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Prisoner of Night and Fog

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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?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

401 pages, Hardcover

First published April 22, 2014

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About the author

Anne Blankman

4 books667 followers
Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,678 reviews
Profile Image for Sasha Alsberg.
Author 8 books66.6k followers
May 24, 2015
So SO good!! Cannot wait for the next book because this one was just outstanding. You can definitely tell Anne Blankman put in a lot of time and effort researching Hitler and his inner circle. I love how the romance was gradual and took a back seat to the action, very well paced. And Daniel <3 LOVE HIM!! A truly spectacular read =)
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,356 followers
April 2, 2014
To anyone who thinks research for a book is not worth the time or effort, Prisoner of Night and Fog proves to the contrary. Based on true historical events, Anne has crafted a brilliantly compelling and incredibly authentic story entwined with real historical figures who are given a second breath of life. This is a story of a girl's desperate search for the truth.

Underneath it all, Prisoner of Night and Fog is a gripping account of Hitler's rise to power. The plot introduces many real-life characters who were part of Hitler's entourage or impacted his life in some way. Naturally, fictional characters are also added to the mix to initiate an engaging mystery that, although fictional, is entangled inside real historical events. I may not be a history buff, but it's clear from the start that immense research went into this novel. The details and specifics give its roots as well as its characters such authenticity. It's also highly atmospheric; the setting came to life right before my eyes. Not just the setting itself, but the energy of its people as well. The mixture of fear and adoration towards Hitler and his perverted sense of patriotism is, as expected, very unsettling, but he makes for an extraordinary character study. The way he thinks, the way he uses his dark charm to hypnotize others to carry out his psychotic will; it's morbidly fascinating. Some of the facts used inside this story may not be new to some, but it does bring a lot of characters into play that give us a great insight on his person. The author's note at the end is also worth a read as she separates fiction used for the plot from the not-so-far-off facts.

With that said, don't start thinking this is a tedious historical novel full of dull, recounted facts on our world history. These details are woven into an interesting and mysterious plot with such skill that I was constantly craving the next page. This is achieved with the help of a protagonist who is so determined and resilient that you can't help but love her. With a corrupt family life that is made up of a murdered father, a submissive mother, and a psychotic brother whose empty heart mirrors pure evil - not to mention "Uncle Dolf" himself - we come to understand the root of her cynicism, as well as her fixation on discovering the truth. In the meantime, there's also some light romance that's sprinkled throughout with a fearless Jew who shows Gretchen they are not what she was taught to believe. This results in a wonderful forbidden love story which completes it all, really.

The writing is excellent, the characters are either fascinating or likable, and the plot has a constant undercurrent of mystery and menace that propels you to the end. A masterpiece for any historical fan!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Kathylill .
162 reviews176 followers
April 3, 2014
I wished a German editor would have given the author some counsel because there are so many faults regarding the use of the German language (see my status updates for that) it’s almost ludicrous. I will never understand the need of US writers to write fictional novels on countries and cultures they never even been to only read about in books and pictures. Yeah everybody can read billions of books on Hitler, the NS regime, on Hitler and his women, Hitler and his pets, hell there are even books and documentaries on Hitler’s sex life. But will someone not from Munich ever feel the cities vibe? Tell how beautiful the English Garden smells in spring and summer in the middle of the city? How the sky is always so blue and white just like the Bavarian Flag? Can they conjure up the fun and buzzing days and nights in Munich’s ale houses or the English Garden?

Watch this video to see how the English Garden in München looks like. If not for a different fashion, everything you see (buildings and layout) are the same http://youtu.be/rF374TdIjp4

Can they convincingly create the atmosphere of those days in the early 30ies that even a girl from Munich would be convinced? Even I who wrote my master thesis on Adolf Eichmann and have read my fair share of historical documents, viewed the concentration camp in Dachau from the inside, been in the Munich Synagogue and talked to survivors and their families, read the transcripts and evidence of the Nürnberger Prozess and the Eichmann Prozess in Jerusalem, and was stuffed like a turkey with the German history in school. Am I convinced by this tableau Anna Blankman created? No I am not!

This book is like reading Wikipedia entry after entry or reading a history book. There is almost too much recounting of historical facts, names, places and too little plot, atmospheric / character descriptions or interaction. 30% into the story and we have heard all people involved in the NSDAP at that time (Hess, Röhm, Eva Braun, Geli Raubal, Hanfstaengl, the Socialist reporters from the Poison Kitchen / Munich Post, the many SA and SS people) but we have met Uncle Dolf only twice and in my opinion those encounters are too short as Gretchen and Uncle Dolf exchange only a few sentences. They have no effect in making me believe this was Adolf Hitler. He is described as having a voice like chocolate and looking half-starved. Well I don’t know about the voice, but chocolate wasn’t really what I would use to describe it. And I also have problems with his looking half-starved. From 1943/44 on Hitler was very ill and he lost a lot of weight, that is true. But 1931, the year this story starts Hitler was really in his prime, a healthy, awe-inspiring middle-aged man with penetrating, sparkling blue eyes, black shining hair and a celebrated spokesman. Fiction, even if documentary, should never be a recounting of known facts only.
SA chief Röhm. He had lost his cap, so she could see how his hair had been shaved so close to the scalp that his pale skin showed, a fresh-scrubbed pink like a pig’s hide. His small eyes focused on hers. Pockmarks disfigured his broad, florid face. From shrapnel, she’d heard but she didn’t know if the injuries had occurred during the Great War or while he had lived as a mercenary soldier in Bolivia during the twenties. The deep gouges had always unsettled her, ever since she’d seen him again in April, after Hitler summoned him back to Munich to take over the SA.

Sometimes the introduction of people and places or historical events feels a lot like info-dumping. Every history nerd who likes to check things out could have searched online for pictures of Rösch and would have gotten the swine-analogy. Everyone could have read on Wikipedia about Rösch’s life. And everybody else would not really be interested if Rösch came back as leader of the SA or not, if his pockmarks were from shrapnel in the First World War or from his time as mercenary in Bolivia.

The actual fictional plot: the indoctrinated ward Hitler's meeting a Jewish reporter and uncovering the truth about her father's murder plays a very minor role in the story. I was not a big fan of this romance either. Gretchen is a special snowflake, all innocent, dreamy and virginal with her unpainted face, her long blond hair pulled back in a shining braid and her slim figure. In contrast we have slutty, superficial Eva Braun, with her make-up, the fake peroxide hair and red colored lips. And even Geli Raubal is likewise frilly and shallow, shopping all day and making fun of everything and everyone. In every other Young Adult novel people would remark upon Sluts vs. Virgin trope. Maybe they have all been numbed by all the previous info-dumping and retelling of historical facts to really notice it. But if you take away the historical make-up of the story what remains is a badly executed, generic Young Adult romance. Gretchen is Uncle Dolf’s sunshine, the martyr’s daughter, the serious student, the future physician. It’s the well-known, boring and million times recounted story of blonde miss perfect meeting dark and mysterious stranger uncovering together a supposedly dangerous truth while being chased by the evil opponent. Everything starts with her witnessing and interrupting a brawl between her brother Reinhardt and a Jew.
By now the crowd had scattered. All except a lone man, watching her (…)
“Your’re not like the others,” he said. The voice was young and quick, with the sharp accent of a Berliner. Not a man, but a boy, perhaps her age or a little older. “Are you, Fräulein Müller?” (…)
“You’ve surprised me, Fräulein Müller. Not an easy feat, I promise you.”

This first shadowy encounter is followed by a mysterious letter he sends her after school.
Dear Fräulein Müller,
Although you hide it well, it is clear you are nothing like the others, which is why I presume to send you this letter. Last week, I was approached by one of the Nazi Party’s original members. He is old now, and his health frail, but his memory is clear. He told me a troubling story that I believe you, as Klaus Müller’s daughter, deserve to hear. Your father did not die a martyr to the Nazi cause, and your family’s precarious position within Hitler’s party is predicated on a lie. I beg you give me a chance to explain, and I shall meet you directly outside your home this evening at half past six o’clock.
A Friend.

