The German Womanby Paul Griner, Anne Flosnik, Michael Page
This riveting war story introduces us to beautiful Kate Zweig, the English widow of a German surgeon, and Claus Murphy, an exiled American with German roots—two lovers with complicated loyalties.In 1918, Kate and her husband,Horst, are taken for spies by Russian soldiers and forced to flee their field hospital on the eastern front, barely escaping/p>
This riveting war story introduces us to beautiful Kate Zweig, the English widow of a German surgeon, and Claus Murphy, an exiled American with German roots—two lovers with complicated loyalties.In 1918, Kate and her husband,Horst, are taken for spies by Russian soldiers and forced to flee their field hospital on the eastern front, barely escaping with their lives. Years later, in London during the Nazis’ V-1 reign of terror, Claus spends his days making propaganda films and his nights as a British spy, worn down by the war and his own many secrets. When Claus meets the intriguing Kate Zweig, he finds himself powerfully drawn to her—even after evidence surfaces that she might not be exactly who she seems. As the war hurtles to a violent end, Claus must define where his own loyalties lie, whether he can make a difference in the war—and what might be gained by taking a leap of faith with Kate. Echoing Pat Barker’s spare power and Sebastian Faulks’s sweeping historical sagas, and reminiscent of the haunting romance of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, The German Woman takes us inside the two world wars that defined the twentieth century and the hidden histories of two unforgettable characters whose love story will haunt readers’ hearts and minds.
- Brilliance Audio
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- 5.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.50(d)
Meet the Author
The German Woman was partly inspired by an E. M. Forster quote: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.”
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Simplest summary: In the exhausted days of 1944, an English nurse (the widow of a German doctor) becomes lovers with an American exile. Both have secrets. This book takes place in two uncomfortable eras which are relegated to a couple of paragraphs in most of our high school history books: the sorry wrapping-up of World War I, when Germany endured vengeful blockades and half a million died of starvation, and (primarily) in the summer of 1944, when the Germans were clearly losing World War II but matters were far from done. The entire premise is wrapped up in the musing of Claus, one of the two main characters, when he thinks, "If the war was in many ways noble, at its margins it could yet be wrong." It would have been easy for this novel to get heavy handed. And certainly it isn't lighthearted summer-reading fun, as the author does not shy away from the gritty realities of those times. They are utterly foreign to most of us: a child with rickets, taking a bath with water rationing, the despair of a man searching through the rubble of a bombed-out house. Yet the writing is very good; Paul Griner certainly knows how to bring all our senses into the story, from Kate's perfume to the singing voices of a church congregation (suddenly silenced by the explosion of a bomb). He's equally good at expressing the uncertainties in personal relationships ("What does he think of me? Can I trust her?"). I found myself reading this book well after my bedtime, then waking up early to read "just a little more." Yet I'm reluctant to give it five stars, because I don't have that irresistible urge to press it on a friend. Without doubt, though, The German Woman is a good book for those who like historical novels or it-makes-you-think literature.
I very much enjoyed the earler portions of The German Woman, when it was narrated by Kate. When Claus took over the story telling, it became increasingly dull. Not a fan of the ending, either. If you enjoy historical fiction, don't mind the absense of dialogue, and appreciate ambiguous endings; then give it a whirl.