Author: Sarah Freethy
Published by: St. Martin's Press on Nov. 7, 2023
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: St. Martin's Press
Book Rating: 9/10
An epic story of love, betrayal, and art that spans decades, through the horrors of World War II to 21st century America, inspired by an actual porcelain factory in Dachau.
Two lovers caught at the crossroads of history.
A daughter’s search for the truth.
Germany, 1929. At a festive gathering of young bohemians in Weimar, two young artists, Max, a skilled Jewish architect, and Bettina, a celebrated avant-garde painter, are drawn to each other and begin a whirlwind romance. Their respective talents transport them to the dazzling lights of Berlin, but this bright beginning is quickly dimmed by the rising threat of Nazism. Max is arrested and sent to the concentration camp at Dachau where only his talent at making exquisite porcelain figures stands between him and seemingly certain death. Desperate to save her lover, Bettina risks everything to rescue him and escape Germany.
America, 1993. Clara, Bettina’s daughter, embarks on a journey to trace her roots and determine the identity of her father, a secret her mother has kept from her for reasons she’s never understood. Clara’s quest to piece together the puzzle of her origins transports us back in time to the darkness of Nazi Germany, where life is lived on a razor’s edge and deception and death lurk around every corner. Survival depends on strength, loyalty, and knowing true friend from hidden foe. And as Clara digs further, she begins to question why her mother was so determined to leave the truth of her harrowing past behind…
The Porcelain Maker is a powerful novel of enduring love and courage in the face of appalling brutality as a daughter seeks to unlock the mystery of her past.
Absorbing, sincere, and expressive!
The Porcelain Maker is a rich, engaging tale predominately set in Germany from the mid-1920s through WWII, as well as 1993, that takes you into the lives of two main characters. Bettina Vogel, a young woman who, through determination and resilience, uses her artistic talents to help the resistance and stay as close to the one she loves as she possibly can; and Clara Vogel, a middle-aged mother who, after her mother’s passing decides with the help of her daughter to embark on a journey to discover the true identity of her father who seems to have had a connection to the acclaimed porcelain maker of Dachau.
The prose is eloquent and well-turned. The characters are lonely, strong, and brave. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel seamlessly into a heartfelt saga of life, loss, secrets, surprises, separation, heartbreak, betrayal, desperation, tragedy, survival, danger, friendship, the horrors of war, and enduring love.
Overall, The Porcelain Maker is an evocative, sentimental, moving debut by Freethy with compelling characters that I devoured from start to finish and one which I highly recommend for anyone who loves a well-written WWII time-slip tale.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.