Cover Image: People Like Us

People Like Us

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I love historical fiction book and this a great read. Full of emotion in a highly emotional time. A real page turner if you like this gene of book. highly descriptive a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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This was an easy to read thriller that kept my attention all the way through! Lots of twists and surprises I didn't see coming. Very good, would recommend.....a quick read but worth picking up
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What an amazing and beautiful read...
I absolutely love reading historical fiction and this one came along just when I needed something engrossing..
Sometimes people find love in places they never expect to find it...
We meet Hetty and Walter in this story..
Childhood friends, a pure innocent love for each other...
Loving your friend no matter who they are or where they come from...
I found this to be an incredibly different read in that Hetty comes from a German family so we get such an insight into life in Germany and a family's love for Hitler and all he stood for.
So when she needs to stand up for her friend who is different in his beliefs, she goes against all she knows and all she feels she stands for.
A read which will certainly bring tears...
We see how Hetty grows up loving Hitler and all he stands for. 
She believes he is talking directly to her at times.
How sad for her when all she believes in comes crashing down although she comes out stronger for it.
While reading this one, I felt the author put so much time and effort into her research of such a historical time...
Well worth taking the time for this one 💕
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This story is set in Germany during the 1930's where bit by bit the stage is set for what is to come.  As the daughter of a high-ranking Nazi.Hetty is steeped in the current culture of the country. However, with everything around her changing, she is beginning to question those beliefs.  And then there is her brother's friend Walter,  a young Jewish boy she happens to fall in love with.  We read as the strong arm of Hitler encourages the masses to think his way, like sheep, they follow. Life is becoming more questionable for Hetty ...her dreams of becoming a doctor is not allowed for German women.  Needless to say the love affair between Hetty and Walter is secretive, dangerous and their dreams might be nothing more than dreams with no hope of a future together..  Anti-semitism is rising at an alarming pace and freedoms are being taken away.  You read this and wonder how can a people let this happen, to be so inhuman and cruel.  Can this happen again?  Reading this story makes you wonder.  My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Spanning a six-year time period from August 1933 to August 1939, People Like Us tells the fascinating story of Herta (Hetty) Heinrich who lives in Leipzig in Nazi Germany with her older brother, Karl, mother, Helene, and father, Franz.

Hetty’s father is a writer at a local newspaper called Leipziger but he ends up taking over from the previous owner and editor, Herr Drucker, and acquires a large house in the process. He also works for the Schutzstaffel (SS) and rises up the ranks to become a senior leader.

In 1929, when she was seven years old, Hetty and her brother used to play with a Jewish boy called Walter Keller and one afternoon he saves her from drowning in the local lake. Karl stops playing with Walter and it’s only when Walter and a girl called Freda Federmann are picked on by the new science teacher at school in 1934 and made to leave that Hetty is shocked to discover that this blond-haired and blue-eyed boy is actually Jewish and not ‘pure’ German blood and she should have nothing to do with him.

By this point, Hetty is hearing Hitler’s voice in her thoughts and she has grown up believing in all the Nazi ideology, like anti-semitism and eugenics, which is gaining momentum. Karl has joined the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) and Hetty is in the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM) (League of German Girls) and Karl’s next step is to join the Luftwaffe.

It isn’t until three years later, in 1937, that Hetty sees Walter again. They begin meeting regularly in secret. They’re obviously very conflicted and try to resist their mutual attraction but both admit that they’ve liked each other since they were young. Hetty is confused as she’s seeing life through Walter’s eyes and she starts to challenge her beliefs, especially as she learns more about the current situation and what is happening to Jewish people.

Hetty’s father is spreading more Nazi propaganda through his newspaper and, in his SS role, he is privvy to lots of top secret information.

As Hetty and Walter’s relationship progresses, they put themselves in more and more danger, and the general situation in Germany worsens and the couple are risking everything. There would be severe repercussions, for them and others, if their relationship was discovered.

