Estes Park’s Runyan Writes Dark WWII Novel – Estes Park Trail-Gazette
Aimie K. Runyan, Estes Park resident and nationally acclaimed author, has completed her latest novel “The School for German Brides” and is thrilled to kick off book sales with a launch party at the MacDonald Bookstore from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 6, where she will read and sign copies.
“It was my ‘quarantine book’ that I wrote while we were in lockdown in 2020 and early 2021 right before and as I was moving to Estes Park,” Runyan said. “I was a newly single mom and homeschooled my two kids.”
Runyan has written seven novels, the majority of which are historical female fiction, including her latest. She was nominated for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer of the Year in 2019, nominated for Colorado Book Award in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and a Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choice for her novel ‘Girls on the Line’ which was published in 2018.
“I wrote [‘The School for German Brides’] in increments of 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., when I could keep my eyes open. It was the book I wrote in 300 word snippets instead of 3,000 word sprints,” Runyan said. personally and globally, but I think it added depth to the story. And there was also a distance to that, given the level of sleep deprivation I was going through, that actually made the editing process more objective, which in turn really helped the book.
She first thought of the concept for her new book while writing another novel and the idea was so unsettling that she stuck with it, years later.
“I came across Hitler’s Wife Schools while researching my previous novel, Across the Winding River, and mentioned them briefly. The very idea of schools dedicated to preparing women to become the perfect Nazi bride was horrifying – home economics with a healthy dose of brainwashing – and I had to capture it in a book,” Runyan said. “Part of the book takes place at the bride school on the Island of Schwanenwerder. Hanna’s ‘schooling’ begins as soon as she crosses her aunt’s doorstep. An early reader described it as ‘Stepford Wives meets The Alice Network’ and I think that’s very fitting. . »
In the novel, which goes on sale April 26, Runyan illuminates a lesser-known part of history as a young woman is sent to a gruesome bride school to become the perfect Nazi bride and finds her life forever intertwined. to that of a young Jewish woman. about to give birth.
“The point of the story is to explore the gray areas of our morality,” Runyan said. “We all want to think that if we were Hanna, we would hide our Jewish neighbors in our basements and fight the resistance. But life is never really as clear in the moment as it seems in retrospect.
The novel begins just before the outbreak of war in 1938 Germany where Hanna Rombauer, a young German woman, is sent to live with her aunt and uncle after the death of her mother.
“Hanna was a very young woman who makes a lot of mistakes and sometimes finds herself on the wrong side of history, but does her best to atone for her complicity,” Runyan said. “Tilde, the seamstress Mischling (half-Jewish, half-Aryan) must bear the consequences of the complicity of her friends and neighbors. In turn, it demonstrates the power of the human spirit in the face of the unthinkable.
“It was an ambitious book to write, sometimes heartbreaking, but I hope it will resonate with readers and some of the challenges of our time,” Runyan said.
Short summary :
Thrown into a life of luxury she never expected, Hanna Rombauer soon finds herself paired against her will with an SS officer. The independence that her mother has lovingly fostered in her is considered highly inappropriate as the future wife of a would-be officer and she is sent to a bridal school.
There, in a posh villa on the outskirts of town, Hanna learns to be a “real” German bride. The lessons of hate, prejudice, and misogyny bother her, and she desperately tries to escape.
For Tilde Altman, a German Jewish woman, the war has brought more devastation than she ever thought possible. Torn from her job, her family and her new husband, she struggles to keep her unborn baby safe. But when the unthinkable happens, Tilde realizes she has to hide. The risk of discovery increases with each passing day, but she has no other choice.
When Hanna discovers that Tilde is hiding near the school, she knows she must help her however she can. For Tilde, fear wars with despair. Women must take extraordinary risks to save the lives of mother and baby.
Will they both be able to escape their lives and if they do, what kind of future can they expect?
“Despite their very different circumstances, Hanna and Tilde each embody a delicate balance of utter helplessness and defiant bravery as they share their moving stories. Readers who have enjoyed Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls (2016) or “The Blue Star Woman” (2021) by Pam Jenoff will hold their breath as they root for these strong women,” Booklist said.
“Runyan wrote the thoughtful and original story of the bride of an SS officer and a young Jewish mother, whose lives unexpectedly collide during World War II in Germany. It is a moving and memorable story. about brotherhood, strength and survival that will resonate deeply with readers of historical fiction,” said Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of “The Woman with the Blue Star.”
“German Bride School is a fascinating dive into the German home front during World War II. Runyan skillfully depicts the details of Nazi-ruled Berlin through the eyes of two adorable heroines destined to cross paths in one of the sinister schools of the Führer’s Bride: independent Hanna, fighting tooth and nail her engagement to a high-level SS officer; and Tilde, an ingenious Jewish seamstress simply struggling to survive. Moving, unsettling, unforgettable,” said Kate Quinn, author New York Times bestselling ‘The Diamond Eye’.