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Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne…

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

by Anne Blankman

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818148,805 (3.83)10



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This is one of those books I thought I would like better than I did. The premise seemed right up my alley, but I just couldn't connect with it the way I wanted. The writing is good, the story line is good, I just couldn't get attached to it, so for that reason 4 out of 5 stars. I would still recommend it though for people that like historical fiction. ( )
  Beammey | Jul 23, 2016 |
I loved Anne Blankman's debut novel last year. "Prisoner of Night and Fog" was one of my favourites for 2015, so I was keen to read its sequel. "Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke" was well written and extensively researched, but it started slowly and I felt it lacked the nail-biting tension of the first book as Gretchen and Daniel were more distanced from Hitler in this one. However, despite missing the intensity of the first book and learning more about Hitler's psyche, "Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke" was still a worthy sequel, full of intrigue, drama and suspense. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Feb 29, 2016 |
Stories about the Nazis are perennial favourites: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is the second of a series by Anne Blankman set in pre-war Germany, after Hitler comes to power but before the full horror of his ideology is widely known.

Young Gretchen Whitestone and Daniel Cohen having escaped Nazi Germany and live quietly in Oxford: despite Gretchen having been one of Hitler’s favourites and Daniel being Jewish, they are in love and want to put the past behind them.

But then Daniel receives a telegram which makes him return to the Reich and Gretchen, when she hears of his arrest for murder, hurries after him. Against the backdrop of the arson attack on the Reichstag, and while hunted by Nazis and aided by gangsters, Gretchen and Daniel have to prove his innocence and escape back to England.

An exciting young adult read with new and interesting insights into life under Hitler, this book can stand alone in an engrossing series. ( )
  adpaton | Oct 30, 2015 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Well researched, captivating, and fascinating; an impressive sequel to an already gorgeous first book.

Opening Sentence: The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone bicycled down the country lane.

The Review:

Gretchen and Daniel escaped from Germany, and now live a content life in England. For once, Gretchen doesn’t have to fear her brother’s dangerous moods or her mother’s biting words – most of all, Gretchen doesn’t have to fear the man who she used to call “Uncle Dolf” . . . Hitler. She was his “sunshine” for years and used to be in his inner circle, but after uncovering the plot that got her father killed and realizing the true extent of his plans for the Jews, she has escaped. The Whitestones are a loving, kind family.

Then Daniel gets word about a family member dying, and he rushes back to Germany to see them. Gretchen fears for him; if he is caught than it will mean certain death after days of torture. When he doesn’t come back, she takes matters into her own hands and goes back to her homeland to find the man she loves so dearly. What she doesn’t expect is to find him with a false murder charge over his head, and to become knee deep in another scandal. They have thirteen days before the Enabling Act is passed and Hitler assumes dictatorship. Can they uncover the layers of secrets and expose him as the man he is, before he takes total control over her country?

I hadn’t read the first book in a while prior to reading this, so I was a little worried about diving right back in to Gretchen and David’s story. Luckily, Blankman flawlessly delivers a recap into the first couple chapters and it came back to me. I fell into her gorgeous writing, the melodic flow of her sentences, once again. I was enchanted by the detail in both the history and the imagery, and fascinated where she would take Gretchen and David this book. I love them as a couple and was rooting for them one hundred percent, so I was devastated when their relationship got rocky, but at least it was for realistic reasons. I like how they accepted that the other person wasn’t the only thing they needed in the other’s life, but still worked to make the romance work.

The secrets were even deeper in this second novel, and I was again impressed by how each clue led to another. It was a perfect blend of mystery and thriller, and the tension got thick enough to cut with a knife. New characters were introduced, each of them with complex personalities and all of them giving something new to the story. Hitler was terrifying to me, and Gretchen as well – he left an imprint on her psyche that she can’t erase. He was the most interesting character, because there were so many different layers to him, and I liked how the author explored each facet of the dangerous man.

This novel was another delicious installment in the Prisoner of Night and Fog series, and I enjoyed it immensely. I’m not a huge historical fiction reader, but I was still swallowed into this novel, and I loved that I now feel very informed about that period in history. Blankman truly covered all her bases. If you enjoyed the first, I promise that the second gets even darker, more dangerous, and more high-stakes than before!

Notable Scene:

When she’d first moved to England, sometimes she missed her old hate. Back when she’d been Uncle Dolf’s darling, she’d wrapped herself in it like a coat, and felt warm and protected. Safe. Without it, she’d been stripped bare. Vulnerable and aching in the cold.

Hate had made her life easy. Hitler had taught her so carefully. Any of the wrongs done to her could be traced back to Jewish or Communist hands. A poor exam mark meant her teacher didn’t approve of her political beliefs; a slight from friends on the playground meant the Jewish students had turned their classmates against her. Nothing was her fault.

Love was so much harder, messy and complicated and confusing.

FTC Advisory: Balzar+Bray/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Oct 26, 2015 |
‘It was starting. What Hitler had always promised – the Party and Germany were becoming one. The union that she had once thought sounded so perfect. Now it terrified her.’

The year is 1933. Gretchen and Daniel have managed to extricate themselves from the dangers of Germany and have been slowly rebuilding their lives in England. Their lives are far from perfect and they both miss their families, but they’re at least safe. When Daniel receives a telegram with terrible news about an incident involving his family he rushes back to Germany without a second thought. Gretchen, being unable to remain sitting in safety while constantly wracked with worry, packs her bags and follows him straight back into danger.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke centers around the mystery behind the factual Reichstag fire. Gretchen and Daniel feel that if they can expose the lies surrounding the fire that they can hopefully put a stop to Hitler’s rise to power. I actually knew very little about the fire prior to this read so a little investigation of my own was needed. It was shocking to learn just how important that fire became in establishing Nazi Germany because as a result of the fire, Hitler was able to get the Reichstag Fire Decree passed which subsequently suspended civil liberties of German citizens. This Decree remained in effect throughout WWII, technically legalizing many of Hitler’s actions according to German law. That time in history will never cease to shock me.

This second installment in the duology was a solid one with the inclusion of actual historical events adding some legitimacy to this tale. The characters seemed to be constantly placing themselves needlessly in danger but I can’t decide whether it was actually or the fact that we know the outcome of it all made it just seem like a lost cause. Akin to horror movies where people are constantly making the worst possible decisions and you’re screaming at them to stop, I was begging them to stop from the very start when Gretchen and Daniel both travel back to Germany and right into Hitler’s dangerous hands. But considering it from their point of view, they may have understood the danger as it was during that time, but they couldn’t even begin to understand just how terrible it would truly get.

Equally knowledgeable and thrilling, this is a must-read for historical fiction fans. What I loved most about this duology is how interesting it was to read a story that was set well before the war, just as Hitler was first gaining power. While we are all cognizant of the occurrences of WWII, it was still hard not to hope that Gretchen and Daniel would actually succeed. ( )
  bonniemarjorie | May 29, 2015 |
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In 1933, eighteen-year-old Gretchen, niece of Adolph Hitler, reunites with her Jewish boyfriend when she leaves the safety of England to return to Germany to investigate a murder and expose the evil of the Nazi regime.

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