*I received a free copy from the publishers via Edelweiss.
Prisoner of Night and Fog follows the life of Gretchen Müller who grew up with the support of the National Socialist Party and her ‘Uncle Dolf’, as she refers to him as. Gretchen’s father gave up his life for Hitler’s and now Gretchen sees him as a second father, following his every command and believing every lie. When Gretchen meets Daniel, a Jewish reporter, she falls unexpectedly in love even though she has been raised to despise him. As the two investigate her father’s death, Gretchen questions everything she’s ever known and she must choose between her old life or uncover the truth.
I was originally drew to Prisoner of Night and Fog because of the cover because it’s gorgeous. Then I read the synopsis and decided I needed it. So when I requested it and got accepted I was thrilled. Beyond thrilled, actually. Being a fan of young adult historical fiction, I was instantly drawn into the book. I’ll begin with the plot. It was intricate with many twists and turns and I was captivated from the beginning. Adolf Hitler is shown, on the surface, as a kind caring man who has the good of Germany at his heart. Yet, even though we know what a cruel man he was, Gretchen is slowly exposed to the disturbing truth. Hitler wants to destroy the Jews, exterminate them. He wants to wage wars and he’s not working for the ordinary man. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil it, but when Gretchen discovers the truth, about her brother Reinhard aswell, she must choose between two paths. Does she stay in her old life as the privileged girl under the wing of Adolf Hitler, or does she run and not look back?
The characters were a strong point of the story and I think that Blankman did a fantastic job interweaving her own characters in with real ones, the dynamic between them all felt flawless. Gretchen was a great protagonist and I admired her loyalty, yet found her admirable in her quest to uncover the truth. She was evidently intelligent and determined, and brave. Brave for questioning the life she had grown up with, and brave for falling in love with a Jew in 1930s Germany, and then proud for falling in love with a Jew in 1930s Germany. Another character I really enjoyed was Daniel Cohen. Can I have a Daniel Cohen? Please? He was fearless, loyal to Gretchen, intelligent and intent on finding the truth, yet sarcastic and fun loving. I loved the development between Daniel and Gretchen and I found they had great chemistry. Reinhard was an incredibly well developed and intriguing character, yet I seriously despised him, along with ‘Uncle Dolf’. The secondary characters, such as Eva and Geli, were also well developed and a great addition to the story.
Whilst the atmosphere didn’t feel as genuine as other historical novels I have read, it did not lessen my enjoyment of the story and I think that Blankman did a very good job and was very historically accurate.
I would recommend to fans of historical fiction, and fans of books like Code Name Verity and The Book Thief.