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The Kaiser's Last Kiss

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  489 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Soon to be a movie starring Christopher Plummer, Lily James, and Jai Courtney, this “wonderfully satisfying, sophisticated novel” (Daily Telegraph) follows the exiled Kaiser Wilhelm, the young Nazi officer assigned to guard him, and the Jewish maid who unwittingly comes between them.

It is 1940 and the exiled monarch Kaiser Whilhelm is living in his Dutch chateau, Huis Door
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Touchstone (first published 2003)
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Description: A fictionalised account of the Kaiser Wilhelm's last years in Nazi-occupied Holland.It is 1940 and the exiled Kaiser is living in Holland, at his palace Huis Doorn. The old German king spends his days chopping logs and musing on what might have been. When the Nazis invade Holland, the Kaiser's Dutch staff are replaced by SS guards, led by young, eager Untersturmfuhrer Krebbs, and an unlikely relationship develops between the king and his keeper. While they agree on the rightfulness
May 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had found this book to be more enjoyable but unfortunately I found it to be seriously lacking. Although I enjoyed the material, personally I have not read or have seen much material written about the Kaiser, I found the story line to be kind of boring.

I did not find the romance to be believable or did I grow attached to the characters. Actually I would've preferred to have had this story written from the Kaiser's point of view. I found him to be just as I imagined and felt that the stor
Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)
Slow in places, but not a bad read.

Alan Judd’s latest book is a fictional account set at Huis Doorn in the Netherlands where the former Kaiser of Germany was living after his abdication at the end of World War 1. It’s 1940 and the Germans have now occupied the Netherlands and Martin Krebs is in charge of an SS unit detailed to guard the former Kaiser.

The book focuses on the of the relationship between Krebs and Akki, a Jewish woman who is part of former Kaiser’s household.

Whilst the book has an
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Alan Judd’s The Kaiser’s Last Kiss demanded my attention the moment I stumbled over it on Edelweiss. I waited impatiently to see if I’d be granted a copy for review and jumped for joy when one came through. Few stories get me this excited, but I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the Kaiser, WWI and WWII and couldn’t help feeling giddy about a story that features elements of all three. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm distract
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwi-ii
Enjoyable, especially as I visited Huis Doorn a couple of years ago.
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-novel
This novel about the last days of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany was born to be a movie: it's slim, straightforward, simple. (Alan Judd published "The Kaiser's Last Kiss" in 2003; a movie based on it, entitled "The Exception," is scheduled to be released June 2017.)

On the one hand, this is not a particularly good novel. The romance between the young SS officer who has come with Wehrmacht troops to protect/observe the former Emperor of Germany, and Akki, the beautiful maid attendant on Wilhelm and hi
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On November 11, 1918 when the so-called Great War stumbled to its exhausted end, one immediate consequence was the abdication of German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Heated discussions occurred as various parties discussed his fate. There were some who wanted to indict him as a war criminal, others wanted to just shoot him and be done with it. Eventually the Kaiser and his retinue settled into exile in The Netherlands. For more than twenty years the former Kaiser was an historical footnote, living the life ...more
Kelly Sierra
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, arc
This is a book about a war, but it isn't a tale of the battlefield. What I loved about this story was the quiet intensity in which it captured moments that possibly occurred during WWII in Europe. Neighbors became enemies, but at the same time there were internal struggles. The dehumanization of a group of people is not necessarily the easiest thing to cope with, whether you are the victim or the assailant. Krebb's struggle to be a "good German soldier" and his increasing feelings for Akki, a Je ...more
Nicely written novel about the Kaiser exiled in Holland, when the Nazis invade. You feel for the characters, even an SS officer, the Kaiser himself and a couple of others caught in the nightmare. Reads very quickly!
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and well written. With a historical core, the author uses character development, subtly nuanced prose, and intriguing dialogue to build a story that gives personal angle on the life of a loyal soldier, the experience of war, the evil of Nazism, the decline of the once powerful, and the transformative power of young love.
Kristin Davison
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
Date read: 31/12/16

Date published: 3/1/17

I would like to thank netgalley and touchstone for the opportunity to read this book.
This is a very detailed and interesting novel. I learned lots about the time period that I didn't know before. The different pov in this novel, in coming from a Nazi perspective, is interesting to read. It's definitely weird hearing England spoken of so poorly, but interesting to see the other side.
The love story wasn't quite what I was expecting, but was nice. I love
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought the movie was lulzy, with ALL the cliches (eat a candy every time you spot a war movie cliche, and see if you can stay out of diabetic coma by the end), but I'll forgive it a lot for making me curious about the source book.

