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Petra Durst-Benning books in order

Petra Durst-Benning is a German bestselling author of historical romance, historical fiction and women's historical fiction.

She is notably known for writing the Century Trilogy, Glassblower, Photographer's Saga, and Seed Traders' Saga–all of which were originally written in her native German before being translated to other languages, including English.

Petra's research is widely praised for its exceptional accuracy, while her engrossing writing style immerses readers at the center of the narrative.

One aspect that readers particularly find relatable is how she effortlessly portrays her subjects, evoking a sense of sensuality that adds depth and authenticity to her work.

As such, her writing style has earned her a loyal following, with more than 2.5 million books sold in Germany alone.

Born in the south of Germany, Petra currently lives with her beloved husband and their two dogs in a sleepy village between Lake Constanz and the Black Forest.

More about Petra Durst-Benning

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Fiction

Born: 1965



Century Trilogy

  1. While the World Is Still Asleep - Solang die Welt noch schläft (2012)
  2. The Champagne Queen - Die Champagnerkönigin (2013)
  3. The Queen of Beauty - Bella Clara (2015)


  1. The Glassblower - Die Glasbläserin (2000)
  2. The American Lady - Die Amerikanerin (2003)
  3. The Paradise of Glass - Das Gläserne Paradies (2007)

Photographer's Saga

  1. The Photographer - Die Fotografin (2020)
  2. An Artificial Light - Die Zeit der Entscheidung (2020)

Seed Traders' Saga

  1. The Seed Woman - Die Samenhändlerin (2005)
  2. The Flower Shop - Das Blumenorakel (2008)

Detailed book overview

Century Trilogy

While the World Is Still Asleep

It isn’t easy for a woman to cut loose in 1890s Berlin. But the winds of change are blowing, and nothing can stop Josephine from pursuing her dreams.

After the tragic death of her little brother, Josephine travels to the Black Forest to heal. There she discovers a feeling of freedom astride a brand-new invention called the “velocipede.” The very idea of a woman on a bicycle is beyond taboo—it is indecent and even illegal—but Josephine will not be deterred. She simply needs to find a way to ride without provoking a scandal. 

Back home, Josephine has the brilliant idea of riding under cover of night, while the world is still asleep. But Berlin’s streets are dangerous, especially on a bicycle.

Can Josephine’s fighting heart help her overcome the obstacles in her path? Will the passion she feels for this new adventure lead her toward true love?

Author: Petra Durst-Benning
Original Title: Solang die Welt noch schläft
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-1503953321
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
The Champagne Queen

When Isabelle took a chance and eloped with Leon Feininger, her true love, she hadn’t stopped to consider what would happen next. Winter on his family’s isolated vineyard proves tougher than she expected, and Isabelle finds herself daydreaming, envisioning the wines she and Leon will make when they have their own land.

An unexpected inheritance opens a door for the newlyweds―Leon’s uncle has left them a vineyard, and in champagne country no less! But all is not as it seems. The decrepit estate has very little staff to help, and Isabelle cannot focus her husband’s efforts on the farm. She soon decides to seize the opportunity to run the vineyard herself. 

Like her friends Clara and Josephine, she can learn anything she needs to face a new challenge. And with their help, she will even take on the fierce local competition, with generations of wine-making history tying them to the land she’s just learning to toil.

Can Isabelle’s passion and perseverance bring Feininger champagne to the world? Will life with Leon become the happily ever after she’s always dreamed of?

Author: Petra Durst-Benning
Original Title: Die Champagnerkönigin
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1503937581
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
The Queen of Beauty

Despite all that Clara Berg has achieved as a wife, mother, and chemist―especially for a woman in turn-of-the-century Berlin―ending her abusive marriage comes at great cost. The judge hands her inheritance―her parents' pharmacy―over to her ex-husband. Now, with her reputation in near ruins thanks to the scandal that rocked her marriage, no reputable chemist will hire her. Worst of all, she has lost all rights to her young son and daughter. Only her dearest friends, Josephine and Isabelle, themselves no strangers to hardship, remain steadfast.

With their encouragement, Clara decides to start over in the spa town of Lake Constance, where she creates a homemade cream and launches a cosmetics revolution. Against all convention, she teaches other women and herself how to face the challenges of each new day with confidence and beauty. Soon her renown brings prestige, professional accolades, even new romance. But through it all, her heart beats for her beloved children―will success finally bring the reunion she longs for?

Author: Petra Durst-Benning
Original Title: Bella Clara
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1477806128
Publisher: Amazon Crossing


The Glassblower

In the village of Lauscha in Germany, things have been done the same way for centuries. The men blow the glass, and the women decorate and pack it. But when Joost Steinmann passes away unexpectedly one September night, his three daughters must learn to fend for themselves. 

While feisty Johanna takes a practical approach to looking for work, Ruth follows her heart, aiming to catch the eye of a handsome young villager. But it is dreamy, quiet Marie who has always been the most captivated by the magic―and sparkling possibilities―of the craft of glassblowing. 

As the spirited sisters work together to forge a brighter future for themselves on their own terms, they learn not only how to thrive in a man’s world, but how to remain true to themselves―and their hearts―in the process.

