In 1930s Munich, a young German girl learns to question her learned hatred for Jewish people.
Seventeen-year-old Gretchen Müller has grown up knowing Adolf Hitler as “Uncle Dolf,” the great National Socialist leader whose life her father had died saving in 1923. This bedrock truth is challenged when a Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen reaches out to her suggesting that her father actually had been murdered by a fellow National Socialist party member. Together, they work to unravel the mystery of why her father was killed. Gretchen finds herself doubting everything she has been taught to hate and fear about Jews and ultimately must decide where her honor and loyalty lie. In her debut, Blankman weaves into Gretchen’s story the details of Hitler’s historically documented rise to power (and psychopathic nature), and her fictional characters talk and live among some of Nazi Germany’s most notorious figures. At times, the dialogue is unwieldy, and the historical details consume the narrative, which may cause some readers to become bored by slower sections of the story (though a sexually charged scene with Hitler himself will open their eyes wide). Here’s hoping the author will find a better balance between description and action in the proposed sequel, as the relationship between Gretchen and Daniel is what sets this apart.
An interesting perspective on a well-trod era. (author’s note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 13-17)