I ask you, would a journalists who is so worldly-wise and says about himself “not many things surprise me anymore” would a Jew working for a Socialist newspaper known for their investigative journalism and Anti-Hitler campaigns really approach the golden child Hitler’s, his ward, the daughter of a martyr and a professed National Socialist? I would think not, especially not in 1931 in Munich, especially not as a Jew. It’s also kind of creepy stalker-ish, if you ask me, calling out her name from the shadows he is hiding in although he never saw her before, or sending that letter to her. I’ve had a hard time imagining him because he is described as “a man, a boy, really” so many times, but his behavior, his world-weariness, his confidence and sarcasm doesn’t match that at all. I would have guessed him to be much, much older.
“A Jew and a National Socialist, joining forces. I never thought I’d see it.”

What a dumb standoffish statement making fun of Gretchen who just offered to help him.
On a small side note: Berlin accent is not sharp at all, it’s kind of cute if you ask me. In Germany the “Berliner Schnauze” is widely known to be bawdy and humorous. It’s to High/Standard German like the US southern drawl to Oxford English.

During their following encounters in the park and in a nightclub (just imagine: Hitler’s favorite 17-year old pet going to a communist nightclub with degenerated Swing music in 1931, Munich) Gretchen parrots dumb phrases like “Herr Hitler is committed to reducing unemployment and creating more jobs” and that “swing music is degenerate”. Really? 8 years of being Hitler’s favorite girl, of going to opera and visiting art museums with him, of discussing personal and political stuff with him and that is all the ideological propaganda she can come up with? Does she really think about Jews that they stink and have hairy fingers? Apparently so.
And the sour stink of sweat and decay she had expected, she didn’t smell. Only a light scent of soap and cologne. The fingers holding hers felt smooth and soft, not rough with tangled hair. Could she have been wrong about him?

It sounds not very believable to me. I would really have loved to see how bit by slow bit her beliefs start to crumble. But as Gretchen is portrayed there are not many convictions to start with. She seems rather naïve, foolish and utterly devoted to Uncle Dolf (because he kept them fed after her father saved his life and died). She only starts to challenge the system, her uncle or what she has been made to believe when she meets Daniel Cohen. She doesn’t mistrust because she starts realizing that things don’t add up but because of the love interest. I was disappointed.

I have to come to an end with this review. So finally I will only say this: It is apparent that the author has read many books on Hitler and the rising of National Socialism in Germany but to me it is also very apparent that she hasn’t got a clue about German language and never been to Munich or Germany. The story lacks this last emotional touch when history is told in a way that makes you feel it, experience it for yourself. For me it was nothing short of a list of names, places and events that left me rather cold because I already know them from history classes. The romance is a Young Adult run-of-the-mill romance with formulaic characters. Again nothing to write home about. I am kind of disappointed because it could have been so much more. The story recounts one-dimensional Hitler’s rise in Munich and leaves other aspects of the time totally out. 1918-1933 the time of the Weimar Republic was one hell of a time. Not only because of Hitler, but it was the Golden Era of the avant-garde, of Bauhaus, Blue Rider and the Expressionism. It was also during this time a lot of industrial innovations were made. Herman Hesse wrote 1927 Der Steppenwolf, Thomas Mann wrote 1924 “Der Zauberberg” and was 1929 awarded with the Nobel Prize for literature. Erich-Maria Remarque wrote 1929 “Im Westen nichts Neues”. If you tell a story on Hitler’s rise you can’t leave out the reasons why the Weimar Republic failed. It failed for many other economic (Great Depression) and political reasons and people.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,095 reviews17.7k followers
August 10, 2019
...I am really not enjoying this. The entire plotline of a child Nazi falling in love with a Jewish reporter is clever, sure, but I really don't know if I like how it's being handled. I dislike this whole trope of “bigoted person falls in love with member of oppressed group they hate.”

There are two things I don't love about this storyline. First, I really feel like... stories of overcoming bigotry are important and can be amazing, obviously, but a lot of the romantic ones make it all about the bigot and not at all about the oppressed person. Why the fuck does Daniel, a Jewish man, care about Gretchen, who's being raised by Nazis? I understand that Gretchen saves a Jewish man in the first few chapters of this book, and Daniel sees this, but Gretchen also says several terrible things to Daniel in the first half. Yet we, the audience, are meant to take it for granted that he cares about her anyway. It doesn't quite make sense.

Second, I feel like an evolution from bigotry to acceptance, coming from a romance, just does not work. Or, okay, I suppose it could, with some really pitch-perfect execution. But it's very easy to fall into that you're-the-only-good-one narrative. To be fair, I think Anna Blankman is really trying to execute this element well. But unfortunately, the romance feels really weak and just doesn't work.

In other areas, this book felt a bit weak - it had a lot of typical 2012 YA issues. But those could easily gave been remedied later on. It's this romance plot that bothered me enough for a DNF.

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Profile Image for Chantal .
343 reviews832 followers
May 3, 2016
2.5 stars

Sigh. Another well loved book that I just didn’t connect to the way I would have liked.

This book had GREAT potential, the premise was really intriguing and different from anything I’ve read before. Unfortunately, Prisoner of Night and Fog just did not work for me.

The novel takes place in Munich in the early 1930’s during Hitler’s rise to power. It’s told from the point of view of the seventeen-year-old German girl Gretchen Müller, who basically grew up in the NSDAP with Adolf Hitler – or “uncle Dolf” as she calls him – as her father figure. Gretchen is one of Hitler’s favorites because her father died saving his life during the Beer Hall Putsch a couple of years earlier. Real historical figures are introduced as well as fictional ones to create the main plot and mystery aspect of the novel.

Clearly, this has the possibility to be a wonderful story because not only do we have the fascinating historical setting – a time full of inner turmoil, political instability and economic crisis – but we also have so much potential for character development, as Gretchen slowly realizes the truth about Hitler and his party and starts questioning her own beliefs.

The novel had three strong points in its favor:

1) The realism. This book was very well researched and the author clearly had a good grasp of the time period. The story definitely felt very believable. Having said that though, I wouldn’t have been able to tell if there were historical inaccuracies because although I do have quite a lot of general knowledge, small details would easily have passed me by.
2) The way Hitler and his people were portrayed. The author really showed us Hitler’s psychopathic nature well and I was absolutely terrified of Reinhard. This is definitely a book with despicable (and frightening), complex villains.
3) Gretchen as the protagonist. Gretchen was far from one of my favorite female characters but I did quite like her and didn’t find her all too frustrating. I liked the fact that she wanted to be a doctor and go to university and didn’t let other people decide her life for her, like it was often custom for the women of the time. She was brave and definitely came into her own throughout the novel.

Unfortunately, I really struggled with the other elements of the story.

My main issue was the way the novel was written. There was so much info-dumping and the author failed to interweave historical facts and events with the plot in an elegant manner. Most of the time, I honestly felt like I was reading a history book or a Hitler biography. The novel just wasn’t engaging at all and I found myself bored for most of it, trying to remain focused on the main plot line. It seemed like an endless recounting of historical facts and figures instead of an actual establishment of atmosphere. It felt like the author was trying too hard to show me all of her extensive research but didn’t give enough care to character interactions.

The plot itself was quite weak. The mystery aspect was very predictable and there wasn’t enough of anything else for me to be engrossed. Many of the side characters started to blend together in my mind and at times I struggled to hold them apart. They were figures, not people.

Then there was the romance, which, frankly, I didn’t enjoy at all. I didn’t feel any connection or chemistry between the two main characters. Their romance seemed very stiff and completely out of place. I think the book would have benefited had the romance just been exchanged with a friendship.

I was also bothered by the female friendship. I thought Eva was portrayed in a very condescending manner and I hated that we were yet again confronted with the one-dimensional female best friend whose only purpose seemed to be the demonstration of how special Gretchen was in comparison.

There were also some mistakes in regards to the use of the German language (e.g. it’s “Münchner” not “Münchener” and “Heil Hitler” not “Heils Hitler” etc.) but that won’t bother the majority of the readers.

I understand why so many people love this book and are captured by the historical setting. If you are fascinated by this time period you may still really like Prisoner of Night and Fog, but I just didn’t enjoy it and can thus not recommend it. I won’t be picking up the sequel.

Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,919 followers
April 24, 2014
For decades since the World War II, the name Adolf Hitler has been synonymous with monster all over the world. But to 17-year-old Gretchen Muller, Adolf Hitler is simply Uncle Dolf, protector, substitute father, a great leader and a kind, gentle man. If he wasn’t, why would Gretchen’s own father jump in front of a bullet to protect him? Why would this somewhat strange Austrian take Gretchen’s entire family under his wing?

We must keep in mind that Blankman portrays Germany in 1931, before the Third Reich, when Hitler’s intentions were still hidden behind clever rhetoric and only those closest to him had any inkling of the monster he truly was. Beatings and political assassinations were done covertly, and this young girl had nothing but the word of a trusted family friend to help form her opinion of the world.

The Gretchen we meet at the beginning of this story is a follower, a brainwashed creature, Hitler’s golden pet. Even though she wishes to become a doctor, she isn’t used to thinking for herself because, as Hitler likes to point out, a young girl’s brain is like wax, soft and pliable, ready to be shaped at any man’s will. But as things around her stop making sense and even her father’s heroic death comes into question, Gretchen has no choice but to discover the very dangerous truth and find her own independence in the process.

Through it all, she is accompanied by the most unlikely of allies, a young Jewish journalist named Daniel Cohen. All her life, Gretchen’s been taught that Jews are filthy, evil and subhuman, but there Daniel is, kind, smart, outspoken and entirely too pleasant to be anything but a real, warm human being, just like Gretchen herself. As the two form a very tentative friendship, Gretchen starts seeing the world through her own eyes for the very first time, and she is terrified of what she sees.

The Prisoner of Night and Fog is an extensively researched novel. In fact, not many novels come with an author’s note and a bibliography attached. Having done the research myself once upon a time, I am quite familiar with pre-WWII German history myself, and Anne Blankman did her job well. Everything from German educational system to the personalities of Hitler’s elite is accurate and well presented.

On top of it all, Blankman explores psychopathic personality disorder, not only through Hitler, but through Gretchen’s brother Reinhart as well. It is easy to see how people like Reinhart became The Fuhrer’s most trusted soldiers, following age-old rule that like calls to like.

Even those with superficial knowledge of the time period will easily recognize the impossibility of Gretchen’s situation, the slim chances of survival for her and Daniel both. It is almost impossible to see a satisfactory ending for these characters, knowing what we know of Hitler’s rise to power. Blankman counted on this feeling of dread that inevitably rises and used it to this story’s best advantage. The end result is one of the best books I’ve read in ages, with the potential to win both prizes and the hearts of readers everywhere.

Profile Image for Tiff.
581 reviews536 followers
May 12, 2014
Review originally posted at: http://mostlyyalit.blogspot.ca/2014/0...

Sometimes, you read for enjoyment and to escape. And then sometimes, you read because you know a book is good for you and it's important for you to read it. Prisoner of Night and Fog is definitely one of the latter books. That's not to say it isn't enjoyable - it is, in some parts. But for me, PoNaF was definitely a serious, thriller of a book that you learn from - it wasn't always fun, but I *am* glad I read it.

The plot clicks along pretty quickly - there were a few moments that lagged a bit in the middle but for the most part, the action rose and fell quickly and kept me very compelled . Blankman effortlessly weaves Gretchen's story, her father's death, and her encounters with Hitler and the rest of the top brass in the National Socialist party into the story. That was the most impressive and interesting feat of this book - that I really believed that this could have happened.

For me, this book was driven more by plot than by my interest in the actual characters - Gretchen seemed a very typical YA heroine - a little naive at first, slowly discovering that she's different from everyone around her and she's been doing everything wrong by believing in the National Socialist party (sorry, was that a spoiler? You knew she was going to figure out that the Nazis weren't good people, right?). Daniel, the Jewish reporter who first informs her that her father's death might not be as it seemed, again, seemed like a very typical YA guy - brave, intrepid, and immediately interested in Gretchen. Their love story was solid but not one where I was heavily interested in seeing them together.

That said, I didn't feel that lack of investment in the love story or in the the typical-ness of the main characters as much as it might have done in another book because the secondary characters were numerous and well-drawn . Reinhard, Gretchen's brother, is particularly fascinating, as were Blankman's depictions of those in Hitler's inner circle and Hitler himself. Blankman's Hitler is a man shrouded in secrecy, charismatic and seemingly benevolent, with a lot of quirks that make him an extraordinary character to read. Every encounter Gretchen had with him made me both disgusted and fascinated.

I think the hardest part of this book for me to swallow was that occasionally, I felt like Gretchen made some choices to trust certain people that I immediately thought were not trustworthy. I thought Blankman did a good, but not great job making Gretchen's desire to believe in people authentic and understandable - most of the time, I believed and understood Gretchen's choices. There were just occasional moments, like when Gretchen goes to her best friend to tell her that Hitler isn't what he seems, and Hitler and his associates are in the back room, where I was kind of taken out of the story because it seemed so obvious that Gretchen should know better than to speak to her friend there.

In some ways, though, the fact that I had such an emotional response to a lot of Gretchen's actions (Tiff during reading: "Get out of the room, Gretchen! Run, Gretchen! Look behind you!") is a testament to how invested I was in this story. I stayed up quite late reading the last hundred pages of this book, desperate to find out if Gretchen and Daniel would be okay. It's a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat to the end ...or at least until the sequel (don't worry, it's not a cliffhanger)!


Historical Psychology: One of the coolest parts of the novels was the way Freudian psychoanalysis was included. Don't stop reading yet - what was cool was the way that Blankman wove Gretchen's family's story into facts we know about Hitler, and how Gretchen is imparted with psychological knowledge. Freud has mostly been debunked now, but it is absolutely fascinating to see psychoanalysis of him and his followers - it's historically accurate and just really, really cool. I'm being so vague here because I don't want to spoil anythign, but trust me, this is one of the things that really set this book apart for me as "not a typical YA novel."

The Final Word

Prisoner of Night and Fog is a well-researched, strongly written portrayal of the early days of Hitler's rise to power, woven very successfully into a YA thriller. Is it compelling? Yes. Is it a book I will want to read over and over? Probably not - a little too harrowing for my liking. But it's definitely a book worth reading and thinking about - it's one that would probably be fantastic in a classroom discussion of Hitler and the Holocaust, and will definitely stay with me for its intriguing portrayal of Hitler.
Profile Image for Katherine.
778 reviews355 followers
September 12, 2014
"You will never learn what I am thinking. And those who boast most loudly that they know my thought, to such people I lie even more."- Adolf Hitler

Setting:Berlin and Munich, Germany; 1933

Coverly Love?:No; this is way too close of a close up for my liking.

Plot:Germany; 1933. WWI has been over for fifteen years, but Germany is still suffering. Bitterly poor and living in poverty the German people need someone to look up to. Such is the case for sixteen year old Gretchen Muller, who along with her mother, her father and older brother is now a part of the newly formed Socialist Party, guided by the charismatic Adolf Hitler (known to her as "Uncle Dolf"). Gretchen's father was one of Adolf Hitler's most loyal workers, until he was shot to death saving Hitler's life. That's at least what Gretchen has been taught to believe. Until she meets a Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. He has new information about her father's death. He wasn't killed, he was murdered. But by whom? This is the question Gretchen must try and figure out, even if it means trusting the one man she is supposed to revile and fear. With Hitler quickly rising the ranks in the German government and her brother's behavior spiraling out of control, it's a race against the clock to find her father's killer before it's too late to find out.

This book was perfection. Absolute perfection. It had everything I could ever want in a book. The ideal book would be a historical filled with action, adventure, and romance. The characters were well-drawn out, the plotting fast-paced and a believable romance that I could root for. I also loved how she wove psychology into the mix, and getting a real good look not only inside the heads of Gretchen and her family, but Hitler as well.

The sense of desperation on the part of the German people is palatable and terrifying. Now, this novel does NOT take place during WWII itself. Rather, it examines the period leading up to when Hitler was just a rising politician, and his slow ascent to power. That's the most terrifying thing of all, watching a seemingly normal man descent into madness and blinded by his lust for power

For a historical novel that is as well-researched as this one is, one might come into it thinking that it would sound more like a textbook than a novel. Thankfully, it doesn't sound like one at all. And for the record, the author does change some things around and make up some scenarios for dramatic affect, but they are all perfectly explained and reasoned. Unlike some alternate historical novels, this one was much more exciting.

Characters:Gretchen Mueller is at first a dutiful daughter, staying quiet, making good marks in school, supporting the Socialist party, helping her mother make dinner, and generally staying out of trouble. But when she finds out that her father may have been murdered, squeaky clean Gretchen is no more. She transforms from the meek, timid girl that she once was into a determined, brave young woman. Gretchen is unlike many typical YA heroines. She carefully thinks out her actions before she executes them, being almost cautious to a fault. Except when it comes to Hitler. Mind you, this is the time when people will believe anything in the hopes that their lives will become better. But quickly, Gretchen becomes disillusioned with the party members and Hitler himself, and feels deeply betrayed by the abandonment of those she loved. She is also wary about trusting the Jews, instilled by the beliefs of the party.
"The Jew is my eternal enemy. Those words had guided her heart for twelve years."
Over time, those also disappear as she begins to realize that we are all human.
"She had hurt him. The thing she always thought was impossible- wounding a Jew's heart- had happened."
Daniel Cohen is a local newspaper reporter who is in search of the truth and only the truth. He also happens to be a Jew. Daniel has some information regarding Gretchen's father. And whether she likes it or not, he's going to help her. Gradually the two become friends and comrades, learning that they aren't all that different. I loved Daniel as a character. He wasn't cocky, he wasn't arrogant, and he wasn't pretentious like a lot of other YA male characters. No, Daniel was kind, courageous and compassionate. He may not always believe in the good in humanity, but that doesn't stop him from trying. He may have been a little TOO perfect, but I didn't really care, since he was so wonderful.

Reinhard Muller is Gretchen's older brother. Oh my word.... there aren't enough words to describe him. Simply out, he's a maniacal psychopath and a chilling indicator of what is to come for Germany and the Nazi party. He is ruthlessly cruel to all he meets.
"Such as the time Reinhard pushed a neighborhood girl down the front steps because he wanted to see if she would cry. Or when Reinhard used a magnifying glass to burn ants crawling across the sidewalk, because he wanted to time how long it took them to die"
Even to his little sister, who is so terrified of him she pushes a chair underneath her door every single night for fear he might come in and harm her.
Who had ripped apart her paper dolls after she beat him at jacks. Who had insisted she write out his mathematics homework in payment for the peppermints. Who had said that she shut her mouth when she asked if he needed bandages or salves.
There is more going on in Reinhard's mind than anyone would care to admit though. He is a truly sick man, one might even say that he is Hitler's clone, for their personality traits are nearly identical. Reinhard is not a character you love to hate. You straight up hate him. He is incapable of loving anyone or anything at all.
"There is one thing you must understand about people like Reinhard- in some ways, they're all the same. They are utterly incapable of forming natural attachments to others, such as friendships. In the purest sense of the word, they are alone."
Gretchen and Reinhard's mother is a character to be pitied. She is emotionally distant towards Gretchen and overly loving towards Reinhard. She refuses to see the bad in her beloved son. Even if that means putting her own life and Gretchen's in danger to keep her son near her.
"'I can no more choose between my children than I can choose what limb to cut off.'"
She blames herself for her son turning out the way he is, and she also is wary of Gretchen for turning against her son the way she did.
"'How could I abandon him when I made him what he was?'"
Some readers may hate Mrs. Mueller for her apparent weakness and unwillingness to believe Reinhard's true evil personality, but personally, I pitied her. No mother would ever want to admit freely that their child is a monster.

And finally we have Adolf Hitler himself. He is instantly beguiling and enchanting to those he meets. To us, he is instantly a beast (since we already know how it's going to turn out in the end). To Gretchen and her brother, however, he is a God. He is the potential savior to the German people, and he's not afraid to announce it or destroy everything in his wake to see his goals come to life. I get shudders just thinking about it.

Pros:Mrs. Blankman did an extraordinary job with the character development. She made the characters seem so real it was like they were in the same room with me while I read. I loved her meticulous research and attention to detail, even when she changed some of the events around to give her story more dramatic moments. She did so in a way that it was not forced or false; it felt natural. I honestly did not want this book to end.

Cons:None; this book was perfect!!

Love triangle:Nope!

Instalove?:Not by any means!

A Little Romance?:
"'You and I are impossible,'" she said. '"No."' Gently, he brushed the hair back from her face. "'We are what's real and true.'"
Gah, can I just ship this couple for life? I absolutely loved LOOOOOOVED this romance. THERE WAS NO LOVE TRIANGE!! THERE WAS NO INSTALOVE!!!This is one of the most believable YA romances I've read about in a long time. Gretchen didn't fall in love with Daniel because he was hot (though that helped). It took a long time for her to admit her feelings for him, since she has always been taught that Jews are to be reviled, and are scum of the earth and good for nothing except destroying lives. But when she does, she falls in love with his character, his heart, his drive to make the world a better place. Yes, there is that line of "I'm not beautiful", but it's for different reasons than you would expect.
"How could she be pretty, when her family was mired in such ugliness and secrecy?
She doesn't think she's beautiful because of the way she looks; she thinks she's ugly because of her family's actions and behavior. And yet he still loved her. I CAN'T EVN WITH THIS COUPLE! If they don't end up together permanently by the end of the series, I will rage.

Conclusion:I rarely give a book 5 stars, simply because that a 5 star book, for me, needs to be a pretty damn good book in order to be deserving of that 5 star rating. And this book... was perfection. Absolute perfection. I loved pretty much everything about it, and I didn't want it to end. And I am impatiently waiting for the second book in the series so I can relive the magic of it. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm due for a reread... :)

Believe the hype and the good ratings. Pick this book up!!!

Read This!:There are supposed to be two more books in this series, which is fine by me! Right now, I can't think of any YA historical fiction books that deal with the time period leading up to WWII, but I would also recommend Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.
Profile Image for Irshad.
56 reviews16 followers
February 6, 2016
This is probably going to be a tough book to review and rate as well.
I equally enjoyed the book and also felt it was average at certain points.

Prisoner of Night and Fog is a historical fiction book where we follow the story of Gretchen, the girl who looked up to Hitler as her father. Gretchen's father died by protecting Hitler from shots that were fired. Her dad saved Hitler's life and Hitler took Gretchen and her family under his care.
Sweet isn't it?

Well things are about to change when Gretchen meets this Jew journalist who informs her that her Dad did not protect Hitler by choice but was murdered. He did not sacrifice his life but was murdered and fell in line to where the shots were fired.

This takes Gretchen by surprise and she investigates the mystery of her Dad's death.
Doesn't the plot sound amazing?
I bet it does.


Firstly, I enjoyed that Hitler was involved heavily in the story line. The plot was jam-packed with so many twists and action that it was hard to resist enjoying the book!
Every chapter had something amazing to offer which added depth to the plot.

Secondly, there was companionship between 2 types of people that are forbidden to have any forms of communication. And the way they were there for each other was heartwarming.

I simply loved the last segment in the book. The last couple of chapters were the best! The revelation of so many twists and shocks was mind blowing!
Not forgetting the Author's Notes! Make sure to read that as well. It makes understanding of certain points even clearer.

Just dive into this book. You'll really enjoy it.
Profile Image for Romie.
1,094 reviews1,271 followers
May 29, 2017
I don't know what took me so long to pick this one up. No idea. I bought this in March 2016, and I can't understand why I didn't read it sooner. It's beyond my comprehension.
This is the story of Gretchen whose father was one of Hitler's dearest comrades, she's been raised to think a Jew is nothing but a subhuman, that Hitler will one day save their beloved Germany. And one day she meets this Jewish reporter, Daniel, and she gradually learns all she thought was true is, in fact, a lie.

Just by reading the synopsis, you know this story has a romance in it, and you know who Gretchen is going to fall in love with, there is no big plot twist about that. But it's not one of those cheesy romances. This romance only happens more than halfway through the book, it's not insta-love, and how could you believe it is ? I mean, we're talking here about a girl raised among the Nazi Party and a Jew, how could you expect an insta-love ? That would be absolutely ridiculous. And that's why it's a good romance, because it's plausible, it makes sense, you see how it happens, and why they fall in love with each other.
Gretchen is a really strong woman. I'd like to say that first, because it matters. She's also full of prejudices, and how could she not ? But once she learns something's wrong with her family's past, she's not afraid to go seek the truth, even if it means putting her trust in a Jew. I really liked the way she finally understands she's been wrong her all life, because it's not all thanks to Daniel. It's not him telling her she's a fool, it's her finally paying attention to what Hitler says, to the meaning behind his words. This is not Daniel being the big hero, changing her mind and her life, this is her being smart enough to stop believing everything she's been told her whole life. She's not a poor little girl that needed her prince to save her and tell her the truth, she's a smart woman who needed him to give her the tools to finally understand. There is a big difference.
What I like about the relationship between Gretchen and Daniel is that the both of them think badly of each other first, and I absolutely understood Daniel and his way of thinking.
Daniel comes to Munich because he wants to be a reporter, he wants to tell the whole world that Hitler wants nothing more than to eradicate his people. He's not here to fall in love and live a peaceful life, he's here to unravel the past. And then he meets this girl - he knows she's Hitler's favourite but she's willing to stand up for a Jew, so maybe there is more to her than what people say - and he starts realizing people can change in the best way possible if you're willing to give them a chance. And he changes too.

That's the kind of books I desperately want to see becoming a movie, because it would be absolutely amazing. I imagined this book as a movie, because it reads like a movie, and that's a great strength. I think I can easily say that I loved this book and I will be reading the sequel asap.


Around the Year in 52 books 2017.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
Historical Fiction > Young Adult
589 reviews1,029 followers
April 16, 2014
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

For so long, she had believed in Hitler’s lies, seeing shadows where there should have been light.

Set in Germany during the rise of Hitler’s power, Prisoner of Night and Fog was a beautifully told story. I loved Anne Blankman’s take on this time period. The main character, Gretchen Müller is actually from Hitler’s inner circle—she refers to Hitler as “Uncle Dolf”. Instead of a conniving and cruel image of Hitler that we normally see in other YA historical fictions, Gretchen idolises and sees him as a good and all-round loved and charming man. This was truly refreshing and transcended my expectations.

It’s apparent that there was a lot of research to make it such a brilliant novel. I seriously cannot image how the author did it. Research is highly important when tackling the historical genre, and the author really went out of her way to make us readers feel like were back to the years when Hitler was alive. Anne Blankman wove her novel around some real events that happened in history such as the Beer Hall Putsch event and Hitler being treated for his ‘hysterical blindness’ during Germany’s surrender. Even some of the characters in Prisoner of Night and Fog were actual people (such as Hitler—duh—Geli, Eva, Hess and Putzi). Hands down to this author.

All the characters here fantastically created. Gretchen was a competent and determined young lady who really grew onto me. When she discovers that her father's death may not have been as heroic as she thought, but a murder by one of his own comrades, Gretchen is desperate to uncover who killed him. Even if it means to trust a Jew--Jews which she had been taught to fear and look at with disgust. It’s amazing how learning the other side to a story can change your view and open your eyes to the whole picture. Daniel Cohen was a sweet and ambitious Jew, and worked as a newspaper reporter. I loved their honesty towards each other and their undying trust. Their romance was pleasantly devoid of instant-love however I wasn't exactly shipping the two even though I am not against their romance.

The only niggle I have towards Prisoner of Night and Fog is it's plot and pace. I felt that the plot wasn't very strong and could have done with a little more focus and a little more importance because sometimes I felt that Gretchen wasn't really interested/desperate to discover the truth about her father's death. As for the pace, things only really picked up till the halfway point. The first half was just setting up the characters on the board. The second half though, I found to be gripping.

Atmospheric and engaging, Prisoner of Night and Fog has found its place as one of my favourite historical novels ever. I recommend this to lovers of Elizabeth Wein's novels.

~Thank you Balzer & Bray for sending me this copy!~

Profile Image for Ashley Marie .
1,299 reviews393 followers
June 15, 2016
If you liked Code Name Verity

If you liked The Book Thief

If you like well-written historical fiction, particularly of the tumultuous WWII era, I think you should give this a shot. There. That's my endorsement.

This is a fantastic book and it does an amazing thing-- just when I think I've had my fill of the WWII period, something like this comes along to prove me wrong and I fall head over heels in love with it. Of all the atrocities committed during the war, this book takes its readers back a few years to before Hitler was Chancellor of Germany, and before the Nazis even held power. Back to when they were a radical group of nearly-rabid followers adoring an unbalanced if charismatic leader. Historical figures like Eva Braun, Geli Raubal (Hitler's niece), Heinrich Hoffmann, Heinrich Himmler and Hitler himself spring to life around our fictitious heroine and her family and lend a sense of credibility to a beautifully-written story.

As for the fictional part of the story, Gretchen and Daniel's love story felt very natural -- both of them very cautious and the furthest thing from the instalove trope. Her mother made me want to scream, and her brother Reinhard actually terrified me more than Hitler did. Ms Blankman's pen is imbued with the feel of poetry, and I couldn't help but fall in love with her words and the world she created, even when that world was quickly becoming darker and more dangerous by the page.

I can't wait to pick up a copy of this for my shelves (and reread it again!) and I'm REALLY looking forward to the sequel :)

Audiobook says "Perfect for fans of Code Name Verity"


Getting into the audio as soon as I finish Art of War!
Profile Image for Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner).
387 reviews1,731 followers
November 22, 2015
I have read A LOT of books set in Nazi Germany and the war and dealing with the Holocaust. Where this one was different is that 1) it was set AS Hitler was gaining more popularity and power, not when he was in power and 2) it’s POV is from a young girl whose family (and her own beliefs) are Nazi through and through aka Adolf Hitler is a family friend (until she starts questioning things). Normally the books I pick up are from the POV of the people being persecuted or people who are helping them (aka The Book Thief the family is German but they don’t believe the Nazi agenda).

I love watching the main character question everything she’s ever been told/believed as she’s faced with some truth that changes her whole life and she gets close with Daniel who is Jewish…who she’s been told to hate and fear. It was SO interesting to see Hitler as a person — he’s called Uncle Dolf and she’s super fond of him. There was still no good feelings towards him from me but it was an interesting thought how he might have looked to family and friends. This book got REALLY intense and I could NOT put it down. As she started looking into things that went against EVERYTHING she and her family stood for, the stakes got higher. Loved her and thought she was so brave — for how she handled it but also I think it takes a courageous person to stand up to everything you believed even when it means you’ll probably lose everything you had before. Can’t wait to read the conclusion (it’s a duology I’ve been told).
Profile Image for Theresa.
109 reviews140 followers
February 27, 2016
I really enjoyed reading this book. At first it was hard to get used to Hitler as a character. It just felt a bit strange. The beginning of this book was a lot of build up and exposition, and it really took a while for it to pick up. But the last 150 pages or so we're very fast paced. At some points I felt like we were jumping around a bit too much from scene to scene. Also, I liked Gretchen and Daniel together, but I kind of felt their relationship was a bit rushed. They did kind of take their time but once it was known that they were both falling for each other the relationship just went a touch too fast for me, but I do still like them as a couple. All in all a good read, I would recommend it!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for TL .
1,877 reviews53 followers
December 3, 2015

Believable story
The setting felt 'real' to me
Reinhard (this isn't a positive strictly) was a good bad guy, so to speak. Very creepy and scary.
Daniel was a great character, loved his passion and integrity.

Cons and so-so:
Gretchen was a decent character but she didn't seem 'real' sometimes. Some of the things she did, while I understand her motives and her desire to find out what happened, had me wanting to shake her. It also felt rushed and more telling than showing in places.

