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
I need to start this review with the obvious about me: I have my undergrad degree in History, with my thesis in World War II and France, which I gave to my advisor just as Inglourious Basterds came out. This is all to prepare you for the fact I’m fairly picky about World War II fiction. After a full year of nothing but World War II non-fiction books, I required a break from them. Prisoner of Night and Fog is the first one I remember wanting to read. I mean, Uncle Dolf? I AM HERE FOR THIS.
And I was here for this, and then I was disappointed that I was here for this. It is not that Prisoner of Night and Fog is a bad book, because it is not bad at all! It is a really solid book, but it was not the amazing book that I was expecting from my friends’ reviews. What Blankman does well, however, is to humanize Hitler. That is, what Hitler used to win over people was be charming, and lovely, and be this human that everyone wanted to be friends with. Throughout Prisoner of Night and Fog, I felt for Hitler. Don’t get me wrong, I know he’s an asshole, but that is how well Blankman humanized him. In real life, he was awkward, small, and often uncomfortable and that came across continuously throughout Prisoner of Night and Fog. What was interesting was the shift in the main character. Gretchen has spent most of her life under Hitler’s influence. Her father died protecting Hitler, and to Gretchen, he is Uncle Dolf, her lovable yet quirky, popular uncle. Slowly however, Gretchen finds out that her life is not what she was lead to believe and her life is full of very uncomfortable situations.
Her brother is an asshole, her mother is under the thumb of her brother, and her father may have not saved Hitler, but been gunned down instead while being used as a martyr. The whole world that Gretchen knows is gone, she feels she can trust no one, and now wants to know what really happened to her father. And while the plot was fascinating, I never felt connected to the characters. When Gretchen was worried, I was bored. When Gretchen was in love, I was bored and confused. I didn’t get Daniel’s appeal, I also didn’t fully understand Daniel’s interest in Gretchen. When Gretchen did…well, almost anything, I was bored. There had to be more! The plot was so intriguing that the book got better, right?
Sadly, no. While I finished it, my lack of connection made it hard to want to. It took me over two weeks to read this book which is never a good sign for me. I am interested in what Blankman does next, if research is involved, it will be a fleshed out book.