17# Book Review– ★★★★★ (4.5 Stars)
Prisoner of Night and Fog
Seventeen year old Gretchen Muller lives in Munich during a time when Germany was going through a rough political and economical scenario. The poster child of the National Socialist Society with her beautiful, honey-blonde braided hair, crystal blue eyes, and a Hakenkreuz hanging down her neck, she is Hitler’s favorite pet.
Or so she thinks.
Nine years ago, her father lost her life protecting Hitler’s during a revolutionary march. He has been considered an honorable martyr ever since, and her family receives all the help and support they could ever need from Hitler, and his political party. The Muller family is safe in the city of Munich that is slowly and steadily turning lethal for the Jews.
In the midst of all the political drama and chaos, Gretchen stumbles upon a fearless, and headstrong Jewish reporter Daniel Cohen who reveals a piece of information that threatens to turn her world upside down—her father wasn’t a martyr who sacrificed his life to save Hitler’s; her father was murdered.
In a world full of untrustworthy and dangerous people, Daniel is the only one she can trust. She can’t help the fierce attraction that starts brewing between them. Falling in love with a Jew is something that could get both her, and Daniel killed instantly. But the passion they feel for each other is simply too intense to be ignored.
With Daniel’s help she investigates her father’s mysterious murder, consequently realizing that the world she’s a part of, and the people that she trusts, are dangerous and monstrous. And the people she’d always mistrusted—the Jews, are nothing like Hitler had described them to be. She can feel her world falling apart right in front of her eyes.
Who is the man behind her father’s murder? How long will Daniel and she be able to hide their relationship? Who to trust, who not to? Follow Gretchen and Daniel, as they uncover the murky details of Gretchen’s father’s murder, and Hitler’s dirty past.
“Nothing made sense anymore. The box she had carefully constructed about herself would fall apart. And she didn’t know if she could bear standing out in the open, in the harsh wind, without the comforting warmth of those walls she had built to shut out everything she didn’t like or understand.”
“He was the only one who cared enough. A jew, caring for her. A travesty or a lie, Uncle Dolf would say. It was a miracle.”
“She had thought the boy could fit into a small box of fierceness and determination and loyalty to his ideals, however misguided they were. Now she saw that he couldn’t be contained, or understood, so easily.”
“But when his eyes fastened upon hers, they were so sharp with intelligence and intensity that it took all her self-control not to squirm. He looked at her as if he knew precisely what she thought of him and didn’t care because there were other things that mattered more.”
“She considered the boy beside her. A breeze had kicked up, ruffling the brown strands that escaped from the newsboy cap he was wearing today and hung over his forehead. His clear, dark eyes met hers without hesitation, as though he had nothing to hide. He was nothing like the monster she had been taught about. He was human.”
“She looked up into Daniel’s face, studying its sharp planes, committing each of its features to memory. Not a monster. But a by, blood and muscle and bone real and breathing before her, watching her with those sharp intelligent eyes that saw so much.
She liked him. She cared for him. Ambitious, confident, fierce, clever Daniel.”
“For a moment, he looked at her intently, in a way no one had ever looked at her before. He stood so close she could smell the scents clinging to his skin, soap and oranges and boy, and she heard the nerves in his voice when he said her name, and she knew what he was about to do, and her heart started pounding.
He kissed her.”
“In that instant, she was more aware of Daniel than she had been of anyone in her life: the high cheekbones beneath his olive skin, the flecks of gold in his brown eyes, the tiny shaving nick that meant he had bothered with his appearance for her. His expression was so unlike his usual sarcastic grin she almost didn’t recognize him.”
“Her heart raced. Never had she been so bold. Her mother’s admonition ran through her head—once a girl’s reputation is tarnished, it is tarnished forever—but she threw the warning aside, and let Daniel’s arms come around her back and gently guide her down to the straw mat.”
“You and I are impossible.” she said.
“No.” Gently, he brushed the hair back from her face. “We are what’s real and true.”
Okay, first thing first, sorry for all those quotes, but I really, really loved those lines, so I couldn’t not mention them. I’d like to start with saying that Anne Blankman has an amazing writing style. It was a pleasure reading this book. I soaked up all the beautiful words, and sentences, and phrases. They really helped me connect with the protagonist that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. They were just so beautifully written. Here are some examples.
“She stood on the edge of night, that sliver of gray between darkness and dawn, that razor-thin line separating the first part of her life and whatever lay ahead.”
“For an instant, she was a silver-edged figure in the shadows, then she was nothing more than the whispers of tall grasses and wind.”
“All around them, daylight was slowly dying. Trees clustered tightly together, their interlocking branches and lacy leaves blocking out the fading rays of the orange-pink sunset, enclosing Gretchen and Daniel in a well of shadows.”
“The moment should have felt like a miracle, but it was sad instead., like broken bootlaces, cracked glass, missing buttons on a blouse, everything once whole but now damaged. How could she and Daniel hope to stay together in Munich, that great cauldron of a city whose cobblestone streets were slowly turning the National Socialist colors of brown and red and black?”
Do you understand what I meant? Flawless writing style. Except the excessive use of German words which kind of bothered me initially, I have no complaints. It was a well written book. The characters were realistic (most of them were real!) and relatable.
I absolutely loved Gretchen and her personality. She’s very brave. I loved the fact that she wasn’t vivacious and loud-mouthed and exuberant, yet she was the strong female protagonist we all love reading about. She faced her fears, and trudged through the life that was slowly shattering in front of her eyes. She didn’t give up. Her character development arch was completed. From the timid girl who always listened to her elders, and thought about others before herself, she became a strong girl who stood up for herself and made difficult choices.
I also enjoyed Daniels character, though I wished we’d seen more of him in the book then there already was. He’s so likeable. He’s actually the sort of guy I would want to be with. He’s smart, and headstrong, and believes in his principles, and even stands up for them. He’s fearless, and protective, and observant and caring. I ship Gretchen and Daniel so hard.
The supporting characters were amazing too. They were realistic first of all, and their roles were significant. Their personalities weren’t dull and easily forgettable. I just really liked the fact that all the characters were important in some way or the other, especially Gretchen’s family.
About the plot, I think the story line was unique, and smart. I’d expected a dangerous Germany where Jews are being shipped off to camps to be killed, but it wasn’t like that. It was before Hitler became a ruler. All the same, it did tell us a lot about the political scenario of Germany, and about Hitler himself. The mystery was well plotted, and I loved how they found the clues in the most unlikeliest manners. I kind of knew but didn’t knew who killed her father, so it was fun. I’m just happy there’s another book after this!
I think you all should give it a try! It is a good combination of romance, mystery and history. And it’s a good teen fiction novel as well. I feel inspired!
Until next time, xoxo