Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
Release Date - April 22, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads 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?

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.
After reading the synopsis I knew I had to read Prisoner of Night and Fog. It has all the element that immediately would pique my interest - a historical setting, a mystery, and a forbidden romance. Combine this with the inclusion of Adolf Hitler being a close family friend, and I was sold. I was thrilled to discover that Anne Blankman captured all of this, and so much more in her debut novel.

The sense of foreboding, and dread is inescapable from the moment you start reading.We are shown the crippling fear that many people must have felt during this time all too clearly. You know where history dictates this ends, and as a result character safety is never guaranteed. As Gretchen becomes more determined to find out the truth, and grows closer to Daniel, that feeling only intensifies. Being on edge for an entire novel isn't something I've experienced before. It was excruciating but I found myself pulled under this book's spell as a result.

This forbidden romance was painted it quite a different way than I expected. The stark reality of what being together could cost them is realistically dealt with. The risk is taken, but not lightly. The kindness that Daniel shows Gretchen, and her willingness to accept that kindness draws them together in a way that felt authentic, and romantic. This couple immediately invoke sympathy. You wish for them to make it. You want it be easier for them. It was perfectly balanced between the romance of falling in love, and the incredible danger doing so presented.

Physical reactions to books happen to me routinely. Normally I am a crying mess if the book is sad. This book however, had me shaking in anger while sobbing. A brutal, rage inducing scene that left little doubt as to the terror that was to come. The notion that some of Hilter's followers were violent, cold hearted men should surprise nobody, but this scene will stay with me for a long for both the rage, and chill it left in it's wake.

Hilter himself is an imposing, dominating presence throughout the entire book. Even if he is not directly present his influence is felt in every scene. He is shown to be both charismatic, and unstable. Caring and ruthless. We get a sense of the man who was able to persuade and command and see just how volatile he was. It read like the research had been done, and care was taken to capture the essence of what he might have been like. His character is certainly commanding, and larger than the pages of this story.

These little moments where attention to detail is evident are peppered throughout the novel's pages. The author surrounds her characters with factual details, and people. Having this firmly grounds the story to a particular timeline, and helped me immerse myself into the story.

The mystery itself is pretty straight forward, and the outcome is easy to determine. However, what makes this particular mystery work is the surrounding tension. We know what comes next. We know how this ends. Gretchen, and Daniel's safety is not guaranteed, and so by investigating the murder, they are taking steps that will put them in danger. This is what the focus is, rather than figuring out the mystery, and Anne Blankman pulled it off impressively.

Prisoner of Night and Fog combines a thrilling murder mystery with historical events. It captures the starkness of a forbidden love, and the crushing realization that sometimes people are not as you see them to be. Fans of historical novels will devour this and immediately look for the sequel.


  1. I've seen this one come up so often but had never read to see what it was about. Now, after reading your review, I am definitely adding it to my TBR pile. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

  2. I am currently reading this book and I am absolutely in love with it. I had expected to like it but it succeeded my expectations pulling me in right from the get go. great review!

  3. I agree with you that this book wasn't really about the central murder mystery so much as it was about the relationships and the characters. I found myself not actually caring who the actual murderer was (it was pretty evident what happened - at least generally), which was my ONLY negative for this book.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction


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