Inevitably this will be labelled autobiographical. It certainly reads that way. Frederica had always been different, almost always rebellious, from the time when the household escaped the threat of Russian invasion in East Prussia during the last war, to her own final escape from Nazi Germany in 193. Autobiography or not, this is a story that is probably typical of the life of a high born German girl in those years, of education for the drawing room alone, countered briefly in this case by an indomitable grandfather who was not ashamed of his plebeian past, and by an even more briefly known liberal teacher. An interesting picture of the seeds of the future -- the sharp class line, the military caste, the humble people, the scorned Jews, the almost equally scorned (this was North Germany) Catholics. It took bankruptcy and the threat of marriage at a price to push Frederica out of her nest once and for all. Then follows the section of the book that fails to ring true:- the period in which an innocent, untrained girl, to whom snobbery was innate though unconscious, tries to make her way in hostile Berlin. There are contacts, with a glorified whore, with factory workers, with a Jewish manufacturer when she had met when she was a child and her home was turned into a military hospital. She sleeps with him -- then turns from him in horror of what has happened -- and eventually goes back to him, recognising that he had helped her grow up. The final section, during which she has been secretly married, deals with the growing shadow of Nazism, the return of her family, dependent upon her success, the murder of her husband, and her espe from a ermany she can no longer accept. Brisk and effective handling, with emotional but suggested, for this inevitable denouement.....different sort of bk from thi German novelist, new living in the United States, and already known to an American public for novels of Europe's underground.