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Publisher's Summary

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 Führer'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.

©2018 V.S. Alexander (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Taster

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A MUST READ!!!!!

OMG!!!! The Taster should be mandatory reading for every person today. This book does a phenomenal job of showing what can happen when people are complacent and desperate. Even good people can be misguided and do horrific things and with the right tools evil can be brought out of almost anybody. V.S. Alexander really brings the reader into the mindset of 1940s Germany and shines light on how something as bad as the Holocaust came to be and could come again. This book changed how I look at the world and I hope I always have the guts to speak up when I see wrong in the world.

56 people found this helpful

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Very mixed feelings about this book.

I'm shocked I finished it, honestly. It really drove me crazy, and I kept hoping there would be some twist or revelation that redeemed it for me. But, no.

I was born in the 80s, to a very small Jewish American family. My dad's side of the family is so small, because many of his cousins, aunts and uncles perished during the holocaust. That said, I just cannot get behind a book that personalizes the Nazis.

Sure, I intellectually understand that many people who caused great harm weren't exactly monsters in their day to day life. And that by understanding the personalities and behavior of everyday people who get caught up in heinous movements, we can better prevent these things from happening again.

But listening to a book for many hours that fleshed out so many Nazi characters... Ugh. It grossed me out. They really really casually glazed over how aware party members were to the atrocities. I find it very hard to also believe that they existed without rampant antisemitism as a part of their collective core beliefs.

Beyond my philosophical gripes with the book, the dialog was really stiff and corny for many of the characters.

The narration was nicely done, a very unique voice that I really found enjoyable.

Not my cup of tea for wwii historical fiction.

26 people found this helpful

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Captivating

Unlike a few other reviewers I found the narration to be very good. I read WWII often. This was a great story of a servant working as a poison taste tester for Hitler and others in leadership positions.

16 people found this helpful

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Unexpectedly Fabulous

I haven't read/listened to a lot of WWII fiction, but I have read a fair amount of non-fiction, particularly about the cultural/psychological aspects of the Nazi Party. Thus, the locations and historical underpinnings of the story were well-known to me, but this perspective was incredible. I picked the read by chance as a part of the new Plus Catalog, and was riveted. I listened straight through all day. The story had horror and sadness, but the resiliency of the lead character was just right-- she moved from one who was complacent and disinterested in the propaganda of the Nazi Party who a woman developing a sense of conviction and resistance.

The part of the novel that I found most engaging was the last days of the European side of the war from the German perspective, as much of that is conjecture-- at least based on my readings of Hitler's last days, due to the chaos in the bunkers. The author did a great job creating a reasonable story that was historical consistent but with a vivid firsthand fictional account.

11 people found this helpful

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German perspective on WWII

I’ve read a lot of books written from the Jewish perspective on WWII, but this was the first time I’ve experienced it from a German forced into service to Hitler. The story is interesting and well told. I really enjoyed the narrator as well. Great read!

8 people found this helpful

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Good story but I didn't like the narration.

The plot moves at a good pace and has several compelling moments. At times though, there are sudden jumps in the character conflict that made me feel as if I had accidentally fast-forwarded through a chapter. I think I would have liked this book more if I had read instead of listened to it. The narrator's voice is raspy and grated on my ears.

13 people found this helpful

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A star above mediocre, but the reader just 2 stars

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not this book. As far as audiobooks go if the narrator isn’t good it ruins the book.

Would you be willing to try another book from V. S. Alexander? Why or why not?

Perhaps with a different reader.

How could the performance have been better?

Carol Monda just couldn’t get the German accent to sound like a German accent. So many times it sounded like the character was grunting more than speaking. She only had one German accent for all characters

12 people found this helpful

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Humbling Account

Wonderful story. I as I listened, I felt I there with Magda. I have read many books about WWII and Hitler. The statement made in the epilogue is so true. We can "never" allow this evil to ever happen again. Humans have a right to exist on this planet in peace. Many thanks to the author of this book.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

I truly enjoyed this book, through the good, bad, and ugly of those times. The story was developed quickly and artfully.

3 people found this helpful

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A riveting story of human tragedy and survival.

This book truly captures a story of people caught in a deadly time in history.

6 people found this helpful