June 29, 2022
The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer
Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, Operation Paperclip, Dust Bowl, WW11 and 1950, Germany, Oklahoma, and Alabama
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Welcome to my stop on the Harlequin Trade Publishing Summer Blog Tour for Historical Fiction. Thanks #NetGalley @HTPBooks @ClubBookish #GraydonHouse for a complimentary eARC of #TheGermanWife upon my request. All opinions are my own.
The United States operated a secret intelligence program called Operation Paperclip that arrested and employed former Nazi scientists after WW11. The German Wife tells the story of how Jürgen and his wife Sofie Rhodes became participants in the program, came to live in the United States and were eventually pardoned. Jürgen was granted a position in America’s space program. Tensions rise as Lizzie Miller and her friends/neighbors begin to hear rumors that Jürgen and Sophie were former Nazis.
Wow! The German Wife is one of my best historical fiction reads of the year so far for the following reasons:
- Dual timelines
- Dual perspectives
- New (to me) information (Operation Paperclip)
- A fresh angle to a WW11 story
- Engaging from the first page
- Compelling and page-turning content
- Complicated and interesting characters
- Thoughtful themes
- A good balance of character-driven and plot-driven
- Well-written and researched
- Compulsively readable
Yes, this checks all my boxes for a five star read!
Structure: This unputdownable story alternates between two perspectives (Sophie and Lizzie) and two timelines (1930 and 1950). I admire an author who can blend two timelines and two backstories and perspectives into one cohesive story. Often in historical fiction, I prefer one timeline over the other…usually the past. In The German Wife, I was engaged with each timeline equally, and I appreciate that the author didn’t linger in one timeline for too long. This served to move the story along at a brisk pace. The author provides realistic, satisfactory, and hope-filled conclusions for Sophie and Lizzie.
Characters: Even though Sophie is the German wife, this is also a story of Lizzie. Sophie’s back story takes place before, during, and after WW11. Lizzie’s back story involves surviving the Dust Bowl. I love complex and complicated characters! By filling us in on each character’s backstory, Rimmer creates well-drawn characters and helps us understand their motivations, fears, and vulnerabilities. The unlikable quickly becomes understandable given the full context. I love dynamic and imperfect characters who grow and develop over time.
Themes: Thought-provoking themes include fear of people because of their nationality, starting over, survival, grief, acceptance, PTSD, atrocities and effects of war, life-changing choices, turning a blind eye, hardship, friendship, and prejudice.
Content Considerations: grief, PTSD, antisemitism, death of parents, suicide, WW11 conditions
Book Club: The German Wife is highly discussable and would be a fabulous book club selection. I appreciate that the author created discussion questions for readers at the story’s end.
Highly Recommended: I enthusiastically recommend The German Wife for fans of realistic, substantial, and compelling historical fiction, for readers who enjoy discussable themes, for those who love WW11 histfic, and for book clubs.
Also by Kelly Rimmer: The Things We Cannot Say, The Warsaw Orphan
My Rating: 5 Stars
The German Wife Information Here
Meet the Author, Kelly Rimmer
Kelly Rimmer is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and internationally best selling author of contemporary and historical fiction novels including The Secret Daughter, The Things We Cannot Say, and Truths I Never Told You. Her latest novel, The Warsaw Orphan, was released in June 2021. Kelly lives in rural Australia with her family and a whole menagerie of badly behaved animals.
For further information about Kelly’s books, and to subscribe to her mailing list, visit http://www.kellyrimmer.com.
Is The German Wife on your TBR or have you read it?
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If you like this, you may enjoy ‘The Girl in the Blue Coat.’
Thanks for the rec!
Wow! That’s high praise, Carol. I’ll have to take another look at this one. Excellent review💜
Excellent review, Carol. I am in awe of her ability to meld all the timelines and settings into such an enjoyable and cohesive story. I agree with all you said, especially about learning someone’s backstory makes the unthinkable, understandable, perfect discription.
Thanks Carla! We all come with a backstory!
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Lovely review but… I’m getting bored with dual timelines and all these WWII novels that feel like they’re more romance than historical fiction.
No romance in this one!
What? They were Nazi’s?? I need this one!
It’s an interesting piece of history Kym!
Sounds like a phenomenal read, Carol! Your enthusiasm can be felt here. 😀 Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Lashaan! It was a perfect mix of all the elements I like!
[…] Find Carol’s blog review of The German Wife here. […]
Loved your review, Carol. Excellent job, as always!
Thanks so much Gina! 🙌
Great review Carol! This one is on my TBR list. 🙂
It’s TBR worthy! Hope you enjoy it!
[…] to Carol @ Reading Ladies Book Club for being the tipping point to me finally adding this book. I’ve taken a brief hiatus of sorts […]
Thanks for linking!
[…] Other books I’ve reviewed for the tour: The German Wife, The Librarian Spy, and The Codebreaker’s […]