Sunday, July 5, 2015

ARC Review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publishing Date: April 1st, 2015
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Pages: 406 pgs
ISBN: 9780062278845
Source: Received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

My Review:

This is the second in a series and I was excited to get this book on Edelweiss. I really enjoyed the idea of the first one and I found that I really wanted to know more about Gretchen and Daniel. This book picks up soon after the first and Gretchen and Daniel have fled Germany. They are getting settled into their new lives when Daniel gets news that his cousin has been very badly injured. Daniel decides to head back to tension filled Germany. As you can suspect Daniel doesn't come back and Gretchen goes back into Germany to save him. This is during the lead up to WWII and the the fact that Daniel is Jewish does not bode well for him nor for his girlfriend Gretchen.

I have to admit that while I was really looking forward to reading this book, it didn't live up to it's expectations for me. The story wasn't bad but it wasn't amazing. I really like the concept of focusing on someone who used to be so close to Adolph Hitler. We don't ever think of Hitler with a human element. I think that adding this element makes what he did so much worse. It baffles me how atrocities like the Holocaust occur. I think while the concept was strong, I wasn't invested in the characters as much. I had to wonder if what they were doing was brave or slightly stupid. I suppose that knowing the outcome of the war, it makes it easy for me to say they were being naive. The two were idealistic in believing they could change everything.

This is not to say that I didn't like the book. It was entertaining and I read it quickly. I wanted to know what happens next but didn't find myself loving it. Overall I would say it was a solid 3 stars. Those who like a historical fiction will enjoy this story.

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