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The Fortunate Ones: Beautiful and heartbreaking World War 2 historical fiction

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Every day he stood exactly where he was directed. He listened for his number, shouted his answer in the freezing cold. He was ragged and he was starving, but he was alive. He was one of the fortunate ones whom fate had left standing. And he needed to stay that way. For Hannah. Berlin, 1941. Felix Thalberg, a printer’s apprentice, has the weight of the world on his shoulde Every day he stood exactly where he was directed. He listened for his number, shouted his answer in the freezing cold. He was ragged and he was starving, but he was alive. He was one of the fortunate ones whom fate had left standing. And he needed to stay that way. For Hannah. Berlin, 1941. Felix Thalberg, a printer’s apprentice, has the weight of the world on his shoulders. His beloved city is changing under Nazi rule and at home things are no better – Felix’s father hasn’t left the house since he was forced to wear a yellow star, and his mother grows thinner every day. Then one night, Felix meets a mysterious young woman in a crowded dance hall, and his life is changed forever. Hannah is like a rush of fresh air into his gloomy, stagnant life and Felix finds himself instantly, powerfully infatuated with her. But when he tries to find her again, she’s vanished without a trace. Was Hannah taken away by the Gestapo and held prisoner… or worse? When Felix himself is imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, his thoughts are only for her safety. And when a life-threatening injury lands him on the ward of Dr Max Eichel – a Nazi medical officer with a sadistic reputation – his love for his lost Hannah sees him through the pain. Until one day Dr Eichel brings his pretty young wife to tour the camp and Felix’s world is thrown off-kilter. Framed in the hospital window he sees – impossibly – the same girl he met that fateful night… her wrist in the vice-like grip of the deathly calm SS Officer. And it’s clear Hannah recognises him at once – there is no mistaking her expression, she has been dreaming of him too... A gripping and beautiful wartime love story about two people facing impossible odds – heartbreaking, moving and unforgettable. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, We Were the Lucky Ones and The Alice Network.


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Every day he stood exactly where he was directed. He listened for his number, shouted his answer in the freezing cold. He was ragged and he was starving, but he was alive. He was one of the fortunate ones whom fate had left standing. And he needed to stay that way. For Hannah. Berlin, 1941. Felix Thalberg, a printer’s apprentice, has the weight of the world on his shoulde Every day he stood exactly where he was directed. He listened for his number, shouted his answer in the freezing cold. He was ragged and he was starving, but he was alive. He was one of the fortunate ones whom fate had left standing. And he needed to stay that way. For Hannah. Berlin, 1941. Felix Thalberg, a printer’s apprentice, has the weight of the world on his shoulders. His beloved city is changing under Nazi rule and at home things are no better – Felix’s father hasn’t left the house since he was forced to wear a yellow star, and his mother grows thinner every day. Then one night, Felix meets a mysterious young woman in a crowded dance hall, and his life is changed forever. Hannah is like a rush of fresh air into his gloomy, stagnant life and Felix finds himself instantly, powerfully infatuated with her. But when he tries to find her again, she’s vanished without a trace. Was Hannah taken away by the Gestapo and held prisoner… or worse? When Felix himself is imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, his thoughts are only for her safety. And when a life-threatening injury lands him on the ward of Dr Max Eichel – a Nazi medical officer with a sadistic reputation – his love for his lost Hannah sees him through the pain. Until one day Dr Eichel brings his pretty young wife to tour the camp and Felix’s world is thrown off-kilter. Framed in the hospital window he sees – impossibly – the same girl he met that fateful night… her wrist in the vice-like grip of the deathly calm SS Officer. And it’s clear Hannah recognises him at once – there is no mistaking her expression, she has been dreaming of him too... A gripping and beautiful wartime love story about two people facing impossible odds – heartbreaking, moving and unforgettable. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, We Were the Lucky Ones and The Alice Network.

30 review for The Fortunate Ones: Beautiful and heartbreaking World War 2 historical fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    NOT YOUR AVERAGE WWII FICTION Usually WWII fiction follows a very typical form - we either follow soldiers are prisoners in KZ camps. Sure, this book did have a prisoner in a KZ camp (Sachsenhausen) but that was far from the focal point of the story. Because this book goes beyond the war and that was refreshing and new. 👍 WHAT I LIKED 👍 Beyond WWII: Usually, in WWII fiction, the ending (whether happy or not) arrives with the end of the war. This book, however, went beyond the war and examined the f NOT YOUR AVERAGE WWII FICTION Usually WWII fiction follows a very typical form - we either follow soldiers are prisoners in KZ camps. Sure, this book did have a prisoner in a KZ camp (Sachsenhausen) but that was far from the focal point of the story. Because this book goes beyond the war and that was refreshing and new. 👍 WHAT I LIKED 👍 Beyond WWII: Usually, in WWII fiction, the ending (whether happy or not) arrives with the end of the war. This book, however, went beyond the war and examined the fates of the people who suffered through it in the years afterwards. Because no, the problems didn't end with the war. People were still suffering and fighting to get back to normal. So in a way, this book was more realistic. Ending: I will not be spoiling the ending, only say that it did not end the way I thought it would. It both made me mad - because I wanted my ending - but it also made me happy because I liked that it didn't end in a predictable way. The female, German POV: Again, WWII fiction tends to take a certain road - in many cases it is male and/or Jewish. And yes, that view was represented here with Felix. However, we also got the female, German point of view with Inge and that was refreshing. Very few authors have examined the trials of being German during the war. Inge's story shows that being a German woman married to a Nazi fanatic was no walk in the park either. 👎 WHAT I DISLIKED 👎 Insta-love: Inge and Felix fall in love after only meeting twice. That has never been to my liking. However, I do see that there is a reason for their love to evolve in the way it did (yes, I am being purposely vague here), but I still don't like insta-love... ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. If all the books I have read about World War II, the Holocaust, and the home front were in one bookshelf, I would probably have to bind it to the wall from the sheer weight of the books. One would gather I would feel oversaturated with content. Yes, there is a sameness that can set in but I enjoy reading each character's unique perspectives. In "The Fortunate Ones," Catherine Hokin begins her narrative in Berlin Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. If all the books I have read about World War II, the Holocaust, and the home front were in one bookshelf, I would probably have to bind it to the wall from the sheer weight of the books. One would gather I would feel oversaturated with content. Yes, there is a sameness that can set in but I enjoy reading each character's unique perspectives. In "The Fortunate Ones," Catherine Hokin begins her narrative in Berlin during the war years and beyond to the war crime trials and the hunt to find the "ones that got away." The two main characters are Felix, a German of mixed blood who along with his parents tries to not be noticed. And Inge, a young German woman who is soon to marry a high ranking SS officer much older than herself. One night at a dance, Felix and a young woman named Hannah will meet and that one meeting will fuel a passion that will help fuel Felix's desire to survive. Let me be frank, the insta-love in this one drove me up the wall and one particular scene in the concentration camp had me raising an eyebrow. However, the novel certainly offered unique perspectives but I think the best storylines for both characters were their lives after the war. Catherine Hokin explores the anger, the search for justice, and the guilt that followed after the war but also the staunch loyalty to Nazism that still remained. That is why I crown this one with a 3 star. Goodreads review published 30/01/20 Publication Date 20/01/20

