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The Kommandant's Girl

(The Kommandant's Girl #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  17,490 ratings  ·  1,484 reviews
Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma's husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city's decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Taken to Krakow to live with Jacob's Catholic aunt, ...more
Paperback, 395 pages
Published February 20th 2007 by Mira
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Sejal Naik Yup! The "sequel" is "The Diplomat's Wife (The Kommandant's Girl #2)" - :) It doesn't follow Emma/Anna, but…moreYup! The "sequel" is "The Diplomat's Wife (The Kommandant's Girl #2)" - :) It doesn't follow Emma/Anna, but it follows Marta's story.

Personally, I didn't find it as great as "The Kommandant's Girl" but you may want to read it to complete the series. Here's my review of "The Diplomat's Wife" -
Debbie I don't think Georg was understanding toward his first wife. He wouldn't save her father from the firing squad.…moreI don't think Georg was understanding toward his first wife. He wouldn't save her father from the firing squad. (less)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Lindsay - Traveling Sister
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 stars! What an excellent historical fiction novel! I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the storyline. I find it hard to believe this was written 10 years ago and there hasn't been more hype surrounding it.

The story revolves around nineteen-year-old Emma in war-torn Poland, whose husband flees underground to help the resistance fighters. She takes on a new identity as Anna, to hide her Jewish heritage. Wanting to do whatever it takes to help her husbands' cause, Anna takes a job as the
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who enjoyed We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter or The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff
Brilliant. I give this book five stars without hesitation.

Emma Bau has just married the love of her life, Jacob, when the Nazis come and occupy Poland during WWII. It is a dangerous time in Poland, made even more so by the fact that they are Jews. Although Jacob wants to be with his wife, he has strong ties to the resistance movement and immediately goes underground. Emma is stricken by this, but goes to live with her parents in the ghetto. The conditions in the ghetto are terrible: food is
Tea Jovanović
Hurry up, read this book! Must read! WWII story... Poland... Jews, Germans... Nothing is completely black or white... What would you do if somebody puts you in similar position...? Easy read, in one go... Don't miss it, says editor! :)
Jennifer Eckel
Jun 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
A standard paragrah in Ms. Jenoff's book includes at least 2 uses of the word Okay. How do you feel? Okay. For a novel set in Poland in the depths of WWII this word is inappropriate. It's frequency made me cringe.
Ms Jenoff also had issues with time. The phrase, it was the second winter of the war and the Kommandant could tell that the war was going badly.
Excuse me, that would be the winter of '40-41 and Germany stood supreme on the European Continent. The book roughly covers only the time frame
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Cathleen by: MPPL; Phyllis
2 1/2 stars. My book group liked this much more than I did, though even fans admitted to being distracted by the frequent use of "okay" by a young woman in this time (and to her Nazi supervisor, no less) as well as disappointed by the mash-up of coincidences in the last fourth of the book. It felt a little wrong, too, that I was much more tense in some of her early spy efforts than in the climactic danger scene. It's not a bad book, but it seemed to skim the surface in a lot of ways, and I had ...more
Lewis Weinstein
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
a well-done story that blends history and imagination in a moving way ... captures the atmosphere and confusion of terrifying times ... kept my interest from start to finish
May 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
This novel epitomised for me everything that is cynical, vulgar and manipulative about the romance genre.
For the first hundred pages Jenoff does a pretty good job of creating the plight of a Jewish girl in Krakow during the Nazi occupation. Emma is recently married but her husband, a member of the Resistance, goes into hiding. Emma, along with her parents, is forced into the Ghetto. She is then rescued and given a Christian identity and eventually hired as secretary to a Nazi Kommandant where,
Apr 25, 2008 rated it liked it
I mentioned when I wrote my review on The Book Thief, how dismayed I felt when realizing that the story was set in WWII Germany. It seems to me that the market for fictional stories of the war, especially the persecution and massacre of the Jews, has been saturated.