This is a really powerful historical fiction novel; beautifully written prose and very well researched, with details from the author’s own family background. It was so gripping and tense, and very dramatic – at times, I was holding my breath and wondering what was going to happen next. The fear and terror of people was palpable as various shocking atrocities were committed.

Overall, it was an emotional and poignant story and I really felt for Hetty and Walter, to be in such an awful position and in such danger. This book is so thought provoking and absorbing and I was sad that it had to end. It’s a compelling and heart-breaking, but ultimately hopeful, read and one that will stay with me a long time. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Louise Fein.
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It’s not very often I sob uncontrollably in the garden on a sunny afternoon – but my goodness, I haven’t read a book that had such a powerful emotional impact in quite some time. And there was nothing remotely  manipulative about it, just a totally heartbreaking love story set against an exceptionally drawn period of history.

Set in Leipzig, the book begins with the innocence of a child – Hetty’s attachment to Walter, the boy who saved her life, her brother’s friend. Through her child’s eye view, we witness the rise of Nazism, the growing enmity towards the Jewish population, the appropriation of property, the regimentation of the population, the deification of Hitler – as Hetty’s father rises through the ranks of the SS, she follows the path of unquestioning duty. The insights into the daily lives of ordinary German people are extraordinary, the domestic detail, the day-to-day lives, all set against a vivid portrayal of the growing threat, the constant indoctrination and the rising tide of hatred.

And then, Hetty finds out that Walter is Jewish – and it turns her firmly held beliefs and her comfortable life entirely upside down. He’s blonde and blue-eyed, and doesn’t conform to the “type” they had described – with living examples – at their school assembly (one of so many stunning set pieces in the book that will long stay in the memory). And when they meet again, totally against the odds, their relationship only grows – despite the massive risks, including the possibility of betrayal by others, their love becomes all-consuming. It’s a love that makes you ache because its sheer impossibility, the risks they take every time they meet… and as their love story develops, it plays itself out against the horrifying backdrop of the approach of the Second World War.

Hetty and Walter’s story is, of course, fiction, albeit inspired by the author’s family history (do read the author’s note at the book’s end) – but fiction set against an only-too-real background, with an exceptional depth of accurate detail. I’ve never read a story told from quite this perspective before, and it’s what makes it all so much more powerful – Hetty’s early unquestioning belief that her way is the right way is exceptionally disturbing, but entirely understandable, and so superbly conveyed. The whole book has the intimacy of a memoir – told in the first person, everything is seen through Hetty’s eyes, as we travel with her along her journey from blind allegiance, through uncertainty and questioning, to anger and opposition as the cruelty and dehumanisation escalates.

This is a deeply affecting love story – one that will strengthen your belief in the power of love, and its ability to overcome every obstacle. The book’s ending – that so broke me – is almost unbearably uplifting, perfectly pitched, a glorious triumph of hope and endurance. But what will particularly remain with me from this book is that horrifying backdrop, the way an ideology took over a people, that blind belief, the ease with which hatred and brutality became the norm. This is such an important book, and one I doubt I’ll ever forget – and to forget its lessons would be unforgivable.

(Review copied to Amazon UK, but link not yet available)
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Thank you to Netgalley and Aria for this advanced reader's copy in return for my honest review. Redemption and hope are the overall themes of this captivating story. I read a lot of books set during ww2 so I was delighted to have the opportunity to read this book.
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I just finished People Like Us by Louise Fein. This book is going to haunt me for a long time. I read a lot of WWII era historical fiction. I felt the author did a lot of research, and I like that this story is being told from a German perspective in pre-war years from 1929-August, 1939. 

The beginning catches the reader right away. Hetty a very young girl is drowning in a lake and is saved by her older brother Karl’s Jewish friend Walter. The story then skips a few years. Getty’s family circumstances have changed. Her father a low level worker for a newspaper has taken over the paper and moved into his Jewish predecessor’s house. Hetty and her family become indoctrinated in Nazi ways. Her father is a high ranking SS leader, her brother joins the Luftwaffe, her mother works with an orphanage and supports her husband, and Hetty is involved in a youth group. Walter, of course, is no longer a friend of the family.