  3. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It's the outbreak of World War II in Berlin. Felix Thalberg goes to the local dance hall. He meets a woman who says her name is Hannah. But her real name is Inga Ackermann and she's engaged to a prominent Nazi doctor. Felix come from Jewish origins, but hes not a practicing Jew.Felix and Inga met a couple of times and they were falling for each other. Felix and his father are deported to a work camp. Felix sees Inga in the camp. He thinks she's a prisoner trying to get away from the Needle. But It's the outbreak of World War II in Berlin. Felix Thalberg goes to the local dance hall. He meets a woman who says her name is Hannah. But her real name is Inga Ackermann and she's engaged to a prominent Nazi doctor. Felix come from Jewish origins, but hes not a practicing Jew.Felix and Inga met a couple of times and they were falling for each other. Felix and his father are deported to a work camp. Felix sees Inga in the camp. He thinks she's a prisoner trying to get away from the Needle. But Inga is married to him. The Needle is the camp doctor who runs crazy experiments on the prisoners. It was quite heartbreaking to read about the lengths Jewish people would go to to hide their identity. The story is told from Felix and Inga's point of view. Its told in great detail of what it must have been like for people in the concentration camps. We learn of Felix's struggles in the prison camp and his life after the war is over. It covers the period 1941 - 1956. This is a must read for fans of historical fiction who don't mind a it of romance thrown in. I would like to thank NetGalley, Bookouture and the author Catherine Hokin for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andria Potter

    The Fortunate Ones was a spellbinding tale of political strife during Hitler’s reign, and it what it meant to survive in the harsh conditions where food was scarce, medicine was a joke, and war was looming on the horizon or already at their front door. Felix is just a normal young man attempting to survive, in a place that doesn’t seem to care overmuch how he might fare. Being a prisoner in a camp, his future appears bleak until he meets Inge…a woman who tells him that her name is Hannah. He bel The Fortunate Ones was a spellbinding tale of political strife during Hitler’s reign, and it what it meant to survive in the harsh conditions where food was scarce, medicine was a joke, and war was looming on the horizon or already at their front door. Felix is just a normal young man attempting to survive, in a place that doesn’t seem to care overmuch how he might fare. Being a prisoner in a camp, his future appears bleak until he meets Inge…a woman who tells him that her name is Hannah. He believes her a prisoner, and in a way she is one, having been forced through an arranged marriage to a monster who does horrific experiments on the prisoners within the camp. Yet she’s unaware of such, kept safe at home where her husband’s abuse speaks volumes. Inge is a brave woman, though I preferred Felix’s side of the story in all honesty. While both perspectives were of interest, there were points in the story that seemed to drag. I liked how the ending wrapped up, and I rather enjoyed the author’s writing style overall, despite where parts of the story balked. I’ll definitely be checking out more by this author in the future, and I’m awarding 4.5 out of 5 stars for a wonderful trip through WWII. Though several moments were bleak and grim, the story itself was a good one, and recommended for fans of that time period.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sydney Long

    Wow! This book was thrilling and sad at the same time. It was extremely difficult to put down, I enjoyed it that much! Felix is a mischling or back the the days of WWII, a person that is half Jewish. His Aryan mother does everything possible to keep her son from danger, even if it meant attend Hitler youth activities and wear a Reich pin on his lapel. For a while, it work but eventually his luck would run out. Inge is a young woman thrown into an arranged marriage with a wealthy doctor who ranks Wow! This book was thrilling and sad at the same time. It was extremely difficult to put down, I enjoyed it that much! Felix is a mischling or back the the days of WWII, a person that is half Jewish. His Aryan mother does everything possible to keep her son from danger, even if it meant attend Hitler youth activities and wear a Reich pin on his lapel. For a while, it work but eventually his luck would run out. Inge is a young woman thrown into an arranged marriage with a wealthy doctor who ranks high in the Nazi regime. She is expected to be a “perfect” Nazi wife, pretty much an ornament. She’s never to ask questions, simply fall in line with everything that her husband does...except...she can’t. She knows something isn’t right and that her husband is up to something. A chance meeting shortly before her wedding, Inge and Felix steal a few kisses and he falls head over heels. Knowing what’s in store for her future, Inge lies and tells him her name is Hannah. It would be the first of many lies for several years to come. Once he is deported to a camp, Felix is assigned to an officer where his job his to make counterfeit money. What he doesn’t know is that Inge was there the day he arrived and helped save his life. Felix uses Hannah as his source of hope and strength as he does everything he can to survive just one more day. Inge’s marriage is an abusive one. It was all arranged and it turns violent when she asks questions she shouldn’t or when she speaks out of turn. She has no idea if Felix is alive or not. When she begins to realize that her husband is a monster, she secretly begins to collect evidence, hoping to one day make him pay for his evil. Bouncing back and forth between the characters is awesome. Things get intense and just when you think you need to take a break...it switches gears and you want to keep going. Your heartstrings pull for each of these characters and all that they’ve lost and soldier through. Highly recommend!!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    The Fortunate Ones by Catherine Hokin is a World War II story set in Berlin in 1941. It is an extraordinary story that encompasses bravery, heartache, love and the power to keep going even when faced with adversity. Felix Thalberg is a Mischling. He is neither fully German nor fully Jewish. While still being able to hold a job as a printer’s apprentice, Felix is not really sure where he fits in under the Nazi regime. His father has been stripped of his lecturing position and forced to wear a yell The Fortunate Ones by Catherine Hokin is a World War II story set in Berlin in 1941. It is an extraordinary story that encompasses bravery, heartache, love and the power to keep going even when faced with adversity. Felix Thalberg is a Mischling. He is neither fully German nor fully Jewish. While still being able to hold a job as a printer’s apprentice, Felix is not really sure where he fits in under the Nazi regime. His father has been stripped of his lecturing position and forced to wear a yellow star and is fearful of leaving their home. Felix’s mother, an aryan, refuses to leave her husband and finds herself shunned in the community. While at a dance, Felix meets Hannah and falls in love, but soon after finds himself arrested by the regime and sent to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp. While in the camp, Felix sees a glimpse of Hannah through a window pane, with an SS officer, Max Eichel, a sadistic medical officer and loyal to the regime, standing right behind her. While fearful of Hannah’s fate, she also gives him hope in a world that has changed. Catherine Hokin really emmerses you into life in a concentration camp and all of the atrocities done to other people the regime labeled as undesirables. She shows how Jews were dehumanized and treated like nothing more than cattle. People were stripped of their dignity, murdered, and tested on like lab rats. Names no longer mattered. You were nothing more than a number, you were no one. There was no humanity in a concentration camp. Just reading the text was so disheartening and gave me the chills. Not only is this a story of what it was like in a camp, but it also takes it a step further until after the war had ended. I find it to be refreshing to see what happens after the war, which not many authors tend to write about. What is most apparent is all of the research Hokin delved into while creating this story. Names and places have historic merit and I found it quite refreshing to read. From Berlin to Argentina, Hokin takes us on a journey of the SS from concentration camps in Berlin in 1941 all the way up till the end of the war when many SS Nazi’s escaped to Bariloche, Argentina’s Lake District. Felix is such a strong well written character. I could feel his pain and suffering, but I could also feel his strength even when he felt like giving up. The only thought holding him together was his love for Hannah. I know many might not understand the symbolism of the romance in this story, or may feel it was short shafted among the bigger picture, but I feel it was a necessary plot point that kept Felix going and one that gave him the strength he needed to survive through the atrocities thrown his way. Hannah is a well written character as well and I could see how she felt trapped in a marriage she did not want to be in while she carried around a love for a boy she briefly met. I found her to be very naive in the beginning, but yet I can understand why she wore rose colored glasses. In the beginning of 1941, I don’t think she could have truly handled all that was going on at the time. Hannah does grow in character and you can see how she changes for the better as time goes on. I would really like to mention the ending of this story, while I didn’t get the ending I wanted, I think it still ended perfectly and kept with the entire theme of the story. I think one really needs to encompass all that is going on to truly understand why the ending is the way it is. The Fortunate ones is a beautifully moving, gut-wrenching World War II story that will pull on your heartstrings. I highly recommend this book if you are a historical fiction fan. A definite five star read for me and I am really looking forward to more from Catherine Hokin.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emma Crowley