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

To be fair, the book is set in Poland, not
I wasted a whole train journey reading this. Why did I dislike this book, you ask? Well, let's just say I wish I had left it on public transport.

Well, for one, the characters, for the most part were awful. There were three varying degrees of characters in this book.
Stage 1: Oh wow, these characters have substance! I feel for them, and at times they are pretty complex. These two characters Krysia and Georg Richwalder. I really appreciated how Jenoff tried to make Richwalder into somebody rather
I love WWII fiction, especially if it has the element of romance. I live for those books but sadly, a lot of them aren't very good. The blurb for The Kommandant's Girl had me totally intrigued and seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately, it was a disappointment.

There's only one way I can describe this felt breezy. Superficial. Also, the dialogue felt incredibly American and the conversations, at least to me, didn't seem to have a lot of depth. It was suppose to be a story filled with
Viviane Cordeiro
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Me and my WWII universe - I mean, I cried in this one, A LOT! Even thou it is extremely predictable, I couldn't stop wondering where the author was planning to go.
I even felt bad when I noticed that I was in love with a Nazi soldier - the last time I felt this way was when I watched 'Inglourious Basterds' with my lovely Daniel Brühl. And let's face it: Kommandant Richwalder is more likable than Jacob, I know that his work for the resistance had to take him away from the story but even when he
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
in Krakow, Poland during the Nazi invasion, Emma has only been married to Jacob for a couple of months. Jacob feels that his duty is joining the resistance and so he leaves Emma with her parents. Soon the Jewish people are rounded up by the Nazis and taken to live in the ghetto. Jacob’s friends manage to get Emma, along with a toddler who’s mother was killed, out of the ghetto. She is given false papers and they arranged to have her and her “little brother” live with Jacob’s aunt. To save her ...more
There is a lot I liked about this book. The most appealing thing is the angle from which Jenoff chooses to tell this story based on historical facts: it is a romance book that just happens to have a major historical event as its backdrop. I would venture to call it a romance thriller because you're definitely on the edge of your seat for some of the events.

Emma is a Jewish girl during the German invasion of Poland. She has just gotten married when her family is moved to the ghetto of Krakow
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii, m-f
The most disturbing part of this book is how likeable the Kommandant is and how the reader can understand Emma falling for him. Emma's internal struggle as she begins to recognize her affections for Georg and her moral battle of being repulsed by herself for carrying those affections for him are drawn very well.

Unfortunately Jenoff choked in wrapping it up and blew the ending. (view spoiler)
Celeste Miller
Feb 04, 2008 rated it liked it
SHOW, DON'T TELL. Which is not what this book does. But that's okay, it's a super-fast read, good for long car trips/plane rides, etc.

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

However, if you're looking to write an
Apr 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Dear Lord, that wasn't good. A protip to writers everywhere: if you're writing anything before the 1960s, characters, especially Polish Jews, shouldn't be saying "okay".
Jun 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Why did I read it?

Another attempt to play the Jwish girl "falls" for the high ranking Nazi.
Och... I should know better!
I don't know how I even finished this one.

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

The book was
Pamela Pickering
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
I would probably give this book 2.5 stars. It seems I'm alone as most other reviewers gave this book 4-5 stars so I wonder if I'm missing something. I guess I expected more from the book. It was an easy read, too easy I guess would be the point. It just sort of had the feel of a Harlequin Romance and at $13 I would expect more substance. I found the main character a little frustrating at times. She was always so jumpy. In my opinion if someone is "working undercover" and is that jumpy she would ...more
joyce g
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite a beautiful story.
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: series
I just love the way that Pam Jenoff writes! The book is set in Poland during World War II and focuses on the Polish resistance movement of that time period. Pretty interesting topic but the main character's actions sent me into a lot of confusion.

Also, I cannot see how the book is classified as a "historical romance." There was plenty of sex but I had a hard time believing the love between the main character and her husband.

