Somebody on bookstagram recommended that I read this book and, as a fan of historical fiction, I thought I might enjoy it.
From page one, I was hooked. It’s so unusual to read a POV from one of Hitler’s inner circle; usually these kind of books are from the enemy’s POV ie. a Jew, a British soldier etc etc. It was strange realising just how adored Hitler was by his followers. I never thought of Hitler as being a great leader before. A murderer, yes. A psychopath, yes. But a great leader? Definitely not. On reading Gretchen’s story, however, I realised that, although he IS a murderer and a psychopath, he was also such a persuasive leader that he managed to pass his twisted views onto millions of Germans. Millions of people who revered him and began to think the same way as he did.
We also see this in the feeling of revulsion which Gretchen feels when she first comes into contact with Daniel. She’s actually a very sensible and fair girl deep down, not one to ignore injustice, and this becomes clearer and clearer as the book moves on. As for Daniel, unlike the majority of the Jewish community in Munich, he refuses to be downtrodden. He is proud of his heritage and the unjustness of the Nazi society which has taken over sets his heart on fire. He is determined to do right for his community, no matter what danger this puts him in.
The book follows Gretchen’s growing realisation that her “Uncle Dolf” isn’t what he appears to be. At the same time, her brother, Reinhard, is also showing signs of the same violent nature as Herr Hitler and she realises that there are many similarities between the two of them…….Can she save herself or will she continue to be Hitler’s ‘darling’ and part of the ever-expanding National Socialist party which is threatening to eliminate one of the oldest communities on earth………?
Definitely one for fans of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Book Thief, this is the first book in Anne Blankman’s duology. I am currently two-thirds of the way through the sequel, “Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke” and loving it just as much as the first book.