In a chance meeting, Walter and Hetty start a relationship. Over time their love develops and we see Hetty questions the beliefs she has learned at home. Having the story told by Hetty allowed me to feel everything Hetty was feeling.  I was on an emotional roller coaster. I felt so many emotions. Please be prepared for an emotional ending. It tore me up but it is also a satisfying ending.  The only thing I would change is the cover. Thank you  Aria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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People Like Us, written by Louise Fein is one woman's story of life in Germany before and in the very early stages of WW II. Life is hard; her father is a low-level employee at the newspaper. All of a sudden, he is in charge of the paper, working for the SS, and they have moved to a wonderful new house. Hetty is just a child. She has no idea. Slowly things start to change. The elderly couple who walks their dog disappears and Hetty is able to adopt it. Some of her friends from school are no longer allowed to attend. They are ... Jews. Hetty doesn't understand the rumor she hears. Years pass. Her brother Karl's best friend, Walter, who once saved her from drowning is one of those dreaded...Jews. Interesting because she still thinks he's wonderful. As she gets older, things get worse. She runs into Walter and they begin to re-establish their friendship, which is becoming more ...

This is a first-person novel with the story being told by Hetty and through her eyes. She is strong and takes good care of the people she loves. She had to be in these precarious times, when nothing seems to make sense anymore. She wants to be a doctor but in the structured Nazi society, she is a woman who must have children and care for her husband. Nothing more. She perseveres and lives her life as much on her own terms as she is able. It is a changed world, one she has to adapt to or be left behind. Many of her friends seem to have died in concentration camps. She works for the resistance for a while. Life goes on. This is a terrific read about Nazi Germany and what it was like for Germans, a perspective we don't always see/hear. I enjoyed this story very much and recommend it highly. It is not a Holocaust story, strictly speaking, although it has not option but to touch on it. 

I received a free ARC of People Like Us from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions and interpretations contained herein are solely my own.  #netgalley  #peoplelikeus
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PEOPLE LIKE US
BY LOUISE FEIN

When I was initially reading this historical novel about antisemitism as it existed in Leipzig, Germany during the early years of Hitler's hate propaganda around 1937, and 1938; I was asking myself inwardly why I was reading such a depressing subject during these difficult times. The author at the end establishes that she has written this novel with the viewpoint that firstly her ancestors lived through these brutal atrocities and that what happened back then is happening today. Not literally Auschwitz and deportations but the loss of democracy and the precariousness of freedoms and rights that we take for granted. Also the theme to illuminate the lessons of the past must never be forgotten. She powerfully demonstrates the atmosphere of telling her story through the eyes of a German family with heartbreaking accuracy as their views of being superior than the Jewish population who were every bit as German but sadly were not afforded equality during those years.

The Author has done meticulous research by reading and interviewing people about the facts in which her own ancestors experienced. This was written from the perspective of being told in the first person of a young German girl named Hetty whose life was saved by her older brother's friend Walter a boy who saves Hetty from drowning. Hetty's family has moved into a larger home with antiques and artwork whom belonged to a Jewish family. Hetty doesn't know this at first and it is Walter whom her brother has shunned because he is Jewish but he and Hetty fall in love and meet in secret. It is Walter who tells Hetty that he is just as German as she is and all people have the capacity to be good and bad. Hetty's father and mother are against Jewish people and this story was very hard to read at times as pre-war Germany during the two years that this takes place are antisemitic and the hatred of Jewish people was hard to read about. The beatings and words like pigs and swine used by Hetty's mother and father towards any ethnic background besides pure blooded Aryan born was difficult but necessary to portraying what happened during 1937 and 1938 in Germany. The raids and property and businesses that were stolen because of non Aryan ethnic differences were the backdrop of Hetty and Walter's secret love. Anybody that even considered going against Hitler's lies and pure hate that was the sentiment during that time period risked arrest, being killed or sent off to a concentration camp.

