The School for German Brides: A Novel of World War II (Paperback)
In this intriguing historical novel, a young woman who is sent to a horrific “bride school” to be molded into the perfect Nazi wife finds her life forever intertwined with a young Jewish woman about to give birth.
As the war begins, Hanna Rombauer, a young German woman, is sent to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother’s death. Thrown into a life of luxury she never expected, Hanna soon finds herself unwillingly matched with an SS officer twenty years her senior. The independence that her mother lovingly fostered in her is considered highly inappropriate as the future wife of an up-and-coming officer and she is sent to a “bride school.” There, in a posh villa on the outskirts of town, Hanna is taught how to be a “proper” German wife. The lessons of hatred, prejudice, and misogyny disturb her and she finds herself desperate to escape.
For Mathilde Altman, a German Jewish woman, the war has brought more devastation than she ever thought possible. Torn from her work, her family, and her new husband, she fights to keep her unborn baby safe. But when the unthinkable happens, Tilde realizes she must hide. The risk of discovery grows greater with each passing day, but she has no other options.
When Hanna discovers Tilde hiding near the school, she knows she must help her however she can. For Tilde, fear wars with desperation when Hanna proposes a risky plan.
Will they both be able to escape with their lives and if they do, what kind of future can they possibly hope for?
Aimie K. Runyan is a multipublished and bestselling author of historical fiction. She has been nominated for a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer of the Year award and two Colorado Book Awards. She lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband and two (usually) adorable children.
“In The School for German Brides, Aimie Runyan has penned the thoughtful and original story of an SS officer’s bride and a young Jewish mother, whose lives collide in unexpected ways in World War II Germany. This is a moving and memorable tale of sisterhood, strength and survival, which will resonate deeply with readers of historical fiction.” — Pam Jenoff, NYT Bestselling Author of The Woman With the Blue Star
The Stepford Wives meets The Alice Network in The School for German Brides. Aimie Runyan brilliantly evokes the sinister, gilded world of 1930’s Berlin—a world where young women are forcibly groomed to become perfect mates to men who hide their brutality behind toothy grins and perfectly pressed uniforms. It’s also a world where secret acts of feminine resistance flare beneath the surface, along with heart-tugging compassion and daring bravery. You won’t be able to put this one down. — Kris Waldherr, author of The Lost History of Dreams and Unnatural Creatures
“Equal parts fascinating and horrifying, Runyan offers a riveting tale of love, loss, and survival not only of life but of the human spirit. Readers are dipped into a genteel world of young ladies, wooing suitors, satin dresses, and proper etiquette, but this world is a thin veneer for hatred and intolerance for anything less than perfect. Compelling from start to finish, this is Runyan's finest work yet.” — J’nell Ciesielski, author of The Ice Swan
"The School for German Brides is Intriguing and often heartbreaking, yet the lovely connections between these women—and their determination to hold onto family and self in the midst of the darkest time—kept me cheering them on in the face of incredible danger. It’s a touching story which fans of women’s historical fiction won’t want to miss." — Libbie Grant, author of The Prophet’s Wife
"A stunningly singular book experience, The School for German Brides is a study in the nuance and complexities afforded us from the privilege of historical hindsight. Runyan paints in the grey areas where women were victim not only to the rising atrocity of power and depravity but the social constructs of yet another time period demanding they bend to a patriarchal norm. Runyan’s evocative and unsettling tale excels at exhuming the hauntingly real corner of elegant barbarism. A bravely examined and deeply important book destined to elevate the discourse central to historical fiction." — Rachel McMillan, author of the Mozart Code
"Tense and compelling, The School for German Brides tells the story of courageous young Hanna who becomes an unwilling pawn in a game of political chess when forced to marry a high-ranking Nazi official, and also of Rachel, a Jewish woman fleeing to save herself and the life of her unborn baby. Both characters are endearing and well-drawn, and the narrative is beautifully crafted—readers will need a tissue for the deeply moving end! In Runyan’s latest, she proves she’s at the top of her game.” — Heather Webb, USA Today bestselling author of The Next Ship Home and Last Christmas in Paris
“In The School For German Brides, Runyan has crafted a uniquely compelling WWII story written with heart, conviction, and compassion." — Paulette Kennedy, author of Parting the Veil
"The School for German Brides is a fascinating deep-dive into the German home front during World War II. Aimie K. Runyan deftly paints the details of Nazi-run Berlin through the eyes of two lovable heroines destined to cross paths at one of the Fuhrer's sinister Bride Schools: independent Hanna, fighting her engagement to a high-profile SS officer tooth and nail; and Tilde, a resourceful Jewish dressmaker struggling simply to survive. Moving, unsettling, unforgettable!" — Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Diamond Eye
"Daring and provocative, in her strongest novel yet, Aimie K. Runyon’s ability to peel away layers of historical expectations shines. The School for German Brides is a masterclass in story that cuts close to the bone, brimming with compassion and insight into the beauty and horrors of human nature. Runyon’s characters are complex, her plot unique and compelling. Readers will be enthralled by this heart-wrenching and inspiring story right up to the last page. It is a must read for women’s fiction lovers this year." — Kimberly Brock, author of The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare
"Runyan’s research shines in her fascinating depiction of the everyday details in the lives of three German women in her book, The School for German Brides. Readers will not be able to turn away from this captivating tale of female friendships and survival in late 1930’s Germany" — Piper Huguley, author of By Her Own Design