Her position places her in the Teahouse at Hitler’s Berghof, The Wolf’s Lair and The Furer’s Bunker in Berlin.
-Is this a job she seeked? NO
-Did she want to be separated from her parents/family? NO
-Was she a supporter of Hitler or the SS Party? NO
-Did she fear for her life and the lives of her family and loved ones? YES
Magda lives with her parents in Berlin and Allied bombs have been falling along with rumors that Germany is not doing well in the war. To protect her, they send her to live with her Nazi Uncle Willy. She is expected to do her part, her duty, and winds up at The Berghof, Hitler’s own remote mountain retreat. She is trained to recognize the smell and taste of poisons. Her teacher states “Your body is offered in sacrifice to the Reich in case the food is poisoned.” Magda is utterly horrified!
As the Allied forces move in and the war intensifies, so does the plight of Magda and those she loves. Magda must hide her hatred of Hitler or die.
The author notes that several scenes are based on Margot Woelk’s account of her experiences as a taster for Adolf Hitler (although not a biography, it is fiction). Ms. Woelk kept her accounts confidential until she turned 95 years old. Fascinating!
If you enjoy WWII Historical Fiction, you may enjoy this “different take” as it is from the perspective of a German girl who despises Hitler. The story is fictional and the author does take some unsubstantiated turns, but it becomes part of her story!
4.5 stars from me.
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 Fuhrer’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.
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.
Praise for V.S. Alexander’s The Magdalen Girls
“Fans of Barbara Davis and Ashley Hay will enjoy this tenderhearted story of sinner, saints, and redemption.”
“Alexander has clearly done his homework. Chilling in its realism, his work depicts the improprieties long abandoned by the Catholic Church and only recently acknowledged. Fans of the book and film Philomena will want to read this.” –Library Journal