Hello and welcome to my stop of the The German Wife Harlequin Trade Publishing’s Summer 2022 blog tour! A huge thanks to Justine Sha for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I always have an interest in WWII historical fiction and I liked the sound of what seemed like an original angle with the post-war situation for former members of the Nazi party. The German Wife definitely turned out to be a well researched and intriguing story! Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…
“It’s not always the strongest trees that survive the storm. Sometimes it’s the trees that bend with the wind.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
There is just something about WWII historical fiction that always interests me… And especially if it shows signs of offering an at least somewhat original angle. I think this was probably the main reason I knew that wanted to read The German Wife as soon as I first read the blurb. The promise of a post-war angle featuring former members of the Nazi party as well as a scientist focus had me instantly intrigued, and I’m happy to announce that this story definitely delivered for me.
I was already expecting a dual timeline story after reading the blurb, but what I didn’t realize was that we were also going to have a second set of timelines following a completely different character. That’s right: not only do we follow Sofie in the past and present, but we also have a second POV featuring Lizzie. Through her eyes, we see what it was like during the Great Depression in rural Texas and we also learn more about how Lizzie ended up in Huntsville Alabama in 1950. While initially I felt like Lizzie’s POV distracted from Sofie’s situation and the escalating Nazi situation in Germany in the years before WWII, you soon realize why her POV is important in the present (1950) timeline. It might seem a lot to juggle initially, but overall it’s worth it and the addition of the second POV gave the story more dept.
It truly shows how well researched this story is, with many details about Nazi Germany and how it was like for a ‘normal’ German family to have to deal with the constant changes and restrictions. Especially with the main character Sofie having a Jewish best friend on one hand, but also increasingly Nazi-focused other friends as well as the obligation to follow the new rules or face grave consequences for their family. The author did an excellent job of showing how some people really didn’t seem to have a choice in joining the party at all, and it made it easier to connect to and feel empathy for Sofie in the present.
There is also the whole Operation Paperclip situation and the scientist angle of course, which was what personally made the story stand out for me. The fact that the US took German scientists and put them to work in the American space program after the war is fascinating, and I liked the focus on how the locals react to the presence of those Germans in their small town. On top of this, the story also focuses on the Great Depression and how difficult life was in 1930s (rural) Texas through Lizzie’s POV. Both Lizzie and her brother have had a tough life, and it was interesting to see how they ended up in Huntsville after everything they have been through.
There are a lot of different themes involves apart from the obvious Nazi party, war crimes, Great Depression and science; there is also a focus on for example mental health, suicide, family, ptsd and racism. It might seem like a lot and initially I had my doubts about the second POV, but in the end I liked how the different POVs and timelines complemented each other and the past timelines were essential in understanding both Sofie and Lizzie in the present. I did like Sofie better than Lizzie, but both are very strong women who know what it’s like to struggle and fight for their families.
In short, The German Wife turned out to be a very well researched and simply fascinating piece of WWII historical fiction I can recommend to anyone who enjoys the genre and doesn’t mind more complex plots and a dual POV AND timeline structure.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, The Things We Cannot Say, and Truths I Never Told You. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages.