"This riveting war story introduces us to beautiful Kate Zweig, the English widow of a German surgeon, and Claus Murphy, an exiled American with German roots - two lovers with complicated loyalties." "In 1918, Kate and her husband, Horst, are taken for spies by Russian soldiers and forced to flee their field hospital on the eastern front, barely escaping with their lives. Years later, in London during the Nazis' V-1 reign of terror, Claus spends his days making propaganda films and his nights as a British spy, worn down by the war and his own many secrets. When Claus meets the intriguing Kate Zweig, he finds himself powerfully drawn to her - even after evidence surfaces that she might not be exactly who she seems. As the war hurtles to a violent end, Claus must define where his own loyalties lie, whether he can make a difference in the war - and what might be gained by taking a leap of faith with Kate." Echoing Pat Barker's spare power and Sebastian Faulks's sweeping historical sagas, and reminiscent of the haunting romance of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient, The German Woman takes us inside the two world wars that defined the twentieth century and the hidden histories of two unforgettable characters whose love story will haunt readers' hearts and minds.
For a novel with two main characters, logic dictates that each performer should take one of the leading roles to create a mini-cast production, but this audio proceeds the old-fashioned way, in tag-team style. Anne Flosnik, performing the first section set primarily in Germany after the Great War, has a brittle voice that takes some getting used to. Her range is dwarfed by the talented Michael Page, who picks up the story in London in 1944. Though narrating in a slightly British accent, Page captures the American cadences and personality of Charles/Claus with all his yearnings and ambivalence, and his Kate, the British-born woman at the heart of the first section, outshines Flosnik's interpretation. Despite the unevenness of the performances, Page's galvanizing narrative makes this well-researched historical novel worth sticking with. A Houghton Mifflin Harcourt hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 27). (June)