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The Kommandant's Girl (The Kommandant's Girl #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  7,556 ratings  ·  780 reviews
Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma's husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city's decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Taken to Krakow to live with Jacob's Catholic cousin, ...more
Paperback, 395 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Mira (first published March 1st 2001)
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Tea Jovanović
Hurry up, read this book! Must read! WWII story... Poland... Jews, Germans... Nothing is completely black or white... What would you do if somebody puts you in similar position...? Easy read, in one go... Don't miss it, says editor! :)
Jun 06, 2008 Cathleen rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Cathleen by: MPPL; Phyllis
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I mentioned when I wrote my review on The Book Thief, how dismayed I felt when realizing that the story was set in WWII Germany. It seems to me that the market for fictional stories of the war, especially the persecution and massacre of the Jews, has been saturated.

While The Book Thief surprised me by being completely fresh in its story telling, The Kommandant's Girl, stuck to the conservative game plan and told a familiar and unimaginative story.

To be fair, the book is set in Poland, not German
Jennifer Eckel
A standard paragrah in Ms. Jenoff's book includes at least 2 uses of the word Okay. How do you feel? Okay. For a novel set in Poland in the depths of WWII this word is inappropriate. It's frequency made me cringe.
Ms Jenoff also had issues with time. The phrase, it was the second winter of the war and the Kommandant could tell that the war was going badly.
Excuse me, that would be the winter of '40-41 and Germany stood supreme on the European Continent. The book roughly covers only the time frame
There is a lot I liked about this book. The most appealing thing is the angle from which Jenoff chooses to tell this story based on historical facts: it is a romance book that just happens to have a major historical event as its backdrop. I would venture to call it a romance thriller because you're definitely on the edge of your seat for some of the events.

Emma is a Jewish girl during the German invasion of Poland. She has just gotten married when her family is moved to the ghetto of Krakow (whe
Pamela Pickering
I would probably give this book 2.5 stars. It seems I'm alone as most other reviewers gave this book 4-5 stars so I wonder if I'm missing something. I guess I expected more from the book. It was an easy read, too easy I guess would be the point. It just sort of had the feel of a Harlequin Romance and at $13 I would expect more substance. I found the main character a little frustrating at times. She was always so jumpy. In my opinion if someone is "working undercover" and is that jumpy she would ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Celeste Miller
SHOW, DON'T TELL. Which is not what this book does. But that's okay, it's a super-fast read, good for long car trips/plane rides, etc.

I felt like it could use a few more edits, and the dialogue sounded a bit too modern and slangy for WWII Poland. (I was not buying how often Emma said "Okay" to everyone including the Kommandant.) Character development took a back seat to plot elements, and the Kommandant never seemed like a real person to me.

However, if you're looking to write an adventure/suspe
Barbara Kinsky
I found this novel brilliant! I cannot seem to understand why a lot of people gave bad reviews. I think they read too much into the characters. I found it a good thriller/romance and could not put the book down and have now ordered the 2nd book in the series. I loved the different characters and was holding my breath many a time.
Emma Twosouls
Modern American English doesn't really work for a Polish mid 20th century first person narrative. Okay??

I really wanted to 'wind up the pace in the middle'. Foe me there where far to many implausable coincidences created to fit the predictable plot.

Why did the kommandant say the 'war was gong badly' (for Germany)at a time when it clearly was not, why would he carry a 'six shooter', Emma counts his two fired rounds and calculates that there are four left. Really unless he is cast as a wild west e
As Emma is so fond of saying, this was just ok. The subject matter was not what I thought it was going to be. When I read the back of the book, I assumed that Emma was going to be a collaborator and I was very interested in reading a book from that point of view. I've always wondered what it would have been like for women who slept with the German soldiers in order to have food and shelter. Did they feel guilty for sleeping with the enemy? Did they not feel guilty because they were providing for ...more
DNF at 48%