Walter and Hetty meet in secrecy and their love is beautiful but forbidden. Walter goes to England under the terms that he has to marry Anna a girl he has never met. Hetty's father is a high ranking SS officer who Hetty finds out he has a mistress and a child with. Hetty blackmails her father about exposing his second family if he doesn't use his money and influences to get Walter released from a camp where he and his father and Uncle were sent during a raid and roundup of the Jewish men. Her father with much resentment and anger towards his daughter agrees but he never forgives Hetty. That aspect of Hetty selflessly saving Walter and sending him away to marry Anna was a representation that not all the German people were out for their own gain and showed that Hetty sacrificed her true love by saving Walter's life. Her best friend Erna and Erna's family were part of a minority that also didn't blindly fall for Hitler's propaganda and they represented a respite from the cruelty and blind world at large.

After Walter is gone Hetty is faced with a predicament at sixteen years old that I won't say as I fear I have already said too much. It may be predictable but I hope that this moving and although difficult subject matter that this book is a powerful and ultimately worth being widely read for its historical realities taking place during this time. I can say that times are difficult now with this pandemic and understand that most people might not want to read anything dark and I know this isn't enjoyable. I will say that it is haunting and unforgettable. For a debut book that the author's own ancestors lived through these times she did an excellent job at characterization and it held my attention. I am grateful that I read it and I think that there were redeeming scenes of beauty and hope overall.

Thank you to Net Galley, Louise Fein and Aria Publishing for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinion's are my own.

Publication Date: May 7, 2020

#FightForTheirLove #NetGalley
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This book sets itself apart from all the other books set during WW2 that seem to be constantly churned out these days. The story is from a unique angle, the events make you breathless, and the suffering is suffocatingly real.

The story is told from the eyes of Hetty, the daughter of a highly-ranked and respected SS Officer. She epitomises the perfect German. Despite being taught/brainwashed that Jews are ruining Germany, she finds herself falling in love with Walter - a boy who was once best friends with her brother, a boy who once saved her from drowning, and a boy she's loved from a very young age.  But none of this matters. Walter is a Jew. Hetty is torn between doing what she is told (even though she disagrees with the Nazi ideologies) or defying her family to save Walter, the way he once saved her. The book paints a tragic love story impossible to maintain during a time when the freedom to love was forbidden. The narrative was engaging throughout and showed both Hetty's actions, and her most vulnerable thoughts related in her journal. The setting showed the stark reality of pre-war Germany as anti-semitism gained momentum. This was a fresh perspective as these books often focus more on prisoners in camps, rather than families in the Nazi circle.

The writing in this book was flawless. I constantly wanted to read on to see what the next day would bring. It was bursting with emotion with well-rounded characters - some I could relate to, others I admired, two or three I detested with every ounce of my being. There was a really good mix of characters and I appreciated the insight into the different families.

The ending completely broke me. It was beautiful, emotional, and heart-breaking. I felt like the author really brought this story to life.

Finally, the authors note at the end of the book made me appreciate the story even more. Her Jewish father fled Germany in 1933 realising the danger they could be in with Hitler running the country. He made a new life for him and his family in London. The author has clearly taken snippets of her father's history and naturally inserted them into the story. She said her father taught her to value liberty and freedom and that is one huge takeaway I had after finishing the book. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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People Like Us is a stunning piece of historical fiction set around the Second World War and its impact around the globe. 8 May, 2020, marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) day when the brutal Nazi war machine ground to a halt as they surrendered to the Allies. There are innumerable ways of remembering and honouring those who took part in the wartime action. The reason I mention this is due to the fact that this book is set in Wartime Germany and gives a fascinating account of what life was like on the for those supportive of the evil regime. It centres around Herta (Hetty) Heinrich and a man named Walter who form a friendship after Walter saved her from drowning many years prior. Hetty and her brother Karl are pure-bred Germans but Walter is, unfortunately, a Jew with this, of course, determining his treatment despite calling Germany home. The siblings' father is a high-ranking Nazi and member of the SS with many secrets to hide. Hetty and Walter fall madly in love with one another and Hetty is forced to question the ideology she has long held dear. But what will come forth from her re-evaluation?

