020. Net Galley's description was that this book was "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." BOOM I was sold!
The book takes place after 2 years after WWII had ended in Germany. Clara Falkenberg has false documents saying she is Margarete Müller, but in reality she is an heiress to a pre-war iron working empire. She is in hiding because she is wanted for war crimes for her and her families support of the Nazi’s. Clara is trying to return to Essen to find her best friend Elisa and Elisa’s son Willy. The path she ends up following is full of twists and intrigue, and an ending that hits all the feels and surprises you too.
The opening of the book paints such a bleak picture of post WWII Germany. That is something we rarely think about. We think about the Yay Nazi’s defeated, but what about the other Germans. The ones that weren’t in the military and weren’t necessarily Nazi’s but had to find a way to survive when the Nazi’s were in power. Did they get saved by Adolf’s defeat or were they punished for crimes they had no choice in? Wow this was just a wow book! I’m not sure I even have words, it was so well written and the story was so compelling. None of the characters turned out to be who you thought they were. The depth and breadth of the character development was fantastic, and as any good book should, made me feel all the feels.
I read The German Heiress with much interest as it is set in the aftermath of post WWII Germany in a period and from a POV not often portrayed. The author gives us a perspective and insight into a country and people devastated by a horrific regime, trying to find their way in great hardship and to come to terms with their own complicated past. The author paints a realistic picture of the time and draws interesting, complex characters who each embark on personal journeys which end in unanticipated ways. The plot was fast paced and intriguing. Thank you to William Morrow for an ARC of this wonderful book.