Your Preview Verdict: The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

Your Preview Verdict: The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

Inspired by real events, the New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Orphan returns with an unputdownable novel of a community torn apart when a former Nazi family moves into town to work on NASA’s space program

Berlin, 1934. Sofie Rhodes is the aristocratic wife of a scientist whose post-WWI fortunes change for the better when her husband, Jurgen, is recruited for Hitler’s new rocket project. But too late they realise the Nazis’ plans to weaponise Jurgen’s technology as they begin to wage war against the rest of Europe.

Alabama, 1949 Jurgen is one of hundreds of Nazi scientists offered pardons and taken to the US to work for the CIA’s fledgling space program. Sofie, now the mother of four, misses Germany terribly and struggles to fit in among the other NASA wives.

When news about the Rhodes family’s affiliation with the Nazi party spreads, idle gossip turns to bitter rage, and the act of violence that results will tear apart a community and a family before the truth is finally revealed – but is it murder, revenge or justice?

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

This book was unputdownable. It was so fascinating to read a WW2 novel written from the point of view of Germans who did not subscribe to Nazi ideology. Also reading about the attitudes of American in the post war era was equally fascinating. The author skilfully navigated both storylines and intertwined them beautifully. 5 stars from me ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  Elizabeth, QLD, 5 Stars

Just finished Kelly Rimmer’s new novel, The German Wife. I could not put this novel down! Rimmer said that she did not know whether the Rhodes deserved a happy ending, but I believed that they did. Yes, what Jurgen did was wrong, but was he not just trying to survive? Unfortunately he had skills that were truly exploitable and deadly. It was scary watching the older two children be brainwashed and taught to hate. My heart broke for this family knowing that Jurgen had limited options to save his family, while lives were destroyed due to his knowledge. A wonderful novel that has the reader on an emotional rollercoaster. Karen, NSW, 5 Stars

The German Wife is a beautifully written poignant piece of historical fiction. The story is one of two vastly different women from different backgrounds and countries whose lives become entwined. Inspired by true events it is well researched and the descriptions of people and places are very evocative. The German Wife is hard to put down and definitely tugs at the heart strings. Janelle, NSW, 5 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book because of its historical relevance. Life seemed to be changing for the better for Sofie when her husband Jurgen was recruited in Hitler’s rocket project in the war, until they realised Hitler’s plans. Post war German scientists were offered pardons and they travelled to the US where Jurgen worked for the CIA’s new space program. But she struggled to fit in with the NASA wives and their secret was uncovered with violent consequences. Gail, WA, 5 Stars

Another great read from Kelly Rimmer. A heartfelt tale of two women from very different backgrounds whose paths cross when their husbands are working together for the US government. I particularly loved Sophie’s character and seeing the hardships her and her family faced during the time period of the Second World War and afterwards in America, from another side that we don’t usually see, especially from the perspective of what it was like to live in Germany during and after the rise of Hitlers Nazi party before the War. Such a thought provoking book, that really poses question’s about the moral dilemma’s faced by many Germans during the war, and the lengths one had to go to, to survive. Ultimately begs the question of whether being compliant and ‘just following orders’ of the Nazi’s, that they are just as guilty as those perpetrating the crimes against humanity? Melissa, VIC, 5 Stars

Thanks to Better Reading for providing this book, now having read The German Wife I must say “what a great read” it is. This historical fiction kept me enthralled from beginning to end. Kelly Rimmer has written a powerful and heart-breaking story centred around two of the darkest times in our history – The Great Depression and The Rise of Nazi Germany. The book is well written, well researched and highly emotive taking the reader through optimism, hardship, love, hatred, prejudice, ignorance, guilt and morality of the time. The dual timeline and storylines focus on the extreme circumstances in which the characters live and the choices they must make, and the repercussions of those decisions decades later. This story links together two different families, one in Germany the other the USA, before and after WWII. This is a book centred around strong women in a totally male dominated era, their sense of family and the strength shines through. I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction and thinks about placing themselves in the position of characters. I rate this book 5 stars and look forward to reading other books written by Kelly Rimmer. Grahame, NSW, 5 Stars

