Author: Anne Blankman
Publication date: April 22, 2014
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher 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?
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.
First line: Gretchen Müller peered through the car's rain-spotted windshield.
I wish that the only response needed for this book is a standing ovation because that's easy. Sometimes you get a book that you enjoy to the point that you don't really have anything to say. You really liked it...now what? I'm sure there was a flaw somewhere throughout the book, but honestly, I can't remember and I'm glad I don't.
What I do remember is how great the antagonists were. Surprisingly, Hitler wasn't the only big, bad antagonist. No, it was her brother. That's right. HER BROTHER. I have no words to express how terrifying and despicable Reinhard was. "Uncle Dolf" was too, we all know that, but we had an even closer look in this book of how Gretchen's older brother was, who was implied to be a mini version of Hitler. Reinhard was a spectacular antagonist because he he wasn't coldhearted—he was no-hearted. He didn't care for a single thing, lacked emotion, and tortured for fun. SPOILER I couldn't take it when her kitten died. I was ready to just stop reading.END OF SPOILER.
Then Hitler is told in a new perspective, as Uncle Dolf. He's shown as seemingly sweet and caring and in a fatherly way. Even if I didn't know he was Adolf Hitler, I would've thought him as a bad guy and definitely skeevy.
New perspective on a historical figure? Check. Twisted antagonists? Check. Oh, did I forget to mention that we also have a great main character, a realistic portrayal of the historical setting, and an ever-present feeling of dread over our heads? Well, we do. It's sometimes hard to read historical fictions in third person, but Blankman did a superb job in still connecting me to Gretchen, sympathizing with her, and really knowing her. I felt her confusion and despair, which is necessary. I never actually felt safe in the story. The dread loomed over me, threatening to take away my characters or rain more hardships on them. In this story, that was even refreshing because I wanted to be apprehensive. And like all books, I wanted to be sucked in and to keep reading so I can find out at the end if everyone comes out alright.
Really, what else is there to say?
Verdict: If you love historical fictions, READ THIS. If you don't love historical fictions, STILL READ THIS.