I loved the book. A young Totenkopf officer is stationed at the estate of Germany's last Kaiser, and falls adorably for the maid who turns out to be Jewish and a British spy. Unlike the very ridiculous movie (that removed the MC entirely, WTF, and gave his part to so
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, book-club-asc
I rather liked this fictional account of Kaiser Willhelm's last days, although the author takes more liberties with the facts than I would have liked. As a novel, rather than a biography however, I thought Judd did a nice job portraying the conflicted morals of the young SS officer from whose perspective the story is told. I have always been troubled by the fact that the young seem drawn to participate in wars at an age when their understanding of life and the cause is not enriched by the wisdom ...more
Scott Jeffe
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun book to read. I visited Huis Doorn, the home at which Kaiser Wilhelm lived out his exile in Holland, during a trip to the Netherlands a few years ago. It was nice to be able to envision the exact setting of this book...right down to the Kaiser’s saddle desk chair.

The story itself was an imagination of an attempt by the British to entice the former kaiser to defect to Britain during the Second World War. Churchill thought it would be demoralizing to the Nazi cause if the former mo
Lisa of Hopewell
I thought Judd’s portrayal of the twisted, lonely, and often deluded Kaiser, was excellent. He also captured the personality of the scheming Hermine as well. I thought each of the major characters were believable. More depth would have been nice, but the story was very compelling as is. He did not bog the story down in too much historical minutia–even though I’m a reader who often enjoys that. This kept the story moving at a fast clip.

But.... If you’re going to write a book–even a novel–on r
Norman Metzger
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A challenge: Blend a deposed emperor who liked to call himself "Supreme War Lord", an unlikely pair of lovers, and Nazis behaving, well, like Nazis into a well-wrought novel that gathers power with each page. The challenge is met, admirably. The deposed royal is Kaiser Wilhelm II ("Willi"), who in 1918 after his forced abdication went into exile in the Netherlands dying in June 1941 at age 82 and a few weeks before Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The lovers are the leader of the Nazi guard at ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Kaiser's Last Kiss was somewhat of a poignant and solemn novel to read. I had read it through an E-book (not a quite convenient way of reading a novel) but it navigated through a Nazi officer and his attraction with a secretive Dutch girl and the life of Kaiser Wilhelm II when he was placed in exile following World War II and Hitler's domination throughout Germany and across Europe. I felt that this novel was hard to get a grasp on and while Alan Judd managed to create an intimate and articu ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Kaiser Wilhelm II lived out his days in exile in Holland after World War I ended. The story picks up shortly after the Nazis have invaded Holland and send in an SS operative to determine the Kaiser's views on the new German government. Meanwhile, there is also a beautiful Jewish servant working there who interacts with the SS operative and the Kaiser.

