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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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  • Virginia M, San Antonio, TX
    A new view of Nazi Germany
    The story in this fascinating book is about life in Germany beginning in 1933 which was just prior to Sept 1939 when WW2 officially begins as Germany invades Poland. So it not the typical story of the conflict and the Holocaust. It is also unusual in that it is told from the perspective of the main character who is eleven year old German girl named Hetty Heinrich whose father is editor of a German newspaper while also holding a high-ranking position in the Nazi organization.

    Now for those of you who do not want to read another book about the war, it is important to realize that our story begins and ends before Poland is invaded. As we read the book, we are skillfully allowed to see the world through Hetty's eyes and thoughts. And if you have wondered how the German citizenry were lulled into accepting Hitler and his campaign of hate, this story will hopefully answer sine of your questions.

    As the story opens, we learn that 11 year old Hetty has been brought up to truly idolize Adolph Hitler and to believe the Nazi party line concerning the wonderful future to be enjoyed by Germans under his leadership. We also learn that she and her brother Karl enjoy a close relationship and she is often invited to join Karl and his good friend Walter in their activities. Walter is described as a tall kid with blue eyes and blond hair and a kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and strong personality.

    Whispers of anti-Semitism are introduced in the very first Chapter and build throughout the book. Hetty's idyllic vision of the situation begins to erode as she begins to questions some of the ideology being thrust down her throat at home, at school and in her youth group when Karl puts an end to his friendship with Walter and Hetty finds out that Walter is a Jew – one of those dirty, lying, cheating Jews.

    By this time, however, Hetty has fallen in love with Walter and she must then make a choice whether she, too, will end her relationship with him or she will secretly violate the directives of her family and her country.

    I read opinions about how similar the situation in German at that time was to the situation in our country today. We are a divided country with one side complaining about how detrimental the influence of the media and mass manipulation can be to the country while the other side is outraged at the apparent lack of compassionate support our nation is offering to people who are being denied basic human rights.

    The book could prompt meaningful discussions about the two viewpoints.
  • Doris K. (Mountain Iron, MN)
    Daughter of the Third Reich
    This book is for those who prefer reading historical fiction, or those who have ever wondered how Hitler managed to gain control over the German people..Through the experiences of Hatty Heinrich the author relates the influence of Hitler and the Nazi party on ordinary people while also telling a good story.

    It is fiction but told in a way that gives the reader the real essence of the people who lived in Germany at that time.

    I would recommend reading the notes from the author found in the back of the book first. Her research reassures that the story is based on factual material.
    This is a good book. I would recommend it to anyone whether a history fan or not.
  • Grace W. (Corona del Mar, CA)
    A Great Read
    I could not put the "Daughter of the Reich" down. Even before finishing the book, I raved to friends about it. I am an avid read of fiction occurring in times of rising authoritarianism. I loved the 'Nightingale" and "All the Light We Cannot See". This book towers above those two great reads. The layers and complexity of the character development are phenomenal. Hettie's transformation from a Nazi loyalist to resister is highly believable. The writing is well crafted. Each character plays a significant role in the development of the story and adds to the describing the tension of living in Germany during the late 1930's. The scenes about Kristallnacht are graphic and chilling. I highly recommend this book. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. It is GREAT.
  • Debra C. (Vienna, GA)
    Daughter of the Reich
    What an insightful, well written, and compelling novel! Fein presents one of the most realistic and compelling stories that I have read concerning the rise of Hitler and the atrocities inflicted upon the European Jews and those who opposed Nazi rule. As an added bonus, an endearing love story between the strong willed daughter of Hitler's inner circle and the young Jewish man who saves her life, is artistically woven into this poignant read. At 530 pages, I found myself wanting more, which is one of the highest complements I can pay to what may be the absolute BEST novel I will read this year...thank you Louise Fein for your amazing work and to Book Browse for the opportunity to experience it!
  • Jill M. (Highland Park, IL)
    Good look at WW2 German home front...
    I chose this book from Book Browse to read and review the Advance Reader's edition. I'm giving it four out of five stars.

    "Daughter of the Reich" is a good work of fiction that would make an excellent book club choice. The author, Louise Fein, tells the oft-told story of star-crossed young lovers in 1930's Germany. The two protagonists- Hetty and Walter - are friends but become lovers as they age. Hetty is from a doctrinaire Nazi family, while Walter is Jewish. While it would be easier for Louise Fein to draw simple caricatures of her characters, she actually gives them identities which make them interesting to the reader. The plot is also less conventional than many on the same subject. It's a good read and brings up some interesting questions about families in the Nazi era.
  • Lee L.
    A story of love against the odds.
    This is the second book I've read in recent months that is set in the pre-World War II time period of the 1930s in Germany, during which Hitler rose to power and Nazism infiltrated every part of the country. Though set in a similar time period, the angle that this book explores is markedly different. The story is told from the perspective of Hetty Heinrich, who, as the daughter of a high-ranking SS officer, was raised to be the perfect German citizen — pure in lineage, patriotic, fiercely loyal to Hitler and the Nazi ideology he espoused. As a dutiful "daughter" of the Thousand Year Reich, Hetty is prepared to do her part — that is, until one day when she is accidentally reunited with Walter Keller, an estranged childhood friend who had saved her from drowning when she was seven years old. To Hetty, Walter is perfect in every way — except for the fact that he is Jewish, and also, as Hetty slowly starts to realize, he goes against every belief she had previously been taught. The two of them end up falling in love and gradually, Hetty realizes everything she thought she understood about her family and country were actually lies, which ignites in her the will to fight against them. When the tides of anti-semitism in Germany escalate to the point where Walter's mere existence is put into question, Hetty is faced with the ultimate decision to try and save him at all costs.

    As is expected when reading historical fiction, the feeling of being transported to a different time and place is one of the things I always look out for, which in this story worked really well. This book's strongest element though is in the area of character development. We first meet Hetty when she is 7 years old and subsequently follow her development through her teenage years, but what stands out the most is her feisty personality and strong-willed nature. Hetty is a character who both enthralls and frustrates in equal measure, which I guess is what makes her such an interesting character.

    Given the historical context, books set against the backdrop of Nazi rule going into World War II are rarely ever "easy" reads and of course, this book was no exception. The sections that described the brutalities inflicted upon Jews (and others who were considered "enemies" of the regime) were difficult to read, yet I understand why such details were necessary to the story. With that said though, I also felt the writing was a bit uneven in certain areas — the narrative was told entirely from Hetty's first person perspective, yet some sections were descriptive to the point that it didn't seem to match the voice. I also felt the story dragged a bit in the earlier chapters and it wasn't until around the halfway mark that the story became much more engaging — though with that said, for me at least, the last section of the book was the strongest in terms of plot, character, and emotional nuance.

    Despite some issues with pacing and flow, this was a good story overall, and definitely a worthy entry into the canon of WWII-era fiction, in my opinion. Over the years, I've heard many people complain about the over-saturation of WWII era novels in the market and while I agree for the most part, I also feel it's extremely important for these stories to continue to be told, if anything, to serve as a lesson for us and future generations, that history cannot be forgotten.

    Received ARC from William Morrow (HarperCollins) via Bookbrowse First Impressions program
  • Lloyde N. (Olympia, WA)
    Daughter of the Reich
    The power of love is our greatest currency and commodity. Writing this review during almost a month of being directed by our Governor to "stay home - stay safe" life becomes very precious as we once knew it. We make our daily decisions based on what is the greatest good morally, and limit the casualties of the number who will die of no fault of their own.

    This kind of story took place in WWII Germany as well. Good people bridging the gap between the expected promises of the 3rd Reich and a love that will bend and grow based on secret yearnings of the heart and passions. Neither can coincide together.

    My In-laws met this way after WWII, one a young French country girl, the other a New York Jew from Forest Hills. Even though it was clear that my mother-in-law was not from New York by her accent and mannerisms, their love and struggle was greater than what people thought. They told neither set of parents of their diverse backgrounds - they chose love. Tough decisions for difficult times.

    We speak in kindness to impossible situations, matters of the heart, but we will not be quieted. In short, love reigns.

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