In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.
Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.
Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.
As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?
Description taken from Goodreads.
Another review from the YA Valentines authors! This time, it’s Anne Blankman, author of the historical fiction PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG. You might’ve read my interview with her during my 14 Debuts event. Let’s start out with the main fault to this book though so that the rest of this review will make sense.
This book is a huge info-dump. I think the hardest part about reading historical fiction is the balance between history and fiction, and that’s one thing that’s not done well here. If you’re a history nerd, you will love this book because of the sheer amount of information on every single page. This book revolves around the fact that’s historical, and while that’s not a bad thing, it’s also not a good thing. I will give PRISONER credit for one thing though, the world-building and research is excellently done.
Other than that, there were two main faults attributed with this one ^, and it had to do with the mystery being too drawn out and the plot starting to get repetitive right around the middle.
Now to the good stuff. Besides the whole information overload, I loved how entertaining this was. Gretchen felt real to me and the struggles she went through, the fears she faced and the triumphs she felt were all awesome experiences. I really appreciated her relationship with her father and mother, her brother and especially her “Uncle” Dolf. If you want to read about more relationships like Gretchen’s with the fictional Adolf Hitler, you should read GATED by Amy Christine Parker.
GATED is about a girl named Lyla who lives in a religious cult under a psychotic leader named Pioneer. Pioneer claims her family and the others who live in their community are the chosen, destined to be led by Pioneer who is directed by a higher power (or so he says) into a save haven that will protect them from the end of the world. In both this book and PRISONER, the authors do amazing jobs of showing just how deep these their heroines are, and how much they truly believe in the person who is guiding them the wrong way. This was fascinating for me to see again and I really loved that about the writing of this book. You can read more of my thoughts on Gated in my review.
So many of the characters in PRISONER I truly cared about, or loved to hate. The romance was good. I liked seeing Gretchen’s motivations and just how human she was. The writing was also great. There are many quotable passages and the pacing only got faster and faster, which was a good thing for me.
Overall, I did like this book. I would say 3.5 stars. The heavy scenes were not so incredibly heavy that I couldn’t plow through them, and the quality writing and world building made up for some of the overdose in knowledge. I do hope to see more historical fiction from Anne Blankman, and I would love to see how she grows as a writer from here on out. I will definitely be following up with her books.
pg count for the hardback: 401
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog