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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Porcelain Maker

ISBN: 9781250289346

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 11/07/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

An epic story of love, betrayal, and art that spans decades, through the horrors of World War II to 21st century America, inspired by an actual porcelain factory in Dachau.

Two lovers caught at the crossroads of history.

A daughter’s search for the truth.

Germany, 1929. At a festive gathering of young bohemians in Weimar, two young artists, Max, a skilled Jewish architect, and Bettina, a celebrated avant-garde painter, are drawn to each other and begin a whirlwind romance. Their respective talents transport them to the dazzling lights of Berlin, but this bright beginning is quickly dimmed by the rising threat of Nazism. Max is arrested and sent to the concentration camp at Dachau where only his talent at making exquisite porcelain figures stands between him and seemingly certain death. Desperate to save her lover, Bettina risks everything to rescue him and escape Germany.

America, 1993. Clara, Bettina’s daughter, embarks on a journey to trace her roots and determine the identity of her father, a secret her mother has kept from her for reasons she’s never understood. Clara’s quest to piece together the puzzle of her origins transports us back in time to the darkness of Nazi Germany, where life is lived on a razor’s edge and deception and death lurk around every corner. Survival depends on strength, loyalty, and knowing true friend from hidden foe. And as Clara digs further, she begins to question why her mother was so determined to leave the truth of her harrowing past behind...

The Porcelain Maker is a powerful novel of enduring love and courage in the face of appalling brutality as a daughter seeks to unlock the mystery of her past.

My Review

Sarah Freethy's beautifully written, powerful, and moving debut, THE PORCELAIN MAKER is a heartbreaking story of love, loss, courage, betrayal, and art of two lovers caught at the crossroads of history.

Meticulously researched and inspired by an actual porcelain factory in Dachau.

Germany, 1929 We meet two young artists, Max Ehrlich, a skilled Jewish architect from Austria, and Bettina Vogel, a celebrated avant-garde artist.

Their romance begins and leads them to Berlin. They are madly in love. They do not want to be apart when the threat of the Nazis is looming and the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Max is arrested and sent to a concentration camp at Dachau. While there, he uses his talent for making exquisite porcelain figures.

Desperate to save Max, Bettini risks it all to rescue him and escape Germany. All the while, his parents are still living in Vienna, not sure what to do. Both find themselves doing something they are not passionate about to survive. Germans disliked Bettina's unusual art. Max is doing what he can and hopes they can reunite.

America, 1993 (Dona, Cincinnati): A daughter's search for the truth in search of her father to unlock her past.

Clara Vogel-Erlich, Bettina's daughter, embarks on a journey to trace her roots and determine the identity of her father. Her mother has kept this from her, and she does not understand. After her mom passes, she is determined to find her father. She knows he made porcelain in a factory near Dachau. She must find The Viking.

The narrative consists of dual timelines from the two main characters' POVs, Bettina and Clara, starting in 1929 and ending in the summer of 1994, Munich (Epilogue).

The author transports us to the darkness of Nazi Germany as Clara digs further, questioning why her mother chose to leave the truth of her past behind.

THE PORCELAIN MAKER is a captivating story that spans decades from WWII to 21st-century America. The author seamlessly weaves two timelines for an unforgettable journey, uncovering acts of loss, love, courage, talent, and survival.

At the center of the novel is art— from secrets, loss, romance, and mystery. GRIPPING! A stunning debut for fans of historical fiction.

I read the e-book and listened to the audiobook, narrated by Kristin Atherton, and her voice was utterly captivating!

Thanks to St. Martin's Press, Macmillan Audio, and NetGalley for an advanced reading and listening copy. #SMPInfluencers

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 4 Stars

Pub Date: Nov 7, 2023


“With its well-researched plot, engaging characters, and dramatic twists, Freethy’s debut works as both a World War II love story and a testament to the ability of art to speak truth to power. Readers of Heather Morris and Kelly Rimmer will be captivated.”


"Once I started reading The Porcelain Maker, I didn't want to stop...Freethy is brilliant as she weaves two time periods effortlessly into a page-turning journey to uncover a past of heroism, betrayal, love, and loss."

―Heather Morris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Three Sisters

"In her exquisitely crafted and poignant debut, Sarah Freethy brings readers an unforgettable tale of love and loss.... Phenomenal."

―Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Mitford Affair

"As detailed, delicate, beautiful, and brutal as the hidden porcelain Sarah Freethy conjures, this heart-rending debut intertwines real history and characters both noble and endearing into a story to live in, learn from, and love."

―Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Postmistress of Paris

"A heartbreaking story of beauty in the midst of brutality."

―Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of Band of Sisters

"A riveting and immersive novel, at the intersection of art and war."

―Laura Spence-Ash, bestselling author of Beyond That, the Sea

"A standout novel of heartbreak, survival and hope in time of war. Gripping, beautifully written, The Porcelain Maker is destined to be a huge bestseller."

―Rachel Hore, bestselling author of One Moonlit Night and A Beautiful Spy

"A searing and propulsive novel about bravery and betrayal, love and art. I was pulled into the story and swept along until the very end."

―Clarie Fuller, bestselling author of The Memory of Animals

About the Author

I am a writer and television producer, a screenwriter and a script consultant. My first novel, The Porcelain Maker is due out later this year. I live in Hampshire with my partner, my daughter and a three-legged wonder-hound named Martha.

For over 25 years I have worked as a television producer, working with wonderful teams and any number of briliant people. From the iconic Clive James On TV and the excitement of the early years of Big Brother, right through to the rural idyll of Country House Rescue, I've been tremendously fortunate with many of the projects I've made and the lovely people I've worked with. Special mention through much of this must go to my friend and mentor, Walter Iuzzolino, a lovely man and a divine force of nature. In recent years I have made forays into script consultancy and screenwriting, on dramas such as Professor T (ITV) and Before We Die (C4) which is something I hope to do more of down the line. I am currently in the process of writing my second novel. Watch this space…







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