The German Heiress is here!

My debut novel set in postwar Germany is out in the US and Canada — finally! If you’re more into audiobooks, here’s the link to a sneak excerpt of the US version (The German Heiress, read by Lisa Flanagan)— and the UK version (Finding Clara, read by Honeysuckle Weeks). Which do you like better?

The German Heiress is now available in a whole lot of places: I’ve been getting photos of it at grocery stories in different parts of the US if you crave a physical book during the lockdown. Otherwise, it’s also available (as is Finding Clara) in ebook and audio. Hope you enjoy!

I’ll be doing more regular posts soon, but the last 6 weeks or so have been utterly crazy. Stay safe and healthy!

Finding Clara

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CosyFinding Clara, my novel of postwar Germany, has officially launched in all formats in the UK! So so proud readers will finally get to read about the secrets and lies in the ruins of Essen. North American readers have to wait a bit longer, until April 7.

If you want to know more about me and the book, check out my official author website. Thank you!

Losing a piece of old Berlin

I was so sad to hear that Clärchens Ballhaus, my favorite place in all of Berlin, has closed down. Every time I was there, it felt like I stepped back in time to the ballrooms of the 1920s and 1930s. Apparently there’s a new owner and it will be open again after renovations, but *not* renovating was kind of Clärchens’ charm. It looked and felt like the real thing, a nightclub from about 100 years ago. It had the peeling plaster and bullet holes in the mirrors to prove it. It offered tango and cha-cha nights. The waiters wore waistcoats. The last time I was in Berlin, I spent several hours in Clärchens’ various rooms stuffing myself with food and drinks and taking pictures. I’m glad, since Clärchens may never look like this again.

I wasn’t sure what happened  to Clärchens after World War II until I got my hands on the official history, Berlin tanzt in Clärchens Ballhaus by Marion Kiesow. From 1942, the Ballhaus closed down under the Nazis (dancing was forbidden), and was used by German army staff officers needing somewhere to pour over their maps. Once Germany surrendered they left a lot of paper behind that Clärchens – open again! – turned to its blank white side and used as “tablecloth.”

Soon the Red Army appeared, using Clärchens courtyard for their horses. But on Saturday, July 14, 1945, the Ballhaus finally opened again for the business of dancing and having fun. The building was in bad shape from the bombardments and fighting, but people climbed through the rubble for a chance to dance and drink a thin kind of punch. The man shortage meant every man could dance the night with constantly changing partners.

Though Clärchens was in the new Soviet Sector of occupied Berlin, people from all over the city could go there in the early years after the war. Those were hard years for most, and some people sought their escape in “Bonbons” – drugs in sweets wrappers that were sometimes openly sold table to table.

By the way, there really was a Clärchen – Clara Bühler, the wife of the original owner of the dance hall at Auguststr. 24. After World War I, she ran the place herself, and for the rest of the century, it was known as Clärchens.

I hope it reopens one day, and with its old charm and authenticity.

 

Spitfire by M.L. Huie

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SpitfireI’ll be back to normal posts soon, but I can’t resist celebrating the launch of M.L. Huie’s postwar espionage novel Spitfire, out today in the United States. It’s set in 1946 just like my book, so it feels like Spitfire and The German Heiress /Finding Clara are story siblings.

Spitfire is about a female spy and it has Ian Fleming in it too, so I’ve wanted to read it ever since I was lucky enough to meet Michael via a 2020 Debut authors group. Here’s the description from his website:

It’s the day of the London Victory Celebrations 1946. World War II is over, and former spy Livy Nash is celebrating with her third drink before noon. She went to war to kill Nazis. Dropped behind enemy lines as a courier, she quickly became one of the toughest agents in France. But her war ended with betrayal and the execution of the man she loved.

Now, Livy spends her days proofreading a demeaning advice column for little ladies at home, and her nights alone with black market vodka.

But everything changes when she meets the infamous Ian Fleming.

The man who will create the world’s most sophisticated secret agent has an agenda of his own and sends Livy back to France with one task: track down the traitor who killed the only man she ever loved. Livy jumps at the chance, heading back to Paris undercover as a journalist. But the City of Lights is teeming with spies, and Livy quickly learns just how much the game has changed. With enemies on every corner and ever-shifting alliances, she’ll have to learn to fight a new war if she wants to conquer the past.

I just downloaded Spitfire, and as a classic spy novel fan, I’m ridiculously excited to read it. I hope some of you will take a look too. p.s. Book 2 in the Livy Nash series should be coming out later in the year. Congratulations, Michael!

 

 

Free book: The German Heiress

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Final Cover_German Heiress

Published by HarperCollins in April 2020

If you’re in the United States and like free stuff, especially stuff related to postwar Germany, head over to Goodreads and enter a chance to win one of 100 advanced reader copies of my debut novel The German Heiress.  (It’s called Finding Clara in the UK).

It’s set in the ruins of Essen, Germany in December 1946 at the start of what the Germans call the “Hunger Winter,” one of the hardest on record. It stars Clara, a woman on the run and struggling with her conscience; Jakob, a black marketer determined to get his family through the winter; and Willy, a boy soldier who refuses to believe the war is over.

You can learn more at my author website.

A lot of information on this blog sprang from my research as I wrote this book. It’s been a labor of love, and I’m excited for it to get into the hands of readers.

Good luck!