As secretary to the charismatic Kommandant Richwalder, Emma vows to use her unique position to gather intelligence for the Resistance - by any means necessary...
©2007 Pam Jenoff; (P)2008 Recorded Books LLC
I love books!
First time author for me, debut novel for the author, Pam Janoff, and recommended by Iowa author Heather Gudenkauf. In researching the author I learned she at one time worked for the US State Department and was posted in Krakow, Poland, which is where this story is set. She evidently got some of the background for this story during that time. At the start of the story, young Polish Jew Emma gets married one month before the Nazi invasion of Poland. Just days after her husband takes off to be part of the Jewish Resistance. Her parents are put in the Jewish Ghetto of Krakow. Then Emma is asked to masquerade as a young Catholic girl named Anna and eventually gets hired to be the personal assistant to the Nazi Kommendant of Krakow. She is further asked by the Resistance to get whatever intelligence she can to help the cause. The story evolves from there with Emma/Anna forced to make gut wrenching, heart wrenching choices to help those she loves. Not really a thriller but with a good amount of suspense, this is more a human interest story that gives you a sense of trepidation the further you get into the story. This story reminds me that even today many people in the world are being asked to make tough choices that make no sense as to why they must even consider them. A good, thought provoking warm story. I really enjoyed it.
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Overall the story is a good one, but I still had trouble with a lot of it.
My biggest issue is that I just didn’t buy the chemistry between the Kommandant and his Girl, and since that’s the entire point of the book it made it hard to get into. I had to suspend my disbelief and just take her word for it that she was “hot for the Nazi” as opposed to really sensing her dilemma.
I also found the ending too contrived; I don’t want to give it away, but suffice it to say it was all a little too neat.
Nevertheless I was interested in the characters enough to get the sequel (The Diplomat’s Wife), and I am starting it right away.
I wanted to read a war-torn or poignant or at least interesting story about a woman who is used to spy on the top German in Krakow in WW2. What I got was a predictable story and trite piece of writing. The author's first mistake was to use the present tense. That keeps the gentle reader at arm's length and Ms. Jenoff's story was just not enough to draw me in. Coupled with a lackluster performance by the reader, and I was happy to have this book come to an end.
poor character development. Didn't really care about any of the characters. Couldn't understand why in the world the Kommandant would be in love with someone as wooden as Anna.
Loved the idea of the book.
"the Kommandants Girls"
Exellent book - I could stop listening to it, It covered love tragedy, friendship and adventure. The plight of the Jews in Poland during WW II - I would recomend this book to everyone.
Somewhere in here is a much better book trying to get out.
The idea is good, but the writing isn't particularly and the characters are wooden. Some of the dialogue is terrible (the word okay is used too often) and some of the events are ludicrous.
Would it really have been that easy to get in touch with the Resistance, especially when they had gone 'dark'?
Krysia might have been Catholic, but she had been married to a Jew, would the Germans have been that accepting of her?
Before Emma/Anna left the city she had to say goodbye to her parents in the Ghetto, she went to the wall, conveniently found a gap, looked through and guess who just happened to be taking a walk in the middle of the night? Yes, it was her father!
On her last night with the Kommandant Emma/Anna gave him a hefty dose of a sedative to enable her to sneak off easily. This drug was enough to knock him out within minutes, but then a couple of hours later he was awake enough to be driving around looking for her.
I could go on, but you get the general idea, I won't be rushing to listen to anything else by this author.
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