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All My Love, Detrick #1

All My Love, Detrick

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Set during the Holocaust, "All My Love, Detrick" is a family saga. It follows the lives of two families, one German and the other Jewish. They are bound together by a forbidden love that could destroy them all.

612 pages, Paperback

First published February 4, 2012

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About the author

Roberta Kagan

51 books446 followers
I’m an American writer of Jewish and Romany decent. I write Historical Fiction and Historical Romance, most of which is set during the holocaust. Although I never discount the horrors of the time period, the main focus of my work is on ordinary people who prove to be strong heroic characters in unfathomable circumstances.

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5 stars
1,655 (42%)
4 stars
1,247 (32%)
3 stars
656 (16%)
2 stars
203 (5%)
1 star
100 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 396 reviews
Profile Image for Roberta Kagan.
Author 51 books446 followers
December 8, 2020
When I was a child my mother had a black suitcase in the basement. She forbid me to look inside. When I was alone one afternoon I rushed to open the valise. Inside I found pictures and letters. The letters were written in a foreign language. Later I would learn that they were in German. I would also come to learn that my mother's entire extended family had perished under the Nazi Regimen and that these few items were all she had left of them. She had tried to shelter me, but it was not sheltering that I needed. It was information. I learned that my father, being Romany, had also suffered great loss during the rule of the Third Reich. I began to be interested in the Holocaust and what happened. For many years I studied and researched. Then one night at four in the morning I woke up and began to write. I wrote this novel. This was the first of many on the subject. Although this is a dark time in the history of mankind, it was also a time when ordinary people stood up to prove themselves heroes. And like the tiny shoots of grass that grow up out of the cracks in the sidewalk, Love, Life, Compassion...and an entire race of people would prevail.
Profile Image for Steelwhisper.
Author 5 books391 followers
April 11, 2017
ETA: I am absolutely fed up with having to justify my reviews about books like this to fans of the "holocaust romance/erotica genre". Have the nicety and stay on your own review space. Leave mine alone! Further comments arguing with my negative take of such dreck will be deleted.

The author needs to book a 101-course in history and learn how to do research.

This is abusing the holocaust for a check in the bank.

1,345 reviews2 followers
May 6, 2014
This book seemed more suited for YA readers, however the history of German Jewry during the 1930's wasn't well researched and there were numerous mistakes in depicting how they lived. The editing was poor and so much of this story was over simplified. Really not a good adult read.
Profile Image for Pamela.
301 reviews
September 26, 2017
Wow. I really need to find reviewers whose opinions I can trust and respect before I read a book. This book had so many 5 star ratings. How in the world!!?? I love historical fiction, but this barely fits that category. It was more a cross between a poorly-written young adult book filled with bad clichés and a cheap Harlequin romance placed in Nazi Germany. The Holocaust is far too dreadful to trivialize it in this way. And it just wasn't realistic. I won't be reading the sequels. What a waste of time.
Profile Image for Jeff Dawson.
Author 28 books91 followers
September 30, 2014
All My Love, Detrick,

Could have been great.

What started out as a good engrossing read, became bogged down with endless name tags, passive sentences, character stories that didn’t add to the work and a major chronological problem.


I don’t know how many times we are told who’s talking when it’s only two people. Detrick 700 times. Leah 404.

The majority of the sentences were supposed to be active, yet the insertion of ‘had’ made them passive. 800 uses.

I’m confused on why we are told of the life Dorothy Silver settled on in the United States. What is its relevance? Was her career in the United States a cause of Hitler coming to power? It was. But why was it so detailed? It didn’t add a thing to what was going on in Germany.

The big chronology problem occurred when one of the characters Kurt is meeting with the Polish Resistance. During the meeting it is stated Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938 occurred one year ago. If that’s the case, then Poland would have already been attacked and defeated. When writing historical fiction one must get all the dates correct.

