The Fortunate Ones

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Actual rating 3.5⭐

The Fortunate Ones by Catherine Hokin is historical fiction novel based during and after WWII. This book is different from most because the author tells the "after" story. After the war is over, after the Nazis have lost. 

I enjoyed this book, but for me this book was at its best after the war had ended, and we got to see how each of the main characters handled it. 

There is Felix, and if you ask him he doesn't consider himself Jewish, but the Nazis say he is. Then there is Inge, a German young lady who is told by her parents that she is going to have to marry a much older man. A man whose name is Max and happens to be in the SS. 

Yes, this book is typical in that it follows the same format that most WWII historical fiction books follow. Felix winds up in a concentration camp, and Inge has her head stuck in the sand about what her SS husband. But it is after the war that this book goes one step further. What happens to Felix and Inge, and to those around them.  I do have to say that I enjoyed the ending. It wasn't typical, and that is exactly what this book needed! 

I received this book from Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for my honest review.
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Hannah and Felix are an adorable couple. I really enjoyed this unique WWII story. I loved it. 

Many thanks to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
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WWII historical fiction is kind of my go-to genre when I need a refresh from YA/dystopian/fantasy. I had received this book from Netgalley a while ago, and finally had the opportunity to read it. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. It isn’t your typical WWII novel, and the ending was not what I’m used to seeing from this genre. I expect them to end with the liberation of a particular concentration camp or shortly there after, but this one was different. 

Early on, I was having trouble focusing because of some of the wording. I was having to reread sentences a few times to understand what was being said. That improved significantly around 25-30% in. Maybe I didn’t notice as much once the story really got going. 

I enjoyed this one a lot and would recommend it to people who like WWII historical fiction and want a slightly different ending then they’ve come to expect
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Great historical fiction.  A unique story of a young couple who meet just before the horrors of WW2.  Hannah is not able to give away her real identity and leaves Felix in despair when she disappears as so many did during this time.  Very emotional with a gripping plot highlighting yet again the sheer horror and cruelty of the Nazi regime.  Very educational and interesting and horrifying of what happened to a lot of these monsters following the end of the war.  A good powerful read.
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I don’t read a lot of historical fiction. It’s just not one of my favorite genres. But I love a good romance and the cover of this book really drew me in. It’s gorgeous. The Fortunate Ones is the story of Inge and Felix, who meet at a dance in Berlin during the early years of World War II. Their romance is brief, but they fall in love. But Inge is engaged to a Nazi officer, and Felix is part-Jewish and is eventually imprisoned in a concentration camp. The same concentration camp where Inge’s fiancé works. This book is beautifully written and held my attention the entire time. While the story is fiction, the author clearly spent a lot of time researching World War II and its aftermath. I learned a lot of things I didn’t know. For instance, did you know that many Nazi officers fled to Argentina following the end of the war? And Eva Peron is in this book. Remember the movie, Evita? I love books that teach me something. Even if you’re on the fence with historical fiction, pick this book up. It’s a wonderful story.
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WWII novels are so common but The Fortunate Ones is not like most of the ones you read. One night Inge meets Felix at a German nightclub and they immediately fall in love. However they are pulled apart through commitments and the Nazis. The book is broken in parts. Part one focuses on their meeting and the elements that separate them. Part two is about the war and time at the camps. Part three is about post war survival. And part four is their reunion. It takes place over about 15 years and multiple countries.

I really liked that it did not end the way I expected or would be standard for this type of story. These main characters are very flawed and found ways to survive experiences that would kill most people. There is also a nice blend of real people who are walk through characters as well as the fictional characters. There are characters you like and characters you hate, those who help others and those who destroy them. 

I would definitely recommend grabbing this one if you like historical fiction. This one gets a solid 3.5 rating from me.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was so emotional and raw. I love books that make you feel something as you read them. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and this one totally grabs you in and breaks your heart. 

Read with tissues.
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I just finished The Fortunate Ones by Catherine Hokin, and I feel drained. Hokin takes the reader from 1941 Berlin through the 1950s  Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Bariloche. Told by new narrators, Felix, a Mischling, who meets Inge (Hannah) soon to be a married woman to a much older man at a chance meeting in a nightclub to a chance meeting in a cafè in 1950’s Berlin. 

