Author: Anne Blankman
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: 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?
Huge thank you to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for this ARC!
This was so good! I almost didn’t pick it up because I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction, but I loved the cover (yes, I am drawn to pretty covers) and when I read the synopsis I was SO curious to find out how it would all work out so I dove in. And I’m so glad I did. This story is GRIPPING. I couldn’t put it down and was flying through it so fast that I had to force myself to take a break because I was skipping things.
Gretchen’s father, an old war buddy of Hitler’s, saved Hitler’s life and in turn Hitler favors Gretchen and her family thanks to her father’s heroic sacrifice. Gretchen enjoys a semi-well-to-do life where she helps her mother (who’s the manager of a boarding house), attends school to become a doctor, and tries to keep her psychopath brother from hurting her.
Then Gretchen meets a young, dashing (he is SO dashing) Jewish reporter who turns her world upside down by throwing around accusations that Gretchen’s father’s “sacrifice” was anything but…
First of all, the writing in this is BEAUTIFUL. It’s rich and detailed, but not too heavy-handed. Part of what I dislike about historical fiction is that I often feel like I’m reading a textbook. This did not feel like that, so I was able to get very caught up in the story without having to work too hard at it. The pacing is perfect, and the the characters and their development is so well done. Gretchen goes from Hitler’s “pet”, a scared girl who more-or-less blindly believes what she is told to a young woman who fights for herself, for what is right, for what she loves and for the truth. And I loved that she doesn’t do all of that for a boy, she does it for herself.
Yes, there is romance in this, but it is not the central story. Gretchen meets Daniel but she does not insta-love him from the very moment she meets him. The build of their relationship is gradual and sweet. There’s actually a lot of the story that takes place with them apart. They rely on each other from afar, and it goes both ways. Daniel is constantly impressed with Gretchen’s resolve and her courage. He also cares for her where other’s throw her to the curb, and helps her when she has no one else to turn to.
I loved the mix of real events vs fictional (they’re explained in an afterward by the author), and the mix of action, romance and mystery. I could totally see this being turned into a beautiful period film. And I’d BETTER to get a sequel or something!
If you’re up for a historical fiction based in fact with a sweet romance, a thrilling action-packed mystery and some beautiful writing then you wont want to miss out on this!