Chronology confusion: As the story moves forward, the timeline doesn’t. I found myself scratching my head attempting to understand what year all the events were occurring. Readers shouldn’t have to guess when the story is taking place.

The writing style is definitely YA material. Everyone of the characters is weeping or crying or gnashing with grief. They came across as soft and underdeveloped.

And finally, the grammar at times could not be overlooked. EX: Page 8, location 121 inhaling the essence; then she kissed the top of his golden hair. A semicolon is not required unless the word ‘then’ is deleted.
Page 50, location 901 The word used is decedent. It should be decadent.
Page 56 location 1004 Leah’s tried, but could not…. Should be Leah tried,
There are fifty more examples.

There are Pro’s to the work

This is an excellent introduction to those who know nothing of what when on in Germany when Hitler came to power. It accurately depicts how brutal the Nazi’s treated those them deemed untermenshen, subhuman, and how they were ridiculed, beaten and in the end, exterminated.

I enjoyed the references how people kept trying to convince themselves it couldn’t get worse. Sadly, we who know the history are aware how terrible it did become—Nine million souls put to death at the work/extermination camps, plus the additional forty million who perished during the war.

That alone is a wake-up call for anyone who doesn’t question their chosen leaders.

Based on that fact alone, the story is worth three stars. Cleaning it up and doing a rewrite would jump it to four or four-and-a-half.

Profile Image for Hermien.
2,084 reviews47 followers
May 17, 2019
What a disappointment. What sounded like a really good story turned out to be a trashy holocaust romance, badly researched and written at that. I did finish it so I would normally give it ** just for that, but because of the subject matter I didn't think it deserved that.
65 reviews8 followers
June 15, 2012
I finished this book in just a few hours and couldn't turn away!
I adore this writer's style, and this sad and horrific part of history has always been such an awful thing to learn about, to watch, to read about, it is to me, one of the worst things in all of time.
Roberta Kagan is a brilliant author, of what I consider a soon to be classic! I would recommend this book to anybody and hope to read more from Roberta Kagan in the near future.
She seems to have a part of the characters in herself, it amazes me that even though she was not around in this time, she can write such a lovely novel with such expertise, it is a little eerie. Either she really did her research or she has some personal experience through family history to be able to write so perfectly and create such a masterpiece.
I am always bothered by stories from WW2, as I am sure most are. But for some reason, that is why we want to read such things, things that normally upset us, make us sad, or are terrifying, well, this book will take you back to this time, and share with you the lives of Detrick, and his family, Konrad, and several others you will get to know.
I always rate books based on whether the story was able to "take me there", and even though I may not have wanted to be there, for real, this book sure did that! That always tells me I should definitely do some research on the author and find more of their books, and that is just what I am doing right now!
Profile Image for Kelli Tate.
88 reviews10 followers
May 3, 2013
This was a serious book. It was free on my Kindle and of course I had to download it. It is with a heavy heart that I tell you this is one of the best ooks that I have ever read. I found myself cheering and crying at the same time in parts. I loved it even though I hated the fact that it was written about a time that has changed the face of the World. The horrors that were brought upon some of the kindest and gentlest people for no reason but the way they believed is unfathomable to me. Could I have been as brace as Detrick? Would I have tried to save people that saved me? I can honestly say that I would but when faced with that question in real life, I'm not sure. I would like to think that I would. So many people turned their eyes to the horrors of the way the Jewish people were treated in Germany and Poland, among other countries while Hitler was reigning his terror. It makes me wonder if we have come any further in our humanity in this time. Do you look away when you are faced with discrimination toward another human being? I don't care what color of skin you have or what gender you prefer to love but so many people do everyday. What makes you so different then Hitler?
This book is a must read. I loved every page of it..this is my top choice of book of the year.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book462 followers
March 24, 2015
It is hard to say I ever enjoy stories of the Holocaust and the tribulations of the Jewish people, but I do often find them compelling. There might not be any other period of time that offers so much of true tragedy for an author to tap. I am sorry to say, this effort fell flat for me. I never felt involved with the characters, so I felt more of the general feeling of sorrow that these events represent than any real empathy with the situations of these specific people. Perhaps it was Kagan's attempt to follow too many characters and cover every possibility that made none of her characters come alive for me.

