Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “This Terrible Beauty: A Novel” as Want to Read:
This Terrible Beauty: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

This Terrible Beauty: A Novel

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  775 ratings  ·  61 reviews
From the bestselling author of The Forgotten Hours comes an unforgettable story of one woman’s journey to reclaim what she lost in a country torn apart by the devastating legacy of WWII.

On the windswept shores of an East German island, Bettina Heilstrom struggles to build a life from the ashes. World War II has ended, and her country is torn apart. Longing for a family,
Paperback, 382 pages
Expected publication: March 1st 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Win a Copy of This Book

  • This Terrible Beauty by Katrin Schumann
    This Terrible Beauty: A Novel
    Release date: Mar 01, 2020
    From the bestselling author of The Forgotten Hours comes an unforgettable story of one woman’s journey to reclaim what she lost in a country torn ...more

    Format: Kindle book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 100 copies available, 1710 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Feb 01 - Feb 29, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

  • Friend Reviews

    To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.20  · 
    Rating details
     ·  775 ratings  ·  61 reviews

    More filters
    Sort order
    Start your review of This Terrible Beauty: A Novel
    Carla Suto
    Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    THIS TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Katrin Schumann is a beautifully-written and compelling work of historical fiction that will stay on my mind for a long time. Inspired by actual historical events, the story has a past and present timeline that follows the heartbreaking journey of main character, Bettina Heilstrom as she seeks to rebuild her life after a devastating loss. The past timeline is set on an island in East Germany after World War II has ended and Germany has been divided. East Germany is under ...more
    Linda Zagon
    Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Linda's Book Obsession Reviews "This Terrible Beauty" by Katrin Schumann, Lake Union Publishing, March 1, 2020.

    Katrin Schumann, author of "This Terrible Beauty has written a captivating, intriguing, intense and thought-provoking novel. The Genres for this novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction. The timeline for this story is set after World War Two in the 1950s and 1960's when Germany is divided and goes to the past and future when it pertains to the characters or events. The story takes place
    Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
    Thanks to Great Thoughts Great Readers (FB Page) and Lake Union for this ARC.

    I always enjoy historical novels. This one is no exception. It goes from the present in Chicago in 1965 to 1935 in Germany with Bettina as it's main character. She lived a lonely life with a husband she didn't love but found a teacher who she did love. She ends up having an affair with him and has a daughter. Who's daughter? We never find out. When her husband finds out, it's either her leaving Germany w/out her
    Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    A novel that takes on a life of it's own in today's political environment

    The writing of this novel was a worthwhile activity as it is a reflection of what can happen to any country or to anyone who truly gives up freedom. Be it giving up freedoms to a more pervasive government in our lives or to a more dominant person, we see in this novel the devastation it causes to the soul of the country and/or the soul of a person. This is an absolutely beautiful love story. But for me it is more a love
    Cindy Woods
    Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Romance and politics done well

    This story of a woman in Germany after WWII is told from, mostly, the standpoint of her life after the Russians take over. She is newly married at the time just after the war and her life is changed from a Nazi regime rapidly to that of Soviet Russian dominance.

    The plot reverts from the late 1960's Chicago where Bettina ultimately immigrates and the 1940's as she flashes back to what brought her there. The man she married in Germany near the end of the war and her
    Sharon Stein
    I found it slow moving
    Feb 05, 2020 marked it as to-read
    Shelves: 00-own-a-copy
    Amazon First Reads - February 2020
    Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    This book had the potential of being five stars, but something about it fell a little flat for me. The story follows Bettina Heilstrom who marries young in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of East Germany and falls into an unhappy marriage with her husband Werner who is rising in the ranks of the Russian secret police. But then Bettina falls in love with Peter, a local teacher and dreamer who sweeps her off her feet. After giving birth to her daughter, Bettina is caught redhanded by her ...more
    Eunice Coorlas
    Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    A compelling story of love, loss, forgiveness and triumph. It will stay with you long after you’ve finished. Set at the end of WWII in Rugen Germany this historical novel centers around Bettina, her husband Wierner and Peter her lover. When the Russians take over their homeland, Bettina’s husband, who served as a low level clerk under German rule, continues under the new Communist regime. Bettina, never truly in love with her husband, begins an affair with Peter. When Bettina realizes she is ...more
    Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it
    Bettina Heilstrom is a young woman during World War II and has spent her entire life on the shores of Rugen, Germany. She had always been content with this quiet island living, working in her father’s fish shop. After both her parents are gone, the brutalities of war are on her doorstep. Resolved to remain alone, she unexpectedly marries Werner, not exactly love, but for companionship and maybe a chance to have a family of her own. Werner is a politico who works for a government agency. He ...more
    Cindy Cooke
    Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

    What an incredible book! It was hard for me to lay it down before finishing it. This is an incredible story of human worth, love, survival and hope. It is the story of Bettina, a young woman caught in the crosshairs of Germany during and after Hitler's assault on Europe. It is a story of despair and of love, of loneliness and heartbreak, of joy and faith. I felt I was sharing Bettina's life, living it alongside her as she struggled with loss and feeling entrapped; finding joy in that old
    Karin Duarte
    Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    A different story about post WWII life

    It was hard to put this one down. The writer created such vivid characters and landscapes that I could see/feel while reading this.
    As a Westerner I was very young when the wall was built overnight. My son’s were young teenagers when it was finally taken down. I knew of some of the hardships for families so abruptly separated. I was aware of the ‘reports’ that people would make on their neighbors. How sad to have live in a society where you can never truly
    Robert S Mezinko
    Up and Down

    I didn't quite know what to expect when I chose this book to read this month. I read about half of it and set it aside for a week thinking I'd finish it eventually. If it had been more compelling i would have finished it sooner. It wasn't. Bettina's adultery was in fact unforgivable. She hid it from her husband and got what she deserved. A lonely single life was deserved. Her getting her former lover back was inappropriate and confounding. He should have been sent to hard labor or
    Priscilla A Finkle
    A Novel Worth Reading!!