I just couldn't go on anymore, my limited reading time is way too precious to be spent on this kind of crap. With absolutely no depth, no feeling, with an annoying clumsy Mary Sue as a heroine, with only the tell, never the show, and written in modern English first person narrative, this book reads like a bad NA romance. And for a book placed in the Nazi occupied Poland during WWII, that is not okay. Okay being the operative word here, as it is used several times within dialogues suppo
This book was scary on so many levels: the very fact that it was taking place during the Holocaust, with lots of Jewish characters was number one. Then, the main character is working for the resistance. The Nazis we encounter are real people, with friends and lives and worries and joys, which only brings home the idea that the Nazis who were in the camps and ghettos were real people too - and yet, look at what they did. That said, it's not a thriller or a horror novel; if anything, it leans more ...more
Apr 07, 2009 Jen rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jen by: Carey
Shelves: airplane-books
This was a fine book, but it's been done before. The story was very predictable, and I never really felt the tension. There are parts of this book (she's undercover in WWII for heaven's sake) that should be very tense, but I really didn't feel it. The characters that Jenoff wanted you to like and sympathize with were well drawn out, the others, not so much, so there is little investment in many of the important relationships.

It was a quick read, and not terrible, but if you want to read a reall
Nov 24, 2009 Gayle rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: war
Generally, I liked The Kommandant's Girl, by Pam Jenoff. This WWII story about a young Jewish woman certainly was a good love story, but to me, Jenoff missed an opportunity to go into more depth about the grave situations this woman faced. I think I was expecting more drama, but ended up with a fluffy love story set in a dangerous time. Because of that conflict, the story didn't seem to work. A bit of a disappointment. Will I read another Jenoff book? Maybe.
I couldn't finish this book. I understand it's Jenoff's first book, but there is far too much showing not telling. Emma's change of emotions is far too sudden. We're told that she starved in the Ghetto, but in terms of the book, it feels like she was only in the ghetto for five minutes. Even taking into account the difference in time (it helped that I had just read Defiance), she still feels so passive and "oh dear me" that it is hard to like her.
This novel epitomised for me everything that is cynical, vulgar and manipulative about the romance genre.
For the first hundred pages Jenoff does a pretty good job of creating the plight of a Jewish girl in Krakow during the Nazi occupation. Emma is recently married but her husband, a member of the Resistance, goes into hiding. Emma, along with her parents, is forced into the Ghetto. She is then rescued and given a Christian identity and eventually hired as secretary to a Nazi Kommandant where,
The Kommandant's Girl is a story of love and great loss. As with all stories about WWII, this book is heart breaking and often churns your stomach, hearing about the suffering that the Jews were put through.

Emma is a 19 year old Orthodox Jew who marries her sweet heart, Jacob. A few weeks after they are married, her overly political husband joins the anti Nazi group called the Resistance. He leaves Emma to devote himself fully to their work and try to save their people. Emma finds herself in a
Nadia Z.
Si tratta di una lettura indubbiamente semplice e rapida da affrontare. Nell'epoca del rispolvero di Suite Francaise, mi aspetto il rilancio di questo genere di storie d'amore ambientate durante la seconda guerra mondiale, dove uno dei due elementi della coppia è un militare nazista e l'altra quasi sempre una esponente di un popolo sottomesso. Non arriva alle vette della Nemirovsky, ma è sicuramente gradevole come lettura di intrattenimento. Il finale, a dispetto di quanto molti altri hanno scri ...more
I wasted a whole train journey reading this. Why did I dislike this book, you ask? Well, let's just say I wish I had left it on public transport.

Well, for one, the characters, for the most part were awful. There were three varying degrees of characters in this book.
Stage 1: Oh wow, these characters have substance! I feel for them, and at times they are pretty complex. These two characters Krysia and Georg Richwalder. I really appreciated how Jenoff tried to make Richwalder into somebody rather
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, It is a fast read and I found myself wondering what was going to happen next. On the other, I found myself having a hard time with some of the details, which left me scratching my head a few times.

I think the timeline was a little skewed and while I understand this work is fiction, You can not write a book about WWII and have the time line be off. It is just to big of a historical event. I agree with some of the other reviewers who say the main
Viviane Cordeiro
Me and my WWII universe - I mean, I cried in this one, A LOT! Even thou it is extremely predictable, I couldn't stop wondering where the author was planning to go.
I even felt bad when I noticed that I was in love with a Nazi soldier - the last time I felt this way was when I watched 'Inglourious Basterds' with my lovely Daniel Brühl. And let's face it: Kommandant Richwalder is more likable than Jacob, I know that his work for the resistance had to take him away from the story but even when he w
Jun 06, 2012 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: wwii
It's just a quick historical romance read - if that's not what you're looking for, don't read it. It's nothing special, but it's not bad for the type of book it is. Spoilers below, by the way.

