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The New Mrs Clifton
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The New Mrs Clifton

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,823 ratings  ·  166 reviews
As the Second World War draws to a close, Intelligence Officer Gus Clifton surprises his sisters at their London home. But an even greater shock is the woman he brings with him, Krista - the German wife whom he has married secretly in Berlin.

Krista is clearly devastated by her experiences at the hands of the British and their allies - all but broken by horrors she cannot
Kindle Edition, 405 pages
Published August 11th 2016 by Penguin
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  1,823 ratings  ·  166 reviews

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Whispering Stories
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gus Clifton had been working in Germany for the British Government during WWII. The war is now over and he has returned to the home he shares with his sisters, widower Julia, and carefree Tilly.

Gus is not alone though, he has returned with his new wife, Krista, a German National, leaving a furious and devastated fiancee, Nella, who had been waiting for him to return so they could marry.

The war may be over, but the people of Britain are not yet ready to welcome a Germany into their country. Is
Dale Harcombe
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars
Gus, who works for the British government, returns to England after the end of World War 2. To the shock and dismay of his two sisters Julia and Tilly, he returns not to marry their friend and his fiancée Nella. It turns out he is already married. And has brought his German wife Krista home to England. Julia’s husband was killed during the war and given Germans were the enemy she cannot comprehend how Gus has brought home a German wife, especially since they don’t appear to
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There are many historical novels centred around war and the horror it inflicted but none have touched my heart as much as THE NEW MRS CLIFTON by Elizabeth Buchan. Haunting, raw, and so very emotional, this is a story of the wreckage and damage that is left behind, and how people must now face the reality of what they have done to survive.

When Gus Clifton arrives home with his new wife, it sends shock waves through his family and both of his sisters are stunned that he has forgotten about their
Annemarie Neary
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Compelling, beautifully written story set in drab, bomb-damaged Clapham just after the end of WW II. The story itself is anything but drab, with an engaging central character in Krista, the German wife who has been brought to London from the ruins of a defeated Berlin, with all its attendant horrors. The author deploys her research with a light touch, and this is expert story-telling. Highly recommended.
Sigrid Eckhart
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it
It is an interesting storyline and shows how the war influences the lives of so many people on all sides. It took a little while to get into the story but I felt that the ending was a little rushed. Many characters did not really add anything to the story or you felt they might play a role to only fizzle away.
Girl with her Head in a Book
For my full review:

In 1970s London, a couple have just moved into their new home and found a grisly discovery in the back garden. There are the remains of a woman, aged between twenty-five and thirty, wrapped in a garment of blue wool. Estimated to have died between 1945 and 1947, at some point in the woman's short life, she had given birth. She had also suffered from Vitamin D deficiency and the trauma to the back of the head indicated that she had
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels-set-in-uk
Novel set in post WW2 CLAPHAM (finding colour in life)
This review first appeared on our blog where the author talks about her research for historical location:

The novel is beautifully written, with a layering of melancholia that never really lifts, reflecting the era. The wording, too, is suffused with monochrome tones and detai,l as the people in Clapham try to pick over their lives and get back on their feet:

“The colours just aren’t as vivid as they
Linda Hill
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A body is found in the garden when a new couple move in – but to whom does it belong?

I found The New Mrs Clifton a mesmerising read and one that frequently made me very uncomfortable because so much of it is based on past horrific experiences and I wondered just how I might have behaved and acted in similar ones. I think one of the great successes of the story is that Elizabeth Buchan makes the reader think and question their beliefs and certainties. I had a far better understanding of the
I think I enjoyed this book a lot more than I would have usually as it was sort of a break for me after reading some pretty heavy non-fiction. However, it's still a pretty good read, and it genuinely didn't go how I expected it to go, especially with the ending! I rated it 3* because some parts I found to be quite meh, such as with Julia's story- I LIKE that she ended up liking Krista and that she overcame some of her grief for her husband, but her link with Teddy was so cringe at times. I did ...more
Mary Lou
The New Mrs Clifton, has a promising storyline and is set between London and Berlin at the end of WWII.
Londoners are bereft of spirit and the resources to rebuild their lives, but this pales into insignificance in comparison to the conditions being suffered in post- war, occupied, ruined Berlin.
The plot and the settings are vivid, unlike most of the characters, who, with the exception of Krista, are difficult to empathise with, and I struggled with the writing style, which seemed to stop the
Abby Slater- Fairbrother
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The novel opens in 1974 with the discover of skeletal remains on Clapham Common. The body is Identified as that of a female that has carried a child previously. Estimated time of her death is 1945-7. The investigations begin to trace her identity and next of kin. How do you solve a case when the body has been in the ground for over 20 years?

September 1945, Krista arrives in Waterloo with her new husband Gus. She arrives at his house at Clapham Common, where both his sisters currently reside. The
Cleopatra  Pullen
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Second World War is the basis for a whole raft of historical novels and The New Mrs Clifton takes a different approach in viewing the conflict from a different angle.

