My Review: During WWII, Hitler’s life was always in danger. One concern was that someone might poison his food. For this reason, he had food tasters, young women who were doing a service to The Reich. When Berlin was becoming dangerous to live in because of Allied bombing, Magda Ritter’s father sent her to live with his brother and his wife. They needed Magda to get a job, as they could not afford to feed another person. When she found nothing, her uncle told her to apply to work for “The Party” and he would put in a good word for her. Imagine her surprise when she was hired to be one of Hitler’s food tasters. Magda’s story was loosely based on a real taster, Margot Woelk who at the age of ninety-five finally told her story. Magda is not a member of “The Party,” and her sentiments do not lie with Hitler. When she meets Karl, an SS captain, she begins to envision her life with him. He is not a Nazi Sympathizer either, so you can imagine, some unrest and drama ensues. Magda’s service takes her from Berghof, the Fuhr’s mountain retreat, to the Wolf’s Lair and finally his bunker in Berlin. Magda is constantly worried about her safely, her father’s safety (her mother was killed during the allied bombing) and the survival of her beloved Germany.
Magda is a strong character and made the read worthy for me. She stood up for herself and others in the story, showing what everyday German’s thought about Hitler and his inner circle. The story was well-written and interesting. I really enjoyed this book, especially because of the fresh perspective on WWII. It was a part of the war that I had heard about along the way, but this gave me much more information. It is important to read the Author’s notes at the end of the book. They give valuable insight into V.S. Alexander’s research, as well as what really happened and where he took liberties. There were places where the history was not documented, but were believed to have happened, and he explored some of those things with Magda’s character. This is where the author’s conjecture came in, it is not necessarily truth, but it could have happened that way. This was a great read and I enjoyed this book immensely. I would definitely recommend it to those who are interested in reading historical fiction, specifically surrounding WWII. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Synopsis: 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 Fuhrer’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.