Review - PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, Anne Blankman
Up front, I've always struggled with fiction that uses fact as the entire basis for a made-up story. I'm twitchy about the possibility (albeit possibly unintentionally) of reinventing history. PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG is therefore built on a particularly challenging premise - that the central character in this book, Gretchen Müller, is a protégé of Adolf Hilter.
Needless to say it came as no surprise to find that Müller's loyalty to her "Uncle", the party and all is undermined when she meets a fearless and "handsome" (couldn't he at least have been average looking...) Jewish reporter. To whom she is fiercely attracted despite her anti-Jewish conditioning.
So a rather hefty component of illicit love into the bargain. Which turned out to be one of the stronger elements of the entire book. The mystery component, what actually happened when Müller's father supposedly took the bullet to save the Fuhrer's life, seemed to struggle a bit for traction – or at least it did for this reader.
The PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG has a really strong sense of place, and of the time about it. Obviously there's a hefty component of foreboding and tension built into the society, and that's frequently well drawn out with the battles between members of the Nazi Party, the Communists and of course the Jewish population. There's also the tension between Müller and her ambition to study medicine and the expectations for young women of the time, particularly fatherless young women with a mother who runs a boarding house to keep the family alive.
For my own taste I have to admit I found much of the romance / attraction element was overly predictable, and overly forefront. The mystery elements were swamped, which left it feeling uninteresting / optional to the overall story. Having said that the character of Müller is reasonably strong although perhaps not best served here – she sometimes came across as a bit wet when she obviously wasn't supposed to be.
The elements where the origins of Hitler and the Nazi Party start to rise to prominence were interesting, although I've no way of assessing whether or not they were historically accurate (which is why I struggle a lot with this sort of fiction). It was also interesting that a lot of the build up around those figures seems to have provided exactly the breeding ground in which your average psychopathic lunatic with a chip on his shoulder flourishes. Hence the character of Müller's brother Reinhard.
Unfortunately other characters – interestingly particularly that of Daniel (he of the handsome love interest) are less fleshed out. Wraith like, that might have suited the way he seemed to waft into Müller's field of view, but it was frustrating for those of us trying to get an emotional connection with somebody in the story. And let's face it - the downtrodden Jewish character in a society which is rapidly losing it's collective mind and humanity should have been a character that you could side with.
Since reading PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG I've heard it's the start of a series – ? a trilogy. It could be that some of the missing elements in this book are straightened out and built on in the subsequent books.
Allowing for this reader's reluctance outlined earlier, I wasn't 100% convinced by PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG. It didn't deliver enough to sweep this reader into the story, burying the whispering doubt over historical accuracy under the weight of an enthralling puzzle.
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?
|Blog||Currently Reading - Prisoner of Light and Fog, Anne Blankman||
|Thursday, November 13, 2014|
|Review||Review - PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, Anne Blankman||
|Thursday, November 13, 2014|