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The German Bride

3.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  437 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
Berlin, 1861. Eva Frank, a sixteen-year-old Jewess, has her portrait painted, which leads to an indiscretion that has devastating consequences. Desperate to escape a painful situation, Eva 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 young bride leaves Berli ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 24th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published 2008)
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Jul 17, 2008 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eva Frank is a young Jewish woman living in Berlin with her family in the late 1800s. She experiences a profound and tragic loss that compels her to hastily agree to marry Abraham Shein. Abraham, also a Berliner, emigrated to America years earlier and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico to run a store with his brother Meyer. Abraham brings Eva to Santa Fe and much of the story is about their lives there.

Alas, Abraham is embroiled in gambling, drinking and stealing from his hard working and upright
I liked many things about this book: primarily the plot elements. The idea of a Jewish-German woman in the mid-1860s, who flees Europe to get away from her horrible guilt...and ends up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a gambler tyrant of a husband...this was a great idea for a book.

Given the potentially rich settings, however, I had a hard time really settling into these characters. I struggled with Eva's motivation for her affection for Heinrich, given the fact that her first sexual experience was
Aug 21, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!
This is an amazing, entrancing and sparkling novel that--as always with a Joanna Hershon book--impresses not only with its quirkily unpredictable plotline but with its starkly inventive writing. I'm a huge fan of "Swimming" and "The Outside of August," but in "The German Bride" Hershon has really shown herself to be not only an enviably creative writer but a master of historical fiction as well....five stars!!!
Mar 12, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dad, Linda, Jacquie
Recommended to Lisa by: Bonny
I'm struggling with how to rate this book. The premise sounded right up my alley, and I really liked the beginning of the book, but after the first 50 pages or so I completely struggled to get through the book (mostly evident by how long it took me to finish it!), but then the author sort of redeemed herself, because the last 50 pages of the book were really wonderful. I wish she had built the book around that part of the story. For me this book falls into the Willa Cather, Out Stealing Horses, ...more
Apr 04, 2008 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so extraordinarily good. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. The story of a young jewish woman from a wealthy family in Germany who falls in love with a painter. Their match will never be accepted but they continue to try and see each other leading to dire circumstances for the girl's sister and her unborn child. To punish herself, Eva marries a man who is making his way in America. They live in Santa Fe and try to build a relationship, but he has a lot of secrets th ...more
Aug 16, 2008 Sus rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because the reviews sounded so good....for me ...not so much. It kept my interest but it was like I kept waiting for something more...and there wasn't anything more..just my take
Joan Roll
Feb 01, 2015 Joan Roll rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-reads
Eva, a sixteen-year-old German Jewish girl, and her sister have had their portraits painted by a young painter. It is 1861 when Eva finds herself in an unacceptable relationship with that same painter. Eva’s sister Henriette who is pregnant searches for Eva and in doing so, she not only loses her baby but also her life. Eva is devastated following her sister’s death. Several years pass before she marries Abraham Shein, a German merchant, who has returned to Germany from America for a brief visit ...more
Diane S ☔
3.5 review to follow.
Lisa Murray
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 08, 2016 Connie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Set mostly in post Civil War, New Mexico. A guilt ridden young German girl, Eva, accepts a marriage proposal from an acceptable fellow Jewish young man who has been successful in America. She will be removed from the environment of pain in Germany, to make a new life. Her husband’s success was greatly exaggerated and life in the remote, rough, and newly settled village of Santa Fe is tough. Disappointment after disappointment knocks her down. The story drags on endlessly, as depressing as the ev ...more
Gaby Franz
Un relato desordenado en algunas partes, muy detallista en simplezas y apresurado en lo importante.
No me terminó de convencer en absoluto. Eva no me gustó para nada, me pareció una mujer mezquina y arrogante que prodigaba querer expiar sus culpas pero que no hacía nada para conseguirlo.
Oct 30, 2008 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish-themes
An interesting topic (starting with Jewish families in Germany in the latter part of the 19th century), but a rather scattered novel. The story didn't seem to have a center, & the characters & their actions didn't always make sense.
Jun 10, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok
Altogether a forgettable novel, which is unfortunate since the premise as stated on the jacket blurb is intriguing. Ultimately, though, Hershon's prose falls flat, and her characters are superficial and confusing.
Feb 06, 2014 T.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The German Bride is a tale of immigration and emancipation. Of life and loss. Of unfulfilled love. Eva Frank was the cosseted daughter of a wealthy German banker. Her life was idyllic; her bond with her family, especially with her older sister, Henriette, was unbreakable. But when Henriette is taken from her in a tragic accident - an accident that Eva, throughout the remainder of the story, believes to be her fault - the Frank family's world falls to pieces. Eager to escape her grief, Eva marrie ...more
Nov 20, 2009 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am so torn between three stars and four stars! I found this fascinating and of course, like everyone, was attracted to the comparison to Willa Cather, whom I love, and yet found it totally different. I do appreciate the unique approach, having never read a novel about a German Jewish couple coming to this country as homesteaders, and yet I have heard that many did. My brother tells me that there was one time an entire community in my home state of North Dakota, which is dominated by Germans, R ...more
Evanston Public  Library
Eighteen-year-old Eva Frank, the privileged daughter of an upper-class German Jewish family in Berlin, makes an impulsive decision to marry Abraham Shein, on a visit back home from Santa Fe in search of a wife. Eva's abject grief at the death of her beloved sister just a few months earlier drives her to take up life in a new world with a man she barely knows.
After a harrowing journey across the U.S., Eva is shocked and disappointed at what she finds in Santa Fe. The climate, the culture, and the
Oct 09, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot of this story is a bit scattered all over the place. There were times I couldn't distinguish between events in Sante Fe, Germany, or Eva imagination or memories.