I cannot help compare this work to Sophie's Choice, The Diary of Anne Frank, Night, or Stones from the Riverand find it much less satisfying and moving.
Profile Image for Aurora.
233 reviews
January 21, 2015
I really wanted to give more stars for the idea of the book and the parts that made me cry, but it was so disjointed! Facts were placed that seemed awkward and disrupted the flow of the book. Characters were also developed and dropped. I was a bit disappointed for sure!
Profile Image for Jenifer.
31 reviews
November 22, 2014
Horrible. Not well researched, written, or edited. I couldn't even finish this book, it was so cheesy, almost to the point of being offensive to the subject matter.
Profile Image for Laura.
695 reviews100 followers
October 9, 2017
This was the first book by this author I have read; over the last year I’ve taken an interest in holocaust based fiction not really knowing what to expect.
This authors style of writing is strange, a little blunt but easily read. The chapters are short making it easy to digest (this book features over a hundred and twenty!)

I enjoyed the storyline and the characters, I can appreciate where other reviewers have noted strong stereotypes but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Parts of the book seem rushed, almost as if the author was trying to get her words done quickly so she didn’t forget them. This meant I had to read back a few times by a page or two just to check where I was heading. There are multiple characters to follow in this story but the structure of the book means it’s easy enough to follow.

This is part one of a series so I will more than likely read book two, if only because I have always enjoyed World War Two fiction with a dash of romance.
Profile Image for Phyllis Eisenstadt.
48 reviews80 followers
December 19, 2015

Very well-written book in which the author paints pictures with words. The characters and events are so realistic that you feel as if you were right there as an observer, not merely as a reader. Further, you relate to the emotions felt by the characters--whether good or evil--and see them as they were intended to be seen. "All My Love, Detrick" will reach into your heart and make you cry, smile, laugh, experience joy, fear, hope, defeat, and sympathy. It runs the gamut of emotions and gives a very good idea about happenings during the Holocaust. This is the first of Roberta Kagan's three novels in her series. Very well worth the reading--in a word: excellent.
Profile Image for Tina Galli.
50 reviews4 followers
July 28, 2013
I love to read books like these regarding the holocaust. So much is written but mainly they are written by people that survived. While I enjoy those too, I like to read the books that have fictious characters but are historically accurate and this is one of those books! I am not going to spoil the ending but I cried like a baby and wondered why the author chose the ending to end that way? Then my logical self explores and realizes that most stories based on the holocaust are ugly and heartbreaking so how to expect a happy ending? I thoroughly enjoyed this book and once I started it I could not put it down! A great novel well written!
Profile Image for Sandy  McKenna.
654 reviews16 followers
September 15, 2022
So very moving.

A brilliantly written and researched story of the love and dedication of a German man for a Jewish girl during World War II.
This book was hard to read at times, as the story is so heart-wrenching, but I am pleased that I persevered.
14 reviews
May 4, 2015
I finished this book in just a few hours and couldn't turn away!
I adore this writer's style, although this is a sad and horrific part of history that has always been such an awful thing to learn about, to watch, to read about. It is to me, one of the worst things in all of time.
I found myself cheering and crying at the same time in parts. I loved it even though I hated the fact that it was written about a time that has changed the face of the World. The horrors that were brought upon some of the kindest and gentlest people for no reason but the way they believed is unfathomable to me. Could I have been as brace as Detrick? Would I have tried to save people that saved me like he did? I can honestly say that I would but when faced with that question in real life, I'm not sure.
I loved every page of this book. Roberta Kagan is a brilliant author, of what I consider a soon to be classic! I would recommend this book to anybody and I hope to read more from Roberta Kagan in the near future. This book is a must read!
Profile Image for Michele Whitecotton.
325 reviews13 followers
January 14, 2016
I searched for best books about the Holocaust and this book was on the list. It got good reviews so I tried it. The synopsis was very short and I wasn't sure what to expect and I didn't exactly expect this book to be what it was but I was very pleasantly surprised. I thought this book was fantastic and am anxious to read the next book in the series. This book wasn't full of doom and gloom as I thought it would be, it simply told an excellent story. I did read some negative reviews in which people said the story felt disjointed because it told the story of many characters but I thought that made the character development all the better and it was the same characters over and over so I didn't become confusing or anything. I would highly recommend this novel and am going to read the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Chantelle.
200 reviews13 followers
April 17, 2013

