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Daughter of the Reich For fans of The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See, a spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regimeAs the dutiful daughter of a high ranking Nazi officer, Hetty Heinrich is keen to play her part in the glorious new Thousand Year Reich But she never imagines that all she believes and knows about her world will come into stark conflict when she encounters Walter, a Jewish friend from the past, who stirs dangerous feelings in her Confused and conflicted, Hetty doesn t know whom she can trust and where she can turn to, especially when she discovers that someone has been watching herRealizing she is taking a huge risk but unable to resist the intense attraction she has for Walter she embarks on a secret love affair with him Together, they dream about when the war will be over and plan for their future But as the rising tide of anti Semitism threatens to engulf them, Hetty and Walter will be forced to take extreme measuresWill the steady march of dark forces destroy Hetty s universe or can love ultimately triumph Propulsive, deeply affecting, and inspired by the author s family history, Daughter of the Reich is a mesmerizing page turner filled with vivid characters and a meticulously researched portrait of Nazi Germany In this riveting story of passion, courage and morality, Louise Fein introduces a bold young woman determined to tread the treacherous path of survival and freedom, showing readers the strength in the power of love and reminding us that the past must never be forgotten I did enjoy the novel, but I broke my arm and shoulder and I m not capable of writing a review at the moment. Wissen ist macht Is there anyone who is truly as they appear In 1929, when Herta Heinrich Hetty was seven years old, she falls off a jetty into a lake while on a family outing Her older brother Karl s friend comes to the rescue, pulling Hetty from the water before she can drown I finally gather the courage to look directly at Walter His wavy blond hair is half dry, half wet He s saying something to Karl, but then he turns and looks at me an Wissen ist macht Is there anyone who is truly as they appear In 1929, when Herta Heinrich Hetty was seven years old, she falls off a jetty into a lake while on a family outing Her older brother Karl s friend comes to the rescue, pulling Hetty from the water before she can drown I finally gather the courage to look directly at Walter His wavy blond hair is half dry, half wet He s saying something to Karl, but then he turns and looks at me and his face breaks into a smile His eyes are the warmest, kindest blue The story picks up four years later, from which point we follow Hetty s travails from pre adolescence to early adulthood as Germany goes through a radical change Louise Fein image from her Twitter pix How could anyone possibly have supported Adolph Hitler What kind of monster must any supporter have been to go along with the rank madness of the Nazi Party One major element was the impact of relentless propaganda on impressionable minds My original plan had been to write the book from the Jewish experience But theI learned, theI wanted to understand the mindset of the Nazis How could a people, a deeply civilized, democratic nation, become so unbelievably cruel to de humanise one another, and commit atrocities on such an unimaginable scale TheI read, theI realised that what I wanted to say could perhaps bepowerfully told if I were to climb inside the head of a Nazi To tell the tale of someone young, who was fed a twisted ideology, taught hatred from day one Someone who knew no other way What could possibly change their outlook, when it went so against everything their family and the society around them believed from Why I Wrote This Book on Fein s website Hetty is molded by the messages that pervade her world We follow her through the stages of her exposure, both to the party messaging and, later, to alternate perspectives When she pets a neighbor s cute dog, her mother is horrified, warning her that she must not talk to those Dirty pigs, Jews Her father is an SS officer charged with using a local newspaper to spread propaganda Hetty does not really understand what this is about, but eventually Vati spells it out for her, there is no such thing as news per se News is power, wrapped in a message, presented, told and retold With this newspaper I have the power to put into the world what I want, and in the way I would have the masses understand Do you realize what supremacy, what authority that gives me It might remind folks of a quote from Roger Ailes, Truth is whatever people will believe Nazi radio is de rigeur in the Heinrich household, with Hitler s speeches a major highlight Hetty has so incorporated the ethos of Hitler uber alles that she harbors an inner Fuhrer, a dark conscience of sorts, who speaks to her when she is faced with difficult choices This is heightened when she attends a major party event and sees Hitler himself It is very reminiscent of the Hitler projection in the film Jojo Rabbit Hetty s brother Karl is an eager member of the Hitler Jungen Hetty becomes a member of the BDM, or Bund Deutscher M del, The League of German Girls This is intended to mold young German females into compliant brood mares for the manufacture ofNazis, and supportive hausfraus for Nazi officers Not exactly what Hetty has in mind for her future Having helped her mother with a home for war veterans, she feels powerfully drawn to becoming a doctor The Nazi world is not receptive to such dreams, even if her motivation is to help the Reich Image from emaze.comHetty is no paragon She buys in to the insanity, behaving in ways that make us cringe But is this because she is a bad person, or because she doesn t know any better She is, after all, rather young But as events progress, she is exposed to alternate perspectives The major push in this direction is when she becomes reacquainted with her young savior, Walter, now a handsome young man Hetty had been smitten with Walter since that fateful day, and cannot accept that all the awful things she has been taught about Jews could possibly be true, given that