The German Wife is the first book I have read by Kelly Rimmer ,won’t be the last. It told about part of WW2 that I was unaware, How the German scientists where “encouraged ” to join the Nazi party and be part of the war machine. These scientists were then after the fall of Berlin transported to America and the difficulty being part of American life. She has written about the difficulties of both people during war and after. It makes one think about the futility of war and the waste on both sides. The difficulty of the general population to be able to go against the rules of the party. At first I thought it was difficult going from one time to another but as you got into the book it was easy to follow. Pat, QLD, 5 Stars

This is historical fiction at its best. The German Wife is inspired by the events of Operation Paperclip, the program which brought German scientists to the US after WWII to work on the US space program. Kelly Rimmer’s research is outstanding and used with such a light touch that it really adds to the narrative. It is told from the dual perspectives of Sofie and Lizzie and spans the 1930s through to the 1950s. The narrative is compelling, heartbreaking at times, and it questions the lengths these women will go to protect their families. While all of the characters have their flaws, which makes for interesting plot lines, the characters are well drawn such that the reader can identify the motivations for the choices they make. This is an important story as it adds a fresh perspective to the large body of existing WWII narratives. Highly recommended. Holly, WA, 5 Stars

Sofie, Jurgen, Lizzie and Henry have all experienced tragic pasts and are strong people due to this. Changing between different times was easy to follow and kept the flow of the book interesting and wanting more. A great read about the insight to people and their suffering through pre and post world war 2. Another great read by Kelly Rimmer. Thank you. Lizzie, SA, 5 Stars

Such a beautifully written book. The way the characters paths cross and how they journey together. Totally immersed my self in the story and how each women strived for a better life for themselves and their families. Lisa, QLD, 5 Stars

Kelly Rimmer takes the reader on a journey spanning over twenty years – from 1930 to 1951 – and tells the story of two women, Lizzie, a young American and Sofie a young German wife and mother, and their families. Lizzie lives on her family farm in Dallam County, Texas, where life is not easy, with little money and years of drought. Sofie lives in Berlin and is the privileged wife of a leading scientist who is recruited for a rocket project by the German government. These women are strong and brave and the events that shape their lives are different, but both have lost loved ones in cruel circumstances and will always try to protect their families. Their paths cross with an unpredictable outcome, as they both slowly come to realise that the choices they have made in impossible situations have unexpected consequences. The reader cannot help but feel empathy towards the characters as their lives unravel and become very complicated and dangerous, and realise that judging an entire people with a broad brush is unfair and probably wrong. An amazing read! I would definitely recommend this book. It is a 10 out of 10 from me! Thank you BETTER READING and Hachette for giving me this opportunity. Marie, NSW, 5 Stars

Wow what a wonderful book. From the first page to the last I was enthralled. Kelly Rimmer has captured all the emotion in this story of a family who do whatever it takes to survive through the war during the time of the Nazi’s regime. Each page the story brought to life the real struggles of everyone in the community, how lives are lost and found. Sofie Rhodes the main character is strong and her Husband Jurgen, a scientist is manipulated into helping built rockets for the Nazi’s for the war. Watching this beautiful family doing whatever they had to do to survive was at times heartbreaking. Eventually Jurgen along with fellow Nazi scientists is given a pardon and moved to America to help build rockets for the space program. Just when Sofie and Jurgen think there time of trouble with the Nazi’s is over the local community discover their past and take it into their own hands to act revenge. A brilliant book, one of those books that have you wake in the night and all you can think about is the story and wonder what is going to happen. I didn’t want this book to finish definitely a 5 star read. Christine, QLD, 5 Stars

Thankyou for my free copy. The German Wife is another fantastic read from Kelly Rimmer. I really enjoyed the split timeline and split narrative of the book. The way the both Sofi and Lizzie’s current lives are intertwined with how their past experiences shaped their character made for a powerful emotion filled read. With intriguing side characters and captivating historical elements I couldn’t put this book down until I read every last page. The German Wife is a beautifully written book that I highly recommend for a fabulous read. Simone, WA, 5 Stars

I have read a lot of books set during WW2, but none from the perspective of the characters in The German Wife. Kelly Rimmer doesn’t just give one perspective, but two, showing life how it might have been for both main characters during such times. The book was an interesting read, that at times had me spellbound, and desperate to get to the next page. Elizabeth, VIC, 5 Stars

One of the blurbs describes this book as ‘unputdownable’ and this surely was the case with me. Totally absorbed from the start and in typical Kelly Rimmer style, a beautifully told tale of a sad part of the world’s history. Emotional and heart-wrenching, this book is my most favourite read this year! Jenny, VIC, 5 Stars

