Friday, April 24, 2020

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The German Heiress" by Anika Scott, Served with a Recipe for Julia Child's Homemade Mashed Potatoes (with Butter & Parsley)

Happy Aloha Friday. Hope you are well and hanging in there this week. I am maintaining--dividing time between work and home and trying to focus on reading whenever I get a chance and can stay awake. Luckily I had no trouble staying up to finish the tense and absorbing The German Heiress, World War II historical fiction by Anika Scott. Accompanying my review is a recipe for Julia Child's Mashed Potatoes (with Butter and Parsley) inspired by my reading.

Publisher's Blurb:

Clara Falkenberg, once Germany’s most eligible and lauded heiress, earned the nickname “the Iron Fräulein” during World War II for her role operating her family’s ironworks empire. It’s been nearly two years since the war ended and she’s left with nothing but a false identification card and a series of burning questions about her family’s past. With nowhere else to run to, she decides to return home and take refuge with her dear friend, Elisa.

Narrowly escaping a near-disastrous interrogation by a British officer who’s hell-bent on arresting her for war crimes, she arrives home to discover the city in ruins, and Elisa missing. As Clara begins tracking down Elisa, she encounters Jakob, a charismatic young man working on the black market, who, for his own reasons, is also searching for Elisa.

Clara and Jakob soon discover how they might help each other—if only they can stay ahead of the officer determined to make Clara answer for her actions during the war.
Propulsive, meticulously researched, and action-fueled, The German Heiress is a mesmerizing page-turner that questions the meaning of justice and morality, deftly shining the spotlight on the often-overlooked perspective of Germans who were caught in the crossfire of the Nazi regime and had nowhere to turn.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 7, 2020)

My Review:

I do love my World War II historical fiction and I am always on the lookout for books that give me a different look or perspective of the war. The German Heiress certainly does that, told from the point of German characters after the war has ended. The main character is Clara, known as The Iron Fräulein, a young German woman who ran her family's ironworks during the war and was held up as an ideal by the Nazis even if she didn't share their beliefs. Clara has hidden away for two years and is looking for her friend while on the run from a dogged British officer who seems to have a personal interest in her capture. There's Jakob who lost his leg and much of his family to the war and is trying to support his two young sisters, one with a baby on the way. There is also Willy, a teen boy who has been hiding in an abandoned mine and thinks the battle is still raging eighteen months after Germany's defeat. These three characters are dealing with the repercussions of choices they made during a time where there were really no good or easy choices to make, and they are brought together in a story full of secrets, mystery and steadily rising tension that kept me turning the pages to the end. 

This is Anika Scott's first book and it is well researched and vividly told. Being the geek that I am, I was delighted to find a mention of the author's blog Postwar Germany | 1945-1949 (where she's gathered together much of her research) on her website. If you are interested in World War II history and the German experience, both The German Heiress and her website will have you fascinated. 


Author Notes: Anika Scott was a journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Chicago Tribune before moving to Germany, where she currently lives in Essen with her husband and two daughters. She has worked in radio, taught journalism seminars at an eastern German university, and written articles for European and American publications. Originally from Michigan, she grew up in a car industry family. This is her first novel.

Find out more about Anika at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


Food Inspiration:

There is food in The German Heiress but not a lot--it is after all a time of war. Mentions included: bread, peppermint candy,schnapps, chestnuts, coffee and cake, pork (a character dreams of roasts, sausages, and stews thick with bacon), black bread, zwiebeck, noodles, rice, Linz marmalade, ersatz honey, turnips, dried pudding, coffee flavored chocolate, potato soup, ham, canned chopped pork, peas and carrots, soup,  fruit, beans, sugar, fish and dried meat, Knorr pea soup, sardines, vanillia pudding, eggs, bread with margarine, thin potato soup, canned carrots, turnips, chocolate, coffee with milk and biscuits, cognac, whiskey, Cadbury's Fruit and Nut bars, cookies--vanilla crescents, cinnamon stars, biscuits dented with anise and chocolates in sparkling paper, walnuts, oranges, cans of bully meat, condensed milk, oatmeal and hard biscuits, boiled sweets, wrinkled apples and lemons for tea, spices--cloves, nutmeg, peppercorns, caraway seeds, a cinnamon stick, hot toddy, marmalade and honey, and sausages. 

For my bookish dish, I decided on potatoes. When Jakob offers to get Clara lobster, oysters, and caviar, she instead asks for pork, potatoes with butter parsley sauce and white wine "as dry as a bone." Later in the book she is served a meal of meat in a bland sauce and heavenly mashed potatoes that warmed her stomach. I decided to combine the two potato dishes by adding parsley to Julia Child's Mashed Potato recipe.

Julia's Garlic Mashed Potatoes seems to be her more popular recipe but I found this one on and felt like it was more in keeping with the book inspiration and my mashup of dishes. 

