Review of THE GERMAN WIFE by Kelly Rimmer

Told in a dual timeline and with two female protagonists, this book was well-researched and was based on an actual U.S. Intelligence program that brought former Nazis to the U.S. to work in the American rocket system. Jurgen Rhodes was forced to work for the Nazis or lose his income and possibly his children. After the war, he was whisked away to the U.S. and held at Fort Bliss until he was transferred to Huntsville, AL to work on rockets. Sofie, his wife, was separated from him for five years, anxiously remaining in Germany and without knowledge of where her husband had been taken. Then, the day came when she heard that he was settled in Alabama and and purchased a home for her and the children there. Accompanied by two of their children, Sofie makes the journey to America. The emotions in this book fairly jumped off the page as I sympathized with Sofie facing an unknown future. Their neighborhood consists of other German families, so at first Sofie feels welcomed and is eager to build a new and hopeful future in the U.S. Her dreams are dashed, however, when gossip begins and spreads quickly about Jurgen’s role in Nazi Germany. Spurred on by the other female protagonist, Lizzie, the gossip seems to take on a life of its own and destroys Sofie’s quest for peace and happiness. This story is one that was at times hard to read because of the hatred that rolled from Lizzie’s heart to Sofie. Lizzie is a bitter woman who dearly loves her brother Henry. Henry is a former soldier suffering from PTSD and Lizzie blames all Nazis for his condition. In her attempt to wreak vengeance, she targets Sofie and her family. I enjoyed the book, especially learning about this rocket program that I knew nothing about previously. I was a bit confused at first by the dual timeline and by the fast that the book is supposed to be about Sofie, but it is actually about the effects of the war on two different women, one of them being the American Lizzie. In looking for safety in the U.S., Sofie encounters some of the worst prejudice possible and has to safeguard herself and her children from the increasing violence and threats against them. Even those in their German neighborhood turn against them. I found the details disturbingly realistic and heartbreaking. There is a great deal of tension and conflict in the book as Sofie is forced to deal with the stunningly realistic actions of what basically becomes a mob against her and her family. With the themes of family, right versus wrong and making choices for one’s future, this book is a compelling look at a time and events in history that deserve a second look and apologies for undeserved prejudices. It brought home to me that often we attack what we truly have not taken the time to understand. I enjoyed learning about Sofie, but I wanted to reach into the pages and implore Lizzie to be more accepting and less judgmental. After all, the same thing that Lizzie was accusing Sofie of simply because she was German was what Lizzie was doing in “free” America. Appearances are deceptive in this book and it was this that drew me to the novel and kept me reading, hopeful for a happy future for Sofie but despairing when all seems stacked against her. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this realistic portrayal of what it was like to be the wife who suffers the repercussions of her husband’s career.
Disclaimer
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

Rated PG-13 due to emotional content that may disturb some readers
From the author’s website at http://www.kellyrimmer.com Please go to her website to find additional information about her other books.

This book will release on June 28, 2022 and is now available for preorder. Purchase Links:

Bookshop

Google Play Store

Powells

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

Many thanks to Grayson House Publishing for the ARC to read and review!

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