‘Smile, nod, and don’t breathe a word of what happens here. Or I’ll put you on the next train to Auschwitz myself.’
Four years later. Hanni Winter shivers in her thin coat as she hurries through the empty Berlin streets to her job.
Despite the freezing winter and poverty all around, her cheeks flush when she meets the man she is photographing today, charismatic Tony Miller, the American pilot risking his life to bring food and provisions to the starving people of the city.
But her rush of joy turns to ash as she sees the man behind him…
It’s been years since Hanni fled her terrible past, but seeing Reiner Foss now brings back harrowing memories of the man they called The Showman, and of the concentration camp he commanded.
The last time she tried to expose him, Hanni almost died, can she dare to try again? Or should she seize the chance she sees in Tony’s sparkling eyes to leave the horrors of the war behind?
Hanni is no longer the frightened child she was when the Nazis devastated her life beyond repair. She vows to avenge every person who suffered at Reiner’s hands. But does her attraction to Tony leave her vulnerable?
Can Hanni protect her loved ones from her past, or will the cost of fighting her demons ultimately prove more than she can pay?
The first, The Commandant’s Daughter, came out on 26 January, 2022.
Catherine writes for Historia about the Berlin blockade of 1948–9, the Cold War stand-off that forms the background to her book.
And you can read more of Catherine’s features about the background to her Second World War novels with a Berlin setting, including:
The ‘hidden’ Nazis of Argentina
Concentration camps and the politics of memory
German reunification: still dividing opinion 30 years on
The Minister for Illusion: Goebbels and the German film industry
An appearance of serenity: the French fashion industry in WWII