Hokin has created an epic story that shows the unfairness of war and hope that those affected by war can recover. Throughout their journeys, I felt like I was in the rooms of the characters and living their stories. I was surprised at the ending but think it is very realistic. I can tell that the author did a lot of research into wartime Berlin, life in a concentration camp, Nazi’s who ran to South America and created lives. 
4.5 stars

My thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.. I look forward to reading future books by Catherine Hokin.
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Although many novels are offered these days set during World War II Germany involving concentration camp inmates and the brutality of their treatment, this novel stands out to me for its deft characterization and the exploration of the strength and determination of the human spirit to overcome great odds. Touching and compassionate, this is an excellent historical read.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

If all the books I have read about World War II, the Holocaust, and the home front were in one bookshelf, I would probably have to bind it to the wall from the sheer weight of the books. One would gather I would feel oversaturated with content. Yes, there is a sameness that can set in but I enjoy reading each character's unique perspectives.

In "The Fortunate Ones," Catherine Hokin begins her narrative in Berlin during the war years and beyond to the war crime trials and the hunt to find the "ones that got away." The two main characters are Felix, a German of mixed blood who along with his parents tries to not be noticed. And Inge, a young German woman who is soon to marry a high ranking SS officer much older than herself. One night at a dance, Felix and a young woman named Hannah will meet and that one meeting will fuel a passion that will help fuel Felix's desire to survive.

Let me be frank, the insta-love in this one drove me up the wall and one particular scene in the concentration camp had me raising an eyebrow. However, the novel certainly offered unique perspectives but I think the best storylines for both characters were their lives after the war. Catherine Hokin explores the anger, the search for justice, and the guilt that followed after the war but also the staunch loyalty to Nazism that still remained. That is why I crown this one with a 3 star.

Goodreads review published 30/01/20
Publication Date 20/01/20
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The Fortunate Ones was a spellbinding tale of political strife during Hitler’s reign, and it what it meant to survive in the harsh conditions where food was scarce, medicine was a joke, and war was looming on the horizon or already at their front door. 

Felix is just a normal young man attempting to survive, in a place that doesn’t seem to care overmuch how he might fare. Being a prisoner in a camp, his future appears bleak until he meets Inge…a woman who tells him that her name is Hannah. He believes her a prisoner, and in a way she is one, having been forced through an arranged marriage to a monster who does horrific experiments on the prisoners within the camp. Yet she’s unaware of such, kept safe at home where her husband’s abuse speaks volumes. 

Inge is a brave woman, though I preferred Felix’s side of the story in all honesty. While both perspectives were of interest, there were points in the story that seemed to drag. I liked how the ending wrapped up, and I rather enjoyed the author’s writing style overall, despite where parts of the story balked. I’ll definitely be checking out more by this author in the future, and I’m awarding 4.5 out of 5 stars for a wonderful trip through WWII. Though several moments were bleak and grim, the story itself was a good one, and recommended for fans of that time period.
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Oh this book!! I couldn’t stop once I started. A really unique look at life  as a wife in the Reich, being in a camp working for the Reich and the aftermath of life after the war. 

Felix is a printers apprentice in Berlin. His father is Jewish, his mother Aryan making him a Mischling. Since the Nazi’s have taken over, Felix’s father hasn’t left the house. He is now made to wear the yellow star and Felix’s mother fears for Felix making him join Hitlers Youth in hopes of keeping him safe. 

Inge is a young woman from a wealthy German family. Her father sets up an arranged married to a Nazi doctor high in the regime. She is to look pretty and play her part but not to ask questions.

Inge by chance meets Felix before she is set to be wed. They  are immediately taken by each other. Inge knows she has no choice but to marry according to the arrangement even though her heart is elsewhere. She tells Felix her name is Hannah and that is the first of many lies.

Since that meeting Felix has had Hannah on his mind. He wants to find her but how? It isn’t long after that Felix is sent to a deportation camp where is fate is unknown. Because of his printing background Felix is given a job making counterfeit money for the Reich. He starts to write to Hannah on any little scraps of paper he can find vowing that one day he will give them to her. 

Meanwhile Inge has married into the Nazi world and it is not what she thought it would be. Abused mentally as well as physically Inge is shocked to discover what the Reich is all about and the part her husband is playing in it. 

If you are looking for something a little different when it comes to WWII fiction this is your book. Such a well told story of love, hope and resilience during this terrible time. A definite page turner that you don’t want to miss!

Thank you to Net Galley and Bookouture for the advanced copy.
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Readers who enjoy books set during the Second World War are going to love Catherine Hokin’s absorbing and enthralling tale of love and loss that is brilliantly written, wholly mesmerizing and wonderfully researched: The Fortunate Ones.

