The German Bride by Joanna Hershon
A Novel

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Synopsis

Berlin, 1865. Eva Frank, the daughter of a benevolent Jewish banker, and her sister, Henriette, are having their portrait painted–which leads to a secret affair between young Eva and the mercurial artist. This indiscretion has far-reaching consequences, more devastating than Eva or her family could have imagined. Distraught and desperate to escape her painful situation, Eva hastily marries Abraham Shein, an ambitious merchant who has returned home to Germany for the first time in a decade since establishing himself in the American West. The eighteen-year-old bride leaves Berlin and its ghosts for an unfamiliar life halfway across the world, traversing the icy waters of the Atlantic and the rugged, sweeping terrain of the Santa Fe Trail.

Though Eva’s existence in the rough and burgeoning community of Sante Fe, New Mexico, is a far cry from her life as a daughter of privilege, she soon begins to settle into the mystifying town, determined to create a home. But this new setting cannot keep at bay the overwhelming memories of her former life, nor can it protect her from an increasing threat to her own safety that will force Eva to make a fateful decision.

Joanna Hershon’s novel is a gripping and gritty portrayal of urban European immigrants struggling with New World frontier life in the mid-nineteenth century. Vivid and emotionally compelling, The German Bride is also a beautiful narrative on how far one must travel to make peace with the past.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Joanna Hershon's A Dual Inheritance.
 

About Joanna Hershon

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Joanna Hershon is the author of The German Bride, The Outside of August, and Swimming. She has received fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Edward Albee Foundation. An adjunct assistant professor in the creative writing department at Columbia University, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the painter Derek Buckner, and their twin sons.
 
Published August 5, 2008 by Ballantine Books. 320 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The German Bride

Kirkus Reviews

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Eva is drawn to him despite his blandly anti-Semitic sentiments (he assures her that if they marry no one will suspect she’s a Jew), and their association leads (or so Eva blames herself) to the death of her beloved sister during childbirth.

Feb 01 2008 | Read Full Review of The German Bride: A Novel

The New York Times

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Nearly destroyed by a secret affair with a gentile, Eva escapes her family by marrying Abraham Shein, who with his older brother, Meyer, has established a dry goods business in Santa Fe.

Jun 08 2008 | Read Full Review of The German Bride: A Novel

Book Reporter

Although difficult to read at times, I appreciated the beauty of Hershon's writing and her success in capturing this part of American history through the fictional lives of Eva Frank and Abraham Shein.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The German Bride: A Novel

USA Today

Somewhere beneath the forbidden love, surging guilt and myriad incapacitating illnesses lives a touching novel about a young German-Jewish settler who finds her own voice while saddled with a charlatan of a husband.

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Bookmarks Magazine

The eighteen-year-old bride leaves Berlin and its ghosts for an unfamiliar life halfway across the world, traversing the icy waters of the Atlantic and the rugged, sweeping terrain of the Santa Fe Trail.

Though Eva’s existence in the rough and burgeoning community of Sante Fe, New Mexico, ...

May 26 2008 | Read Full Review of The German Bride: A Novel

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