The romance was okay, didn't feel one way or the other about it.

Most of the side characters weren't really fleshed out very well. Hitler was written slightly better but aside from him, never felt real strong emotion for anyone.

It's an easy enough read and is written well but I never felt fully invested in the story. I felt more of an outsider than an observer, like I was watching a movie or from behind glass. It started to get 'meh' for me in the last part and I did skim-read some *going for honesty here:P*

Could be a case of 'It's-me-not-you-book' but while it wasn't a waste of time for me, I will probably forget about this in a month or two.

Go ahead and try it if you are curious about it, you may have a different experience *waves* Happy reading!

Check out Aimee's review here... she does an excellent job of explaining the problems I had with the book.

Katherine's review is a different opinion, and a fantastic review so head over and check it out :)
Profile Image for Booktastically Amazing.
502 reviews416 followers
April 28, 2021
I'm open-minded.
I'm a nice human being.
I actually have a sense of conscience.

*heavy sigh* This made me a little exhausted.

I am so sick of books that make me feel like this. Tired of lackluster novels that had potential. I'm just absolutely drained.

I shall leave y'all with a meme I made during this... thing. Until I get my depleted energy restored and basically find the 'Nice Booksy' within me to write a full-blown review. If I get around to it and don't succumb to the void that is calling me.

I have a whole playground of memes I made during my suffering. I shall use them in the future after I tweak them a bit. Because they all sound like: I hate this, and this, and this. Oh! And this.

P.S: I'll go read the second book now just so I can ruin myself a little bit more.


I am excited but also absolutely terrified. Like, what if I forget Hitler's the bad guy for a sec because this book made him into a semi decent one? *shudder*

Heck no.
Profile Image for Rissa.
1,420 reviews47 followers
July 7, 2017
I dont read alot of historical fiction and i really enjoyed the prisoner of night and fog. It was interesting to read about Hitler and just men in general back then and how the majority of them treated women. What women did to get away from their uncles, fathers and brothers.
It was beautifully written and I cant wait to continue the duology.
Profile Image for Rachel.
107 reviews
September 18, 2016
Fantastic story from an interesting viewpoint. Even though it is a work of fiction, this story is well researched involving figures and events from Nazi Germany history.

I definitely recommend this one for readers of historical fiction.
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
December 11, 2014
Prisoner of Night and Fog is one of the most original, impressive debuts I've ever read. It's a coming of age story that stands out for its historical setting and the unique situation that fuels the main character's growth. While I wouldn't call myself a history buff, the time surrounding Adolf Hitler's rise to power, the Holocaust, and World War II has always fascinated me, but more than that it has haunted me. It's one of the darkest, most horrific times in human history, and even typing this is giving me the chills. So it's no wonder I haven't been able to stop thinking about Prisoner of Night and Fog, even weeks later. Anne Blankman's rich attention to detail blends seamlessly within her story, one that captivates with its tense atmosphere and a deep sense of foreboding that invades every page. This is a book you will gladly sacrifice precious hours of sleep for. Despite knowing the larger picture - how this has to end - your need for Gretchen and Daniel to be safe, safe in one of the most unsafe places during one of the most unsafe times in history, outweighs everything else. The scariest part: nothing is guaranteed.
For so long, she had believed in Hitler's lies, seeing shadows where there should have been light.
Not anymore. Not ever again.

The book takes place during 1931, years before Adolf Hitler reaches the height of his power. The National Socialist Party is gaining strength in Munich, Germany, and everywhere Hitler is captivating audiences with his persuasive, seemingly patriotic rhetoric. After her father died protecting Hitler during The Beer Hall Putsch, 17-year-old Gretchen Müller has been living in the shadow of his legacy ever since. She adores and is adored by "Uncle Dolf", believing everything he has ever told her about their beloved country and the Jews. That is, until she meets Daniel Cohen, a Jewish reporter who claims her father didn't die willingly but instead was murdered. Gradually Gretchen's worldview begins to shift and slide, as she sees first hand that Daniel isn't the monster Hitler has proclaimed him to be. With Daniel's help, she sets out to discover the truth of her father's death and ultimately of the slippery man himself, Adolf Hitler.

There are so many wonderful things about this book, that it's best if I give them to you point-by-point.

1. The setting and worldbuilding are fantastic. I know, I know, you don't see the word "worldbuilding" in non-fantasy books, but it's the best way to describe the historical accuracy and atmosphere of dread Blankman laces her book with. From the beginning I felt like I was transported into a new world, at once lit up from all the fascinating details yet teeming with shadows and ugliness. I never once felt like a spectator looking at a story from the outside; I was a part of Gretchen's journey, seeing the world open up to her in glorious and frightening new ways. More times than not I was terrified for her, and the last quarter of the book had me on the edge of my seat, waiting for the ax to drop. Blankman builds the suspense and the fear to a perfect pitch, and all we can do is to keep furiously reading.

2. It's a brilliant mix of fiction and fact. The fictional parts of the story - Gretchen and Daniel, the mystery of her father's death - are enough to hold my attention, but the historical details add yet another layer of fascination. It's easy to notice how much research Blankman must have done, whether it's depicting Gretchen's physical surroundings, the minute facts such as who Hitler associated with, or the details about historical events that actually took place. It read like one of the best history lessons you could ever receive.

3. Adolf Hitler is given ample study, and indeed he's one of history's most difficult men to pinpoint. I love that Blankman explored psychology in her book, as this is shortly following Sigmund Freud's research and the beginning of psychoanalysis. Hitler has been described as manipulative and charismatic, a hypochondriac and a brilliant rhetorician, a nervous person, someone who has violent mood swings, and a psychopath. Indeed, Blankman flawlessly portrays these many facets that make up Hitler, yet his mind remains rightly unknowable. How can we ever understand the man who orchestrated the extermination of an entire race? What is he, but a monster?

4. Conversely, Gretchen is an admirable main character. I was worried that I would feel alienated from her in the beginning, since she is so far ensconced in Hitler's inner circle and more than a little brainwashed. I don't want to believe that someone could label another person as a "subhuman", but it's a very real truth of our history. Yet it's apparent from the beginning, when she saves an anonymous Jew from being beaten on the street by her brother, that Gretchen has compassion and is not without her own willpower. She's like a person who has willingly kept her eyes closed yet not knowing that it's darkness that she sees. Once she opens her eyes, her entire worldview begins to change. Her determination to find her father's possible murderer and her relationship with Daniel bring out an inner fire and intelligence that has been kept suppressed. I really, truly wanted to clap for this girl; that is, when I wasn't busy biting my nails.

5. And, of course, the impossibly sweet romance between Gretchen and Daniel is a highlight for me. It's the subtle kind of swoon, the type that doesn't require loud proclamations but instead hushed promises and gentle whispers. The yearning between the two of them is palpable and full; it's the calm during the storm. Daniel is caring, loyal, and brave, and he's bound and determined to expose the truth of Hitler's plans for the Jews. What's more, he's the first person in Gretchen's life to see her and to not try to mold her into any certain shape. He is patient with her and has faith that she will see what's right in front of her.
Gently, he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "I don't think I told you how much I like your haircut."
She tried to conceal her sudden shyness under a flippant tone. "Thanks. I look quite different, don't I?"
"No." He rolled up the mat. "You look like yourself."

Basically, I adore their romance. It's a gradual development from learning to trust one another and becoming friends to something so much deeper. Given the situation, her being so closely aligned to Hitler and him a Jew, their relationship seems impossible, but they never give up. Theirs is a love I believe in entirely. It just feels natural.

Those, my friends, are five reasons why you should immediately pick up a copy of Prisoner of Night and Fog. It's a familiar story in history but not one we've read in Young Adult fiction before. It's part of a duology, and without a doubt the second book is one I will be breathlessly waiting for. I can't wait for the conclusion of Gretchen and Daniel's story.

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for Anatea Oroz.
302 reviews517 followers
April 26, 2016
This review is also posted on my blog, Anatea's Bookshelf.