All in all, I did enjoy the book but not really sure that I would read
Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it
The book had great potential but got bogged down in repetition & redunadancy. A suject like this that has been written about so extensively in fiction and non-fiction needed more of an edge.

The main characters developed, but the secondary ones who were really interesting never fleshed out.

That being said it held my interest to the end and would appeal to someone who knew less about Poland during WWII and wanted a nice combination of romance, intrigue and history.
Feb 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish this book. I understand it's Jenoff's first book, but there is far too much showing not telling. Emma's change of emotions is far too sudden. We're told that she starved in the Ghetto, but in terms of the book, it feels like she was only in the ghetto for five minutes. Even taking into account the difference in time (it helped that I had just read Defiance), she still feels so passive and "oh dear me" that it is hard to like her.
Barbara Kinsky
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this novel brilliant! I cannot seem to understand why a lot of people gave bad reviews. I think they read too much into the characters. I found it a good thriller/romance and could not put the book down and have now ordered the 2nd book in the series. I loved the different characters and was holding my breath many a time.
As Emma is so fond of saying, this was just ok. The subject matter was not what I thought it was going to be. When I read the back of the book, I assumed that Emma was going to be a collaborator and I was very interested in reading a book from that point of view. I've always wondered what it would have been like for women who slept with the German soldiers in order to have food and shelter. Did they feel guilty for sleeping with the enemy? Did they not feel guilty because they were providing for ...more
Emma Twosouls
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Modern American English doesn't really work for a Polish mid 20th century first person narrative. Okay??

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

Why did the kommandant say the 'war was gong badly' (for Germany)at a time when it clearly was not, why would he carry a 'six shooter', Emma counts his two fired rounds and calculates that there are four left. Really unless he is cast as a wild west
Judi Niermann
Jan 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Historical romance set in Krakow Poland during the Nazi occupation. Couldn't put it down.
ℓуηη, ℓσкιѕℓутнєя¢ℓαω
Had to collect my thoughts on this one, and my emotions I also debated the rating, which I've conceded can be nothing less than a full five stars

This book had me engrossed from page one. It helps I'm a huge history loving nerd, but I swear, Jenoff's writing is so atmospheric it feels like you are there right alongside Emma as she lives anxiously under the Nazis noses. I was on the edge of my seat on more than one occasion throughout this heart-wrenching story.

Now as I've read in some other
Carla Johnson-Hicks
The Kommandant's Girl was written in 2007, but was recently released as an audiobook and I jumped at the opportunity to listen to this one. The story revolves around nineteen-year-old Emma Bau, a Polish Jewess, in war-torn Poland. After being married for only a few weeks, her husband flees to work in the Polish underground. When Anna's family is rounded up to live in the ghetto, she is recruited to work with the resistance as well. She is given a new identity as Anna, a young Jewish boy to raise ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
There's nothing quite like a war story...add a dash of romance and you have The Kommandant's Girl. For whatever reason - maybe I was in the right mood or the story just resonated with me - I was completely taken with this book. I found Jenoff's writing to be inviting and consuming. Once I started, it was incredibly hard to stop reading!

The reader is introduced to Emma and Jacob, a young Jewish couple living in Krakow. They've been married less than a year when the Nazis invade Poland and are
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Goodreads Librari...: cover art missing for ebook edition 2 15 Jun 18, 2017 03:39PM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 5 Sep 18, 2015 04:53PM  
Question About Ending 2 76 Apr 15, 2014 02:00PM  
Ending with Emma/ Kommandant 4 135 Mar 13, 2012 01:29PM  

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Pam is the author of several novels, including her most recent The Lost Girls of Paris and The Orphan's Tale, both instant New York Times bestsellers. Pam was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as ...more

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The Kommandant's Girl (2 books)
  • The Diplomat's Wife (The Kommandant's Girl, #2)
“I'm so sorry. I love you. I never could have hurt you.” 11 likes
“Anna is something wrong " he asked his brow furrowed.

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