Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

From Goodreads: 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? 

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Anne Blankman’s Prisoner of Night and Fog was a debut that I had been looking forward to reading since last year. Sadly, while I did think it was a decent read, I struggled to connect with the story for a number of reasons.

First, I had an issue with how fast Gretchen believed everything that she was told by Daniel. I mean, it just seemed like one minute she was a staunch National Socialist and the next minute she was all confused because some stranger – who also happened to be a Jew and therefore someone she would be biased to not believe – tells her that her father was murdered! Oh, and how convenient that Gretchen held on to the shirt that her father was wearing when he was killed so that the plot could be moved along!

Another element of the story that I didn’t like was the romance. Although it was nice that Gretchen and Daniel’s relationship started off with them hesitant to trust each other, I thought it progressed rather quickly. Considering that Gretchen viewed Jews as subhuman initially, I was rather surprised, for example, that Daniel invited someone that Hitler favoured into the house he shared with his cousins after just three interactions!

Lastly, I found most of the secondary characters to be very flat. Although I thought Prisoner of Night and Fog was well-researched, the characters from the Nazi party just came off like names with little personality attached to them. Even Hitler seemed like a two-dimensional character, which I thought was very unfortunate.

Prisoner of Night and Fog was released on April 22, 2014 by Balzer + Bray. 

Comments About the Cover: I love the foggy background as it makes the model’s face in the foreground really stand out. It may be just me, but I think her eyes look a little haunted, which reflects the title nicely. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss.


  1. Huh, I've read nothing but rave reviews for this one and but your review does give me some pause. I think I will stick pick this one up just to see what make this one a captivating read for others.

  2. Yep, I felt pretty much the same way about this one. Gave it about the same rating, too. The romance-yes! All of the sudden they went from "enemies" to kissing, leaving me wondering if I missed something. Haha, the shirt thing WAS pretty convenient.. plus the fact she was able to figure out the thing about the powder almost out of nowhere... Great review though :)

  3. Well, when you put it that way, this one doesn't seem too realistic! And it always bothers me when authors rely on conveniences instead of doing something that might take more work, but makes a lot more sense! I do think this one has a unique premise, as I've never seen that point of view before, but I wish it had been executed better.

  4. Sorry this one didn't work too well for you Z! Sounds like you really have to suspend disbelief with this one going in, and sometimes I'm able to do that just fine. Other times it's more of a struggle, but now that I know I need to do that I think this story will go over better for me. Thanks for your thoughts!

  5. Heard many good things about Prisoner of Night and Fog and I was really hoping this could be something like The Book Thief for people. Because I absolutely loved that book. Sorry to hear that Prisoner of Night and Fog wasn't as convincing as one would hope. The romance is always very important to me and I'm really not sure if this book is something for me when Gretchen acts like that, against her own beliefs just after a few chapters. Thanks for your honest review!:)


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