Top critical review
Historical Fiction, Remember That. But This is Still 1940s Germany.
19 September 2018
All My Love, Detrick reads in a strange way. It has a rolling narrator who story is told start to finish (essentially) in one chunk but does keep coming back to Detrick and Leah. The only commonalities between the narrating characters are their connections to the Haswell and Abdenstern families. As a way to explore a world, it is clever, maybe especially since in this circumstance, we are all somewhat aware that for the main players this is not going to be pretty.
On those lines this is not necessarily an easy read, you see death, you see characters die, their last thoughts. This is Nazi Germany.
This is historical fiction. But historical fiction set in Nazi Germany particularly for the romantic genre is always difficult, everyone is going to get pissed off about something. In my personal opinion, Kagan didn't do an awful job, there is supporing evidence for Nazi party member aiding Jews to escape, and it's romance honestly he is never going to become a hardline Nazi. There are some bit that I questioned but again the clue is in the name HISTORICAL FICTION. If you don't like it don't read it, this isn't a textbook and artistic licence is permitted as long as we don't go to sunshine and rainbows territory.
The characters were good, relationships well defined, the families felt real. In all fairness, all their endings felt right. Book two is Helga's story after that All My Love Detrick the series loses touch with this book moving to post Nuremberg trials than to Israel. The most interesting characters in some ways in the hardline Nazi, self-loathing, power hungry and a bit of the whole reason nazism did so well.
The ending made me cry but tbh I almost gave up half way through. It felt a bit dry there and very self-published, there are quite a few editing mistakes (names not changed and notations not removed). 3 stars because I did cry at the end, I was invested enough to persevere and I like the way narration was done.