Berlin is in the grip of the Second World War and printer’s apprentice Felix Thalberg feels the weight of the world weighing heavily upon his shoulders. The city that had once been his pride and joy is being razed and changed by Nazis intent on putting their malevolent stamp on this once great city and it breaks his heart to see his father retreat even further and further into himself and refusing to leave the house after being forced to wear a yellow star whilst his mother gets thinner and thinner with each passing day as worry consumes her. Felix feels as if he has been plunged into darkness, but a chink of light comes into his life one night when in a crowded dance hall he meets a mysterious and enigmatic woman who changes his life forever, Hannah…

Hannah’s intoxicating and beguiling personality transforms Felix’s life and he is determined never to let her go now that he has found her amidst all the darkness and despair. Felix does not want their magic to be a transient or temporary affair, but when he tries to find her, his quest is unsuccessful because Hannah seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. Whatever happened to Hannah? Has she been taken prisoner by the Gestapo? Or has something even worse befallen his beloved? As Nazi zeal and fervour continues to consume the city, Felix is imprisoned in a concentration camp run by sadistic officer, Dr Max Eichel, but the hardships and atrocities he is put through fail in comparison to the pain he feels being separated from his beloved Hannah.

All seems lost for Felix as he wonders whether he will ever clap eyes on his dear Hannah again. However, when 
Dr Eichel brings his wife to work one day, Felix is completely and utterly flabbergasted when he spots Hannah. It seems like hope is not lost after all, especially when Dr Eichel’s wife makes it perfectly clear that she recognises him too and that his feelings for her are reciprocated.

Amidst all this cruelty and sadness, can Felix and Hannah ever find their way home to one another? Or is theirs a love that is simply not meant to be?

The Fortunate Ones is a stunning piece of historical fiction that grabbed my attention from the very first page and kept me on the edge of my seat and engrossed throughout. Catherine Hokin is a phenomenal storyteller who writes with style, flair and confidence about the Second World War and makes her readers feel every single emotion which her characters are experiencing.

Felix and Hannah are characters it is impossible not to care about. They are wonderfully drawn and so beautifully rendered that readers will find themselves reluctant to leave the world they inhabit when they reach the end of the novel.

Catherine Hokin is a writer historical fiction fans need to add to their auto-buy list and readers who enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz are absolutely going to adore The Fortunate Ones.
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This was a difficult read for me. I knew going in that with the subject matter, this wasn’t going to be an easy happy-ever-after read. But, after finishing, I’m still unsure how I feel about the ending.

Let me say that Hokin is an absolutely amazing story teller. There was not one moment of this book that felt contrived, rushed, or fake to me. She told an amazingly beautiful story of two people who met, fell in love, and had the most difficult time getting back to each other.

Felix is a half-Jewish young man who is watching his family and those around him suffer in his home of Berlin, due to the Nazis. Hannah, well, she’s a German. I won’t get into what that means for them too much; but, beware… these two have a rough road.

I’m absolutely in love with how Hokin chose to explore these two very-opposite characters. And she portrayed their individual pain–due to very polarizing circumstances–brilliantly.

The only issue I do take, is the ending. And, I won’t get into why. It was appropriate…Even almost expected. And probably the wiser choice for Ms. Hokin. And, I’ll probably never forget it.

In the genre of WW II novels, this one definitely stood out to me as special and unique.
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A fantastic piece of historical fiction! Very emotional and sad at times, with great characters and a gripping plot. It deals with the horrors of war but is also a powerful love story. Highly recommended for anyone who loves good historical wartime fiction!
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and found the subject matter fascinating. A lovely story with sadness as well as strength and endeavour.. Definitely recommended to those who enjoy this genre.
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The Fortunate Ones by Catherine Hokin is historical fiction at its very best. Set in Germany during World War 2, this is a beautiful and poignant book with a love story at its heart. Beginning in 1941 it tells the story of Felix, a printer’s apprentice, and Inge, the beautiful young woman he falls in love with.

Told from several different perspectives, this is a heartbreaking story of two people facing impossible odds, in a tale of love and war that will move you beyond words, taking you on a devastating wartime journey that will stay with you long after the final page has been turned.

Felix and Inge, or ‘Hannah’ as she is known to him, meet one night in a crowded ballroom. They have an instant connection and Felix soon finds himself completely infatuated by her. But Inge is due to be married to a much older man, a doctor, whose true character she is yet to see, and when Felix tries to find her again, she’s vanished without a trace.

Where has Hannah gone? Was she taken away by the Gestapo? Or is there something even more sinister going on? When Felix, a non-practising Jew, finds himself imprisoned in a concentration camp, all hope of finding the woman he’s fallen in love with appear to be lost. But then one day, after a life threatening injury lands him in the ward of Dr Max Eichel, he spies his lost love in the vice like grip of the sadistic doctor – her husband.