    If you are looking for something that little bit different from your World War Two fiction then Catherine Hokin's The Fortunate Ones is the book for you. Taking the reader deep inside Germany during the destructive years which changed the world forever, the author brings her readers on an incredible, emotional, beautiful and moving story with the power of love at its centre. To be honest, I was expecting another book based simply around the events of the war of which I have read so many and its If you are looking for something that little bit different from your World War Two fiction then Catherine Hokin's The Fortunate Ones is the book for you. Taking the reader deep inside Germany during the destructive years which changed the world forever, the author brings her readers on an incredible, emotional, beautiful and moving story with the power of love at its centre. To be honest, I was expecting another book based simply around the events of the war of which I have read so many and its certainly a genre I enjoy reading but here Catherine Hokin took things to another level and the book just went from strength to strength the further I delved into the story. It had such fantastic and emotive writing with each word so carefully chosen as to make the reader stop, think, take stock and to absorb everything they were learning and feeling. We have all read descriptions of what went on during the war in labour and concentration camps, and also as to what people went through living in fear in the towns and cities, but it felt like I was reading about everything for the first time. Simply because the author opened my eyes and grabbed my attention through such detailed and rich descriptive words and paragraphs. She seemed to have this unique ability to make things I had read about before fresh and never once did she shy away from saying exactly how things were despite how gruesome and appalling some of the images that sprang to mind while reading. At the same time, she was always able to capture such a real and intensive love that burned from first sight which then took the characters through many difficult and challenging times. There are two distinct voices throughout the story which alternate every few chapters or so, these being Felix and Inge. In turn the book is split into four parts which begin in Berlin in late 1941 and take us through the war and beyond to 1956. I am glad that the story didn't solely focus on the war years but instead brought us passed this to see how the characters were coping with the impact of all their traumatic experiences and what they had witnessed. It showed that the effects of both war and love didn't end with the conclusion of fighting in 1945. Instead the influences and impressions had long term consequences. The story opens with a very prologue as a man is being interviewed post war about his imprisonment and what he had been made to do. These brief pages made me keen to read on and discover more. We then return to Berlin. It is 1941 and Felix, aged 18, is struggling through the tough times where food shortages are rife and people are being taken because of their faith. There are strict rules and regulations for Jews and Felix thinks he is lucky as so far he is only categorised as a middling - mixed blood - whereas his father is full Jewish. His father Arno has retreated into himself, never leaving the apartment and barely speaking following the label put upon him and the loss of his job from the university. Felix and his mother Kirsten are the sole providers for the family but times prove even more desperate the longer the war rages on. He struggles to fit in but does whatever his mother requires of him when it comes to joining organisations and obeying rules. He is an apprentice printer which in the long term will stand him in good stead. One night as he is out dancing in a club he encounters Inge and as soon as he lays eyes on her he is smitten and this initial feeling of lust will develop into much more and sustain him through his times of incarnation, punishment and terror. Inge tells him that her name is Hannah, a name which he will cling to for many years. They know nothing about each other, not even the fact that they come from very different backgrounds, but a second meeting in a park cements his feelings for her. Yes it may seem strange that such a deep and lasting love develops despite only meeting twice and then endures separation and the unknown for so long but the way the story was written everything felt very realistic as if this love could truly happen and that it was strong enough to fortify Felix through the times of cruelty and acts of inhumanity. We journey with Felix as his life is turned upside down and capture and imprisonment becomes a reality but throughout it all he clings to the memory of Hannah and even when at his lowest ebb the memories of her sustain him and give him strength even though he has only met her twice. The descriptions of what Felix experiences were very hard to read as they were so vivid and haunting. You think you have read it all when it comes to what punishments were meted out and then out of nowhere the author surprises and horrifies you even further. But as the years pass Felix wants to know what happened to Hannah? Was she too taken prisoner? Will the letters he write to her remain unsent? This dogged determination and passion will keep Felix striving forward even when the war ends but will he be happy with what he eventually uncovers? Is he really only clinging to an image that he has carefully constructed in his head when in real life the reality is very much different and stark? I was slightly apprehensive having so much of the story told from a male perspective as I am used to and comfortable with hearing more from a woman's point of view when it comes to the war. But in The Fortunate Ones, this genuinely did work and it's all thanks to the carefully constructed images and characteristics of each character and scene that Catherine Hokin creates. We get such a sense of the real inner feelings of both Felix and Inge and I felt I plunged with them to the depths of terror, fear and anger but yet there were very brief moments of love and relief. The further I read on, and the more difficult it became to leave the book out of my hands, the more raw, powerful, fascinating and intriguing the story became. Inge otherwise known as Hannah was a character who I felt compassion for but at the same time I felt a slight resentment towards her in that she couldn't seem to break free from the chains around her even though she knew what was going on was unlawful and horrific. I wondered was Felix's love for Inge stronger as I thought there were numerous times where Inge didn't mention Felix or even think about him. I knew she was miles away from him in another world completely, having been forced into an arranged marriage with a much older man. A man who in turn will throw up many surprises as to his true characteristics and the actual nature of his job the further you move through the story. There were moments, flashes as such, which showed Inge's daring side and how she attempted to break free from the upper echelons of Germany's society that she found herself in. But they came few and far between. Was she just a bit too biddable instead of striking out on her own? But yet one particular scene at the labour camp shows her making the ultimate sacrifice which then turned my initial thoughts and opinions on their head and demonstrated maybe she was cleverer than I gave her credit for and maybe her two meetings with Felix meant just as much to her as they did to him. The world where Felix and Inge meet is very different to the one post war, they cannot be the same people given all they have witnessed. Can their love help them persevere through the unbearable times? I have seen some people with some complaints regarding the ending of The Fortunate Ones but I loved it and I thought it was very apt and I wouldn't have changed a thing. This book was truly a phenomenal read so expertly crafted and the fact the idea for the basis of the book sprung from a short story where a man and woman met in a Berlin cafe and whose paths briefly crossed just shows what an imagination and talent the author has to turn such a simple idea into an honest, intense and heartbreaking story. Catherine Hokin has written a very accomplished novel that blends to perfection imagination with historical fact. It should be read in as few sittings as possible as trust me you will be completely lost in the world that Felix and Inge inhabit. I have no hesitation in recommending this incredible story and the author has certainly become one I will look forward to reading more from in the future.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amy J RAREtte4Life