This book! This book you guys! I can only say WOW! I'm left completely speechless and at loss of words. I did not expect this. What I had in mind about this book is completely wrong. I probably saw Hitler in the book blurb and made my assumption right away. What I thought this book is going to be about is Hitler persecuting the Jews, something like Anne Frank: The Diary of Young Girl, but fictional. But no, it wasn't anything like that.

Prisoner of Night and Fog is a book set in the time frame where Hitler is building his army of followers and his rise to power. But more importantly, this is the book about Gretchen and how she experiences this period being a person that is in Hitlers inner circle, being a daughter of a fallen Nazi hero, being raised to believe that all Jews are subhuman. But her beliefs start to change when she sees a Jew beaten up by her brother, a Jew with real emotions and real pain.

Anne Blankman managed to create from a subject so scary, something so amazing and interesting. You can see how much work she put into researching the subject about Hitler's life and his uprise. Every chapter, every sentence and every word is based on a true events, but still, it's fictional. How she succeeded to create a story that is a combination of both, will remain a mystery to me, but it does prove one thing. You can write something as amazing as Prisoner of Night and Fog if you put enough effort, passion and love into your writing.

Gretchen as a character is truly fascinating to me. She was raised to believe that Jews are not worthy, that she should be an example of how important people should look like. Hitler, or as Gretchen calls him Uncle Dolf, is a person who she sees as a father, a person who gives her advice and who teaches her things. But as the time passes, she sees that he is wrong, but she doesn't want to let go and step out of her comfort zone. She doesn't want to believe that all her life she's been deluded by things that are not true. But Daniel Cohen is there for her when nobody else isn't, Daniel the Jew. The romance between them, progressed slowly from just acknowledging each other because of their common goal, to friendship and then finally to romance. It was integrated perfectly into the story to follow the historical aspect of the novel, but also the mystery aspect too.

I somehow missed the fact that Prisoner of Night and Fog is going to be a part of the series. I thought it is a standalone, but now as I was writing this review, I realized there is going to be a second book, and I can't really describe to you how happy does it make me! Prisoner of Night and Fog is full of suspense, mystery and beautifully written. It's a win combination for me, and I'm definitely ecstatic to read the next work by Anne Blankman.

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Profile Image for Tereza Mikulová.
Author 1 book24 followers
October 3, 2016
Tak tohle byla pecka! Moc se mi to líbilo a vůbec mi nepřipadalo, že by Cooboo kvůli tématice šláplo vedle, jak jsem četla jeden komentář na Databázi.

Naopak, myslím si, že o tomhle se musí pořád psát, aby lidi nezapomněli, jaká byl Hitler zrůda. A co víc, aby si lidi uvědomili, že stačí jeden takový člověk a tohle všechno se bude opakovat.

Mám ráda tématiku druhé světové války, nějak mi přijde i zajímavější než první, tuhle knihu si tedy rozhodně koupím i do své knihovny. A doufám, že Cooboo vydá i druhý díl! :) Doporučuji! Opravdu moc doporučuji! :)
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,376 reviews929 followers
July 10, 2017
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

‘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.’

In the early 1930′s, Hitler’s rise to power as the undisputed leader of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party continues. The country is in ruin after the financial crisis and the people were drawn to the promise of changes that Hitler vowed to make as soon as he’s elected Chancellor of Germany. He has up until now kept his true intentions for the Jewish people hidden under a thick coat of gloss, but the truth is starting to come out bit by bit. Gretchen Müller grew up knowing nothing but love for ‘Uncle Adolf’ after her father died preventing an assassination attack on Hitler. When new information is brought to her attention that her father's death isn’t all as it appears, everything she has ever believed has to be reevaluated.

‘He had said his opponents were flung cross every corner of the city, barely discernible, like a spiderweb-until you tossed water on the gossamer net and there your opponents were, glistening like diamonds, brilliantly bright and unmistakable.’

Gretchen Müller’s beliefs in the National Socialist Party run deep, yet her father’s death hit her hard and she still misses him dearly. Her continued suffering over his loss manages to be the chink in her belief system and when a young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen approaches her about the possibility that his death was actually murder, everything in her life begins to crumble. The historical detailing was at times excessive but really manages to set the scene well. It’s clear that the time period was well-researched and it all felt authentic despite the obvious fictional additions. While I didn’t see the likelihood of a Jewish reporter taking the chance to approach Hitler’s ‘golden-girl’, I did feel that Gretchen’s change of mind as she uncovers more evidence of her father's murder was genuine and believable.

The murder mystery was hands down the best part of this novel. There were scenes of gripping intensity when Gretchen and Daniel would creep through the shadows to uncover necessary information to expose her father's murderer. The personal scenes between Gretchen and Hitler were chilling and while I have read many books regarding this time period, I had yet to read one where Hitler has a starring role, showing his disturbing nature clearly. Also frightening was Gretchen’s ghastly brother who shared many characteristics of Hitler himself. A warning to you animal lovers, there is a severely heartbreaking scene that I wish I was able to mentally prepare for.

My one disappointment was the romance. While I’m all for a good forbidden love story, and this one was certainly forbidden, I didn’t feel the feels, unfortunately. Their love isn’t instantaneous, however, I felt we learned much more about Gretchen and not enough about Daniel to get properly attached to his character. Gretchen’s feelings regarding Daniel felt clunky and while I would normally expect this considering her ingrained beliefs towards Jews, it felt like her change of heart came far too quickly.

The complete lack of interest in the romance managed to throw a wrench in the entire story for me but thankfully there was an incredibly interesting murder mystery for me to follow instead. Prisoner of Night and Fog is a fantastic look into the time period from the unaccustomed German perspective. Witnessing Hitler’s rise in power was especially disheartening as we all already know of what’s to come. The ending sets up the next book nicely and I’m interested to see how the author continues handling this historical time period.
Profile Image for Mridu  aka Storypals.
509 reviews107 followers
September 11, 2018
I am someone who just cannot go through historical fiction. Yet. This book somehow had got me intrigued, the plot, synopsis and cover everything about it. So I gave it a try.
I wasn't disappointed at all. I enjoyed the book actually. -- Which says a lot about it because I AND HISTORICAL FICTION -- we don't gel.
The book is fast-paced.
The dialogues are great!
Character developments are fantastic.
Always the but.
I wasn't really emotionally invested in the story, I wanted to know what will happen to the characters but I wasn't really empathizing with them. Which is where I lacked the connection with the book.
Hence. 3 stars!
If you are someone who enjoys historical fiction and would like to know more about Hitler (from a different perspective) I suggest you pick this up!
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
April 7, 2016
An Electronic Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

Gretchen is family friends with none other than Adolf Hitler. Her father saved his life by standing in front of him to take the bullets that were meant for him alone. Living with her mom and brother in a boarding house, they keep a steady income and have a good life. When Gretchen witnesses her brother and fellow soldier beat a Jewish man to death, she realizes that nothing is at it seems to be. She's been blind, her beloved Uncle has a hatred for the Jews and will stop at nothing to exterminate them. Trying to find the person who killed her father is going to be no easy task, but she has the help of a Jewish reporter named Daniel. Will they find out who is in time? Can they save each other?

I immediately picked this one up as soon as I finished watching Schindler's List the movie. Easily one of the most traumatic movies of my childhood, I never watched it again until that day. Having remembered that this book is about Hitler told from his niece's point of view, I knew I had to read it. And boy was I in luck.

Blankman's writing is just so easy and the way she tells a story is also pretty darn gripping and beautiful. She knows her characters and knows them well. You can easily tell how much research she did and that's before finding out the Bibliography in the back. She used real people in her story and that just made this fictional story all that more realistic. There were so many times my eyes bugged out of their sockets. And it wasn't even the things that were done, but the things that were said. The statements and ignorance and hate. I devoured this book and I hope everyone will to.

