Friday, June 12, 2020

Review: Daughter of the Reich by Louise Fein

Title: Daughter of the Reich
Author: Louise Fein
Published: May 2020, William Morrow Paperbacks
Format: ARC Paperback, 560 pages
Source: Publisher

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.

My thoughts: I am so glad that I have turned back to reading historical fiction. I had taken a break for a while and this year I dove back in and have really read some fantastic books, this latest one being one of them.

I think one of my favorite aspects of reading historical fiction is the unique perspective each author brings to the table, and when an author is inspired by their own family history, that just brings it to a whole new level. This book is compelling and powerful. It will take you through a range of emotions, but what is even more interesting is that it is told from a German's point of view. Hetty is the daughter of a high-ranking Nazi officer. 

This book allows us to follow Hetty as Hitler is coming into power right up into the beginning of WWII. It was quite compelling in that we clearly see a child's belief come through in the beginning - how you follow what you are told and listen to your parents. It's not until Hetty starts to grow up and befriend Walter again later on that she starts to see the flaw in these beliefs and begins to question all that she was told.

I loved watching her growth throughout the novel and her relationship with Walter develop. It wasn't always easy and there were times that I actually felt nervous for the two of them. I liked that nothing about this book was easy - Fein doesn't sugar coat things, but rather gives a realistic portrayal of what was really going on. It was heartbreaking and emotional, but so compelling.

This book really left an impact on me and this is why I continue to read historical fiction, even on the same topics. I've read countless books on WWII, but never have I read one from this perspective. If you like a powerful historical fiction read, this is definitely one to pick up!


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