#Blogtour Her Hidden Life by V.S Alexander @VSAlexander3 @Sabah_K @AvonBooksUK

Her Hidden Life

Her Hidden Life by V.S. Alexander  Avon May 3rd 2018

A captivating story of romance, danger and risking it all for love

A forbidden love. A deadly secret.

An absorbing, well-researched story that brings to life an extraordinary period in history’ GILL PAUL, bestselling author of The Secret Wife

It’s 1943 and Hitler’s Germany is a terrifying place to be. But Magda Ritter’s duty is the most dangerous of all…

Assigned to The Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat, she must serve the Reich by becoming the Führer’s ‘Taster’ – a woman who checks his food for poison. Magda can see no way out of this hellish existence until she meets Karl, an SS officer who has formed an underground resistance group within Hitler’s inner circle.

As their forbidden love grows, Magda and Karl see an opportunity to stop the atrocities of the madman leading their country. But in doing so, they risk their lives, their families and, above all, a love unlike either of them have ever known…

My Review

I love historical fiction and was particularly intrigued by the synopsis of Her Hidden Life, who knew that Hitler had a team of tasters who would sample his food for poison, risking their own lives to save Hitler and the Third Reich.

One of those tasters was Magda Ritter, who accepts a position at Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat, completely oblivious to her new  role . And what a wonderful character Magda was, beautiful, intelligent and to begin, just a little timid and unsure. As Magda cames to realise,  life at Berghof was never dull, filled with a certain amount of fear, all bowing and scraping to Hitler’s every need. It is her meeting with SS Officer Karl Webber that changes Magda’s life. and instills in her a will and determination to survive the war at all costs. Their relationship is captured moments away from the rest of the staff, until Hitler himself, takes an interest encouraging them to marry, and this is where, for me, the story took an altogether more interesting tone.

Through Magda’s eyes, Alexander, brought me up close and personal to Hitler and his inner sanctum in a way that I have not read before. There are vivid descriptions and details of Hitler, as he slowly becomes withered and broken, as the effects of a war he would never win take their toll.

‘His hair shone gray in the dim light, his face lined with dark ridges. He stopped, turned his head toward me and stared. The light in his eyes had vanished and his left arm shook’

Yet is is not only Hitler who suffers but also those around him and Alexander wrote brilliantly of the fear many felt, should they step out of line or make one little mistake. I  could feel Magda’s own fears as she struggled with her position, knowing  that the man she served was evil with little thought for the people of Germany. I was pleased that Alexander portrayed her as such a tenacious and brave women, who suffered greatly but had a steely determination to survive.

What really stood out was Magda’s unlikely friendship with Eva Braun.  I was quite surprised at my reaction to Alexander’s depiction, at times feeling sorry for a lonely and friendless woman. She was a woman who quite clearly adored and idolised Hitler, despite playing second fiddle to his warmongering and plans for world domination.  I did wonder how much she knew of the atrocities he masterminded or if she remained blissfully ignorant, blinded by love and Hitler’s charismatic and hypnotic personality.

Her Hidden Self did not shy away from the more unpleasant sides to war and in particular the hardships and unspoken violence the German’s themselves suffered. It is something we read so little about, instead focusing on the concentration camps and Hitler’s despotic rule. What few think about is the plight of the German people who endured countless bombing raids, lost their homes and members of their family and in some cases the violence women had to endure as the Russians advanced towards the end of the war.

What startled me most was reading the authors notes at the end, realising that Magda’s story was based on fact, making the novel all the more poignant and emotive.

The author may have used a certain amount of poetic license but that did not in anyway take away what is a startling and evocative novel of love and war.

Thank you to Sabah Kahna and Avon for a copy to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Image result for v.s. alexander author

V. S. Alexander is an ardent student of history and the arts and loves writing historical fiction with strong women protagonists. The author of several novels and short stories, Alexander’s first novel for Kensington Publishing was The Magdalen Girls, an Amazon best seller, set in 1962 Dublin. The author lives in South Florida where summer is never far away.

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