    3.5/4 I’m torn. I really liked the story and plot...... until the end. Review to come.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Without giving anything away, I loved the ending. Thank you for an ending a a story about WWII that is exquisitely human and real. The story is nothing like I expected. Inge's story is heart wrenching and relatable. Sure we all would like to think we would not be complicit, but the reality is likely very different. For that reason Inge's story is worthy even if Inge in the book is a work of fiction. Without giving anything away, I loved the ending. Thank you for an ending a a story about WWII that is exquisitely human and real. The story is nothing like I expected. Inge's story is heart wrenching and relatable. Sure we all would like to think we would not be complicit, but the reality is likely very different. For that reason Inge's story is worthy even if Inge in the book is a work of fiction.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I was provided an ARC by NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Set in Germany during the Second World War, we navigate through the lives of two young Germans as they witness the control of the Nazi Party and the collection of those deemed detrimental to their country. A chance encounter one night helps them hold onto hope and love once they are separated; and maybe, just maybe, they could survive this. Catherine Hokin creates heartbreaking parallels between her two charact I was provided an ARC by NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Set in Germany during the Second World War, we navigate through the lives of two young Germans as they witness the control of the Nazi Party and the collection of those deemed detrimental to their country. A chance encounter one night helps them hold onto hope and love once they are separated; and maybe, just maybe, they could survive this. Catherine Hokin creates heartbreaking parallels between her two characters and the struggles they face, while showing how their personalities develop because of their struggles. I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. I cried many many times, as Hokin so clearly describes the horrors and pain that so many people faced. This story showed just how important hope can be, and that it could save your life. I loved how the story moves through the years of the war, and tells how Felix and Hannah are differently impacted. All the characters are extremely well written, complex, and interesting. I never felt like the story was dragging, and was quite content with the ending. The historical detail Hokin poured into this book through her research was simply phenomenal. The Fortunate Ones is a must read for those who enjoy romance, as well as history.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Let me say that Hokin is an absolutely amazing story teller. There was not one moment of this book that felt contrived, rushed, or fake to me. She told an amazingly beautiful story of two people who met, fell in love, and had the most difficult time getting back to each other. Felix is a half-Jewish young man who is watching his family and those around him suffer in his home of Berlin, due to the Nazis. Hannah, well, she’s a German. I won’t get into what that means for them too much; but, beware… Let me say that Hokin is an absolutely amazing story teller. There was not one moment of this book that felt contrived, rushed, or fake to me. She told an amazingly beautiful story of two people who met, fell in love, and had the most difficult time getting back to each other. Felix is a half-Jewish young man who is watching his family and those around him suffer in his home of Berlin, due to the Nazis. Hannah, well, she’s a German. I won’t get into what that means for them too much; but, beware… these two have a rough road. I’m absolutely in love with how Hokin chose to explore these two very-opposite characters. And she portrayed their individual pain–due to very polarizing circumstances–brilliantly. The only issue I do take, is the ending. And, I won’t get into why. It was appropriate…Even almost expected. And probably the wiser choice for Ms. Hokin. And, I’ll probably never forget it. In the genre of WW II novels, this one definitely stood out to me as special and unique.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dizzy

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher and author for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. I really enjoyed this historical fiction about WWII - it was heartbreaking to see what lengths a Jewish boy had to go to to hide his identity, and also I really liked the love story piece of it. I definitely recommend this one!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sharlene

    Moving historical fiction novel about Felix a printer's apprentice and his relationship with Hannah who he meets at a dance then she disappears. It will capture your attention from page one and keep you through to the end. Very moving, very thought provoking with a great cast of characters. . #NetGalley #Bookouture Moving historical fiction novel about Felix a printer's apprentice and his relationship with Hannah who he meets at a dance then she disappears. It will capture your attention from page one and keep you through to the end. Very moving, very thought provoking with a great cast of characters. . #NetGalley #Bookouture

  14. 4 out of 5

    Energy

    In 1941, Hitler was cracking down and while Felix is still doing okay, his life is about to change even more than it has already had. One night he meets Inge and his life is changed, only, she tells him her name is Hannah and as things start to spiral out of control for both of them, he never gives up hope that he will find her one day. And then they do see each other. Only Inge is married to a monster and Felix thinks she too is being held in the camp. But kept apart from the women, he can only In 1941, Hitler was cracking down and while Felix is still doing okay, his life is about to change even more than it has already had. One night he meets Inge and his life is changed, only, she tells him her name is Hannah and as things start to spiral out of control for both of them, he never gives up hope that he will find her one day. And then they do see each other. Only Inge is married to a monster and Felix thinks she too is being held in the camp. But kept apart from the women, he can only hope that she can survive all this. But Inge is married to the Needle, the monster of the camp who runs crazy experiments on the prisoners. She is ignorant of what he does, but at home, his abuse to her speaks volumes. But this was a forced marriage, and she sees no way out. So I loved that Felix held out hope for such a long time. I loved that he survived, that he made so much of himself, and that he fought to right the wrongs of the past. I was glad when Inge finally found her courage because as an abused woman, it was hard for her to find a way out. When she tried to demand answers, it never went well for her. The ending didn't go the way I thought it would, but I think it went the best way for this duo. I did find Inge's portion of the story a bit tedious and repetitive at times, with detail that felt like filler that slowed down the reading, and that's the only reason I'm giving this 4-stars instead of 5. I didn't notice the title tagline you see on Amazon til after I requested this, and honestly, whenever I've ended up with review books with a tagline, they've ended up a bit disappointing in one area or another. But overall, this is a good read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Candace Simar

