The Porcelain Maker by Sarah Freethy

I received an advanced invitation to read The Porcelain Maker by Sarah Freethy, based on other books I've read, reviewed, and enjoyed. As a fan of WW2 novels, the description was more than enough for me to say yet.

My Thoughts:

This dual timeline novel features both a WW2 era storyline, beginning in the years leading up to the war, and a contemporary timeline. The WW2 era begins in 1929 with Bettina and Max, art students and lovers, beginning their careers and hopes under the threat of rising Nazism. As a Jewish man, Max is at risk, finally being arrested and sent to the Dachau concentration camp. His talent for art allows him to find a placement in the porcelain factories at Dachau, while Bettina uses her privilege as a German to try to find and attempt to save him. In the present day, Bettina's daughter Clara is trying to piece together her past, drawn into it by porcelain figures bearing the mark of the SS and small pieces of information revealed to her by her mother before her death.

I was shocked to find out that this is the debut novel for the author. It was so compelling and so well-written that it felt like an author who had long written similar time period books. I loved that she started the novel much earlier than the war and being able to see Max and Bettina's lives in the time leading up to it. So many WW2 novels start in the later 30s, so it was interesting to see the environment in Germany in the later 20s and early 30s. I also really enjoyed the contemporary period with Clara trying to piece together the mystery of her father. I could have read even more from that time period as well.

About The Porcelain Maker:

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...

Purchase The Porcelain Maker on Amazon.