The Fortunate Ones is a gripping and beautiful wartime story that will both horrify and mesmerise you as you race through the pages, taking hold of your heart as you become desperate to see if Felix and Inge will ever find their way back to each other. But as heartbreaking as it is, this is also a story of how resilient the human spirit can be, even when all hope appears to be lost. I was mesmerised by Felix and his love for Inge, but it was Inge whose story moved and inspired me the most. Would she be able to escape the clutches of the sadistic Dr Max Eichel? Or are Felix and Inge destined to be apart forever?

A devastating and poignant read, this is a story that not only portrays the horrors of war, but also shows the power of love in all its guises, leaving you with a feeling of hope as the final pages draw to a close.
Catherine Hokin has written a beautiful, gripping and poignant wartime love story that I would highly recommend
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Thank you to Netgalley for giving me the chance to read and review, "The Fortunate Ones" by Catherine Hokin. As a fan of historical fiction, I just knew I wanted to request this one. Let me start off by saying that the writing and the story are absolutely beautiful. There were moments that took my breath away. Felix and Inge felt so incredibly real as did all the other characters. If I could give this a 4.5, I would. I loved the book. The ending I did not. While I can understand why the ending went the way it did, of course I was hoping for a different one (which is no fault to the author). I will gladly be looking for books from Catherine Hokin in the future!
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The Fortunate Ones by Catherine Hokin is a World War II story set in Berlin in 1941. It is an extraordinary story that encompasses bravery, heartache, love and the power to keep going even when faced with adversity.

Felix Thalberg is a Mischling. He is neither fully German nor fully Jewish. While still being able to hold a job as a printer’s apprentice, Felix is not really sure where he fits in under the Nazi regime. His father has been stripped of his lecturing position and forced to wear a yellow star and is fearful of leaving their home.  Felix’s mother, an aryan, refuses to leave her husband and finds herself shunned in the community. While at a dance, Felix meets Hannah and falls in love, but soon after finds himself arrested by the regime and sent to  Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp.  While in the camp, Felix sees a glimpse of Hannah through a window pane, with an SS officer, Max Eichel, a sadistic medical officer and loyal to the regime,  standing right behind her.  While fearful of Hannah’s fate, she also gives him hope in a world that has changed.

Catherine Hokin really emmerses you into life in a concentration camp and all of the atrocities done to other people the regime labeled as undesirables. She shows how Jews were dehumanized and treated like nothing more than cattle. People were stripped of their dignity, murdered, and  tested on like lab rats. Names no longer mattered. You were nothing more than a number, you were no one. There was no humanity in a concentration camp.  Just reading the text was so disheartening and gave me the chills. Not only is this a story of what it was like in a camp, but it also takes it a step further until after the war had ended. I find it to be refreshing to see what happens after the war, which not many authors tend to write about.

What is most apparent is all of the research Hokin delved into while creating this story. Names and places have historic merit and I found it quite refreshing to read.  From Berlin to Argentina, Hokin takes us on a journey of the SS from concentration camps in Berlin in 1941 all the way up till the end of the war when many SS Nazi’s escaped to Bariloche, Argentina’s Lake District.

Felix is such a strong well written character. I could feel his pain and suffering, but I could also feel his strength even when he felt like giving up. The only thought holding him together was his love for Hannah. I know many might not understand the symbolism of the romance in this story, or may feel it was short shafted among the bigger picture, but I feel it was a necessary plot point that kept Felix going and one that gave him the strength he needed to survive through the atrocities thrown his way.

Hannah is a well written character as well and I could see how she felt trapped in a marriage she did not want to be in while she carried around a love for a boy she briefly met.  I found her to be very naive in the beginning, but yet I can understand why she wore rose colored glasses. In the beginning of 1941, I don’t think she could have truly handled all that was going on at the time. Hannah does grow in character and you can see how she changes for the better as time goes on.

I would really like to mention the ending of this story, while I didn’t get the ending I wanted, I think it still ended perfectly and kept with the entire theme of the story. I think one really needs to encompass all that is going on to truly understand why the ending is the way it is.

The Fortunate ones is a beautifully moving, gut-wrenching World War II story that will pull on your heartstrings. I highly recommend this book if you are a historical fiction fan. A definite five star read for me and I am really looking forward to more from Catherine Hokin.
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Contained within a richly-detailed narrative was a story that spoke of prevalence of the human spirit, both resilient and beatific, bowed but never broken by the unfathomable horrors of war. Captivating. Sobering. Unflinching.
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