I enjoyed this book and I think that the setting and the characters were realistic and the storyline developed nicely. I definitely cared about the characters and remained interested in their stories until the end. I'm not typically a big fan of romance-y stories but the romance, although central to the story, did not overtake the story about the world events going on at the time, which is key for me.

When I read the story, I was concerned about the number of editing errors, and was actually able to contact the author on here. She has contacted her editor and I know that the errors will soon be removed, which will make such a difference.
Profile Image for Daniel Kalla.
Author 18 books388 followers
December 11, 2013
This is a moving story that follows two families' intertwined paths through the rise of Nazi Germany. Though the history will be familiar to most, Kagan puts a human face to the tragedy and, with an ensemble cast, brings a wide lens view to the history. She weaves suspense, romance and history into one engaging and touching novel.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,341 reviews115 followers
July 19, 2015
This was a freebie on amazon and I'd been putting off reading it as I haven't really enjoyed any freebies but this one is excellent. well edited and a gripping storyline. I loved the way the author wrote about an array of characters so you could see how the nazi regime affected people so differently. I will admit to crying at the end. Would definitely recommend this book.
Profile Image for Vikki Vaught.
Author 11 books157 followers
May 7, 2016
The story is compelling and I am glad I read it, but the craft needs work. The chapters are really short, and some of the sub-plots could have been great books. Dorothy's and Karl's come to mind.

I wish this book had ended differently. The characters are fictional and could have gotten a happy ending. Of course, I usually read romance, not tragedies. Happy reading!
Profile Image for Honour Fraiser.
106 reviews
June 4, 2014
All My Love, Detrick was a frustrating read. I kept hoping for the book to get better but to no avail. It bounces around from character to character and leaves some characters without an ending. Overall, I didn't enjoy the read.
Profile Image for Windi.
364 reviews6 followers
January 31, 2015
Disappointed. I was looking so forward to reading this but i found it lacking. Lacking enough not to finish. The story could be a great one but the writing lacks richness and depth that i would normally expect from a novel intended for an adult audience. Shelved after 6 very short choppy chapters.
Profile Image for Kimberleigh.
167 reviews
May 21, 2017
The idea for the novel was good, but the writing was so bad. I was already struggling to finish the book, but when the author compared love to magical butter, I knew it was a lost cause. I had to force myself to finish the book. I can't believe there are more!
Profile Image for Toni Osborne.
1,367 reviews45 followers
November 25, 2017
A Historical novel of Love and Survival during The Holocaust

Book #1, in the All My Love Detrick Series

“All My Love Detrick” tells the story of a Jewish girl and a German boy who fall in love just as Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany. This is a very human and a most touching fiction of forbidden love and friendship I read in a long time. The story begins in 1923 when Detrick Haswell was seven years old, the timeline and narrative travels through the 30’s, WW11 and some years later.

This is a sweet story simplistic told in short chapters in everyday language. There is a lot going on, seemed the author wanted to squeeze every important events that happened in the many decades the story covers. It is a bit confusing at times, the tale jumps from place to place from character to character sometimes in mid-chapter. Having said this, I overpassed those hicks and nevertheless stayed captivated throughout. The premise here is good even if the topic of the Holocaust has been touched zillions of times before, it could not be revisited enough IMO. I also believe the author’s scenario could have happened many times over.