    I liked the beginning of this book but lost interest toward the end. I forced myself to read it but I was disappointed. The premise of the wife of an SS surgeon interested me, but the characters were flat. Not my favorite.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    Happy publication day Catherine Hokin! Your deeply emotional WWII story only goes to prove how many unique stories there are to still be created about one of the bleakest eras of human history. Although this is a work of fiction, all of the literature based during these years finds its source in fact. Felix falls into the category of ‘Mischling’ – a classification given by the Nazi’s to those who are not fully Jewish but who are tainted by having Jewish blood in their veins. In Felix’s case, he h Happy publication day Catherine Hokin! Your deeply emotional WWII story only goes to prove how many unique stories there are to still be created about one of the bleakest eras of human history. Although this is a work of fiction, all of the literature based during these years finds its source in fact. Felix falls into the category of ‘Mischling’ – a classification given by the Nazi’s to those who are not fully Jewish but who are tainted by having Jewish blood in their veins. In Felix’s case, he has a Jewish father (which according to the Jewish faith doesn’t make him Jewish as the religion is passed down through the maternal bloodline). His mother goes out of her way to protect him, ensuring he doesn’t fall out of favour with the ruling party. She makes him join the Hitler Youth and urges him to attend regular meetings, regardless of how distasteful he finds them. Inge is the daughter of wealthy parents. Although her father is a softer, kinder character, her mother is another story altogether: stern and austere. And both of her parents are staunch supporters of The Reich. They force her into marrying a man many years her senior, despite her protests. But Max Eichel is well-respected and his star is rising in Hitler’s ruling party. He’s well-connected and can bring Inge’s father lucrative business deals. So … more of a business merger than a marriage really! But one fateful night before her wedding, she manages to talk her parents into allowing her to go to a party with a good friend who her family knows well, and she and Felix just happen to meet! Wanting to escape for just a few hours from the life her parents and Max seem to have mapped out for her, she tells Felix her name is Hannah. They share what seems like a few short moments together before the sirens go off and they are separated. The story follows the trajectory of Felix and Inge’s lives in alternating chapters and I must admit, none of this unfolded how I expected it to! It’s unlike any other war story I’ve read. As both struggle for survival under entirely different circumstances, they each cling to that tiny hope that the other has somehow survived the horrors of the war and of what their beloved country has been forced to endure. The situation that Inge found herself in was horrific. As a Nazi wife, she was not allowed to question anything, but was merely expected to accept whatever she was told, and to go wherever she was told to. She was as much of a prisoner as those who she saw out of her window at the concentration camps, the only difference being that she was being well fed. She was abused emotionally and mentally and sometimes even physically, which absolutely no hope of escape. Hokin’s accurate description of her situation is chilling. Hokin’s description of Felix’s PTSD is also spot-on. His inability to adapt to life after the war; the survivor guilt that he carries with him like the heaviest load; his unwillingness to share what he went through with anyone else as he cannot imagine them understanding or being able to bear what he needs so desperately to say; the way it all eats away at him because it has nowhere to go, because he cannot get the words out. Felix survived the war, but it continues to live inside of him, eating away at him like a poison. This is a soul-searing 4-star read. I didn’t find it an easy book to get through, but once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Well... this book wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought there was going to be a little more romance in it judging by the cover. Instead you get only 3 meetings between the main characters.... then nothing for most of the book. Two of those meeting weren’t even that long. The last meeting was just them seeing each other. Then you go on a journey of both of their lives. Felix trying to stay alive and Inge trying to be the perfect wife to a high ranking officer. The chance meeting between Felix and Well... this book wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought there was going to be a little more romance in it judging by the cover. Instead you get only 3 meetings between the main characters.... then nothing for most of the book. Two of those meeting weren’t even that long. The last meeting was just them seeing each other. Then you go on a journey of both of their lives. Felix trying to stay alive and Inge trying to be the perfect wife to a high ranking officer. The chance meeting between Felix and Inge Should’ve never happened. Inge was letting loose before her big wedding and Felix just happened to be there to get away for a bit. That one moment on the dance door had them yearning for each other for years. AND I MEAN YEARS!!!!!! I knew going into this book it’s was going to be heavily about the war. But I was expecting a little more romance to balance it out. Felix was 21 when he met Inge. And Inge was 16- 17. The first 2 times they met in person was the first day they met. And A coffee date the next day. Then she see him again in passing when she was 19-20. So 2 or 3 years later! I’m 80% into this book and now she’s 33 and they still haven’t seen each other. I’m not feeling Inge character at all. This book is really slow for me. The love story is unbelievable to me. She’s still married to her horrible husband. I’m not feeling her little son either. He doesn’t seem to like her. I hated reading about Felix getting married. I mean... I just wanted more Felix and Inge. That doesn’t happen until 93% in! And it isn’t all sunshine and roses. Inge wasn’t telling Felix the whole truth about herself. And who she was married to. Felix found out by accident. The ending was not satisfying either. After everything they both went through. Felix ends up going back to his wife. And the wife knows he had an affair with Inge. And Inge doesn’t get her son back. He’s still with her husband in some mountain in Argentina. This book was seriously disappointing. The only thing I liked about this book was the cover. *ARC provided by Bookouture via Netgalley*

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lee Husemann

    This story begins in Berlin in 1941 where Felix, a mischling and a printer's apprentice lives with his parents. Inge is wealthy and is about to enter into an arranged marriage to a wealthy, older physician. Shortly before the wedding, Inge's best friend, Liesl talks her into going to a dance for one last chance to have some fun. At the dance, Felix and Inge meet, dance and share a few kisses and they both fall madly in love with each other. They meet one more time before she marries and Felix an This story begins in Berlin in 1941 where Felix, a mischling and a printer's apprentice lives with his parents. Inge is wealthy and is about to enter into an arranged marriage to a wealthy, older physician. Shortly before the wedding, Inge's best friend, Liesl talks her into going to a dance for one last chance to have some fun. At the dance, Felix and Inge meet, dance and share a few kisses and they both fall madly in love with each other. They meet one more time before she marries and Felix and his father are deported to a work camp. The book toggles between Felix's struggles in the prison camp and his life after the liberation and Inge's life as a Nazi physician's wife. The story spans from 1941 to 1956 in Berlin. This was a very emotional and heartbreaking read at times and it was hard to put down. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC of this fantastic book in exchange for an honest review. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves WWII Historical Fiction books.

