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Reviewed by Jean Hall for Readers' Favorite
A flight of self-discovery may have some turbulence. But Professor Renate Seiler has more than her share as she boards a plane for Germany in order to finish her dissertation. She has been awarded a German government academic grant to go back to the country where her life began. Naomi Stephan pens Duplicity's Daughter with a great love for romantic poetry, politics, music, and culture. Renate, or "Reni," says goodbye to her close friend Laura who also teaches at the Wisconsin university. But before she leaves, her mother dies of a heart attack.
As Reni sorts through dusty memories in her mother's attic, she finds some paperwork that hints that her father was a member of the evil Nazi regime. It is the Cold War, when World War Two and all its miseries have been replaced by the hopeful 1960s. After greeting her aunt in Germany, Reni finds her father's friend to investigate Nazi ties. There is some political intrigue when Reni makes some dangerous decisions. Along the way, Reni meets lesbian nightclub singer Christine and the two begin a passionate but confusing relationship. In the process of uncovering the full measure of her father's secret, she has awakened her sexual identity.
Naomi Stephan allows the reader into her life with many fascinating personal details in the book's preface. She is clearly passionate about the need for gay rights in all cultures around the globe. There are many quotes from German poets which give the book a lyrical depth. Duplicity's Daughter by Naomi Stephan is a richly textured story of personal history, identity, and family roots.