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August 21, 2022

The School for German Brides by Aimie K. Runyan ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

In this intriguing historical novel, a young woman who is sent to a horrific "bride school" to be molded into the perfect Nazi wife finds her life forever intertwined with a young Jewish woman about to give birth.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of historical fiction novel The School for German Brides by Aimie K. Runyan
April 2022; William Morrow; 978-0063094208
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); historical fiction

With so many books about World War II being published, it's always a surprise to me when someone writes a story that hasn't been told before.  Aimie Runyan has done that with The School for German Brides.  I had never read about the way that young Aryan women were groomed to make them better wives and helpmates to the Nazi husbands-to-be.

Hanna is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Berlin after her mother dies.  They are thrilled to have a 'daughter' and shower her with new clothes and jewelry.  They take her to the best parties and introduce her to the hierarchy of the Nazi party.  She soon becomes engaged to influential SS officer Friedrich Schroeder.  He is much older than her and she feels trapped by the future that is being planned for her.  When her mother was alive she taught Hanna to be independent and to help heal people.  Hanna's desire is to go to school to become a doctor but since Hitler doesn't believe in educating women there's no way she can fulfill her real dream.

Klara is her new best friend until she becomes engaged.  Klara's mother wanted her to get engaged to Friedrich Schroeder and feels that she's a failure as a daughter since she let him get away.  She and Hanna later reconcile at bride school.

The third main character is Mathilde known as Titlde.  She is a young Jewish dressmaker who is alone and pregnant. She realizes that she must hide to save her baby but will she be able to survive?

Fate ties together the lives of these three very different women.  Their story comes to an explosive encounter while Hanna and Klara are at bride school to learn how to be good German wives.  They are taught to cook and sew and be good hostesses.  Along with those lessons, they are taught hate and prejudice.

Will these Hanna and Klara be able to save Titlde and her baby?  If they can, what kind of future will they have?  Can they ever feel safe again? This book was a very interesting look at the German beliefs about women - that their only job in life was to be a good wife and to birth perfect Aryan babies.  Can these three totally different women be successful while they are turning their backs on the current beliefs in Berlin?

I really enjoyed this look at these three women.  They followed their own beliefs instead of believing what they were being taught.  It's tough to break away from societal beliefs, especially in a government where the punishment is death.  These three women were brave beyond words.

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  You can connect with her on Facebook.

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