This is a tale of forbidden romance set against the backdrop of persecution, genocide and eugenics. It is one of the most emotional, moving, realistic and believable WWII epics I have ever read which makes it impossible not to fly through the pages hoping for a happy ending. However, the ending is full of sadness and anger. The cast of characters was engaging with every character having a distinctive personality and a defined place in the story. Spanning a ten year period between 1929 and 1939 the plot serves to highlight the Nazi regime and its cruel ways. The fact that it is based on real-life events makes it even more compulsive. The number of children who didn't know any better and who were brainwashed and indoctrinated is considerable and I wonder exactly what happened to each of them. All in all, this is an original, refreshing and heart-rending novel and one that has been researched extensively. A highly recommended atmospheric page-turner. Many thanks to Aria for an ARC.
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I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and this one is definitely one that I recommend.

I  enjoyed it, and while reading, I really needed to know where the story was going.

It was very interesting to experience the situation from the other point of view, we usually read WWII books from the perspective of prisoners, affected by war, instead this book's main character is a German girl very much daughter of the Reich going through 1930s, her character had a beautiful development. 

This book will also be published by May 12 in the US by the name Daughter of the Reich.
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I loved this book. It is a raw and emotional read which had me close to tears. I felt so sorry for Hetty and Walter. This is a truly memorable read that I definitely recommend.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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“These are difficult times. That’s why Vati does all this work for the SS as well as running the newspaper. They must protect Hitler and ban all the parties that seek to oppose him. Pick your friends carefully, Hetty. Stick only with good Germans, like us. Do you understand?”

Hetty Heinrich does understand. After all, Hitler lives inside her skull, telling her what she should and should not do. She would never disappoint him by mixing with bad Germans.

However, when her childhood hero, Walter, is made an example of in front of the whole school because he is a Jew, Hetty feels a moment of rebellion. He is her friend. He will always be her friend.

With Walter now firmly banished from their lives, Hetty becomes indoctrinated with Nazi ideology, but she still cannot forget that blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy from her childhood.

A chance meeting with Walter, several years later, leaves Hetty questioning everything she thought she knew. Now she faces the greatest battle of her life. To save a life, she must silence Hitler’s voice in her head once and for all...

From a near fateful drowning to a reunion that was decades in the making, People Like Us by Louise Fein is the heartbreakingly enthralling story of one young woman who dared to stand up to the Nazi regime to save the life of the man she loved.

People Like Us is an emotionally charged story that gripped me from the opening sentence and held my attention to the last full stop. With a rich and realistic historical backdrop, Fein has presented her readers with a tale that is not only unputdownable but one that is unforgettable. 

We first meet Hetty when she is an adorable seven-year-old child who has a severe case of hero-worship towards her brother’s best friend. We watch as she grows up into a young teen who idolises Hitler, and like many others during this time, Hetty subconsciously seeks out potential enemies of the Reich. This, however, changes when she is reunited with Walter. Despite what she has been told about the filthy Jews, Hetty cannot bring herself to think that way about Walter. With Walter’s gentle yet honest explanations, Hetty’s eyes are opened and what she sees shakes the very foundations of her life and belief. Hetty is a very conflicted protagonist who, when she realises that she has been fed a dish of lies, does her utmost to help those whom the Nazis blame for everything. Her relationship with Walter is heartrendingly tender. Hetty is a character that really touched my heart. She is this brave and wonderful young woman who will do absolutely anything for the man she loves, including risking her own life and happiness. Her great sacrifice is lessened by the fact that if she had to do it all over again, she would, and by losing everything she finds a truer version of herself.

Walter is a wonderfully brave hero who faces so much adversity in this book, but he does not let that change his gentle and loving nature. I adored everything about Walter. He is kind, considerate, and he absolutely adores Hetty. His desperate desire to live a normal life, to spend time with his girl, is taken from him by a cruel, narcissistic regime which has to blame someone for all of Germany's failures, so why not the Jews? Walter suffers terribly in this novel — the things he witnesses, the things that he experiences, are truly dreadful, and it would have been very easy for him to see in Hetty all that was wrong with Germany, but he does not. He is a genuinely caring person who I could not help but admire.