Unlike some other reviewers, I didn't think the dialogue was too modern. People tend to think that old folks talked much more formally than we do, but besides obviously dated slang (like groovy or tight or words like that), people spoke pretty similar to how we do now. The word okay, or instance, has been u
Jennifer Kim
Wow! What a great read! I'm torn between giving it four stars or five stars....

As good as this book is, there are predictable elements in the book, but I loved the richness of the characters in this book. From Emma to Kommandant, the characters are so rich, so full of emotion and conflict.... In a book like this, it would be easy to create a caricature of a character, albeit a resistance fighter or a Nazi kommandant, but her characters operate on a gray scale. No one is truly good or bad. They a
I didn't mean to not finish this book. I just put it down and never felt inclined to pick it up again.

It's the story of a Jewish girl in Nazi Poland who with the help of a Catholic Society Matron and the Polish resistance passes as a gentile and then gets a job as a secretary for a Nazi leader to spy on him.

It should have been an exciting, emotional book, but I found myself bored. Scenes that should have been riveting (such as the heroine attending Catholic Mass and taking the bread and wine whi
Nov 09, 2014 Anne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: WWII fiction lovers
I really loved this book. It tells the story of a young newly married Jewish woman whose husband leaves 3 weeks after the wedding to join the resistance. She is left in Krakow's Jewish ghetto with her aging parents, but when she gets a chance to leave, urged by her parents, she goes to stay with a Catholic cousin of her husband. Krysia, a lovely and loving older woman gives her a new identity as Anna, a Christian and teaches her all about the Catholic faith. During a party, she is introduced to ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Young wife must flee the Jewish ghetto in Poland.

Young wife leaves her elderly parents behind in said Jewish ghetto in Poland.

Young wife goes to work for the senior Nazi leader of Krakow.

Young wife has sex with the senior Nazi leader of Krakow.

Young wife works with Jewish resistance to steal documents from the senior Nazi leader of Krakow.

Young wife has sex with her Jewish Resistance husband.

Young wife has sex with the senior Nazi leader of Krakow.

This was NOT a character I could get behind. She
May 08, 2008 Linda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all persons
Recommended to Linda by: I saw it advertised on B&N
This was an intensed story of the world war in Poland. The Jews were being severely percocuted by the Regime. One of the main characters Emma changed her name to Anna and became a spy for the side of the Jews since she was a avid Jew believer.Her husband went underground to try and salvage the Jew protesting. Anna became the kommandant's lover to get information that would have her husband fight against this ghastly war and the persocution of their fellow jew brothers and sisters.This was a wond ...more
Mandy Sue
This book had the potential to be amazing. Although the storyline was interesting, having it based on a time of severe danger and fear, it was lacking and the ending seemed too "fairytale."
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Question About Ending 2 35 Apr 15, 2014 02:00PM  
Ending with Emma/ Kommandant 4 87 Mar 13, 2012 01:29PM  
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Pam Jenoff was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senio ...more
More about Pam Jenoff...

Other Books in the Series

The Kommandant's Girl (3 books)
  • The Ambassador's Daughter (The Kommandant's Girl, #0.5)
  • The Diplomat's Wife (The Kommandant's Girl, #2)
The Diplomat's Wife (The Kommandant's Girl, #2) The Things We Cherished The Ambassador's Daughter (The Kommandant's Girl, #0.5) Almost Home A Hidden Affair

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“I'm so sorry. I love you. I never could have hurt you.” 6 likes
“Anna is something wrong " he asked his brow furrowed.

Yes I want to say. You ran a prison camp for Jews. You keep my parents locked in the ghetto. You let your wife's father be killed and would kill Jacob too if given the chance. Your wretched Gestapo came to our house and now Lukasz might have to leave us. Let me count the ways. Of course I did not dare to say any of this. "No Herr Kommandant " I replied managing to keep my voice even. "Everything is fine.”
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