The German House takes place in 1960s Germany, where many are trying to forget about the war & it’s tragedies. The story centers around Eva, a young woman in her 20s, helping out at her her family’s restaurant, The German House, & working as a Polish translator. Eva is too young to have known what transpired during the war herself, & everyone she knows refuses to talk about it. As she is living her life of finding herself, as well as finding a husband, she is pulled into translating during the Frankfurt trials. Naturally, her family & boyfriend vehemently oppose to Eva taking part in the trials.
Eva’s boyfriend, Jurgen, is one of the worst characters in the book (although her sister, Annegret, is by far the most awful person in Eva’s world.) However, it is to be taken into consideration that the time frame this takes place, a woman’s role is very different and Eva struggles with becoming an independent woman or a potential & traditional wife. She is also at odds with her family, who begins acting strangely when she accepts the job to translate during the trial. She wonders what secrets they are keeping from her.
I love historical fiction, but there are so many historical fiction novels that take place during WWII that I almost avoid them at this point. But, The German House is a different take on the horrific aspects of the war, specifically from the German viewpoint. It is a story of a country with a generation trying to heal & rebuild, while ashamed of the atrocities that occurred & the juxtaposition of a modern generation trying to moving forward, while forcing those to acknowledge their actions as well as those who chose subservience.
I really enjoyed The German House as both a historical retelling of the Frankfurt trials, as well as Eva’s personal story & her family.
*Thank you to BookishFirst & HarperVia for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.*