  19. 4 out of 5

    J_Mc 251

    A stunning look at the impossible losses suffered by the German people during WWII, this book contains points of view that one usually does not see beyond history books. I found the character of Felix to be especially interesting because he personified several known groups (mixed blood, Jewish, had an exceptional talent, was relentless in trying to find justice, etc.) He was complex yet easy to understand. I also thought Inge was interesting because she represented the people who were “safe” but A stunning look at the impossible losses suffered by the German people during WWII, this book contains points of view that one usually does not see beyond history books. I found the character of Felix to be especially interesting because he personified several known groups (mixed blood, Jewish, had an exceptional talent, was relentless in trying to find justice, etc.) He was complex yet easy to understand. I also thought Inge was interesting because she represented the people who were “safe” but still felt like there was no escape. There was a lot to unpack in this book and the author did a fantastic job with the story. I highly recommend it. For a full review, please visit my blog at Fireflies and Free Kicks. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for a digital ARC of the book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tegan Hart

    Brilliant book! Right from the beginning it was straight to the point. There was no wasting 4 chapters explaining what the weather was or what the characters were wearing so to speak. The writing style is easy to comprehend. It gives you the ideas of what happened but not in such detail that you need to put the book down. Definitely a great book for people who don’t have a strong stomach or people who haven’t read much on the WWII Nazi-Germany sector. None the less though having read plenty of b Brilliant book! Right from the beginning it was straight to the point. There was no wasting 4 chapters explaining what the weather was or what the characters were wearing so to speak. The writing style is easy to comprehend. It gives you the ideas of what happened but not in such detail that you need to put the book down. Definitely a great book for people who don’t have a strong stomach or people who haven’t read much on the WWII Nazi-Germany sector. None the less though having read plenty of books in that sector I enjoyed the book just as much. Had me wanting to constantly be able to pick the book back up and couldn’t wait until the ending. Many parts where I didn’t predict exactly what was going to happen. Can’t wait to read more books from Catherine Hokin.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    In a pretty ski resort in Argentina a dark secret is concealed... the village's Nazi past. Research for a new novel, The Fortunate Ones http://bit.ly/HistoriaNazisArgentina New in Historia: Catherine Hokin writes about the Nazi presence in Argentina after the Second World War and the 'hidden' history she uncovered while researching her new novel, The Fortunate Ones http://bit.ly/HistoriaNazisArgentina In a pretty ski resort in Argentina a dark secret is concealed... the village's Nazi past. Research for a new novel, The Fortunate Ones http://bit.ly/HistoriaNazisArgentina New in Historia: Catherine Hokin writes about the Nazi presence in Argentina after the Second World War and the 'hidden' history she uncovered while researching her new novel, The Fortunate Ones http://bit.ly/HistoriaNazisArgentina

  22. 5 out of 5

    Britt B

    3.5⭐️ The author is extremely good at writing and made this story seem very real. I just had a hard time getting into this one. Would be interested in checking out more of her work.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine

    A well written book

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    What an extraordinary, engaging story. The lurid description of the camp made my toes curl - the darkest side of humanity. An intriguing story about WW2 but with a different perspective from previous books I've read. It moved me to undiscovered heights of understanding and compassion. A novel that will stay in my mind forever. Very interested in the sequence about the Nuremberg trials. I learnt a lot which built up my knowledge base in those years. It was enhanced by a delightful love story. The What an extraordinary, engaging story. The lurid description of the camp made my toes curl - the darkest side of humanity. An intriguing story about WW2 but with a different perspective from previous books I've read. It moved me to undiscovered heights of understanding and compassion. A novel that will stay in my mind forever. Very interested in the sequence about the Nuremberg trials. I learnt a lot which built up my knowledge base in those years. It was enhanced by a delightful love story. There were some commendable metaphors and vivid imagery. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stina

