Shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 2015, Ben Fergusson's critically acclaimed debut, The Spring of Kasper Meier, was the winner of the Betty Trask Prize 2015 and the HWA 2015 Debut Crown Award. The Other Hoffmann Sister is a gripping, evocative read about two sisters set in pre-WW1 Germany which will appeal to fans of The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry.
For Ingrid Hoffmann the story of her sister's disappearance began in their first weeks in Southwest Africa...
Ingrid Hoffmann has always felt responsible for her sister Margarete and when their family moves to German Southwest Africa in 1902, her anxieties only increase. The casual racism that pervades the German community, the strange relationship between her parents and Baron von Ketz, from whom they bought their land, and the tension with the local tribes all culminate in tragedy when Baron von Ketz is savagely murdered. Baroness von Ketz and their son, Emil, flee with the Hoffmanns as the Baron's attackers burn down the family's farm.
Both families return to Berlin and Ingrid's concerns about Margarete are assuaged when she and Emil von Ketz become engaged on the eve of the First World War. But Margarete disappears on her wedding night at the von Ketz's country house. The mystery of what happened to her sister haunts Ingrid, but as Europe descends into chaos, her hope of discovering the truth becomes ever more distant.
After the war, in the midst of the revolution that brings down the Kaiser and wipes out the aristocracy that her family married into, Ingrid returns to the von Ketzes' crumbling estate determined to find out what really happened to her sister.
Ben Fergusson is a novelist, editor, publisher and translator. He was born in Southampton in 1980 and grew up near Didcot in Oxfordshire. He studied English Literature at Warwick University and Modern Languages at Bristol University, and has worked for over ten years as an art-book editor and publisher. His short fiction has appeared in publications in both the UK and the US and has won and been shortlisted for a range of prizes. Ben's first novel, The Spring of Kasper Meier, was selected for Waterstones Book Club, WHSmith Fresh Talent and the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. It was longlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award 2015 and shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2015. It won the 2015 Betty Trask Prize for an outstanding debut novel by a writer under 35 and the HWA Debut Crown 2015 for the best historical fiction debut of the year.