“Meticulously researched and plotted like a noir thriller, The German Heiress tells a different story of WWII— of characters grappling with their own guilt and driven by the question of what they could have done to change the past.” —Jessica Shattuck, New York Times bestselling author of The Women in the Castle
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 Germany.
Clara Falkenberg, once Germany’s most eligible and lauded heiress, earned the nickname “the Iron Fräulein” 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, Elisa.
Narrowly 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 war.
Propulsive, 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.
Scott's magnetic debut follows one woman's quest for survival amid the devastation of post-WWII Germany. Clara Falkenberg, the former heiress to the Falkenberg Iron Works in Essen, Germany, has been living under an assumed name in the 18 months since the war ended. Having fled Essen during the war out of fear of reprisal from the Nazis for sneaking extra rations to foreign workers transported by the Nazis from the Soviet Union and Poland to work for them, Clara now sets out in search of an old friend back in Essen. On her way, she is detained and interrogated by British Capt. Thomas Fenshaw about the workers who starved to death. Clara escapes and soon meets black marketeer Jakob Relling, who agrees to help Clara find Elisa. As Jakob uses his connections to gather information, Fenshaw, knowing Jakob is in contact with Clara, offers him extra rations in exchange for information about her whereabouts, and Jakob is forced to decide between betraying a well-connected woman he might benefit from, and providing for his family in the moment. Scott's narrative is embellished with realistic depictions of rubble-filled German cities, scavenging residents, and moral questions about Clara's family ties to the Nazi regime. Fans of WWII fiction will be intrigued by Scott's exploration of how war changes the moral compass of its victims.