The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer is a real page turner. The novel follows the lives of two women of similar age from 1930 to 1951. Lizzie comes from a farming family in Texas and Sofie from a rich German family in Berlin. How these women navigated life through the depression, pre-war build up, the war years and the early years of peace is sensitively told. Many issues are integrated in the story: the rise of Nazi Germany; racism, especially anti- semitism the poverty and helplessness of the depression in America; the importance of family; combat fatigue; mental illnesses and the futility of war. It is a story of love, loss, devotion, survival and hope. Rimmer has deeply researched these issues and the time frame in which they have appeared. All the characters are believable and well developed even if one disagrees with their beliefs. I found the novel very moving and enlightening. As the characters’ thoughts are described, we understand the conflicts facing them and the need to make decisions which they ultimately question. Does the end justify the means? What would you do for your family’s safety? This is an exceptional novel. Michael, ACT, 5 Stars

The German Wife is the story of the Rhodes family in Nazi Germany and then in 1950 Alabama USA. It details of the Nazi’s rocket program and living in German before and during WW2. The topics in this story are different to many other WW2 books that have been written recently and this was a nice change to learn about the German rocket program and about an anti-Nazi German family that have the difficulty of defying Nazi orders and remaining safe, then the difficulty in trying to integrate into life in America after the war. A wonderful book to read, a very close second to Kelly Rimmer’s The Warsaw Orphan. Tara, ACT, 5 Stars

I was so happy to review Kelly Rimmer’s book “The German Wife” – I was so captivated from the beginning till end so much that I finished it in a weekend. I loved the relationship between Sophie and Jurgen as a couple who supported each other through good and bad times. Sophie was a very strong supporter of her husbands work even though she didn’t always understand it. Jurgen loves his wife and family to the point he will do anything to protect them. We learn a lot about NASA’s space program and the recruitment of German Nazi scientists to the US. The manipulation of these scientists to get the job done and how the NASA wives had to try and make a new life and fit in. I especially liked the friendship between Sophie and Mayim which was tested time and time again. Aunt Adele was another strong woman I enjoyed getting to know in this book, her strength, support and honesty whilst supporting her family was inspiring. I love your books Kelly Rimmer, keep up the amazing work. Thanks #BRPreview and @betterreadingau for the early read. Nicole, QLD, 5 Stars

This is my first Kelly Rimmer novel and I’ll be looking for more of her work in the future. The writing was Jodi Picoult-esque in that I felt for all the characters even though they had different experiences and history which shaped them. There were no winners in this story inspired by true events but it’s thought provoking and well written. Julie, ACT, 5 Stars

The German Wife is a beautifully written historical book capturing the unimaginable difficulties living in Nazi Germany and the terrible dust storms and depression in Texas America in the 1930’s and then after the war in a community facing prejudice and segregation. The book follows the lives of two protagonists on opposite sides of the world, Sofie in Berlin and Lizzie in Texas. This story explores what people would do to protect the ones they love and what happens when choices are striped away and sacrifices are made with incredible consequences. The two timelines 1930’s and 1950’s are successfully woven together creating an unputdownable book. Absolutely loved reading this memorable book! Ilona, VIC, 5 Stars

This is an emotional story, and in some ways quite chilling. What would we do if we were in that situation? A moral dilemma about the lengths we will all go to to protect our families and questions about when the line is crossed. A story full of heartbreak and also hope. A wonderful read. I could barely put it down. Alice, NSW, 5 Stars

A great read with an engaging story. Interesting characters to meet throughout! Veronica, NSW, 4 Stars

Kelly Rimmer has done it again. This is a historical fiction that will make you feel. Rimmer expertly navigates the decisions that are made in difficult circumstances and the consequences thereafter. The characters will immediately draw you in. Be capivated by a historical emotional ride through not only Hilter’s Germany and but also 1950s Alabama – expertly woven into this masterpiece. Alyssa, ACT, 4 Stars

What a winner, from beginning to end, I didn’t want this to finish. The depths we go to for those we love. The extreme choices we make, can’t wait to read more of her books. Lynette, NSW, 4 Stars

