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 GermanyClara Falkenberg, Once Germany S Most Eligible And Lauded Heiress, Earned The Nickname The Iron Fr Ulein 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, ElisaNarrowly 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 WarPropulsive, 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 THE GERMAN HEIRESSBY ANIKA SCOTTThis 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 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 food and building 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 Feni 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 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 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 Feni is relentless in tracking her down and she is concerned about finding her best friend Elisa who is missing This is so much 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, 2020Thank 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 thegermanheiress anikascott harpercollinspublishing netgalley 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. 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 invested in the story if they had played a 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. I won an ARC through Goodreads, and I could not have been 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.