Walter is Jewish Capulet, meet Montague, and the challenge is on What can one, or two people do when faced with such an overwhelmingly dark social force Her struggle, and education, intensify once they find each other, bolstered by her gaining the insight that knowledge is power I didn t set out to write a love story per se, but in thinking about what would change someone s thinking, when they had been so thoroughly and successfully groomed into the perfect Nazi, what could possibly change their mind Realistically, the answer had to be love from the BusyWords interviewHypocrisy is, of course, rampant, and Hetty begins to see past the images to the reality, both in people close to her and in the wider political context There are others for whom their fa ade is not of the two faced, hypocritical sort, but cover, necessary for survival Makes it tough to take anyone at face value, and very difficult to know who one can trust.The story is told in a linear narrative, from Hetty s point of view, no back and forth time jumps, and only occasional takes from other characters, via correspondence Fein gives Hetty a journal to ease the expression of thoughts and feelings her young heroine might have, but which would be tough to deliver in dialogue We get a feel for the time and place, see some of the nuts and bolts of how extremist racist views are promoted and then implemented in the real world References are made to the camps, but we are spared the worst of that Krystallnacht, and the planning that lead up to it, are shown with chilling effectiveness Local residents watch the burning of the ceremonial hall at the Jewish cemetery in Graz during Kristallnacht the Night of Broken Glass Graz, Austria, November 9 10, 1938 image from History CollectionFein has a personal connection to the story He father was a German Jew from Leipzig I always wanted to write something about my father s background because I knew so little about it He died when I was seventeen and I never really got a chance to speak with him about it from her People Like Us book launch videoWhile she knew that she wanted to write a book of fiction, she also had to do considerable research to get the details of the place and time right Street names, for instance, often changed within the timeframe of the novel I had the benefit of a large collection of family papers, including contemporaneous diaries, photos, letters, official documents etc, all of which are now lodged with the University of Sussex s Centre of German Jewish Studies This was a rich resource of contemporaneous lives, told in the raw, with no benefit of hindsight, no retrospective view through the filter of history from the BusyWords interviewA particular theme that comes through is the powerless of women It was very clear that even if Hetty loved and admired Hitler, and wanted to serve the nation, there were only certain sorts of services that were available to her This is also reflected in her dealings with male peers, including her brother, who tend to dismiss her opinions and perceptions as delusional But some people find ways to get around the craziness The relationships she has are complicated, with her mother, with her friend Erna, a male friend who becomes a suitor, with Walter, and with the family staff These were handled quite well, making Hetty a believable character, and farthan a BDM Stepford teen Her growth and education are credible, as is her susceptibility to massive, pervasive, evil propaganda The portrayals of males, per se, in the book seemedblack and white ish, than those of the females, who werefully realized And, of course, the romance is both wonderful and fraught The book is a bit long but reads fast, so don t be put off by that In short, Daughter of the Reich is a marvelous, moving account of a relatable, vulnerable person during a period of great upheaval and madness, a young woman coming of age in a dark time It offers a first person look at the events of the 1930s, without the hindsight with which we now see that era It is deeply moving, as well as disturbing, reminding us just how the forces of darkness go about turning off all the lights, in history and today It is a lesson worth remembering, and Hetty s story the sorrows of young Herta helps keep that lesson brightly lit in our minds.Review posted May 22, 2020Publication date May 12, 2020 US hardcoverThe novel is titled People Like Us in the UK, Australia and NZ and as De Dochter van De Nazi in The Netherlands EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter and FB pagesInterviews Author Stories Episode 877 Louise Fein Interview by Hank Garner audio 27 59 begin at 2 30 Busywords Meet Louise Fein by Edward James Virtual launch event Part 2 Louise Fein Daughter of the Reich with Meg Waite ClaytonItems of Interest A brief video intro to the book by the author Louise Fein s People Like Us Book Launch video 59 45 start at 14 00 Louise Fein Why I Wrote This Book from her website Yad Vashem From the Testimony of Hillel Shechter about Jewish Life in Leipzig During the 1930 s The League of German Girls E maze a slideshow on The Hitler Youth How was it possible for Hitler to lure masses of people to follow his extreme views After WWI, the Treaty of Versailles forced Germans to pay war reparations, which had crushing effects on economy and humiliating effects on patriotic Germans Hitler, a mesmerizing public speaker, blamed all bad things on Jews and communist minorities, claiming they were trying to take over the world With worldwide economic depression and high unemployment, he put blame on the ineffectiveness of democratic gove How was it possible for Hitler to lure masses of people to follow his extreme views After WWI, the Treaty of Versailles forced Germans to pay war reparations, which had crushing effects on economy and humiliating effects on patriotic Germans Hitler, a mesmerizing public speaker, blamed all bad things on Jews and communist minorities, claiming they were trying to take over the world With worldwide economic depression and high unemployment, he put blame on the ineffectiveness of democratic government, thus calling for a New Order, promising to restore prosperity for all with no class divisions Most of this