    I have read many books set during World War 2, both in Britain and in Europe, and it continues to be one of my favourite genres. While there is an element of sameness throughout, each book is very different with a unique story that unfolds through the eyes of some very different people. I love to hear how the war touches each of these characters and the parts they played. In THE FORTUNATE ONES, the story begins in Berlin during the war years and continues beyond. It is a very different tale in wh I have read many books set during World War 2, both in Britain and in Europe, and it continues to be one of my favourite genres. While there is an element of sameness throughout, each book is very different with a unique story that unfolds through the eyes of some very different people. I love to hear how the war touches each of these characters and the parts they played. In THE FORTUNATE ONES, the story begins in Berlin during the war years and continues beyond. It is a very different tale in which we follow two main characters Felix Thalberg, a German of mixed blood with a Jewish father, and Inge Ackermann, a young idealistic German woman married to a a high ranking SS officer who is brute of a man. Two very different people whose paths were destined never to cross... It's 1941 in Berlin and 18 year old Inge Ackermann's family have arranged her marriage to a much older high ranking SS officer and prominent Nazi doctor, Max Eichel. The union is to combine the fortunes of the two families although Inge never sees a penny of it. One night before she is to be wed, Inge's friend Leisl arranges for them to slip away to a dance hall during a party she is to make an appearance. It is there, Inge meets handsome young Felix Thalberg. Wanting to be someone else somewhere else in that moment, she gives her name as Hannah Huber. And together they dance, lost in the moment, and they kiss. But when the sirens ring out, Inge and Leisl must hurry and return to the hotel's own shelter before their absence is noticed...but not before Felix asks her to meet him again. When she does, she is jumpy and jittery, and seeing shadows where there are none. After just a few short minutes, she leaves again, knowing she will never see Felix again. Felix Thalberg is an apprentice printer when he meets beautiful young Hannah Huber in the dance hall. Her blonde curls striking against the Prussian blue of her dress. They dance, they kiss, and they fall in love. But all too soon, she is gone again. But Felix never stops hoping that he would find her again. From the outset, Felix has conjured up a story and an image of Hannah, convinced that she must be a Jewish girl from the nearby area. Over the years she becomes a sort of talisman for him that keeps him alive. Felix is what is known as a "mischling", a person of mixed blood - half German and half Jewish, which in the Nazi's opinion makes him Jewish. His father is turned out of his lecturing position and forced to wear a yellow star to identify him as Jewish. His mother, an aryan, refuses to leave her husband and is therefore shunned by the community. Felix himself is unsure where he fits in Germany's new regime, being neither German or Jewish. But one day, the choice is made for him when he is arrested and sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, with his father on one truck and him on another...and his mother left behind. Upon arrival at Sachsenhausen, Felix is in the yard when he sees a face at the window watching him. It is Hannah. She is here too! Felix calls to her, feeling sure she is in danger, especially when he sees "the Needle" Dr Max Eichel standing right behind her. He believes that she is a prisoner...and in a way she is...but not in the way he thinks. Inge has been forced to marry Max Eichel. She is expected to be the "perfect" Nazi wife, an ornament on his arm at functions, never asking questions and to simply obey her husband's every command. Except that she can't. She knows something isn't right and that her husband is up to something. But what? She knows at home he is brutal, callous and abusive...but what she doesn't know is that at the camp he is a monster who performs horrific experiments on prisoners. Oblivious to what he does, but at home his abuse speaks volumes, and Inge sees no way out. When Inge saw Felix through the window, she knew he was destined for a fate worse than death. She didn't know what really went on at the camp but she was sure it wasn't good, particularly with Max as the camp's doctor. In the lining of her bag she kept a secret, and she used it now to secure a promise of something better for Felix, without Max learning of it or that would surely guarantee Felix's death. Felix is assigned to a place in the camp where they make counterfeit money, where he is given a slightly better existence than others in the camp. He is fed, he is clothed and his bed is not shared with others. For that he is grateful...but what he doesn't know is that, until Hannah saw him from the window that day, he was destined for a fate worse than death. He is still a prisoner and it's the thought and memory of Hannah that gives him hope and strength to survive. Max doesn't know what Inge is hiding, but he knows it's something to do with that Jew in the camp's courtyard. He saw the way she looked at him and he her. They knew each other, of that he is sure. So Max vows to do everything he can to find the Jew and take pleasure in punishing Inge for it. Despite the arrangement of her marriage to Eichel, Inge did enjoy the early days but she soon discovered it turned nasty if she questioned Max or dared to offer an opinion. Soon after seeing Felix and Sachsenhausen, the tides turned and Max became even more abusive as if he were punishing her. He taunted her, ridiculed her, gaslighted her that in the end had her questioning her own sanity. As tensions become rife as the war nears its end, Max plans his escape before the regime falls and they are captured. He was all set to leave Inge behind...until he discovered she was pregnant. She was so close to being free of him at last...and now she knows she can never leave. Inge always knew Max was monster towards her but when she discovers by chance just how sadistic he really is, she secretly begins to collect evidence, listening to conversations, noting names, and hopes one day she can make him pay for his evil intentions. The story unfolds through the eyes of both Felix and Inge, in alternating chapters, and their narratives are both heartwarming and heartbreaking. I loved both of them and reading their stories. There was no way either character would come through this unscathed...but can their love sustain them and help them persevere? Admittedly, I did fine THE FORTUNATE ONES slow to start but that could have been reflected in how tired I was when started it. I did find a lot of description and not a lot of dialogue to begin with, of which I am not a fan, but as the story developed I discovered this style worked as it was primarily reflective. I soon found myself immersed within the lives of both Inge and Felix and hoping they would find each other again. There was so much to love about THE FORTUNATE ONES, as well as a lot of hate, but it is a beautiful story that is also heartbreaking. The fact that it was from a German perspective in highlighting that not all Germans were Nazis or agreed with the regime is refreshing. So often Germans were all seen as the bad guys when really they were just following orders like everyone else. Not everyone was a Nazi and not everyone agreed with Hilter's regime. And the fact that it wasn't solely about Jews in a concentration camp was also gratifying. Felix is an especially interesting character. He is mixed blood, Jewish and German, he is talented, he is relentless in his search for justice, he is complex yet relatable and he is flawed. Inge was also interesting in the way she is naive to begin with but quickly learns the harsh realities from which she had always been protected. As a German she is of safe people and yet she still had no way of escape. From Berlin to Argentina, THE FORTUNATE ONES is a captivating and engaging read from beginning to end set during one of the bleakest times of human history. It is well researched but doesn't feel like a textbook, which is a good thing, and the story unique. Although it didn't end the way I had hoped in a couple of ways, it was still probably the best outcome... Still I would have liked to see a couple of loose ends tied up but that's just personal preference. It is still a wonderful story that deserves recognition and recommendation. I am looking forward to Catherine Hokin's next novel and eagerly await it! I would like to thank #CatherineHokin, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheFortunateOnes in exchange for an honest review. This review appears on my blog at https://stinathebookaholic.blogspot.com/.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nicky Maunder

    It’s 1941 and Germany is under the full control of the Nazi Party. Unsavoury people are being collected and moved on, making the cities and towns of the pure German folk safe. No need to worry; it’s only the Jews, communists and political unsavouries that corrupt and pollute the good people. We follow Felix, a printer’s apprentice and 2nd generation Jew, and Hannah who meet one night at a dance and fall for each other. Really hard. They go their separate ways, but their feelings for each other k It’s 1941 and Germany is under the full control of the Nazi Party. Unsavoury people are being collected and moved on, making the cities and towns of the pure German folk safe. No need to worry; it’s only the Jews, communists and political unsavouries that corrupt and pollute the good people. We follow Felix, a printer’s apprentice and 2nd generation Jew, and Hannah who meet one night at a dance and fall for each other. Really hard. They go their separate ways, but their feelings for each other keep them going. Help them to survive their own hells. But after Felix is arrested and sent to a brutal prison camp he spots Hannah being restrained by a Nazi doctor with a reputation for torturing his ‘patients’ - is she a prisoner too? And will they both survive? Overall I really enjoyed this book. I’ve read retellings of what life was like for those imprisoned and tortured under the Nazis, but this also adds the viewpoint of the (almost) average German; the disbelief of hearing the rumours about people being taken away from without their possessions, children separated from their mothers, and the deaths that start mounting. It also gives you insight into what life might have been like for those that survived the atrocities of the time and they’re ability to adjust to their new lives outside of Nazi controlled Germany. However the book did feel a little drawn out in some parts which lessened my enjoyment of Felix and Hannah’s story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    M.K.

    The Fortunate Ones is a story that matters. Set in World War Two Germany and post-war Argentina, it will grab your attention from start to finish and make you think about war, consequences, choices, and the power of love. I was delighted to have an early copy provided by the publisher.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Georgina