Gus Clifton returns from the war to the home he shares with his two sisters with his new wife. This turn of events would always cause shockwaves because he was expected to marry their friend, his fiancée Nella. But Gus hasn’t just broken this loyal woman’s heart, the one who waited for his return, he has married a German woman
Renita D'Silva
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful and heart breaking. Written with heart
Carol Nightingill
Dec 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
Quite possibly, the most boring book I've ever read ...more
Michael Cayley
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
A book centred on guilt and loss in London immediately after WW2. A body is found in the garden of a house by Clapham Common in 1974. After that opening the story moves back to the post-WW2 period and to memories of the final stages of the war. Gus, who works for British intelligence, brings back a malnourished sickly German wife, Krista, to his Clapham home. Much of the first part of the novel focuses on the prejudice and hatred Krista encounters, including from Gus's sisters Julia and Tilly. ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After reading the book description I thought I had a good idea of what the story would be about. Wrong! Instead of a straight forward murder I found something much deeper, rich in historical detail and both shocking and moving in content. As the story unfolded I became really attached to the Clifton family and wanted only the best outcome for them all. Did I get what I wanted? I will leave you to find out.
A thoroughly good read and one I would recommend.
Andree Connor
It started promising, mystery and intrigue but evolved into daily goings on of the characters, 5 in total, of which all had secret lives after war was over. The culmination of all these lives came in the last 30 pages.
Mairead Hearne (
'Wrapped in the roots of the sycamore was a skeleton; the remains of a woman, between twenty-five and thirty. She had carried a child . . .’

Set against the backdrop of London, post WW2, this is a very intriguing book. I read many, many books in the Historical Fiction genre and I can honestly say that this book delivers a very unique take on life at that time in our history.

Where to start……

The New Mrs Clifton opens with quite a shocking scene. It’s 1974 and the body of a woman is discovered
Christina McLain
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had some mixed feelings about this book, but on the whole it was a very compelling story. It is hard to believe that the author, Elizabeth Buchan,was once the president of a Romantic writers' association since this book is one of the least romantic novels I have EVER read. This is the story of Krista, a German war bride, brought by her English husband to a postwar Britain barely clinging to survival and filled with bitter unhappy people (I sometimes think Britain never really recovered from ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war, historical
After a war that left millions dead and cities in ruins, how to you return to normal life? Is it possible to see the people who were 'The Enemy' as fully human? How do you deal with grief and loss? These are the questions that the New Mrs Clifton examines.

The central focus of the plot is the marriage of British Intelligence officer Gus and the German Krista. How do Gus' sisters and former fiancee cope with suddenly having a German woman enter their life, only 6 months after the end of the war?
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have looked up Elizabeth Buchan and discovered that she has written several books. I’m puzzled as to why her novels have received so little publicity and tend to be rather unknown. Buchan is a very gifted writer, going by The New Mrs Clifton.
This is a very good book indeed. Very well-written, the atmosphere of the time has been captured very well - the fear, the despair, the grudges as well as the urge to just start living and put the past behind you. It is impossible to dislike any of the
Helen Costello
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really good to start the year with this one. Completely different to what I was expecting and what the cover made me feel it would be about (I know, never judge a book...).
Gus arrives home to the UK at the end of WWII with a German wife. His 2 sisters who have been home keeping the family property, can tell that neither Gus nor his wife, Krista are in love. And how dare he bring a German into their world. This book is fascinating how people in the local area react to a German person in their
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I enjoyed this story, although there was one rather large challenge that I could not overcome.

The book starts with a captivating teaser: a skeleton found in the garden – intriguing! Who is it? and whodunit?

We then rewind to just after WW2 and are introduced to our cast of characters: Gus, an Englishman who returns from war with a German bride, his two sisters who have a hard time accepting this new reality, his jilted fiancée who REALLY has an issue with Gus getting married behind her back! And
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-group
I found this post-war story interesting and disturbing. I'm intrigued by the flatness and boredom of ordinary life following great traumas, and how people deal with that feeling, how the ordinary can ever be reclaimed, ever feel as real. Also intrigued by questions of how people are changed by their experiences, what happens to the person they were before, is there any such thing as a stable core identity? Also, what would I be prepared to do to survive, put into certain situations, and what do ...more
Jane Edwards
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting storyline, it is set in Clapham at the end of the war when there was rationing, money was tight and life a little dull. Into the mix comes a returning officer with a German bride. It makes you wonder how you would have behaved towards her. A good insight to life at the end of the war. An enjoyable read.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Very underwhelmed with this book club read (which I would never had read otherwise mainly due to the cover). The writing was very disjointed in places and non of the characters were particularly likeable. The big ‘reveal’ was a big let down and the ending felt like Ms Buchan had somewhere more exciting to be.
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
More WW2 secret jobs involved and intense and mystifying family relationships. Lots of detail on living conditions/rationing in London during the war and resentment/hate for Germans.
I started listening on audio but the library CDs kept losing sound but what I did hear gave a great insight into character. Carried on with e-book from library and zipped through it.
Margaret P
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderfully emotive gripping story from a great writer
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Thoroughly enjoyable. The second of Elizabeth Buchanan novels that I’ve read and will certainly be reading more.
April Andruszko
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
An enjoyable read about a period with which I am less familiar (the time immediately post 2nd world war). It was a page turner and drew you in. The ending is perhaps a little melodramatic compared to the book as a whole.
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Elizabeth Buchan began her career as a blurb writer at Penguin Books after graduating from the University of Kent with a double degree in English and History. She moved on to become a fiction editor at Random House before leaving to write full time. Her novels include the prizewinning Consider the Lily – reviewed in the Independent as ‘a gorgeously well written tale: funny, sad and sophisticated’. ...more