Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: April 22
Genre: young adult, historical fiction
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?
Gretchen Müller’s father is considered a martyr for the National Socialist Party; he darted in front of Hitler and took the bullets. Since then, the Müller family is Hitler’s favorite, and he’s especially fond of Gretchen. She stands by his beliefs and hopes for a better Germany. But when Jewish reporter Daniel suggests her father was murdered, Gretchen’s world is turned upside-down. She watches her brother beat others mercilessly, makes connections between his behavior and Hitler’s, discovers incongruities in her father’s history, and pieces together Hitler’s darkest intentions for the Jews. Gretchen must face her most difficult decision of all: side with the people she’s been molded to hate, or follow a man intent on genocide.
When I began Prisoner of Night and Fog, I thought I would encounter a I’m-supposed-to-hate-you-but-I-love-you-anyway YA historical love story. That the only interesting thing was that it was set before Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. I was completely wrong. This book is intense, a major psychological page-turner, with mystery, terror, and violence. Yes, there’s a romance, and the way it blooms is stunning — but this is first and foremost a third-party observation and psychological study on Hitler.
It was oddly thrilling to be in the mind of a young Nazi girl. Gretchen is afraid of her brother, but is most frightened of him when he beats people without guilt. She watches him beat a Jewish man, and is torn between wanting to save this “monster” she’s been trained to dislike, and wanting to turn the other way. She is shocked to find humanity in the Jew. And she’s bothered even more when she meets Daniel and finds that he does not have any tricks in seducing her, does not transfer viruses, does not turn into a monstrous creature. Hitler’s brainwashing went so deep into her mind that when she realizes on her own that the Jews are innocent humans, she feels terrible for believing in such horrors and supporting the Fuhrer. She’s on edge, uncomfortable, tip-toeing around the whole Party. But most of all, she’s iron-willed and determined to find out the truth about her father’s death, even if it means putting her and Daniel on the line.
There is plenty of fiction available for victims of WWII. We have the perspectives of the women at home, from the soldiers across the world, from the Jews in the camps and in Siberia. But there are very few perspectives from the Nazi side, and even fewer from before the war when Hitler’s party was one of many attempting to take control of Germany. Gretchen’s independent transformation, coupled with the trust and understanding with Daniel, makes for a fascinating, frightening, and exciting read.
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Balzer + Bray for review!