    It is 1941, and Felix is struggling to find his place in a new Berlin in which he no longer feels safe since being labelled as a mischling: mixed blood. His Jewish father has not left the house since being forced to wear a yellow star, and his German mother is determined that Felix will keep himself safe by playing the perfect young Nazi - joining the hitler youth and training as an auxiliary member of the German airforce. Inge on the other hand doesn’t have to pretend - betrothed to a senior SS It is 1941, and Felix is struggling to find his place in a new Berlin in which he no longer feels safe since being labelled as a mischling: mixed blood. His Jewish father has not left the house since being forced to wear a yellow star, and his German mother is determined that Felix will keep himself safe by playing the perfect young Nazi - joining the hitler youth and training as an auxiliary member of the German airforce. Inge on the other hand doesn’t have to pretend - betrothed to a senior SS officer, her place in society has been assured. But her life is turned upside down when, anxious about her impending nuptials, she escapes to a local dance hall, and crosses paths with Felix. Fate tears them apart, but their lives will never be the same, and it will be their love for each other that guides them through the coming darkness... 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. I am a huge fan of historical fiction, especially that which is set during WW2, so I fully expected to love this one. But unfortunately, it was a bit more of a mixed bag than I expected. I'll start with the positives - firstly, this book really stands out due to covering several elements which are often not mentioned in other literature based in this time period; for example, the plan to flood the British marketing with fake notes to cause a financial crash similar to what happened in the Weimar Republic following WW1, and the preferential treatment given to prisoners in the camps who worked on this project. I also really like the fact that the book didn't end when the war did - all too often, stories are wrapped up as soon as the allies arrive, and so it was really interesting to get an insight into what the lives of both Nazi's and prisoners would have been like after the camps were liberated. Now, on to the not so good. And unfortunately, my main issue with the book is actually the romance at the heart of it. It is sadly a textbook example of instalove, and not even remotely believable instalove. Felix and Inge (or Hannah, as he thinks she is called) fall for each other within seconds, and even after just two very brief meetings, they spend the next 10 years obsessively thinking about each other and pining for each other. I get the whole 'gave them something to live for' angle, but for me, even when you acknowledge that things were different during war time, it all felt a bit too silly for me. All that needed to be done was flesh the romance out a bit more (even just one more meeting!) and it would've made all the difference, but as it stands, its just too unrealistic. This was redeemed slightly by how things are left at the end of the book, but for me it was too little too late in terms of realism. So yeah, a bit of a mixed bag. It is definitely a very strong book, and the depictions of Felix's experience during the war are incredibly vivid and moving. I also loved that the author expanded the timeframe of the book beyond the end of the war, and offered a rarely explored insight into the life of a Nazi wife. As such, if you're a fan of historical fiction it is definitely worth a read. However, as a romance it is just not believable, so if that's what you're looking for you might be a tad disappointed. Disclaimer - I was fortunate enough to be provided with an advance reading copy by NetGalley. This has not affected my review in any way, and all opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Oh my goodness me, this book had me from the synopsis alone. I am a book geek and a history nerd, who particularly loves stories set during the Second World War. I love German history and I have been on a couple of history trips to Germany, one of which included a tour of Sachsenhausen. So I hope you can appreciate why this book was screaming 'you need to read me as soon as possible' at me. Anyway I started reading and I couldn't stop. I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'The Fortunate Ones' but more a Oh my goodness me, this book had me from the synopsis alone. I am a book geek and a history nerd, who particularly loves stories set during the Second World War. I love German history and I have been on a couple of history trips to Germany, one of which included a tour of Sachsenhausen. So I hope you can appreciate why this book was screaming 'you need to read me as soon as possible' at me. Anyway I started reading and I couldn't stop. I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'The Fortunate Ones' but more about that in a bit. I couldn't help but take to the characters of Felix and Hannah from the start. Felix lives in Germany but it has changed from the Germany that he used to love, because the Nazis have seized power and are imposing strict limitations on Germany's residents. Felix's father has been forced to wear a yellow star marking him out as a Jew and he doesn't want to leave the house. Felix's mother is losing weight at a rapid rate with all the stress and worry that she is going through. Felix doesn't have much to distract him from his problems. One day he goes to a dance, where he meets Hannah and he falls for her. He tries to find her again but she has vanished and he tortures himself with thoughts of what might have happened to her. That isn't the end of their story though because Felix is imprisoned in Sachsenhausen Camp, where he happens to meet Hannah again. It appears that Hannah is married to the medical officer of the camp. They both recognise each other and they reawaken their feelings for each other. Do Felix and Hannah survive the story? Do they get a chance to act on their feelings for each other? Is there a twist to the tale? Well for the answers to those questions and more you are just going to have to read the book for yourselves to find out because I am not going to tell you. Oh my goodness, 'The Fortunate Ones' was one of those books that well and truly got to me. I was blown away by how fantastic this book was. From the moment I picked the book up until the moment I put it down, I was completely under this book's spell. If I wasn't reading this book, I was thinking about this book and I was also thinking about everything I had learnt on our trips to Germany and in the classes I studied at university. I couldn't bring read this book over the course of a day because life got in the way but I did binge read it and finished it over the course of a couple of days. 'The Fortunate Ones' is very well written. The author has a writing style that is easy to get used to and easy to get along with. Catherine has chosen to write about a difficult and emotive topic but she treats the subject with great care and compassion and at the same time she doesn't sugar coat anything or leave anything out. I was blown away by the quality of this story. Catherine drew me into the story from the start and through her fantastic writing, I felt as though I was part of the story myself. I found myself going through the same sorts of emotions that the characters went through. In that sense, Catherine put me through the emotional wringer somewhat. In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'The Fortunate Ones' and I would recommend it to other readers. I will definitely be reading more of Catherine's work in the future. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Keith Chen

    Simply put this is a love story during the Holocaust. I wondered whether it is possible to have a love so deep that can transcend time or the writer is simply being too romantic to the extent that the love story becomes too unbelievable and unrealistic. But I believe it is possible during those times when things and people are more simple and less complicated. In this era, I don't think such love exists anymore. This is my first foray into a world war 2 historical fiction. I did not read the Tat Simply put this is a love story during the Holocaust. I wondered whether it is possible to have a love so deep that can transcend time or the writer is simply being too romantic to the extent that the love story becomes too unbelievable and unrealistic. But I believe it is possible during those times when things and people are more simple and less complicated. In this era, I don't think such love exists anymore. This is my first foray into a world war 2 historical fiction. I did not read the Tattooist of Auschwitz to compare it with this one. Both books are love stories set during world war 2. The writer did a good job describing the Holocaust and what went on in the concentration camps where Jews were deported there for manual work, what life was like and what went on in the camps: the random killings, the food ration, the duties assigned to the prisoners, the games they played to humiliate the Jews. These are described broadly rather than deeply but that is good enough to have a glimpse of what went on during the war. You can tell that the writer, Catherine did a fair amount of research into this book. The first few chapters were a bit dull but if you push through, you will realize that this is a good story. The writing is simple but not so straightforward. I have to ponder a bit here and there as to connect the dots as to what the writer is trying to put across and described for the first half of the book. It is the way the sentences are constructed and the choice of words. I also find the chapters a bit too long. With all that said, the writing was good especially in the second half of the book which was easier to understand. The writing became simpler and smoother and the choice of words was excellent even though the first half of the book wasn't. This story is told from two perspectives: Felix and Inge. I didn't like Inge in the story as I find her very naive and silly and always being outsmarted. I don't find her likable but I like Felix. His perspective is more touching, more painful and thought-provoking for the reader. The ending was expected but satisfying but also a bit of a let down because not much was mentioned about how the villain, Max was hunted and apprehended though in the end, he was. It is a good book and I would give it a 3.8 star out of 5 as overall I like the story which provided me a deeper insight into world war 2. This book deserves to be a New York Times bestseller.

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