Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Kommandant's Girl” as Want to Read:
The Kommandant's Girl
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

by
3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  9,328 Ratings  ·  922 Reviews
Based in part on actual events, The Kommandant's Girl is a compelling tale of love and courage in a dangerous and desperate times. Unique in voice and evocative in historical detail, this stunning debut faithfully explores the gray area between right and wrong and the timeless themes of home, stuggle and defiance in the face of overwhelming odds.Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau ...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Mira Books (first published March 1st 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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! :)
Cathleen
Jun 16, 2016 Cathleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cathleen by: MPPL; Phyllis
2 1/2 stars. My book group liked this much more than I did, though even fans admitted to being distracted by the frequent use of "okay" by a young woman in this time (and to her Nazi supervisor, no less) as well as disappointed by the mash-up of coincidences in the last fourth of the book. It felt a little wrong, too, that I was much more tense in some of her early spy efforts than in the climactic danger scene. It's not a bad book, but it seemed to skim the surface in a lot of ways, and I had s ...more
Jennifer Eckel
Jun 03, 2010 Jennifer Eckel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lucy
May 08, 2008 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Cristina
I love WWII fiction, especially if it has the element of romance. I live for those books but sadly, a lot of them aren't very good. The blurb for The Kommandant's Girl had me totally intrigued and seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately, it was a disappointment.

There's only one way I can describe this story...it felt breezy. Superficial. Also, the dialogue felt incredibly American and the conversations, at least to me, didn't seem to have a lot of depth. It was suppose to be a story filled with
...more
Cheryl
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
...more
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
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
...more
Oana
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
...more
Barbara Kinsky
Jan 29, 2014 Barbara Kinsky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Olivia
Jul 14, 2016 Olivia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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,
...more
Lucy
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
...more
Rachel
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
bookworMyra
Jun 26, 2008 bookworMyra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-stuff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
...more
rubywednesday
I don't know how I even finished this one.

It started on a bad note, with the dumb ackowledments before the book even starts. The author mentions how she never knew about the Polish resistance until she got talking to a couple of holocaust survivors on a train. Now, I think it's wonderful that people learnt this way but if you are a grown, educated adult going to write fiction about ww2 I expect you to learn these things yourself by research and, like, general awareness of the facts.

The book was
...more
Priscille Sibley
Jun 02, 2015 Priscille Sibley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Jenoff pulled me in with this debut that I'd been meaning to read for years. Her way with setting is skilled and her ability to bring an empathetic characters to life, despite choices which are morally questionable at times is wondrous. Nothing is clear cut and I like it that way. There were a couple of convenient coincidences, nevertheless, the book was mesmerizing. I strongly recommend.
Laura
Jul 21, 2016 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star
A beautifully written piece of historical romance fiction, set during the backdrop of world war two. A young Jewish girl is barely surviving and living in the ghetto with her family, until a chance encounter with a young German officer whom she meets after adopting a secret persona.
As you'd expect, the story is completely compelling and meets all the expectations you have after reading the synopsis.

The author is a respected historical researcher, and this shows throughout her writing. Obviously
...more
Chelsea
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
Jen
Apr 07, 2009 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Rachel
Apr 01, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, m-f
The most disturbing part of this book is how likeable the Kommandant is and how the reader can understand Emma falling for him. Emma's internal struggle as she begins to recognize her affections for Georg and her moral battle of being repulsed by herself for carrying those affections for him are drawn very well.

Unfortunately Jenoff choked in wrapping it up and blew the ending. (view spoiler)
...more
Miranda the Gayvenger
Nope. Not even for a date with Hayley Atwell would I read or support this novel. Nazis are not romantic.
Aneeshya Monteiro
Jul 07, 2015 Aneeshya Monteiro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always attracted to the WW1 ,WW2 story setting. This book is one from the same setting. The thing with historical fiction is that if your research is not proper,your story will surely sink.Ms. Jenoff has done her share of research quite well.

The story is of a young Jewish girl named Emma Bau, she is married just weeks before the Nazi invasion. She along with thousands of Jews is forced to move to ghetto. Her husband who is a resistance fighter arranges for her escape and she is safely move
...more
Joy (joyous reads)
Emma Bau has only been married to her husband Jacob for merely six weeks before the Germans invaded Poland. Forced to flee, Jacob severed ties with Emma for her safety. She found herself imprisoned in a commune with her people. There, she saw just the kind of life that was in store for them; where disease and hunger slowly killed them one by one. In the dead of night, she was taken by a member of the resistance to live with Jacob’s aunt. An upstanding Polish citizen who was clandestinely helping ...more
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
...more
Gayle
Nov 24, 2009 Gayle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Thebooktrail
Locations in the novel Kommandant's Girl

This is a very interesting book on many levels. Poignant, moving, unexpected and full of historical facts I shamefully knew little of. I knew nothing of the Polish resistance and the ghettos as described in this book and oh! when when Emma did what she had to do. The lying, the cheating to save yourself and your family.

There was an interesting angle also done by writing the emotions and feelings of the Nazi Kommandant of the title. He knew of what was goin
...more
Molly
Oct 05, 2015 Molly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
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.
Caitlin
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
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Sep 18, 2015 04:53PM  
Question About Ending 2 51 Apr 15, 2014 02:00PM  
Ending with Emma/ Kommandant 4 105 Mar 13, 2012 01:29PM  
  • My Enemy's Cradle
  • Anya
  • The Last Innocent Hour
  • In the Arms of the Enemy
  • Gertruda's Oath: A Child, a Promise, and a Heroic Escape During World War II
  • The Last Time I Saw Paris
  • A City of Broken Glass (Hannah Vogel, #4)
  • A Beautiful Cage
  • Dear Enemy
  • Transgression
  • The Seamstress
  • Gratitude
  • The Soldier's Wife
  • Clara's War
  • Scheisshaus Luck: Surviving the Unspeakable in Auschwitz and Dora
  • Gifts of War
  • Beside a Burning Sea
  • The True Story of Hansel and Gretel
213562
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 (2 books)
  • The Diplomat's Wife (The Kommandant's Girl, #2)

Share This Book



“I'm so sorry. I love you. I never could have hurt you.” 8 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.”
1 likes
More quotes…