The Glassblower
Director: Christiane Balthasar
Cast: Luise Heyer, Maria Ehrich, Franz Dinda, Dirk Borchardt, Robert Gwisdek, Max Hopp, Ute Willing, Johanna Bittenbinder, Marc Barthel, Karel Hermánek Jr., Jakub Chromecek
Author: Petra Durst-Benning
Original Title: Die Glasbläserin
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-1477820278
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
The American Lady

Tempestuous and beautiful Wanda Miles, daughter of Ruth and Stephen Miles (or so she thinks), aspires to more than the life of a debutante, but the trouble is she doesn’t know precisely what she wants. 

Then her aunt Marie, the family’s renowned glassblower, arrives from Lauscha, Germany, and Wanda decides that learning about her ancestry may hold the key to her future. When Marie accidentally reveals a long-held secret about Wanda’s parents, Wanda goes to Lauscha to unravel the truth.

While Marie finds herself increasingly swept up in New York City’s bohemian social scene―catching the eye of a handsome young Italian in the process―Wanda explores a past she never knew in the village of her mother’s youth―and begins to build a life that she never expected.

Author: Petra Durst-Benning
Original Title: Die Amerikanerin
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-1477826584
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
The Paradise of Glass

Johanna, the oldest of the three Steinmann sisters, has successfully managed the family glassblowing business since her father’s death, and her sister Marie’s artistic gifts have made their wares unexpectedly famous. But now the livelihood of the town of Lauscha, Germany―known around the world as the “paradise of glass”―is in danger. The local glassworks is about to be sold, and rumor has it the buyer wants to make changes that will challenge glassblowing tradition.

Wanda, the daughter of the middle Steinmann sister, is freshly arrived from America and engaged to an ambitious local glassblower. Yet as soon as the bold young woman learns of the impending sale, she decides to do as her mother and aunts did―cast aside her expected role in order to save the day. With the help of a handsome bank clerk, she will take a daring risk with the villagers’ hard-earned money. Just like glass, though, love and commerce are fragile, and what begins as their last hope may just end in shattered dreams.

Author: Petra Durst-Benning
Original Title: Das Gläserne Paradies
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-1503945050
Publisher: Amazon Crossing

Photographer's Saga

The Photographer

In 1905, on her twenty-sixth birthday, Mimi Reventlow receives a marriage proposal from the vicar of her family’s church. But a future of housework, childcare, and servicing a parish doesn’t appeal to the restless and unconventional Mimi. She has ambitions of her own―to follow in the footsteps of her beloved uncle Josef and become a traveling photographer. Leaving behind all that has been mapped out for her, Mimi dares to pursue her passion and sets out alone to make her own mark.

A visit to her ailing uncle in the idyllic mountain town of Laichingen, Germany, pauses Mimi’s journey. Here, among provincialism and rejection, she struggles to find her place within a vibrant but wary community. But Mimi’s resilience is only strengthened by adversity. Her courage is indomitable. Maybe here, among surprising kindred spirits and longing hearts, in a place she never expected, Mimi’s dreams might be coming into focus.

Author: Petra Durst-Benning
Original Title: Die Fotografin
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-1542008495
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
An Artificial Light

Germany, 1911. Certain things are expected of a woman. Defiant Mimi Reventlow has chosen to be the woman she wants to be. For now, that’s the resident, if temporary, photographer in Laichingen. Here, against the odds, in a vocation uncommon for her gender, she maintains a struggling studio. She cares for her aging uncle and mentor. She’s captured the affections of a roguish young local. And she dares to engage in a secret affair with Johann, the village’s prodigal son.

But when tragedy strikes, Mimi’s world is thrown into a state of flux. Remain in a place she calls home? Stay loyal to the man she loves? Or follow her true calling, on the road, as a photographer of roving independence?

Through dizzying betrayals, breathtaking new passions―both personal and professional―and the rumors of war, Mimi’s next choice could change her life once again. So could the risks. But as Mimi knows, taking risks is at the heart of all women who dream of a future.

Author: Petra Durst-Benning
Original Title: Die Zeit der Entscheidung
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-1542008624
Publisher: Amazon Crossing

Seed Traders' Saga

The Seed Woman

After a long and trying journey from her home, Hannah arrives at a charming village nestled in the foothills of the Swabian Mountains, eager to find Helmut Kerner, a traveling seed merchant she loved and lost. 

Enchanted by the glorious wildflowers and thriving harvests stretching as far as the eye can see, Hannah feels less like an outsider with each passing hour, until she meets Seraphine, an ethereally beautiful dreamer engaged to be married to Helmut, the father of Hannah’s unborn child.

Desperate to win back Helmut’s affections, Hannah gets to work and quickly discovers a passion for the seed trade, and with every change of season comes a change of heart. Can Hannah and Seraphine put aside their differences to find a way to work together, or will Hannah and her child be forced to leave this place she has come to love?

Author: Petra Durst-Benning
Original Title: Die Samenhändlerin
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-1542047814
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
The Flower Shop

Twenty-year-old Flora Kerner has arrived in Baden-Baden, the “Summer Capital of Europe.” Having spurned the family seed trade, Flora has instead chosen to accept a floristry apprenticeship in the famed German spa town. She is a quick study in the art of flower arranging, but progress is slower in matters of the heart.

As her magnificent displays and keen eye soon reverse the fortunes of her mentor’s shop, she attracts the notice of princesses and other royal clientele. Flora’s found her passion―or at least she hopes she has. But as her new life begins to blossom, does she dare risk everything to discover where her true heart lies?

Author: Petra Durst-Benning
Original Title: Das Blumenorakel
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-1503950139
Publisher: Amazon Crossing