I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
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.