Book Genre: Historical Fiction, War
Book Series: N/A
Released: 1/30/18 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Pages: 323 Price: $15.99 Paperback
Source: I borrowed this book from my library
Amid the turbulence of World War II, a young German woman finds a precarious haven closer to the source of danger than she ever imagined–one that will propel her through the extremes of privilege and terror under Hitler’s dictatorship . . .
In early 1943, Magda Ritter’s parents send her to relatives in Bavaria, hoping to keep her safe from the Allied bombs strafing Berlin. Young German women are expected to do their duty–working for the Reich or marrying to produce strong, healthy children. After an interview with the civil service, Magda is assigned to the Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat. Only after weeks of training does she learn her assignment: she will be one of several young women tasting the Fuhrer’s food, offering herself in sacrifice to keep him from being poisoned.
Perched high in the Bavarian Alps, the Berghof seems worlds away from the realities of battle. Though terrified at first, Magda gradually becomes used to her dangerous occupation–though she knows better than to voice her misgivings about the war. But her love for a conspirator within the SS, and her growing awareness of the Reich’s atrocities, draw Magda into a plot that will test her wits and loyalty in a quest for safety, freedom, and ultimately, vengeance.
Vividly written and ambitious in scope, The Taster examines the harrowing moral dilemmas of war in an emotional story filled with acts of extraordinary courage.
If you follow my blog you might be wondering why I read this book being it is so vastly different from the typical genre of books I read. The short answer is a book talk at work. I did dread starting this one so much that I put it off until four days before the actual talk was scheduled. I managed to finish over two days so that should give you a clue to what I thought of it in the end.
Normally I hate historical fiction, and books about WWII even more despite the fact that I agree with the author that we should never forget what happened and believe everyone should be exposed to the atrocities that took place because of the ego of a madman. I don’t like reading them because they make me mad. They also make me ashamed of my German heritage despite the fact that all of my ancestors left Germany before 1870 before Germany was even a county. Anyway, those are my personal hangups and have little to do with this book.
I did struggle with the first few chapters of the book as I tried to decide if I liked Magda or not. Her ambivalence to the war and Nazi’s bothered me in the beginning. Granted that changed but it wasn’t until that change took place that I warmed up to the character. This book is quite a different type of story about WWII than most would encounter. An interesting idea of chronicling what it might be like to live and work inside Hitler’s circle. To be so sheltered while so much horror is taking place in the country surrounding you. It was quite a fascinating read that did pull me in.
I did appreciate how the author did expose the main character to the grim reality of what was taking place around her. She didn’t stay sheltered for long, through her trials and tribulations she grew and strengthened with each new exposure. All the while remaining frustrated with how little power she actually had to change anything.
The ending was a bit of a surprise and I was delighted with how things worked out for Magda. She went through a lot and most of her life’s choices were not hers to make if she wanted to survive.
I’m glad I read the book but don’t believe I will be seeking out more WWII historical fiction titles to add to my reading list. They still leave me wiped a bit emotionally and a tad depressed even though I know how things worked out in the end. I still feel bad for what happened. Quickly followed by fear for our future as I think of the madman we have in office currently.
My Rating: 4 Stars