story is set within the two years preceding WWII, giving a glimpse into how humans in dire situation can be manipulated and pushed into doing atrocities The story is set in Leipzig and begins in 1933, quickly moving to 1937, giving a glimpse at what is happening in Germany during those years Hetty s family has just moved to a new big house, where previous tenants left their furniture and artwork She is almost twelve years old Her father is a high ranking SS officer and she doesn t understand what is happening She just knows that they don t go to church any longer as Herr Himmler wouldn t like it She dreams of being a doctor and now to her surprise she finds out that as a woman she can t be a doctor, rather she needs to learn obedience and concentrate on home things As Hitler promises a brilliant future with nopoverty noclass divisions Just one, great, unified nation which will be the envy of all the world Those who refuse to join SA recruitment go hungry, because they lose current jobs and can t get another one Those who are unwanted get charged with false crimes and are being convicted.At schools, talks of population projections take big part A population of the best the fittest, bravest, most beautiful, cleverest, and robust The epitome of Darwin s theory A people who will be superior in every way and who must spread their influence throughout the world A newspaper, is a powerful weapon it is our duty to shape the opinion of the masses and ensure the Fatherland s values and best interests are always in the forefront of people s minds Hetty almost at the age of sixteen still struggles to make sense of this all Her brother s best friend, Walter, got shunned and she secretly is in love with him He paints a touching picture for her what it means to be German He paints a straightforward picture for her how differently Jews are being treated, pretty much cornered and left without provisions for livelihood When she still struggles, he challenges her and her beliefs He encourages her to be whatever she wants to be and not to follow others directions who limit her position in society and not expect to use her mind He tells her of other countries where she can study medicine as a woman She slowly starts realizing that there is another side to this story, to the world that has surrounded her It takes Hetty time to mature, but giving the circumstances she is a believable character This story brings a vivid portrayal of distraction of lives, of feeding lies one thing being said when in reality opposite is being done of feeding hatred that pushes one man to commit horrible atrocities against another man that is even unbearable to think about Engagingly written It is a heartbreaking story with a very poignant message How could a people, a deeply civilized, democratic nation, become so unbelievably cruel to de humanise one another, and commit atrocities on such an unimaginable scale Don t take your freedom and rights for granted and don t let it slip away from you Learn the lessons of the past.Source ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Daughter of the Reich takes place in Germany during the 1930 s, life is good for the Heinrich family and they have just moved into a beautiful house in Leipzig Hetty s father is a busy man, Hetty, her mother and her brother Karl don t question what the head of the household is up to, he works hard for their family and very long days.Hetty attends school at the local gymnasium, here she s taught what every teenage German girl needs to know, the curriculum has been changed and it s all about maki Daughter of the Reich takes place in Germany during the 1930 s, life is good for the Heinrich family and they have just moved into a beautiful house in Leipzig Hetty s father is a busy man, Hetty, her mother and her brother Karl don t question what the head of the household is up to, he works hard for their family and very long days.Hetty attends school at the local gymnasium, here she s taught what every teenage German girl needs to know, the curriculum has been changed and it s all about making Germany great again and they re being brainwashed Hetty starts to have doubts, she maybe a spoiled teenage girl, but she can t understand why Jewish people are being treated so badly and she knows some nice Jewish families Hetty almost drowned when she was eight her brother s best friend Walter saved her and he is Jewish But Karl, cuts all ties with Walter, his childhood friend is shunned and he s no longer welcome at their house Hetty also learns the shocking truth about her father s job he s working for the SS and how he obtained the house the family is living in The brown shirts start targeting innocent Jewish people, including children and older people Their property is taken from them, they are bashed in the street, publicly humiliated, charged a fortune to try to get a passport and to leave the country It s very interesting to read about the German perspective as they head towards fighting in another world war, its scary what they think is necessary and right.Hitler had a plan for human progression, it s not just Jewish people he wanted to eliminate, he wanted to create a super race, of pure Aryan blood, he believed this will stop crime, hereditary diseases, insanity and create scientific advancement Hetty is horrified to discover her father also believes this, he thinks Hetty should marry a German man and produce perfect blond haired blue eyed pure Aryan babies.Hetty has major issues with what her father wants her to do, she hopes to finish school and dreams of being a doctor, she doesn t want to be used as a German brood mare and she has fallen in love with Walter, he is of course Jewish and every time they meet they risk being arrested.I couldn t stop reading Daughter of The Reich, the book is very different to other WW II historical fiction I have read and I really liked it The story is about two young people trying to go against the Nazi tide, finding the courage to keep going as they fight to survive and try desperately to be together I gave the book five starts, I have shared my review on Goodreads,Australia, Kobo, Edelweiss, Twitter and 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