To me WWII books = bawling your eyes out. So I’m intensely surprised that this isn’t a tear-jerker.
Thank you Hachette Australia on Netgalley for the e-ARC! Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman hit shelves on June 10th, 2014.
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?
Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn’t writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.
After earning a master’s degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she’s not writing young adult fiction, she’s playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.
Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.
Gretchen is a super strong heroine. I love characters who break the “strong” stereotype. You know…kick butt and sassy? Gretchen was neither of those, yet she was strong and someone I easily admired. Sure she was brainwashed, buuuut, these things happened. I loved her flexibility and strength to question. Also, I love her for this quote:
Maybe she didn’t matter enough to the Brauns, certainly not enough to her mother and Uncle Dolf, and definitely not at all to Reinhard. But she mattered to herself. And that was all that needed to be true. (39% through)
It’s about the “Origins of Hitler”. I haven’t read a book like this before. Not ever! I find that intensely exciting! I personally think of Hitler as a mean killing machine…but was he born that way? What drove him to it? And what about Hitler’s backstory? I always suck at recalling facts — but give it to me in story form and I remember and learn. So while his is just historical fiction (and definitely not 100% accurate) I feel like there’s intense historical facts in here. I LEARNT STUFF. GO ME.
The author’s note rocked. What? I’m a bookworm. Yes I read the author’s note, and yes this one was particularly juicy with facts.
Psychopaths! This book is loaded with them! Who knew right? Hitler isn’t actually the main antagonist. It’s Gretchen’s older brother, Reinhard. He’s a psychopath…cold, emotionless, cruel. It was really interesting how the book explored mental illness. Lots of theories. Lots of crazy people. Totally not a direction most books take and for that I LOVED IT.
Gretchen + Daniel = I ship them like peanut butter and chocolate. Obviously Daniel is a Jew and Gretchen is a favourite of Hitler. They’re bound to run into trouble. But book one in a trilogy is all about falling awkwardly in love. I liked them together! I didn’t feel super strong chemistry, but I liked how they had to develop trust and friendship before smooching as they investigated murders and snooped in Hitler’s office. Someone has a death wish.
But, ah….that all (unfortunately) leads me to the things I had issues with…
Why did Daniel care again? I’m probably just missing something vital here. (Tell me if I’m totally off the rails here!) But Daniel is a Jewish reporter. He and Gretchen investigate the death (murder?) of her father. But why? I just don’t understand why Daniel cared because the whole “I’m here for the truth” doesn’t settle my skepticism.
I was pretty emotionally detached from the book. This is disappointing to me. While I enjoyed the book for it’s history…I didn’t connect to anyone or anything. Not even the walnut slice. Just, nope, not feeling anything.
Which lead me to be kind of bored. I may of had to bribe myself to keep reading… History is great! But I hanker after an emotional connection with the characters.
Also: it’s nothing like Code Name Verity. I tell myself every. single. time not to fall to marketing ploys like that. Do I listen? Nope. It says on goodreads “for fans of Code Name Verity” blah, blah. Just because a book is in WWII, doesn’t make it like Code Name Verity! Plus this was by the POV of the Germans. The war hadn’t even really taken off yet! Hitler wasn’t even elected. It was a completely different perspective. Plus it didn’t make me cry. Not even twitch. Not even sniffle. Unfair comparison, if you ask me.
To be honest, I honestly expected to adore this book. And I just…didn’t. It was a bumpy ride. Love one minute, bit of snoozing the next…then confusing because YOU try saying Koniginstrasse five times fast.
Cait has had a cold and therefore has been writing sad, rainy scenes in her book. HA. Just kidding. She hans’t been writing at all. She’s been lounging around with a book and her self-pity. As one does. She feels mildly bad, because she’s reviewing this book quite late, but HEY. There are a lot of books out there in the world to read, okay?!