An electronic copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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?
I was thrilled to see Prisoner of Night and Fog pop up on Edelweiss because of the setting and subject matter. I have done some minor research and study into Hitler’s reign and even took a German Literature course in college. I found the horror of this time period along with Hitler’s ability to lure people to his cause to be unbelievable so I’ve always wanted to learn more about how this happened. Blankman did a good job at writing about this period and I found her descriptions easy to visualize. Even so, the pacing felt slow at times and I wished for a bit more to be developed in regards to the period and the characters. I felt that some of the characters (Daniel and his family especially) could have used a bit more page space but I’m confident this will happen in follow up book (s).
I enjoyed watching Gretchen, our main character, grow and to start seeing things clearly. She begins the book being very naïve and easily swayed by the opinion’s of her family and those surrounding her. Her interactions with her ‘uncle’ (Adolf Hitler) were equally fascinating and horrifying knowing the bigger story. Blankman included many aspects of historical research to help to flesh out Hitler’s character some but I never fully felt how evil he was.
I loved that Blankman included some psychological anyalsis, which felt very accurate to the time period. I found Gretchen’s exploration into this to be some of my favorite aspects of the book. I did take issue with her brother; his lack of depth and personality was explained but he did feel one dimensional.
A warning to those sensitive to animal violence: there is a brief scene that is heart breaking.
When reading anything concerning Hitler I tend to ask the questions- How did someone like him rise through the ranks and gain power. How could the general population (or anyone for that matter) support what he stood for? PoNaF tip toed around these things but never really drew a clear picture for me. I wanted more in regards to the desperation of the people after the first World War. His ability to speak publicly and how he was able to slowly inoculate his views into people was touched upon but not to the degree that gave me any real insight. Granted, this took place prior to the pinnacle of Hitler’s rule so I’ll be curious to see where Blankman takes her characters as the story and time progresses.
At some points PoNaF seemed to be less about these elements and more the backdrop behind some of the more typical young adult tropes. That being said, I did enjoy the romantic bits though they did tend to be a bit clichéd with this genre and easy to predict. I become squeamish and heart sick when predicting what might happen in the next book.
It was evident that Blankman researched the time period and Adolf Hitler in particular to write Prisoner of Night & Fog. She was able to mix in many historical elements successfully though I felt that she missed some of the emotion that I needed to really connect to the storyline.