Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
Release: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Hardcover (US)
Rating: ★★★★.5☆ (4.5/5)
Synopsis via Goodreads: 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?
– S P O I L E R F R E E –
CW: abuse, violence, murder
Historical fictions are slowly making their way to becoming my favorite genre of all time. This book right here only proves further at how wonderful they are because not only do you get to read a fabulous storyline, but get a little history lesson too! The whole environment the readers are put in is so intriguing because we’re thrust into the period where Hitler is starting to increase his reputation, but we also get to walk alongside him through the perspective of a family that supports the National Socialists.
This is something so different from many other German WWII books because usually it’s from a Jew’s perspective or even a German character who doesn’t support Hitler, never really someone who is close with him and originally stands by his ideals. Following Gretchen’s realization of what Hitler’s actual plans are to the Jews and seeing her comprehending how awful it is was a fascinating thing to read, yet intense all at once.
And I mean it when I say intense because, GUYS, there were so many scenes that had me shooketh. The violence that occured throughout this book was so surprising to me; especially from her brother. You find out later in the book why he is the way he is, but whenever he was in a scene my hands would be shaking — scared from what he could possibly do to my fave characters. The dude was highkey insane and had me nervous for Gretchen whenever she would sleep at her home, just down the corridor from him.
Speaking of Gretchen, her character was so wonderful to read from. From the start she had an inkling of what was right and never annoyed me in any way which is a plus. She also made some serious growth throughout the story and was always trying to look for the good in people (even if most didn’t deserve it). She’s very brave and kind, and wasn’t afraid to fight back in certain situations which had me liiiving!
There’s also Daniel. He’s such a loyal guy and I loved how he cared so much for Gretchen even if it put him in danger most (okay… all) of the time. Their relationship was so beautiful because it grew from strangers, to comrades, to something more. It was definitely very slow-paced, but I think that’s what fit them and the setting best. They’re such great partners when it comes to solving mysteries and escaping on a dingy bike, and I cannot wait to read more cute moments between the two!
Okay, so I need to give credit to Anne Blankman for a second because the research she must have done to write this book is insane! Halfway through the novel, I looked up a few of the character names, and guys, THEY ARE REAL PEOPLE. Even if half of the book is still fiction, there are so many aspects of this novel that aren’t and it completely baffles me. Many people in the novel had wiki pages and seeing what they looked like and how their lives correlated to the book was wild. It made me realize that that’s why I love historical fiction so much. It not only gives you a great adventure to embark on, but some of it can be stuff that’s actually been in this world which makes it all the better!
Ultimately, I really loved Prisoner of Night and Fog. It was such an enthralling, intense read that had me on the edge of my seat the entirety. It was very dark and dangerous, but that’s what made it refreshing amongst other books I’ve read recently. I’m sososo excited to pick up the final book in the duology (I’m kinda crying over not having it in my grasp right now aghh)!
“If you think love means secrecy, then you don’t understand what love is at all.”
“She stood on the edge of night, that sliver of gray between darkness and dawn, that razor-thin line separating the first part of her life and whatever lay ahead.”
“Loving someone is one thing, and being loved is another, but being loved by the one you love — that’s paradise.”
“You and I are impossible.” she said.
“No.” Gently, he brushed the hair back from her face. “We are what’s real and true.”
Happy Reading! ♡