However, this story is very true to real life. A foreign bride is brought to the United States with promises of great riches already won only to find out it's all a lie and her husband is nothing more than a drunken, whore loving, debtor.
Bobby  Title
Aug 26, 2015 Bobby Title rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Sorry to say that The German Bride was a tedious read. And it shouldn't have been, as I like stories of the West, of immigrants, of Santa Fe, of the role of the French and the Catholic church in New Mexico, of Jews. It had so much going for it that I like, but unfortunately, the plot had as much movement as a broken a note or a line being played over and over and over and... I kept hoping the book would be redeemed by the ending, but no, that didn't happen either. It seemed like a ...more
Randi Reisfeld
Dec 13, 2011 Randi Reisfeld rated it liked it
Not sure why this was called The German Bride; had less to do with Germmany than the immigrant experience in post-civil war Santa Fe, NM--not exactly a place you'd find a young, formerly spoiled Berlin-bred Jew named Eva. She sets off the action with a shameful act--won't spoil it here--which she believes makes her responsible for a tragedy. She marries hastily and heads off with her new husband named Abraham on an arduous journey west. Abe's uber-grandiosity leads to heartaches for our heroine. ...more
Apr 13, 2015 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
This was a tough book for me to read. And I didn't even finish it. That never happens to me. I just couldn't connect with the characters and it seemed to me like it was just going to keep plodding along and no good was going to come. I found that I didn't even want to pick the book up to read. Not a good sign. So I stopped. Didn't finish it.

Would have loved to have had a great book on the subject matter, Jewish Santa Fe and the merchants that settled there. Oh well,....
Patty Starritt
May 11, 2016 Patty Starritt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put this book down! The characters are so realistically and believably flawed and the author has a way of making you feel exactly what the characters are feeling, even when it's unpleasant. It's a gritty story that I believe depicts the Wild West as it really was.
Oct 31, 2014 Cherop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and easy read about an upper class woman who tries to escape her past in Germany. She marries a man from the "wild west" and ends up in New Mexico. The life she finds there with her new husband is not what she expected but she is resolved to making do with it.
This was an okay read but there's something I can't quite put my finger on that didn't work for me. At some ponts the writing was either so veiled or vague that i couldn't figure out what the author was trying to say so there were some gaps in understanding that were frustrating. Didn't hate it but I didn't love it either.
Jul 08, 2015 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a complex and unusual tale of a German Jewish girl who marries a relative stranger who brings her to frontier Santa Fe, New Mexico. She struggles and grows as an individual as does the town around her.
Slow read, not especially engaging, didn't really like it very much. Read it through to the end which may redeem it, if Eva makes a fresh start in San Francisco.
Mar 03, 2014 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
The interesting part of this story is the immigration part. Much less interesting and the main theme is the main character's atonement for real or perceived misdeeds.
Kelly McCloskey-Romero
I loved this historical tale of female resilience set in 19th century Germany and Santa Fe. I learned a lot about the history of my own region and the story is at once tragic and inspiring.
Dec 23, 2009 Pbwritr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, a wonderful epic-style novel, even though the majority of it took place over only a few years. Eva flees Germany, thinking that her brief affair with a young, poor non-Jew is the cause of her sister's death in childbirth. Eva marries someone she doesn't love, but seems to grow to love, but he is a gambler and drinker and ruins their financial and social standing in the Wild West frontier town of Santa Fe. Great to imagine living in Germany or the U.S. west right after the Civil War, which H ...more
Debbie Campbell
I thought I would like this book just because of historical value, but I had a hard time wading through it. I just could not care about the characters. A pity because the premise was good .
A bit too long, but I never knew that so many Jewish Immigrants went to settle in New Mexico!
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