    Not being a history buff, I certainly gained a lot of insight as to what occurred in Germany and the horror, the ones that survived, were forced to endure! Bettina had the stamina and drive to make a new life for herself. The ultimate prize was returned to her through Werner and the compromise they made to accomplish this. Keep up the wonderful writing Ms. Schumann!
    Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Fighting for the Loves of Your Life

    Martin Schumann does a beautiful job in her description of life after World War II. She adds her fictional ideas of a love story, a marriage, of a mother, of a wife of a man she did not love. She travels to through US, makes a life. The story has surprise, insurmountable obstacles; but in the end, wisdom takes over, and firm judgments are made.
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

    I started this book with questions about whether it would hold my interest. Amazingly, once I started reading, I could not put it down. What a wonderfully researched story this is! I learned so much during my reading, surprising myself because I have read so many books about things that occurred during WWII. This is a "must read" book. I cannot wait to read more of Katrin Schumann's wonderful books! BRAVO!!!!
    Elizabeth Mcnair
    Bettina survived WWII in Germany and ended up married and living under Communist Russia. Only the life she thought she wanted was not what she thought. Her husband is high up in the party and when he finds out she has been having an affair, he banishes her to the West. This is the story of how she got where she was and how she tried to make it back for what she left behind.
    MC Lang
    Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    A Truly Beautiful Novel

    Katrin Schumann's latest novel, This Terrible Beauty, holds the reader's attention from the very beginning to its last page. The characters lives and the twisting plot within East Berlin create an experience you will never forget. Reading This Terrible Beauty is a literary journey you will treasure forever!
    This novel was absolutely amazing. The way that two different timelines wound together was beautiful and very easy to follow. Normally this particular type of novel doesn't appeal to me, but I must make an exception this time. You will not be sorry for reading this book, it is absolutely worth your time. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I bought this book cuz i needed a book to read and it was cheap. I win!! Great book that i couldn't put down. The story hooked me then caught me so i had to keep reading to see what was going to happen next.
    Each Chapter ended with you wondering what will happen. So with a bit of mystery, a bit of history, a love story, who could ask for more??????
    Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Schumann’s luminous and unflinching lens in This Terrible Beauty sweeps the reader into the crushing birth of the GDR and a heart pounding love story that lays bare the trauma war leaves in its wake. Her vivid focus reveals characters who crumble with heart break and rise with strength, and above all draws her readers in and never lets them go.
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    A well-written story

    The author weaves tales that are poignant and heart-breaking at the same time. Learning about how Germany was affected after WW2 and the Berlin Wall was used to divide them was eye-opening. Teaches us to embrace our democracy and freedoms.
    Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Post war

    It was refreshing to read a book about Germany after the war and how it was not always America going in to save everything. Russia did take over and rule with more hatred. The love story that guides you through makes it a story to love.
    Myron Lezak
    Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

    This a piece of history that I have not previously encountered: post war East Germany. It also is a story of real people, neither evil or good but with mixed and complex emotions. A very enjoyable read.
    Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Good read

    Bettina, Werner and Peter try to rebuild their lives after the brutality of WWIi. Can they survive and find love and happiness? Bettina has such great inner strength. Werner just wants to be loved. Peter has suffered the death of his wife and son.
    Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Interesting take on post world war 2 east Germany

    Loved the setting and description of early communist Germany. Characters were likable. A bit depressing but would recommend reading it
    Sandy Aubitz
    Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Thoroughly loved this novel

    Having lived in Germany, I am always fascinated with stories that delve into German history. Adding the Russian occupation to this story made it even more fascinating. I highly recommend it. Great read.
    Lou Sills
    This terrible life

    Melodramatic...where the bad guys are really bad but the good guys are rather insipid. Good lord you can just hear the corny accents dripping in evil German & Russian pastiche. Nevertheless was I relieved when the lovers were finally reunited...perhaps.
    Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

    When I decided to read the book I was unsure of what to expect. It did not take me long to get into the book and when I was I just went along with the ride. It is definitely a journey worth taking
    Ericka Rieckers
    Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    An amazon early read...
    This Terrible Beauty tells the story of love and loss during and after war. It paints a picture of Germany before and after the war . It takes the reader on a journey where war brings people together and tears others apart. What a wonderful read!
    « previous 1 3 next »
    There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

    Readers also enjoyed

    • In a Field of Blue
    • Regretting You
    • The Starless Sea
    • Sayonara
    • All the Silent Voices
    • I Found My Tribe
    • Such a Fun Age
    • The Night in Lisbon
    • All This I Will Give to You
    • Beside Herself
    • Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family
    • Madame Curie: A Biography
    • Marie Curie: A Life
    • Rock Needs River: A Memoir About a Very Open Adoption
    • The Last Secret of the Deverills (Deverill Chronicles, #3)
    • Confidential
    • Last Day
    • Passing
    See similar books…
    Katrin is the Washington Post and Amazon Charts Bestselling author of "The Forgotten Hours." Her new novel, "This Terrible Beauty" is forthcoming on March 1, 2020. She studied languages at Oxford and journalism at Stanford, and is also the author of several nonfiction books. Katrin has been awarded fiction residencies from the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony, The Vermont Studio Center, and the ...more