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The German Bride: A Novel
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The German Bride: A Novel

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  337 ratings  ·  71 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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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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Randi Reisfeld
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
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,....
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.
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.
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 .
This book felt like 2 desperate stories and I'm really not sure how the first story really mattered to the other. Yes they happened to the same woman, but I just didn't get it.
Jan Polep
Santa Fe...1860's...grubby new life for a Jewish bride from Germany. Meh.
There were some interesting historical details in this, and I do like historical fiction. However, I found the main character so annoying, I nearly shut the book in exasperation at times. She made for tedious reading. If you watch "Downton Abbey" at all, I would consider her the German version of Lady Mary Crawley--spoiled and nagging. I felt like the story and characters needed more depth and variety to make this a better read.
The author created a captivating world, including Berlin and the Wild American West in the mid 1800s, following one Jewish girl/woman from Germany to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Cool but unsatisfying as a story. I had to keep reading but I was always a little afraid of what was coming next, and the author's writing is highly stylized. So if you like it, it's beautiful. And if you don't, it's hard to keep reading. I kinda liked it. : )
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book was really depressing. The main character was interesting but her husband was so horrible that it really ruined the book for me. I realize the author has been compared to Willa Cather but I have to argue this point. Willa Cather is far superior. I hate books that leave me feeling depressed and empty. Reading is for being enriched, this book did not enrich me.
Wow! Very beautifully written. Poignant story. Hard to put down although also hard to read due to difficult story. Well worth the read, however. Well-to-do young woman leaves Berlin in 1865 after a family tragedy and ventures to the Wild West with her new husband but finds she cannot escape her memories and has many hardships along the way.
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