The Taster by VS Alexander

The Taster by VS Alexander
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (304 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

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 Führer’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.
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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.

What a read!!

A friend recommended this book and at first I wasn’t sure this would be my kind of book. To be honest, it’s not. But that’s not a bad thing. Really. The Taster is a unique book. Who killed Hitler? This book answers that question but brings up many more.

Magda is an interesting character. She’s put into service working for Hitler as his taster – the person who makes sure his food isn’t poisoned. Every time she tastes, she takes her life in her hands. Crazy, isn’t it? She’s a strong woman, but crumbles from time to time, which made her relatable. I’ve done some research on the situation in Germany and during the Holocaust, but I’d never really put that information into personal terms. With Magda, I felt like I was there. My heart broke for her and I cheered, too.

It was interesting to see the more tender side of Hitler, although I still think he’s a monster. Eva Braun is portrayed in a kinder light, too. I saw them as people, not just names in the history book.  I can’t imagine what these people went through and while this book paints a picture of it, I bet it was much, much worse.

I read this book in a little more than a day. It’s the kind of book that can’t be put down. The writing flows well, plus the scenes are both beautiful and scary. I needed to know what would happen next.

If you’re looking for something historical that’s a page-turner kind of fiction, then this might be just what you’re wanting.

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