It was okay but some of the romantic elements progressed too fast to be plausible. The period details were interesting and clearly the work was res
Linda Marie Marsh
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short book filled with a lot of hmmmmm, and could it have been so? Kaiser Wilhelm has left Germany , lost his position as ruler, and now lives in Holland in his chateau in his 'pretend' world. Or is it....IS he more aware than it seems? Allowed to live, but guarded permanently by the SS, he acts as tho the possibility of returning to rule exists. Enter the characters around whom the story revolves - Krebs the lead Nazi officer, and Akki the Jewish maid.
Nothing is totally written in stone is it,
David Dunlap
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hitler's forces have just invaded the Netherlands. Martin Krebbs, a young ambitious SS officer, has been assigned to head the security detail at the home of Kaiser-in-exile Wilhelm II. While there, he encounters Akki, a Dutch maid, and he is drawn to her, eventually discovering, to his definitely mixed emotions, that she is Jewish. -- An intriguing, fascinatingly-written historical novel that asks probing questions about motivations and goals and remaining true to one's self. The Kaiser (whom Kr ...more
Some of the events may be the same, but this book is not at all like the movie, lol. It's pretty interesting to compare the two. The SS officer guarding the Kaiser is much younger, more naive, and less traumatized, for example, whereas in the movie, he was an older meathead with some PTSD and disenchantment with his party despite still being loyal to Germany. The movie was also much more Hollywood (emotionally driven) and R-rated, whereas the book is rather dry and literary. It's still quite a l ...more
Shannon Stephens
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good work of fiction that shows how easy it is for ordinary people to become swept up in evil because they see it as a way to belong, become important, and serve a cause (without truly understanding the cause). Also the book shows that ultimately people have a choice 1) continue to follow blindly and become who we associate with or 2) question and turn away from our associates, even if physical departure may not be possible.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Do you not see these men are incomplete? They are shells with undeveloped souls rattling around inside. They will betray anything and everything because they believe only in themselves but know not themselves, know not what shells they are. They are madmen." Kaiser Wilhelm, in genteel exile, is talking to an SS officer the day after they meet Himmler.
Five stars is generous, yes. This novel is a quick-read, thought provoking, insightful, well-written, of historical import.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I watched the film version of this yesterday and was intrigued and slightly dismayed at the ambiguous ending... and so obviously decided to read the book for the answers. I didn’t get them as the book and movie have many differences (but the same spirit - so it’s not really a travesty even though the movie is much more dramatic). I enjoyed the fictionalised snapshot of an exiled ruler, his household and the German political climate during WWII.
Lorraine Petkus
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Personally this was a 5 star book but objectively it's only 4, plot is a little weak. An enjoyable quick read about the exiled to Holland German monarch Kaiser Wilhelm during the Nazi occupation of 1940. It left me wanting to know more about the Kaiser and at the end it supplied additional sources. It also clarified what was fact and what is fiction.
Replicant Rachel
this is an interesting blend of romance and politics, I don't really like to mix them but the movie brought this book to my attention and it is an interesting story, it's also clear that the movie is the rare better adaptation than the book.

very likable characters and I think they saved the story. especially Christopher Plummer , Lily James, and Jai Courtney...

Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A pleasant airplane read but nothing more. While it is intriguing to speculate about what would have happened if Himmler had visited the Kaiser in exile in the Netherlands, the love-story between the young Nazi officer and the beautiful Jewish agent sent by Churchill to exfiltrate the Kaiser is pure pulp fiction.
Daniella Bernett
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Kaiser's Last Kiss" is well-written, but it left me slightly disappointed. The author cold have done so much more to develop the relationship between Akki and Martin, as well as the spy aspect of the plot.
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this short work of historical fiction. The times and setting are fascinating, kaiser Wilhelm,s home in exile in nazi occupied holland. It is the development of the key characters in such a short work that sets this book apart. This book will make a terrific movie
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was alright. Read it in an evening before watching the movie that is based off of it. In this case....I dare say.... the movie is better than the book. It was a very interesting subject matter to say the least though.
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Alan Judd is a pseudonym used by Alan Edwin Petty.

Born in 1946, he graduated from Oxford University and served as a British Army officer in Northern Ireland during 'The Troubles', before later joining the Foreign Office; he currently works as a security analyst. He regularly contributes articles to a number of publications, including The Daily Telegraph, and The Spectator as its motoring correspo
“When you are young you do not understand how different then and now are because you have lived only in now and it feels as if that is where you will always live. You do not realize that your now -and you- are becoming then. And when you realise how completely now has become then, how different it is, it is like the fall of the axe. It splits you off from all these younger people, who, however much they think they know or understand, cannot feel life as it was then. The pulse if it, that was the thing, always, with everything, and that is what cannot be conveyed.” 0 likes
“Things happened, as soon as they had they were in the past, once they were, there was nothing you could do. Days and nights followed in a seamless phantasmagoria of action and inaction, of weariness, privation, duty, routine and waiting, always so much waiting. What had happened yesterday might have been in another life, as remote from today as the unknowable events of tomorrow.” 0 likes
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