“Dunkirk, France – 1 June 1940 – 3:06PM
The boy’s lungs were burning and his eyes streaming with tears.
He had to get to England. It was now or never. The smoke was all around him, acrid cordite and sulphurous petrol. He kept on running, every breath a sharp stab in his chest.”
In 1940 the boy makes it to England. He spends a year at a boarding school after one of his fathers friends takes him in. A girl around the same age is happy, going to school and helping the war by working on the “Blood Transfusion Service” after school. Both of them escaped Germany and sought safety in England, the boy alone, the girl with her mother and sisters. Now the English want something in return – help on a secret mission. They accept and become Leni and Otto – brother and sister, despite not knowing each other two weeks previously. They are dropped into Germany and set out to kidnap a girl who could help bring down Hitler; but things run far from smoothly and their easy mission is a whole barrel of danger.
I wasn’t sure about Hitler’s Angel when I read the summary. I thought it sounded good but far from what I would normally read and I was concerned about the story itself – I mean, there are only a few people who could be called “Hitler’s Angel” who were female and I was worried that I wouldn’t like that aspect of it.
I thought that the story was fun and exciting and it really didn’t shy away from the terrible scenes of war. I loved most of it but I had to suspend my disbelief – obviously this is fiction, not fact – however, once it was suspended I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I loved the pace and the action and I really loved the relationship that Leni and Otto build between themselves and Angelika. the twists and turns in the story made it even more exciting that it was to begin with and there were a few shocking moments which I didnt see coming at all.
The book was built around Leni and Otto mainly but we got a few insights into other characters too. I liked the narrative style – third person – and thought it gave more leeway for focussing on other characters. You really got to know Leni, Otto, MacPherson and Heydrich quite well because of the free narrative and I grew to love and hate them respectively! Leni and Otto were both sweet but a little naive at times but you watch grow and develop. They had both been through a lot because of the war and thought they were so strong and brave to do what they did. I also loved that their real names were obviously not Otto and Leni and the way you find the names out. McPherson confused me but only because I honestly couldn’t work out if he was a good guy or a bad but I don’t think he was either, he isn’t a black and white guy and given the circumstances I can understand that. Heydrich was awful and scary in places. It was like he was indestructible! I can believe that the character was based on an historical figure, that he did exist in the Germany Army and that he was Hitler’s right hand man. My favorite of the characters has to be Angelika though, she was sweet but so, so brave and I loved every second with her. She was so selfless but still a little girl at heart and I wanted to adopt her!
I really recommend Hitler’s Angel to any child from 11 up, its a brilliant introduction to what life was like for children in the war and think it would have been perfect reading for my World War two module at college too!!
Hitler’s Angel is William Osbornes first children’s fiction book. It was published on May 3rd by Chicken House. My copy was sent in exchange for an honest review by the publisher.