Louise Fein comes to the blog today with a story of great conflict: facing your own toughest critic in uncertain and unprecedented times with
Daughter of the Reich
Based on truth, the story of Hetty starts in 1933 when she is just a child, and quickly moves to 1937 Germany, Leipzig to be exact, when Hetty is now twelve and her family has moved into a new home – strangely enough fully furnished with high-quality furniture and artwork. Her father has just been promoted in his work with the SS, and as far as she sees – the only changes are the new house and not going to church anymore as her father’s boss has deemed that unnecessary. Much as one would expect, there weren’t a ton of noticeable changes in her life or daily routine at that point: things were just starting. And before one bomb dropped – this quickly becomes a story of creating an environment within the people to support a leader: drowning the individual for the collective good. Her dreams for becoming a doctor are no more- women are meant to be home, support husbands and raise children, subservient to husband and state.
But as the rhetoric becomes stronger and Hetty grows more frustrated with the ‘divisions’ and ‘expectations’, and her own willingness to participate in activities meant to prove her loyalty to “The Party” and her family, things take an even more interesting turn. Growing up in the house “before” this, Hetty had become friends with her brother’s friend Walter. A Jew. Now Walter’s humanity, rights and life are in danger as Hitler and the Reich start to implement their master play – but Hetty isn’t so sure Walter is all that the government claims. In fact, he’s the same sweet boy she had a crush on, who takes her thoughts seriously, likes her for her mind and her smarts – and well, she likes him too.
Danger is everywhere for the two as they develop and conduct a relationship that is forbidden and could lead to severe consequences for them both, not to mention Hetty’s father and his position should the two be discovered. While Walter is a distraction and possibly a dangerous one, he also serves to take Hetty’s thoughts and sight into reality – to see the reality behind the changes, understand that other places can, do, and will be more willing to allow her independence and Walter life, and that not everything that her father (or the government says) is necessarily true. From the growth and revelations, to her own personal crisis of ‘what is expected versus what feels right’ – Hetty is a complete and complex character that allows readers to experience the myriad of questions, conflicts and even desires that she feels. Never quite sure when (or if) the shoe will drop, the five hundred plus pages of the story whip by as you are brought into a world, given a piece, and left to live and question – all while being thoroughly entertained and feeling as if you’ve learned something of history and people.
Title: Daughter of the Reich
Author: Louise Fein
Genre: European History, German, Literary Fiction /Historical Setting, Political commentary, Pre World War II, Setting: Germany
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 12 May, 2020
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 14 Hours: 52 minutes
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For fans of The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See, a spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regime.
As the dutiful daughter of a high-ranking Nazi officer, Hetty Heinrich is keen to play her part in the glorious new Thousand Year Reich. But she never imagines that all she believes and knows about her world will come into stark conflict when she encounters Walter, a Jewish friend from the past, who stirs dangerous feelings in her. Confused and conflicted, Hetty doesn’t know whom she can trust and where she can turn to, especially when she discovers that someone has been watching her.
Realizing she is taking a huge risk—but unable to resist the intense attraction she has for Walter—she embarks on a secret love affair with him. Together, they dream about when the war will be over and plan for their future. But as the rising tide of anti-Semitism threatens to engulf them, Hetty and Walter will be forced to take extreme measures.
Will the steady march of dark forces destroy Hetty’s universe—or can love ultimately triumph…?
Propulsive, deeply affecting, and inspired by the author’s family history, Daughter of the Reich is a mesmerizing page-turner filled with vivid characters and a meticulously researched portrait of Nazi Germany. In this riveting story of passion, courage and morality, Louise Fein introduces a bold young woman determined to tread the treacherous path of survival and freedom, showing readers the strength in the power of love and reminding us that the past must never be forgotten.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.