Cookstr says, "This easy mashed potato recipe from Julia Child will teach you everything you need to know about homemade mashed potatoes! Mashed potatoes are a staple on any holiday table, so this is an essential recipe to have in your arsenal. One of the secrets to this Homemade Mashed Potatoes recipe is to heat the milk or cream in a saucepan. Many people add cold milk to their hot potatoes, but this recipe will teach you to avoid that. Ricing the hot potatoes also help them to incorporate seamlessly with the milk, resulting in perfectly fluffy potatoes that the whole family will love." 

Julia Child's Homemade Mashed Potatoes
Slightly Adapted from The Way To Cook via
(Serves 6)
4 to 5 large baking potatoes (I used 5 large Yukon Gold Potatoes)

1/2 cup milk or cream, heated in a saucepan
2 or more Tbsp softened butter (I doubled the butter)
freshly ground white pepper
(I added 3 Tbsp chopped parsley)

Preliminary Cooking: You may bake or steam the potatoes whole before mashing them, or boil them in pieces as suggested here. Wash and peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Set in a saucepan with lightly salted water to cover (l½ teaspoons salt per quart of water). Bring to the boil, cover loosely, and boil 10 to 15 minutes or longer, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Cut a piece in half and eat a bit to be sure they are just done; undercooked potatoes will not mash properly. Drain the water out of the pan (you may wish to save it for soup making); toss the potatoes over moderate heat for a moment, until they begin to film the pan; this is to evaporate excess moisture.

Mashing: While still warm, either put the potatoes through a ricer (my preference) and return to the pan, or place in the large bowl of your electric mixer and, using the wire whip attachment and moderate speed; puree them with ¼ cup of the milk and/or cream.

Seasoning: Beat in driblets of hot milk and/or cream, alternating with ½ tablespoons of butter—careful not to make them too soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The sooner you can serve them, the better.

Make Ahead Note: If you cannot serve at once, beat in only a minimum of milk, etc. (Turn the potatoes into a saucepan if you have used an electric mixer.) Set in another pan of hot but not simmering water, and cover the potatoes loosely—they must stay warm to retain their fresh quality, and they must have air circulation or they develop an off-taste. At serving time, bring the water to the simmer, beating the potatoes with a wooden spoon; then beat in more hot milk or cream and soft butter to your taste.

Notes/Results: Oh yeah, there's nothing wrong with super buttery, super creamy mashed potatoes and these are definitely that. Excellent comfort food and the leftovers (yes I did leave some) are going to be mixed with canned salmon, coated in panic and fried up as fish and potato cakes. I love garlic mashed potatoes and will try Julia's recipe at some point but I'd be perfectly happy making these again.

Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where this month we are featuring Needs Must Cooking making any recipe we want from our current featured chef, Julia Child and/or any of our other 19 chefs, and adjusting ingredients to what we have on hand.

I'm also sharing it at the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "The German Heiress" was provided to me by the author and the publisher Harper Collins via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for my review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.



  1. This does sound like an interesting novel from a different point of view that is normally depicted. Love the comfort food you chose!

  2. The book and the author sound interesting. Being from Philadelphia half the year, we get The Philadelphia Inquirer - one of the papers that the author used to write for.
    Is there anyone who doesn't like mashed potatoes? Deb, they look delicious.

  3. You didn’t make clear: is the sympathetic main character of this book actually a war criminal? Seems to be an odd choice.

    I love both Julia Child and mashed potatoes, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried her recipe. Tempting.

    Be well... mae at

  4. The book sounds like one I'd like, so now #14 on our library ebooks hold list. Mashed potatoes are always welcome, a very comforting food.

  5. Comfort food at it's best. I love THE WAY TO COOK, it's one of my go-to cookbooks. The book looks like a different take on the WWII story.

  6. Tempting on both fronts. Stayy safe. Cheers

  7. Yum! We've been having more mashed cauliflower than potato lately but I think I may need to do potatoes this week after this

    I find the fact that the author now lives in Germany and is telling a German story very interesting. I often wonder how historical fiction portrays other countries history.

  8. Great book review. I also like some WW II novels and wasn't sure about asking for this one. Not that it matt8, our libraries are still closed. Arrgh
    Potatoes are a favorite in our house, I'm needing to look at some Julia recipes soon!

  9. How do you keep track of the food mentioned in the novels you read? Do you keep a running list on a piece of paper tucked into the pages of the book? I love your lists of food mentions and I'm curious! The WWII era is probably still going to be popular with readers after this time of semi-deprivation for many of us. I'll have to add this one to my library list.

  10. I am a sucker for a well researched book but to have it be this good as a debut? I'm all in! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  11. I've never read a WWII book from the German perspective and it seems only fitting that I should.

    I love Julia's mashed potatoes and the ricing is also my go-to method for mashed potatoes, perfect comfort food with a little bit of parsley sauce to freshen things up!


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