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?
Review:Blankman has joined the troop of story weavers whose writing makes me shudder with a mixture of emotions yet keeps me so riveted that I can't bear a moment away from it. Evidently, I was glued to my copy of Prisoner of Night and Fog and for good reason; it is a gold mine.
I adore historical fiction and I feel that I haven't read enough. Those that I have, I remember commenting on their realism and the authors' dedication to staying on point with history. But I've never read something like Prisoner of Night and Fog. This book is the perfect example of a masterful intermingling of real life events and people into fictitious works. To me it is a sign of fantastic things to come.
Blankman managed to not only bring her added characters to life but she breathed a new air to many real life characters. All I've read about Hitler are Wikipedia articles and a few chapters in my Canadian History textbook; not much besides evil! In this book, Blankman showed us a personality, a real life person to which we can attach all our past knowledge. He fascinated me the way a wild beast fascinates curious onlookers. I was always awaiting the breaking point, the time when Blankman would stray from her story and add a little bias, but she never did.
A big part of this book was the Muller family. Gretchen hales from a regular family of shoemakers who by a force of luck (or bad luck) become acquainted with Adolf Hitler in his early days. Their familial struggles were so pure in nature. The everyday struggles of making a living, the expectation of women and the troubles that came with not having a patriarch in the house. I enjoyed reading about Gretchen and her brother Reinhard's relationship. It was fascinating to read as not many authors have tackled a psychopath before. I was thoroughly engrossed and once again horrified.
As for Gretchen, I adored having her as a narrator. She was so young, alive, brave and intelligent. She taught us that one shouldn't just agree to everything they are told without question. To a girl who has never seen anything different, being told that a Jew is a monster isn't hard to believe. But without questions and a need to make our own opinions on things the atrocities would've worsened. Gretchen, albeit being a loyal daughter and follower, is also someone who is true to herself and only that truth and her love for her family helped her find the truth.
Her partner in crime, the sweet Daniel Cohen was a force to be reckoned with. He was so open and eager to help. His dedication to his dreams made him an inspiration. Put him together with Gretchen and the two fit perfectly. Their romance was the slow and deep type. No night of raw passion, just a sweet pure adoration and need to always protect the other on equal footing.
I honestly have not read a novel of this calibre in a long time and it makes me want to stop, take a break from reading and just skim through its pages remembering my favourite parts, the revelation and resolutions. Prisoner of Night and fog is sure to be a book that will stay with me and I shall recommend it to all lovers of a great story.