This Terrible Beauty : A Novel
On the windswept shores of an East German island, Bettina Heilstrom struggles to build a life from the ashes. World War II has ended, and her country is torn apart. Longing for a family, she marries Werner, an older bureaucrat who adores her. But after joining the fledgling secret police, he is drawn deep into its dark mission and becomes a dangerous man.
When Bettina falls in love with an idealistic young renegade, Werner discovers her infidelity and forces her to make a terrible choice: spend her life in prison or leave her home forever. Either way she loses both her lover and child.
Ten years later, Bettina has reinvented herself as a celebrated photographer in Chicago, but she's never stopped yearning for the baby she left behind. Surprised by an unexpected visitor from her past, she resolves to return to her ravaged homeland to reclaim her daughter and uncover her beloved's fate, whatever the cost.
- Paperback | 382 pages
- 137.16 x 208.28 x 27.94mm | 385.55g
- 01 Mar 2020
- Amazon Publishing
- Lake Union Publishing
- Seattle, United States
A She Reads "most anticipated women's fiction" book of 2020
"The timeliness of Schumann's fiction, along with the intriguing history she relates in This Terrible Beauty, makes her book a wonderfully exciting and compelling read. This Terrible Beauty is a wise and stirring contribution to the literary canon written about the German Democratic Republic that deserves to find as many enthusiastic readers as the bestselling books about World War II." -Historical Novel Society
"Schumann's graceful evocations of people and place make this novel hard to forget." -Maria Hummel, author of Motherland and the Reese Witherspoon book club pick Still Lives
"Deeply relevant to our current times, This Terrible Beauty explores the lengths to which we will go to find love and the sacrifices we make for family and community. I fell in love with these characters and came away heartened and hopeful." -Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
"A compelling and richly layered story of love, motherhood, art, and ultimately self-preservation-this is a vivid, rapidly paced historical novel. Unputdownable!" -Jillian Cantor, USA Today bestselling author of The Lost Letter and In Another Time
"Schumann's vivid focus reveals characters who crumble with heartbreak and rise with strength, and above all draws her readers in and never lets them go." -Rachel Barenbaum, bestselling author of A Bend in the Stars
"Set in postwar Germany, this gorgeously written, sweeping, cinematic story is also a riveting and romantic page-turner. Get ready to put everything on hold and let yourself get lost in this sensual tale." -Erica Ferencik, bestselling author of The River at Night, a #1 Oprah.com pick, and Into the Jungle
"A complex, moving story of love and loss, beautifully written. This Terrible Beauty explores the critical nature of art as a lens through which we can understand history and asks us to be mindful of the ways we choose to look at the world. This is one historical fiction fans can't miss." -Olivia Hawker, Washington Post bestselling author of The Ragged Edge of Night
"This Terrible Beauty kept me turning the pages long into the night. Katrin Schumann evokes an often-forgotten time and place to weave a story that is equally captivating and fascinating." -Eoin Dempsey, bestselling author of White Rose, Black Forest
About Katrin Schumann