Intense, volatile and gripping, Prisoner of Night and Fog is easily one of my favourite debuts of the year. If you like your books well researched, you'll enjoy Prisoner of Night and Fog. I found the title to suit the entire tone and feel of the book very well. Cannot wait until the sequel comes out.
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,559 reviews152 followers
March 6, 2019
4.3 Out Of 5 STARS for Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

๏  Highlights ๏
Historical Fiction Based in Truth
Germany Pre-WWII Times
Family Secrets
Ravings of a Madman--Adolf Hitler
Splash of Romance

With Narration Performed by Heather Wilds

๏  My Thoughts ๏ 

This was a little different from my usual kind of read, but sometimes different is just what you need.   While my knowledge of Germany and Hitler is limited, I learned about it in school, but I only remember the basics, I still believe that this feels very well researched...and I soaked all the history up like a sponge.  That added to the interesting characters and the side-mystery makes this a worthwhile read/listen.  There is a bit of romance, but it feels so natural that it only enhances the story.  
The narrator's accent was just right...giving Gretchen's voice just the right amount of German, without making it difficult to understand. 

๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 

Plot⇝ 4.2/5
Narration Performance⇝ 5/5
Main Characters⇝ 4.3/5
Secondary Characters⇝ 4.5/5
The Feels⇝ 4.5/5
Pacing⇝ 4.3/5
Addictiveness⇝ 4/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 4.5/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 4.5/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 4/5
Originality⇝ 4.3/5
Ending⇝ 4.3/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Not really...but there is a second book.
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ Gorgeous...love the cover model, she seems perfect for the story.
Setting⇝ Munich, Germany
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
๏ ๏ ๏
Profile Image for Audrey Webster.
83 reviews
December 19, 2014
I honestly didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. Initially it began slow and somewhat boring so my immediate thought was I was going to have to tough through it. I was proven wrong. From my minimal amount of knowledge surrounding this time frame I can tell this story, although deemed fiction, is based strongly on historical fact.

Gretchen begins as the type of main character I really don't like. She succumbs to doing exactly what she is told without any argument. She questions many things yet never speaks out against them. She sees the world around her as the illusion she has grown up into and struggles finding the truth, even if she doesn't want to hear it. When she meets Daniel, however, things begin to change. He informs her the story surrounding her father's heroic death is nothing more than a lie and he is trying to find the truth, therefore exposing Hitler for who is truly is. Gretchen struggles to believe Danial at first, but there are just too many things about the story of her father's death that don't add up. Reluctantly she agrees to meet with him on a couple occasions and there begins the growth in their relationship.

Daniel is a Jewish reporter who works for a newspaper with the intent of proving Hitler a fraud. When his story leads him to Gretchen's father he confronts her thinking she may be interested or perhaps have some useful information. Together they work to uncover the mystery as well as develop their relationship which is a huge part of this story. Daniel being a Jew and Gretchen being a close friends of Hitler is the ultimate act of rebellion in the eyes of the Nazi party. Gretchen struggles immensely with understanding who Hitler really is and what is true intent for the Jews is. The main thing I love about her is she discovered the truth on her own. Granted, Daniel provided some information to promote her digging for more answers, but she fought herself and the lies around her to learn what had been hidden from her throughout her entire life.

Gretchen's brother is a major conflict in her family life, as well as her mother who neglects to provide her with the proper attention a mother would typically give her child. Gretchen is essentially alone in her young life and finding the many family secrets doesn't strengthen her family bonds. Her brother is horrible to her. He beats her, and talks poorly to her, and yet she still stays at home to find answers.

Daniel and Gretchen begin as nothing more than friends, perhaps not even that, simply looking for the same answers so they team up. However, they quickly discover there is more there. This is another one of the things I adored about Gretchen and her tremendous character growth. She goes from thinking she must despise all Jews, to falling in love with one. My one complaint regarding their situation is we don't get to know Daniel very well. I would have loved to have some chapters from his point of view to understand his background and more behind what exactly he does as a reporter. We learn some, but most definitely not enough to fully know him. Although I assume we will learn more in later books. His character's prominence grew rapidly throughout the course of the book and I hope he will only continue to grow.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I find myself typically straying away from historical fiction simply because I've read several that have been sufficiently boring, but this book spiked my interest in them again. The cliff hanger at the end was somewhat brutal and I feel a tiny bit of a book hangover. Then I found out the sequel doesn't come out until next year. I do recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and even those who may not read as many history based novels.
509 reviews2,414 followers
April 7, 2014
This would probably be an incoherent review as I can't really express why I felt nothing. It was just that. A reading slump, maybe?

First off, I expected to love this one so much, since most early reviews have given this either 5 or 4 stars. I'll admit--I understand why they gave these sort of ratings. Things were very well thought of the plot (even if there was very little of it, honestly) flowed smoothly with just the right pacing, but the thing was, I couldn't connect with the characters at all.

Let's start off with the positive things about the novel. I found it to be really believable and authentic. I don't know a lot about Hitler's story, aside from the fact that he was a dictator. Hitler's character was portrayed so well in this story that I felt like I knew everything about him without knowing him. I'm not making any sense, right?

"He is a volcanic eruption, a lightning strike in the desert, a man perhaps with several different mentally diseased conditions. By all rights, he should be impossible. And yet he exists."

Now, let's get onto my first problem. I don't know any German, at all, so some of the terms got me confused and I'll never bother to Google them because I'm lazy like that. But I read Kathylill's review on Goodreads, and she said that there were mistakes in the usage of the German language in the novel.

Nothing even happened in the first half (maybe?) of the novel. Mostly, this book was about character development, relationships with various people (the romantic interest, her friends, family, etc), but I needed more action. More mystery (the mystery aspect was good, thank heavens!). More everything else.

Those, with the addition of the essay-like writing style, made the book a pretty boring one for me. Don't get me wrong--I love essays. There were just too many descriptions for my taste. I guess this is also why I wasn't able to really get into Gretchen's character.

Ah, Gretchen. I can't even state how indifferent I was to her character. Sure, she wanted to solve the mystery of her father's murder, which was pretty "brave," but then she would make the most stupid, unsafe choices like hanging around her totally violent and irrational brother. And I think she accepted the facts Daniel Cohen (the love interest, a Jew, an enemy of her dearest Uncle Dolf) threw at her. Once he mentioned that her father was murdered, she began suspecting things too easily and she solved the mysteries way too fast. Super smart girl, huh? I would've liked it more if she slowly started realizing things.

And the romance. *shudders* It was so stiff and odd. It was definitely not love at first sight--quite the opposite, actually. BUT! I felt like the actual time where they started getting "attracted" to each other came so abruptly and suddenly. It might just be my opinion, since everyone else seems to love the romance!

Overall, this is a book I thought had so much potential, but I myself couldn't enjoy much about it. It all depends on the reader's tastes, so I still recommend giving this one a shot if you're into historical retellings and such.
Profile Image for Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*.
999 reviews168 followers
February 22, 2015
The man she had loved as a father was a fraud. He kissed the backs of her hands and advocated war; he ruffled her hair and preached death; he had played with her on the carpet with toy soldiers, and all along he had been planning the extinction of an entire people.

Ever since her father died when she was a child, Gretchen's family has been under the protective and loving care of the man she affectionately calls Uncle Dorf, who happens to be none other than Adolf Hitler. But meeting a young Jewish reporter named Daniel makes her begin to question not only the world around her but the integrity of her family, people, and Country. And she finds that the world is a much more dangerous place than she had ever imagined.

Holy shit. This book was incredible. I almost read the whole thing in one sitting, because it really just grabbed you from the first page and held you breathless with amazement and terror the whole time. I don't think I have ever read a book like this before. A book that shows things how they might have been through the eyes of someone who was, for all intents and purposes, brainwashed by the Third Reich. I got to see how she struggled with the realization that she had been deceived and lied to, and the way she bravely risked her life to stand up for her beliefs and her heart. This is a dazzling book, the love story between Gretchen and Daniel all the most harrowing because you could relate it to events that occurred in history. Additionally, the writing was just fantastic and I really couldn't get enough of it.

If she and her people were mistaken about the Jews, then they were mistaken about everything. Without that screw, the entire machine would eventually break down. She felt a sob rising in her throat, and had to swallow it down. Uncle Dolf and papa couldn't be wrong....Could they?
Profile Image for grace.
130 reviews1,589 followers
May 22, 2015
4.5! This book was terrifying at times. Loved it!
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