I enjoyed this book with its many threads. The many characters are well-crafted and I find myself caring for them all. But mid-way, one seemed to disappear and I still wonder what happened, oh well maybe in book 2….not all the threads were neatly wrapped….again this is a series….who knows what the author has in mind next…..

If you are a historical buff this book may not be for you but if you enjoy a light war story with a lot of romance this one may be up your alley. In whole it is worth reading.
131 reviews
September 16, 2017
Meh. Not horrible, but I've certainly read better. I got the first three books of this series for free, so will probably go on to read the next. This one reads like young adult fiction. I'm still trying to decide if I am offended by the light tone taken with such a dark period...yes, kind of. Then again, I didn't live the history, so I'm not familiar with the coping mechanisms necessary to survive that period. We all like to think we'd be better.
57 reviews
September 15, 2019
Excellent but sad!!!! We know history so early in book u know what is going to happen
1,258 reviews11 followers
February 19, 2013
This is a love story set in Nazi Germany.

Detrick is an Aryan, living in Berlin, who, for years, has worked in the bicycle repair shop of Jacob Abdenstern. Accompanying Jacob home one night, Detrick meets Leah, his daughter. There is an instant attraction between them. They have to keep their romance very quiet, because, in Nazi Germany, any public affection between an Aryan and a Jew is very illegal. Detrick is extremely uninterested in anything to do with the Nazi Party.

Karl, Leah's brother, is one of those accustomed to using his fists in public. During a fight, he kills a member of the Hitler Youth, so fleeing Germany is suddenly a very good idea. He finds himself in the Warsaw Ghetto, preparing to fight. Detrick's sister, Helga, has fallen for Eric, an SS officer. He treats her like a goddess, showering her with gifts; that is, until the day he tells Helga that he is married, and cuts off all further contact between them. Helga is forced to travel to an isolated "institute" to have Eric's baby, without telling her parents.

Meantime, Leah's best friend, Dorothy, has fled Germany with her family. They are living with an uncle in Chicago. Her thick accent and unfamiliarity with English make school nearly impossible. She get a job, but her career choice goes over very badly with her father, who throws her out of the house. Dorothy is noticed by an older man named Tony, who also treats her like a goddess, showering her with gifts. But Tony tells her upfront that he is married, and still wants to see her.

Back in Germany, Detrick reluctantly joins the Nazi Party. He feels that it is the only way to earn the money to pay a sympathetic family to hide Jacob and Leah in their attic. detrick goes to work every day expecting that his deception will be discovered. Do Leah and Detrick "live happily ever after?"

This is an excellent piece of writing. It shows how the Nazi era tore apart even "good" Aryan families. It is well worth the reader's time.
2 reviews
February 8, 2015
First of all, please keep in mind that I am a crotchety old man fast approaching 73. My usual authors are writers like Follett, Jack Higgins, Robert Parker, Baldacci, Thor and Connelly. In other words, "Manly Men" type writers. I enjoy hard-boiled detective novels, WW2 novels that pull no punches and hard-hitting action. I have never, to my knowledge, read a "Romance" novel in my life.

Now...with all that said, Let me tell you that "All My Love, Detrick" is a book I could NOT put down!

I guess they call this a romance/action/historical novel...all I know is that it grabbed me from the first page and never let go. I ended up caring about the people in the book almost like I knew them. Look, if you're looking for a totally accurate account of life in Germany during the 30's/40's and a graphic picture of the Holocaust, then go read a history book! If you're looking for a heart-felt story that touches the edges of the horror without going over the top, this book is for you!

Oh, and one last word...I have never written a "fan" letter to an author in my life. This book prompted me to do just that. I have become an ardent Roberta Kagan fan! As a matter of fact, I will be starting "You Are My Sunshine", the next book in this series, tonight!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 396 reviews

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