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Daughter of the Reich

A Novel

by Louise Fein

Daughter of the Reich by Louise Fein X
Daughter of the Reich by Louise Fein
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  • Susan B. (Hahira, GA)
    Honouring the past
    I must admit, due to the current political atmosphere, the rising of global, as well as national antisemitism, the resurgence of nationalism and being underquarentine from an invisible invader, I postponed reading this book. A decision I now, totally regret. A more timely and heartfelt endeavour has not been written in a long time. Her research and desire to paint a truthful portrait of a painful time in world history is evident from the first page to the last.

    She tells the story through the eyes of her protagonist, a child and who is more painfully truthful than a child. They are but clay that we mold and shape to our ideals until one day the world forces their eyes to be opened.

    Herta is just such a child. She is the only daughter of two loving parents and the sister to a loving brother. She sees what they want her to see, sheltered in the family womb until one day, she is confronted by the ugly truth of a changing world. One she really doesn't understand. The rhetoric at home is kept to adults only until it invades her school, her friends and her surroundings. Friends once welcomed are shunned, without explanation. School mates and favorite teachers become persona non grata again with no explanation. Doctrine becomes the norm and taught as the only acceptable truth.

    As all children do, they parrot what they are told is the truth until one day they begin to question. In the 30's in Germany during the rise of Adolph Hitler, this makes for a very tenuous and dangerous existence. There is Hitler's truth or there is no truth. Her father, once the editor of a local newspaper becomes more and more involved in the Nazi party, rising within its ranks. Her mother becomes the perfect wife of such a man devoting more and more time to her "good works". Her brother becomes involved in the youth movements with eyes on the Luftwaffe and all things childish are brushed to the side. Friends who no longer "fit" are abandoned or scorned. Things that Herta just takes for granted without understanding until one day, when she encounters one of those friends. A friend who was so close to the family a friend who saved her life as a young child, a friend who meant so much to all until he was shunned. When the explanations are made, her world begins to shatter. She begins to question everything. The facade begins to shatter and she enters a very dangerous realm. One difficult for an adult let alone a teenager. Trying to balance both worlds in such dangerous times leads to dangerous decisions. Decisions a teenager like Herta, a child of privilege, is not truly capable to handle. She is forced to develop a strength she was not groomed to possess.

    Inspired by the past of her father's family, Fein dove into the research of the era, location and facts that existed during those dangerous years. Like many, including friends of my family, these times were to be buried and not talked about for a very long time. It was too painful. Too ugly. Too frightening to think it could ever rear its ugly head again.

    I applaud her and cannot recommend this book highly enough. I assure you it will be high on the list for several of the book clubs I belong to. This is a must read for both its passion, history and as a warning for these dangerous times to not let this happen again.

    Thank you BookBrowse for bringing this book to my attention and thank you Ms. Fein for a marvelous book.
  • Carol N. (San Jose, CA)
    1930s Germany
    This is the second book I've read in the last two months that is set in the pre-World War II time period of the 1930s as Hitler infiltrated Germany. Though set in a similar time period, each book explored it differently. The first book was based on the author's father's diaries, very fragmented, and lacking the development of too many characters, it was so hard to follow its storyline. However, the book is told from the perspective of Hetty, the daughter of a high-ranking SS officer, wh0 was raised to be a dutiful daughter of the Reich. In her late teens, she is reunited with a childhood friend, Walter, who is perfect in every way, but one. . . He is Jewish. Realizing that he stands for every belief she had previously been warned about, the two of them end up falling in love. As the anti-Semitism escalates and Walter's existence is in question and Hetty is forced to make a decision to save his life by working to get him released from his concentration camp imprisonment to safety in England.

    This book provides the reader with the feeling of being transported to a different time and place. This powerful, character driven novel looks at the brutalities as inflicted upon the Jewish people and make it difficult to read. Even though the story lugged a bit in the earlier chapters, I soon found the story engaging and filled with emotional touches. Despite the families' lies, their dark secrets, treachery, and heartbreak, the reader comes to know and honestly love each of the many flawed characters. It is filled with persons you will love or hate, and remember long after you have finished your reading.
  • Cheryl P. (Lebanon, PA)
    Daughter of the Reich
    This book was beautifully written about a dark and violent time in history. To follow the growing pangs of innocence and growing threat of war these main characters will enter into your heart. You feel their pain and their joy of their relationship. This story will leave you breathless.
  • Jean L. (Omaha, NE)
    You Must Be Carefully Taught
    I do confess that I almost stopped my reading of DAUGHTER of the REICH by Louise Fein. The brainwashing used by the Nazis to convince the youth of Germany to buy into their world of hate was painful to me. I am glad that I finished the book and was able to see redemption in Hetty as she became her own person.

    Hetty Heinrich is the daughter of an SS officer and the editor of a pro Natzi newspaper in Leipzig, Germany. She thought that her father was a great man. She believed everything he told her about the Jewish population until her own experience told her something different. At one time Hetty was proud to be a part of the new Thousand Year Reich

    The book is a story that focuses on friendship, loyalty, and love. Karl is Hetty's older brother. She could tell him anything. As Karl became involved in gliders and airplanes, he became less involved with Hetty. She felt she was losing her best friend. Walter was Karl's best friend until he wasn't. Walter had saved Hetty from drowning when she was little. She looked upon him as her hero. Tomas has been Hetty's friend since the days of the old neighborhood. He became a Natzi gangster and a proud member of the German army. Erna is Hetty's best girlfriend from school. They shared secrets.

    It is not often that a book is written from the point of view of a young Natzi girl. It helps to explain why the German population allowed Hitler to become the monster that he was. A population must be carefully taught.
  • Vicky R. (Roswell, GA)
    WWII winner!
    I absolutely loved this story. I read many books in this genre and Daughter of the Reich has been one of the best. The despair in this story became almost tangible. More than a love story... more than historical fiction: rather both wrapped up in one novel with characters you root for.
  • Jessica F. (Revere, MA)
    A Different Perspective
    This novel offered a different perspective on Nazi-Germany. Often times we read about Jews who were persecuted and their suffering in concentration camps. Here we see several perspectives: steadfast Nazis, compassionate by-standers, innocent Jewish people, and the daughter of the Reich who is torn between what her family believes and what her heart believes.

    This novel is wonderfully written with rich characters, setting, and the portrayal of deep emotions of all involved. There are enough twists and turns to keep the pages turning. There are many gut-wrenching moments but there are also times of joy and happiness.

    Daughter of the Reich would be suitable for book clubs and anyone over 16 years old, as there are some sexual references. Overall, a lovely novel for anyone who enjoys this genre!
  • Mark S. (Blauvelt, NY)
    Moving Debut Novel
    After a sluggish start, the pace of this novel picks up quickly and becomes difficult to put down. I loved Fein's choices to tell the story from Herta's point of view and to make the story span such a long period of time. Not only does it bring the story to life, but it also provides a glimmer of what life in Germany must have been like back then, especially since the are characters that span the entire spectrum of ideologies. As someone who has taught Elie Wiesel's Night, this book could be an interesting companion/supplemental piece in high school. It would also be a great choice for any adult book club.

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