Author: Anne Blankman
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Release Date: 22nd April 2014
No. Pages: 352
Buy at: BookDepository
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?
This book blew me away.
World War two is a popular setting for many historical novels but I have never quite read a book like this. This book was not set during the holocaust, like many others, but rather was set a few years after the Beer Hall Putsch.
Prisoner of Night and Fog follows Gretchen Müller, the daughter of a Nazi martyr, and Hitler’s golden pet. Gretchen has always believed her father sacrificed his life to save her Uncle Dolf but after an encounter with Jewish reporter, Daniel Cohen, she is forced to question everything she has ever believed in.
When we first meet Gretchen she is a brainwashed, mindless follower of her beloved Uncle Dolf. Although Gretchen has fleeting moments in which she questions what Hitler has been poisoning her mind with, those thoughts are quickly dismissed. In the worlds of Hitler himself “a young girl’s brain is like wax, soft and pliable, ready to be shaped at any man’s will”, Hitler had certainly moulded Gretchen’s mind. However, through the course of the book Gretchen can no longer ignore the hard-hitting evidence that her Uncle Dolf was not the man she believed he was. During her struggles to learn the truth she becomes a mature, determined and strong character.
However, Gretchen did not undertake this journey completely alone. It was a meeting with Jewish reporter, Daniel Cohen, that forced Gretchen to open her eyes and really question what she was being told, rather than taking everything at face value. Daniel was an easy character to like – he was kind, smart and outspoken.
As Gretchen’s and Daniel’s relationship slowly developed and the forbidden love element was added to the story it was hard not to root for them. You wanted them to beat the odds and find a way to survive, even though you knew how Hitler’s story played out.
Anne Blankman has truly shown how historical fiction should be done. Not only is this book well written but the effort and time spent researching has clearly shone through. With that being said, do not believe that this is a dull novel of recounted facts.
It was both fascinating and unsettling to see how easily Hitler was able to use his dark charm and cunning ways to influence others to adopt his twisted sense of patriotism, especially as we were experience it from someone who had been manipulated. I highly enjoyed how Blankman began with portraying Hitler as a loving family friend and a man who’s only love was his country – to him eventually being shown as the cruel, monstrous man the world now knows he was.
If you have yet to pick this book up, do so soon as it is a fascinating, amazing, entertaining and educational read.