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The Other Hoffmann Sister by [Fergusson, Ben]
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The Other Hoffmann Sister Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Length: 448 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Shortlisted for the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award in 2015, Ben Fergusson was much praised for his first novel, The Spring of Kasper Meier...The Other Hoffmann Sister confirms the talent for atmospheric, morally complex historical fiction that Fergusson showed in his first novel...An engrossing exploration of the ways that secrecy, racism and snobbery take their toll on its finely realised characters' (Sunday Times)

A fascinating look at racism and snobbery. Broken postwar Germany is superbly drawn and events in Africa are eye-openingly horrific (The Times)

[An] atmospheric, morally complex historical novel (Sunday Times Culture 'Must Read')

The evocative setting and the quick-paced plot takes the reader on a whirlwind tour through South Africa, to Berlin and back again, through war and its aftermath, through aristocracy and the von Ketz's crumbling estate. The novel, written by the award-winning author Ben Fergusson, would appeal to fans of Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent. (10 Best Book Club Reads, independent.co.uk)

Taut, subtle, ambitious and engrossing. A gripping story of conflicting loyalties spanning a turbulent and changing world (Imogen Robertson, author of The Paris Winter)

A beautiful, compelling read with exquisitely drawn characters. Wonderful (Jason Hewitt, author of Devastation Road)

Elegantly crafted and engrossing - Fergusson's The Other Hoffmann Sister is excellent (William Ryan, author of The Constant Soldier)

Beguiling, unsettling, and wonderfully atmospheric. A dark expedition across a nightmarish landscape of physical and emotional damage and moral decay (Sarah Waters, praise for The Spring of Kasper Meier)

Book Description

Gripping historical fiction from the prize-winning author of The Spring of Kasper Meier

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1425 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (4 May 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01N6373PW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,333 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very interesting story covering some fascinating issues and giving a picture into another world
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are so many things I like about this book.

The story itself is long but engrossing. I think it possibly could have been edited a little more fiercely, but over the course of 400 or so pages both the story and the depth of characters are developed gradually and carefully. Even when the outcome of the story is becoming obvious, the twists age turns were enough to keep me wanting more.

The author's style of writing leaves a lot unsaid, which fits very well with the formal society of the early 20th century. The novel is written from the perspective of Ingrid, a young German lady living initially in what is now Namibia. Big themes such as racism and the first world war are entwined thoroughly in the narrative, but subtly so.

Finally, I found it a pleasure to read a novel set in Germany during the first world war, without it being about the war. I know little about Germany in this time and learnt quite a bit from the book.

Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
From the opening scene of two sisters sitting on the stairs in the hot darkness of an African night, watching their parents’ guests arrive at their farm in Okahandja, I was gripped with a sense of foreboding that builds as the story follows Ingrid Hoffmann and her older sister Margarete’s increasingly troubled experiences in their new homeland, culminating in a terrifying flight back to Berlin to escape a brutal uprising. But in Germany there is little to comfort Ingrid as Margarete’s behaviour becomes even more erratic, reaching a peak when she disappears on the day of her wedding to Baron von Ketz.

There are many troubling themes at the heart of this superb novel but they are played out against a backdrop of wonders – the creaking heat of Africa, the elegance of Charlottenburg before the outbreak of the First World War, the crumbling grandeur of the von Ketzes’ estate and the hiss of a sleigh sliding over snow. Fergusson is a very sensory writer – smells assail your nostrils, sounds transport you, heat makes you gasp and cold makes you shudder. He creates such a tangible world that you feel you have walked the streets of Berlin and trekked through the forests of Buckow.

He is no less skilful at creating his characters – you can laugh at Herr Hoffmann’s social climbing (the scene of him standing in the rain, waiting for the elderly servant to reach him with an umbrella is wonderful), worry at Margarete’s increasing instability and bleed for Ingrid as she slowly discovers the truth and the depth of the betrayals that have plagued her young life.
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By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Jun. 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Although I enjoyed reading this on the whole, it didn’t quite hang together for me, and I didn’t relate to the characters. The story is original and absorbing enough, telling as it does of the Hoffman sisters, Ingrid and Margarete, whom we first meet in German South West Africa in 1902, where the father has taken them to make his fortune. Already there are secrets and lies and deceptions beyond the daily routine and these only increase after the family’s return to Berlin. Unfortunately it’s all a bit convoluted and unlikely, even melodramatic at times, with some unconvincing plot twists and although I was engaged enough to keep reading to find out what happens, I can’t say I really cared. I enjoyed the historical background, particularly the events in South West Africa, but the socialist uprisings in Berlin after WWI seemed somewhat extraneous to the narrative. So I’m a bit half-hearted all round and sadly this one was nowhere near as good as Fergusson’s earlier novel The Spring of Kaspar Meier.
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By hfffoman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Mar. 2017
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I very rarely give the lowest rating to a book but this one unfortunately deserves it.

First, the story is grossly implausible.

Second, although most of the book is set in Germany around the time of the first world war, it fails to give a feel for the place or the time. One of the characters gets slightly involved with the socialist revolution and there is some discussion about the shortage of food, but there is no atmosphere or feel for the place or time.

Third, the writing itself is mediocre. The style is similar to mundane conversation. There is barely a single image in the whole book. It comprises a high proportion of dialogue, much of which feels like filler.
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By bookworm8 VINE VOICE on 24 Feb. 2017
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Superb read. Engaging from the first page. The relationships are finely drawn and the characters are believable. The sisters draw the readers into their time and place and I could almost feel the physical heat of the setting and hear the voices. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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