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I Belong

Review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Conspiracy of Blood and SmokeTitleConspiracy of Blood and Smoke

AuthorAnne Blankman

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog (Book #2)

Publication Date: April 21, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062278843 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062278845 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives in England, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside down. When she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped—and return to her homeland.

Quick & DirtyWell 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.

Excerpt: Yes

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.

Prisoner of Night and Fog Series:

1. Prisoner of Night and Fog

2. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke


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.

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