1933 Hannelore sees the fanaticism of the Nazi regime as it sweeps to power. Her father ranks highly in the SS and she sees for herself the devastation within her beloved Germany. 1945: the war has ended and Hanni has reinvented herself to distance her life from that of her Nazi father. But his darkness continues to overshadow her life…
The Commandant’s Daughter is an historical novel set in the 1930s and 40s in Germany. I have read other books by Catherine Hokin, all surrounding the war years, including What Only We Know, The Lost Mother and The Secretary.
The book features a series of murders of Germans who were active Nazis but who were rehabilitated into society due to their skills. The killer wants revenge and justice for the millions of victims of Nazi atrocities. Hanni is hiding her true identity, ashamed of not speaking out against her father. Now she helps Jewish police officer Freddy but both understand the motive of the killer.
I liked the crime element of the book and the moral dilemma it poses for the main characters as well as us as readers. The book does give some information about the Holocaust cruelties but it is distanced by being referred to as past events. However the continued devastation for the characters left behind is hugely emotive.
Hanni has to contend with her own guilt as well as her revulsion and fear for her father. Her fledgling friendship with Freddy is overshadowed by both their pasts as he deals with survivor guilt and grief at the loss of his family.
The Commandant’s Daughter was an emotional book and I loved the murder aspect to the historical plot.
The Commandant’s Daughter Book Description:
A heartbreaking novel about the incredible courage of ordinary people during the Second World War. Fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz will never forget this powerful story of hope found in the darkest days.
1933, Berlin. Ten-year-old Hanni Foss stands by her father watching the celebrations marking Adolf Hitler as Germany’s new leader. As the torchlights fade, her safe and happy childhood changes forever as Reiner, the father she adores, is corrupted by his new position as commandant of an infamous concentration camp…
Twelve years later. As the Nazi regime crumbles, Hanni hides from her father on the outskirts of Berlin. In stolen moments, she develops the photographs she took to record the horrors of the camp – the empty food bowls and desperate faces – and vows to get justice for the innocent people she couldn’t help as a child.
But her carefully constructed new life is threatened when Hanni discovers a body hidden in a bombed-out building, and meets Freddy, the tortured young detective in charge of the case. Could the fierce emotion in his brown eyes distract Hanni from her quest for atonement?
Or will Reiner stop her himself? Because on the day she plans to deliver her damning photographs to the Allies, Hanni comes face to face with her father again. Reiner Foss has a powerful new identity and he makes it clear just how dangerous it will be to expose him. Now she faces a devastating choice, between the past which haunts her, and the chance of a future with Freddy…
I seem to have followed a rather meandering career, including marketing and teaching and politics (don’t try and join the dots), to get where I have always wanted to be, which is writing historical fiction. I am a story lover as well as a story writer and nothing fascinates me more than a strong female protagonist and a quest. Hopefully those are what you will encounter when you pick up my books.
I am from the North of England but now live very happily in Glasgow with my American husband. Both my children have left home (one to London and one to Berlin) which may explain why I am finally writing. If I’m not at my desk you’ll most probably find me in the cinema, or just follow the sound of very loud music.
I’d love to hear from you and there are lots of ways you can find me, so jump in via my website https://www.
catherinehokin.com/ or on my Cat Hokin FB page or on twitter @cathokin