Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog

Prisoner of Night and Fog
By Anne Blankman
Published: April 22, 2014

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?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

My review:

I've read plenty of WWII fiction before but never before have I read a book that features Hitler so prominently and close to the protagonist. Gretchen idolizes him at first and he is sort of a father figure for her. She lost her dad at a young age when he was shot and killed supposedly saving Hitler's life. Because of this, Hitler and "the Party" have always looked out for Gretchen and her mom and brother.

Things start to change for Gretchen when she witnesses a Jewish man being beaten (the Party isn't supposed to engage in street violence) and she meets reporter Daniel Cohen who is investigating Hitler and what really happened to Gretchen's dad the night of the failed uprising. Because Hitler's influence is so deeply rooted in Gretchen's character it takes some time for her to realize the truth and start to question what she has always believed about Hitler and her dad and the Nazi party. 

Daniel Cohen is the first Jewish person that Gretchen gets to know. Their relationship develops naturally and over time as she starts to trust and admire him. It isn't easy for Gretchen to break away from her belief system. She is revered by the Nazi Party and her best friends are Hitler's niece Geli Raubal and a young Eva Braun. She also has to deal with her cruel and abusive brother Reinhard. With the help of Daniel and Dr. Whitestone, an Englishman who is researching Hitler, Gretchen is able to find the strength to defy Hitler.

Prisoner of Night and Fog is a fascinating  novel filled with suspense, romance and interesting historical details and real historical figures. Because the book is set in the early 30s before Hitler's rise to power it provides a different perspective on events than what we usually see in fiction from this era especially with a protagonist that is initially pro-Nazi. The novel also looks at mental illness and psychoanalysis particularly in the case of Hitler and Reinhard. 

I really liked this debut and its sequel, Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke. Although it is YA fiction I think adults would enjoy it too. The writing style is different but I would suggest this for fans of Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss


  1. Oh wow! This wouldn't normally be my thing, but I must read this! Fantastic review!

  2. I am putting this on my TBR I find it riveting and terrifying. I bet life won't be the same after reading this book. Yikes!

  3. Fantastic review! I have wanted to read this book for awhile now. I love the sound of it and the 1930s setting. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the sequel too. Great review, Christina!


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