I loved this book I couldn’t put it down. It was so sad and it was also happy. I enjoyed reading about the two different ways that people see each other from different countries and different circumstances. How people can be so wrong in the thinking of other people just based on where they come from and not get to to know them first. I would recommend this book – I will be reading it again I love this kind of story historical fiction and love. Beth, TAS, 4 Stars

Kelly Rimmer has done it again a wonderful read and definitely hard to put down. Kelly has done her research and was inspired by real events to write this novel. It’s based on two different families in two different eras and two different countries, Germany and America. These two families were affected differently by the German war in the 1930s. NASA brought the Germans to America in the 1950s to work on the space program called Operation Paperclip. Not everyone was happy to see the Germans arrive and one particular family the Rhodes family had a lot of hostility and were shunned because of the part they had to play as Nazis. The Rhodes family did everything to protect their family and their Jewish friend. This novel proves that all is not what it seems and the Rhodes family were not given a chance to give their side of how difficult their situation was in Germany. I highly recommend this novel. Thank you @betterreading for the opportunity to preview this novel. #BRPreview. Renae, QLD, 4 Stars

Kelly Rimmer is rather sympathetic in her handling of all the characters, and the reasons behind their actions. Not sure how realistic it is. There were people who disagreed with the Nazis (and many who suffered for it), and those who felt they had to go along with it, but I’ve always suspected the majority of those people chose not to know or see what was happening. How involved in the Nazi Party politics the former Nazi NASA scientists were I don’t know, but it was nice of Kelly to give everyone (German and American) directly involved in the “incident” portrayed a sympathetic spin… Ayesha, NSW, 4 Stars

This book is a powerful read! Given all that is happening in the Ukraine at the moment it is somewhat confronting – a stark reminder of humanity’s inability to learn from our mistakes. The character of Aunt Adele is truly inspiring and definitely my favourite. She withstands all that life throws at her and maintains her spirit and determination, albeit disguised under a healthy mantle of contrariness and distance. Her life motto – “It’s not always the strongest trees that survive the storm. Sometimes it’s the trees that bend with the wind.” resonates during times of struggle. I definitely recommend this book! Lee, ACT, 4 Stars

I found this a well written, quick to read novel. The story is told spanning the Second World War, Americas great Depression and 1950 in America. The two main characters Sophie and Lizzie come from very different worlds but their struggles in protecting their respective families are heartbreaking. I could sympathise with Sophie and the prejudices she faced in her new country. As a first generation of German background l could feel her pain. Also given the state of the world at the moment it is devastating that history is again repeating itself. Marion, VIC, 4 Stars

I found this book a little difficult to follow as the chopping and changing I found a little confusing. I persevered but did not enjoy reading this so I gave up. What a pity……yes, maybe next time. Others may not have the same experience as me. Suzie, QLD, 1 Star

Reviews

Thought-Provoking: Read an Extract from The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

Review | Extract

18 May 2022

Thought-Provoking: Read an Extract from The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

    Unputdownable: Read Our Review of The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

    Review | Our Review

    17 May 2022

    Unputdownable: Read Our Review of The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

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                        Publisher details

                        The German Wife
                        Author
                        Kelly Rimmer
                        Publisher
                        Hachette
                        Genre
                        Fiction
                        Released
                        27 April, 2022

                        Synopsis

                        Inspired by real events, the New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Orphan returns with an unputdownable novel of a community torn apart when a former Nazi family moves into town to work on NASA's space program

                        Berlin, 1934. Sofie Rhodes is the aristocratic wife of a scientist whose post-WWI fortunes change for the better when her husband, Jurgen, is recruited for Hitler's new rocket project. But too late they realise the Nazis' plans to weaponise Jurgen's technology as they begin to wage war against the rest of Europe.

                        Alabama, 1949 Jurgen is one of hundreds of Nazi scientists offered pardons and taken to the US to work for the CIA's fledgling space program. Sofie, now the mother of four, misses Germany terribly and struggles to fit in among the other NASA wives.

                        When news about the Rhodes family's affiliation with the Nazi party spreads, idle gossip turns to bitter rage, and the act of violence that results will tear apart a community and a family before the truth is finally revealed - but is it murder, revenge or justice?

                        Kelly Rimmer
                        About the author

                        Kelly Rimmer

                        Kelly Rimmer is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of ten novels, including The Secret Daughter and The Things We Cannot Say. She's sold more than one million books, and her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages. Kelly lives in rural Australia with her family and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil.

                        Books by Kelly Rimmer

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