Honest Deceptions

Honest Deceptions

by Hannah Hess

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Fiction. Jewish Studies. Margot Brenner seems to have everything a 25-year-old could want: a medical degree, a pediatric internship at a prestigious New York hospital, an attentive boyfriend. So why does she abandon her boyfriend and internship for a position at a second-rate hospital in a small German city? She knows her father and brother were victims of the holocaust when they became trapped in Germany at the onset of WWII, but she wants...specifics. Her father's old friend, Willie Meinhof, who sheltered them as long as he could, and who suffered for that, should know. In Wolfenbuttel, where Willie and his son, also a doctor, now live, Margot finds surprising resistance from Willie. "Let the past stay buried; let sleeping dogs lie," is his attitude. But Margot persists, until the answers she finds show that things are rarely what they seem, and that an agonizing choice in 1939 has terrible consequences in the present.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159147950
Publisher: PBS Publications
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 452 KB

About the Author

Born in Germany, Hannah S. Hess came to the United States via Ecuador. She was educated in the New York City public schools, and worked as a high school English teacher, assistant principal and principal there. The mother of three children, she lives in New York with her husband, Walter, a published poet and film-maker. She is the author of The Third Side of the Desk; How Parents Can Change the Schools (Scribner, 1973) and HONEST DECEPTIONS (Caravel Books, 2013).

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Honest Deceptions 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books I have read this year. i have have read other books about this period of time but none of them were as spellbinding as this book. I could not put it down once I began reading it. The twists and turns surprised me and left me wanting to read more and more by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
This compulsively readable debut novel from Hannah S. Hess posits an immediately intriguing premise dealing with seldom-considered ramifications of the horrors of the Holocaust, although one might think there was nothing new to be written about that era. The time is 1963. The protagonist, Margot Brenner, is at a turning point in her life. Twenty-five years old, she has just gotten her medical degree, graduating with honors, albeit saddened by the fact that her parents are not there to see it: her mother recently passed away, and her doctor father had been killed by the Nazis years before. She had been offered a choice spot as a resident in pediatrics at Mt. Sinai Hospital in her hometown of New York City, but applies for and lands a surgical residency, her true aspiration, in a hospital in Hannover, the small town in Germany in which her parents had lived before the war. Many chapters are told in flash-back fashion to the Germany of 1939, and the lives of her parents and other Jews before and just after the war started. Jewish doctors had been dismissed from the hospitals, and forbidden to treat Christians. Her parents are taken in by his colleague, Willie Meinhof, in the house where he lives with his wife and 4-year-old son, and he unofficially joins his medical practice. The Brenners arrange to leave Germany with their children by boat for America, still permitted, but just before that can take place their son, Peter, also 4, becomes ill, and the decision is made for Claire to leave on the boat with her baby, Margot, her husband and young son to follow as soon as they are able. Before that can happen, they are taken away by the Nazis, and Willy is arrested for harboring Jews. Willy is released after a few weeks’ time and allowed to join the German Army. Margot has never been able to find out conclusively what fate awaited her father and brother, although all rumors and known facts indicate they were killed. Margot feels she owes it to her parents, and to herself, to try to find out what happened to them. She contacts Willie Meinhof and tries to find out the answers, but he is resistant, saying it is better to “let the past stay buried; let sleeping dogs lie.” What follows is a fascinating, wonderfully plotted tale. Even though this reader had guessed at the ending, it did not lessen the impact one bit. The earlier reference to the book being “compulsively readable” was not figurative - - when I was nearing the end of the book, all plans for the evening were cancelled; I could not put this book down. The title, “Honest Deceptions,” may, at the very least, seem to be a contradiction in terms; the term is also kinder than the actions that lie at the heart of the plot deserve. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an intriguing web of a German family’s history! This was beautifully written. Hannah Hess knows how to captivate the reader especially with the tough reminder of what really happened during the Nazi era. Hopefully she will be encouraged to write a sequel for Honest Deceptions (2013) or The Third side of the Desk, How Parents Can Change the Schools (1973). Let us not wait another forty years. This book has everything…romance, mystery, family, relationships, historical facts…you won’t put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For a superb read I highly recommend Hannah Hess’ powerful novel, Honest Deceptions. The story starts in 1939 Germany where two friends, both doctors, one Jewish, the other not, agree to exchange two year old sons for the duration of the war to save the Jewish boy because the non-Jewish doctor’s child is retarded and faces euthanasia from the Nazi regime. The Jewish mother and her infant daughter manage to immigrate to the United States, but the father and his supposed son are betrayed by someone and never heard from again. Twenty years later in New York City the mother having recently died, the daughter, newly graduated from medical school, decides to try to learn more about the fate of her father and brother. She obtains a hospital position in Germany, and the rest of the story, moving back and forth between ’39 and ’69 and between Germany and New York, takes us on a suspenseful search for the truth with many twists and turns along the way. Mrs. Hess published another book, The Third side of the Desk, How Parents Can Change the Schools in 1973. It was equally well written and though non-fiction read like a novel. One can only hope that she will produce more works in the near future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honest Deceptions is a compelling read--moving, suspenseful and historically informative. I was quickly swept up in the young heroine's extraordinary quest into her father's and brother's disappearance during WW2 in Germany Her return in the 1960's to a small German town where she obtains a medical residency begins a fascinating search  that moves inexorably toward an inevitable climax but I was on the edge of my seat as to how that would unwind.  Very dramatic!  A real page turner.