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?
From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead. (Goodreads)
This is a difficult review to write in the sense that, I enjoyed this book, but at the same time I didn’t. I feel like I should have jumped onto this bandwagon a lot sooner but at the same time, there were aspects of this book that I just didn’t enjoy.
I think the best part about this book is the fact that, whilst it is historical fiction, the author has not changed much of what happened in the past at all. She wove in a little bit more to what actually happened, but the main events have remained very factual. The book is very reminiscent of Nazi Germany at the beginning of the 30’s and it showed the transition of the Germans’ mindset toward the NSDAP – and the jews! You could see, as the reader, the brainwashing taking place, which was fairly uncomfortable to read. In today’s society, people cannot comprehend how an entire nation could act in the way in which the Germans acted during Hitlers rise to power and his time in power; reading about it, however, it is horrible to know just how easy it is to brainwash someone slowly and over time.
I really liked the romance in the book. It wasn’t insta – love as it is with a lot of other books, which made the story more interesting. Gretchen had to get over her mindset toward the jews and turn away everything that she had ever been taught in order to fall for Daniel. I think this makes the romance a lot more realistic – especially considering the time era that we are reading!
I loved Gretchen as a character!! She is such a strong female character! It is amazing the amount of things she goes through, the ugly truths that she has had to face and she still managed to stay strong throughout the book and stand up to what she believes is wrong in order to try and set things right. She still investigates her fathers death, even though she knows it could result in her death – which makes her all the more stronger!! She also stood up to her older brother, who, let’s just say, was a nasty piece of work!
So, what didn’t I like about the book? I don’t even know really myself. I feel like I wanted more from the book – more action, more romance, not sure. It was a book that followed an investigation through to the end, but I feel like I was used as an information dump. It just chucked a whole load at me and I feel like I wasn’t ready. I also feel like there was a lot of investigating going on, but there wasn’t a lot of action to back it up. Sure, there were close calls and towards the end there was a lot of action, but I feel like the middle bit just slumped a bit and could have done with a little pick me up.
Also, Uncle Dolf. Being from the generation that I am, being English and considering everything that he did, and the fact that I had to learn about it every single year since the age of about 9, I found it difficult to relate to him as Uncle Dolf. I read it, snorted out my coffee and proceeded to chat to my dad on the phone about it. Even though reading the book meant seeing him in a different light – better said seeing him in the private light of a life he wanted nobody to know about, I still found it difficult to relate. I found it more so difficult to relate to the people who were calling him uncle Dolf or who considered themselves, or were considered to be, close friends of Hitler. However, having said that, I know that this was true in the case of people like Röhm and Eva Braun.
I sort of enjoyed this book – including all of the random German words that tested my knowledge of the language – but at the same time I feel like it fell a little flat of the premise. I will be reading the second book at some point, though! I gave this book 3/5 stars.