Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, Book #1)
Author: Anne Blankman
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.
– summary from Prisoner of Night and Fog’s Goodreads page
I did enjoy Prisoner of Night and Fog, but at the same time it was a very mixed book. I had quite high expectations since this was my first physical ARC, and since I was studying the time period whilst reading it. However, Prisoner of Night and Fog has proved to be a hard book for me to review. Whilst I did enjoy it, it wasn’t the all enrapturing, unputdownable enjoyment that I had been expecting.
I thought that the beginning of the novel set the scene of what life in Nazi Germany was like, and soon I found myself uncovering more about the developing plot. One of the major strengths of this book is that it prides itself with being filled with historical knowledge and context. However, this could also be read as a bad point since a few times it felt like I was reading one of my History textbooks. At the time, I didn’t mind since I had my exam coming up and I could use it as a cheat to say I was revising, but I could see why it would annoy other people.
Another reason that I really enjoyed this book is that it was so atmospherical. There was a huge sense of foreboding throughout, and at some points I could feel myself literally cringing at the thought of Gretchen’s secrets being found out the the repercussions of her actions coming down on her.
This made reading the novel slightly unsettling, but the fact that hit me the hardest was that it took so long for Gretchen to realise Hitler’s plans and how wrong his actions were. I often wanted to scream at Gretchen in the beginning because of how easily she accepted Hitler and how much she loved him – however, this only made the novel more hard-hitting and uncomfortable to read. It also made it a lot more realistic, because even though the beginning shows Gretchen helping a Jew, and going against Nazi ideals at the time, she was not a stereotypical hero that was amazing and totally good right from the start. However, by the end of the novel I found myself wishing that Gretchen’s character development hadn’t been so obvious, and so quick.
One thing that did stand out to me was that I read this right after Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go, and all I will say is this… What is it with books and killing off animals? And the deaths being horribly heartbreaking.
I would recommend Prisoner of Night and Fog, but mostly because of the high amounts of research that had clearly gone into the novel, and for if the person is looking for a historical but fictional novel with a lot of mystery, and the right amount of romance.