People Like Us is a story that has been meticulously researched. The hours that Fein has spent researching this era shines clearly through the enthralling narrative and the lyrical prose. The depiction of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in 1938 was particularly well-drawn. Fein also demonstrates how quickly the ideology of Hitler and his Nazi Party spread through Germany like a sadistic sort of Blitzkrieg. The idea that Hitler explored in Mein Kampf about the ‘Big Lie’ that the Jews so-called told is ironic when one considers the lies he used to turn a nation against its Jewish inhabitants. The relationship between Walter and Karl, Hetty’s brother, shows how easily dismissed life-long friends were, and despite Walter having once saved Hetty’s life, he is now seen by Hetty’s parents as an inferior being who is suddenly the enemy of the state for no other reason than his ancestry. Informing on parents, neighbours, friends became a new normal, and one that Hetty strongly believes in until she discovers the truth of what is happening in these so-called political prison camps, but even then, Hitler’s voice still makes her doubt the truth. There is one very emotional scene when Hetty can no longer bear to look upon the portrait of Hitler she has hanging in her bedroom and so she takes it down and hides it. This small act of defiance is the beginning of a dangerous and uncertain future for Hetty and one that she can never turn back from.

This book is an emotional journey, so have some tissues at hand while you read it. Fein certainly has a novelist intuition into the human condition — its fragility and its strength. But on top of this, Fein also has a keen eye on what makes a book entertaining — what makes a reader want to turn those pages and keep reading. This is the kind of book a reader can lose themselves in and it is near on impossible to put down. 

If you are a lover of quality World War II Historical Fiction then People Like Us by Louise Fein is a book that not only deserves a place on your bookshelf, but it is also one that demands to be read over and over again.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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This was a very emotional read. I enjoyed the story, and I really liked that this story was told from a German point of view instead of a Jewish point of view, since most WWII books are told from the Jewish perspective.

I really enjoyed Hetty's character, at least, most of the story. There were times I thought she was selfish and rude, but for the most part I thought she was a pretty solid character. I also enjoyed Walter's character and watching the love between him an Hetty unfold. It seemed to be a real relationship, everything about it seemed to be believable. I liked Erna and thought she was a fantastic friend and support for Hetty, and I thought she was a strong person for going against what most others were following. 

I really loved the letters written back and forth between Hetty and Walter. For me, that added an extra element to the fact that this was a time where letters were really the only form of communication, and I think those letters had a lot more meaning to someone during those times. 

I absolutely loathed Mutti, Vati, and Tomas, and I was weary of Ingrid throughout the story. I had an inkling of what was happening, and when it all came true, I was even more infuriated with the four characters mentioned. The entire ending for me was emotional, both anger and sadness. There were chapters where I had a hard time continuing reading because I was afraid of what would happen. I also felt that in those chapters Hetty was the strongest she had been throughout the entire book. 

I gave this book 4 stars. I felt there were parts that were repetitive, and around the 75% mark I felt that the story was lagging, almost to the point of being stalled. I did think the author did a great job of hitting the emotional element, as I said I felt both anger and sadness. I did think the ending was a little too open ended for me to be completely satisfied, combined with the repetitiveness and lagging is what made me give 4 stars. 

This is one of the better Historical Fiction books I have read recently, and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction novels. I will read more by Fein in the future.
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'We don't know what the future holds... but know this, as long as you are alive, as long as I am alive, somewhere in this world, that is a good thing'.

10 years ago, Walter saved Hetty's life. Back then, he was just her brother's friend, who happened to be a Jew. Now, he is the enemy. Especially to someone like Hetty, a good German girl who has devoted herself to Hitler, much to the pride of her SS officer father. But fate is unavoidable, and Hetty finds herself in love. How far will she have to go to keep Walter safe?

'People Like Us' spans 10 years, beginning in the innocent summer of 1929 and ending in the turbulent August of 1939, just weeks before the outbreak of war. