tw: murder, rape holocaust horrors (everything horrible related to the holocaust), suicide, attempted poisonings, actual poisoning, attempted murder, murder of dogs, anti Semitism, bombings
As you all know or may not know, I am very much into Holocaust and World War II books. I love reading about how people overcome such evil and help others to make sure that kind of evil never happens again. I love the stories of triumph. They give me hope in this bleak world we live in. Most of the Holocaust/WWII books I have read have been related to the concentration camps, which, don’t get me wrong, they are good books (most of them are) but sometimes I like to read about survival on the other side. The ones that fight the evil from within.
And this book delivered that in spades. I had this book saved in my Overdrive (which is a truly blessed app that everyone should have on their Kindle) and I decided to give it a shot in an effort to get the list cleaned out. The synopsis had me intrigued and I wanted to know more about it. In short, I. Loved. This. Book. Everything about it was amazing. The main character was great, the story was heart wrenching and the writing was beautiful. I could yell all day long about how fantastic this book was.
Magda was the main character and let me tell you, her growth in a short amount of time that this book took place (it spanned the course of the war; 1939 to 1945) was amazing. In case you didn’t know, I love a good character growth in a book. Magda started off kind of whiny and a little bit spoiled, as she was a young adult at the time of the war starting. Quickly, she changed her tune and grew up to be a very strong and courageous woman. She excluded strength in desperate times and never lost who she was as a person despite the atrocities she faced. I was truly amazed at how well she adapted to being a taste for Hitler. I would have lost my nerve if I ever had to do such a job. She will be on my list as one of my favorite main characters, simply because of how strong she is.
The plot was what drew me into the book. How often do you see a book written about a taster? I have yet to see another one, to be honest. Like I mentioned above, Magda was a taster for Hitler. What that means is she tasted the food Hitler and his officials would eat to ensure it was not poisoned. Hitler was obsessed with the Allies poisoning his food. To me, having that job would just straight up suck. I mean sure, the chances of poison actually getting into the food was very slim as Hitler surrounded himself with nothing but incredibly loyal and blind followers but there is always that chance. I wondered, while reading this book, if it’s based on true events. I will have to do a bit more research to see if it is.
I do have one teeny tiny complaint about this otherwise amazing book. That complaint would be the ending. It felt kind of rushed to me, like as if V.S Alexander realized he needed to quickly wrap things up as the book was getting to be a bit longer. The last 100 pages or so, events seemed to happen at breakneck speed when before they had gone at a leisurely pace. It just felt off and threw the pacing of the book way off. It was one of the reasons why I rated this book 4 (four) stars instead of 5 (five) like I was originally going too.
Overall, everyone needs to check this book out. I can’t believe that it isn’t more popular. Be assured I’ll make sure this book will be known. Everybody, seriously, check this book out! You don’t have to be super interested in WWII like I am. It has a great plot line that would appeal to readers of all different types.