Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Vivid, Compelling YA WWII Novel A Tense, Exciting Page Turner

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As a loyal member of the National Socialist Party and a pure-blooded German, Gretchen Müller knows to stay away from Jews.  They're dirty, sneaky, subhuman—so insists her Uncle Dolf.  Without a father to look to for advice, the 17-year-old must put her trust in the man he died to protect.  Adolf Hitler dotes on Gretchen, his favorite "niece," the daughter of Germany's famed martyr—in return, the 17-year-old owes him her respect and absolute obedience.  Gretchen knows her beloved "uncle" would never steer her wrong, but when a handsome Jewish reporter comes to her with accusations against him, she begins to wonder.  Did her father really die the hero's death for which he's been lauded, or did something much more sinister lead to his demise?  Can she trust Daniel Cohen, who's both a stranger and a Jew?  Especially over the word of Adolf Hitler, the most powerful man in Munich, maybe even all of Germany?

Against all reason, Gretchen finds herself falling for Daniel.  And believing the things he's telling her.  The more she searches for the truth behind her father's death, the more Gretchen questions what her Uncle Dolf has told her—not just about the martyrdom, but also about the Jews.  Fraternizing with Daniel is dangerous enough, but harboring traitorous thoughts against Adolf Hitler?  That could get her killed.  One wrong move and Gretchen's sadistic older brother will turn her in.  In an increasingly tumultuous time, she can't risk losing her uncle's approval.  But, what if Hitler's been lying to her all along?  What then?  Torn between loyalty to her protector and a growing dissatisfaction with his teachings, Gretchen must decide what—and who—she believes.  Even if it means putting herself and everyone she loves in grave danger.

Prisoner of Night and Fog, a debut novel by Anne Blankman, brings the fear and uncertainty of 1930s Munich to vivid life.  With tight prose, an engaging heroine, and a tense, compelling plot, it's a fast-paced page turner that will appeal to anyone who loves historical fiction.  Sure, there are some holes in the story, but overall, I enjoyed it.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of Pam Jenoff's adult novels about WWII, The Kommandant's Girl and The Diplomat's Wife)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence, sexual innuendo and references to sex/prostitution, etc.

To the FTC, with love:  I received both a finished copy and an e-galley (via Edelweiss) of Prisoner of Night and Fog from the generous folks at Harper Collins.  Thank you!

3 comments:

  1. This sounds like an interesting read. I love WWII stories. I'm going to have to check this one out.

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  2. I loved this book. Absolutely fascinating.

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  3. I've heard such great things about this novel! Glad to hear it measured up to some of the hype. (Though when I saw the title of the post, the first thing I thought of was Code Name Verity . . .)

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