The Taster

V.S. Alexander. Kensington, $15.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1227-1
Alexander’s uneven novel depicts Hitler’s final years from the perspective of one of his servants. In 1943, 25-year-old Magda Ritter is sent from Berlin to escape the Allied bombardment. She goes to live with her uncle and aunt in Berchtesgaden, where her uncle uses his connections to get Magda a government interview. Within a few weeks, Magda is driven to Hitler’s Alpine retreat and only then learns that she will be one of the women who will taste his food to test it for poisons. Magda begins the novel as a fairly naïve young woman, but SS Capt. Karl Weber, whom she comes to love, reveals evidence of Nazi atrocities to her, instilling in her a hatred of Hitler. While Karl takes part in plots against Hitler, Magda does not. Her disgust with Hitler and her love for Karl (who, as a Nazi officer, feels inappropriately positioned as a romantic hero) never really translate to compelling emotional stakes, giving the story an anemic feeling. Alexander (The Magdalen Girls) has placed his fictional protagonist in a pivotal historical position but fails to make the most of it. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 01/30/2018
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-2623-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5385-1449-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-2624-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-5384-2625-8
Paperback - 572 pages - 978-1-4328-4844-6
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