Review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.
But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.
Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

My Review

Author: Anne Blankman
Pages: 406
Publisher: Blazer + Bray
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Source: Library

I've come to realize that besides having enchantingly woven an intricate mystery within the boundaries of real historical events Anne Blankman also has the best Author's Notes. Seriously, I almost couldn't help myself from skipping to the end and reading them, as they are always so riveting.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke takes place a little while after the events of its predecessor. Daniel and Gretchen have now settled in England but things aren't as cheery as Gretchen would like to believe.

Gretchen and Daniel are one of my favourite literary couples. They are so realistic in the ways that they go about their relationship. They love each other but they are also best friends. For sure there is a lot of forever talk but who doesn't fancy themselves a forever relationship? Even still, they went through a lot of turbulence during this book trying to figure out how to coordinate their love with their differing interests and the obstacles imposed by the political state of things.

Blankman's pre-WWII Germany was as enthralling and as alive as ever. I'm not a visual reader but my history sensitive mind was jumping for joy with all the details. I could imagine the burned Reichstag, red faced Hitler and the party men busting down doors arresting people. The number of characters was also much higher in this book as Gretchen and Daniel struggled to find new allies. I did find some minor issue in remembering all the names starting with G: Goring, Gennet, Gerlich...

Everything about this book was well done which is something I've come to expect from Anne Blankman in this quick time. However, when compared to its predecessor, I felt like this story lacked magnitude. Gretchen was quite realistically walking on glass in the first book. Questioning her upbringing, her friends, her family and their sanity. Gretchen was still finding herself and coming to terms with her new situations and new truths, however I just wish the central conflict was larger- more world changing.

A commendable sequel in a wonderful historical duology. If you are a fan of history, psychology, mystery, or interested in world war two like me than pick this series up.



What do you think?