Book Review: The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

About the Book:

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?

Published by Hachette Australia

Released 27th April 2022

My Thoughts:

Kelly Rimmer’s latest novel, The German Wife, is a story of morality, one that steers the reader into contemplation about the choices people make when forced into impossible circumstances.

‘When the story of the war is written, the pages will be full of men saying I was only following orders and the world will know that is fiction.’

I had not actually heard about Hitler’s rocket program, nor was I aware that the US had scooped up a whole heap of Nazi scientists after the war and relocated them into the CIA space program. The things that get buried over time! It was interesting to read all about this, particularly the way the scientists were pulled into the program in Germany in the lead up to the war and the subsequent weaponising of the rockets they developed under the initial guise of landing on the moon.

I bonded with both Jurgen and Sofie and I think Kelly Rimmer did a particularly good job of digging in deep with this couple, showing with sensitivity and impartiality just how difficult their position was and how little control they had over the circumstances in which they found themselves. Within the author note at the end, Kelly Rimmer raises some interesting questions about accountability and absolution. This one is a must read for book clubs.


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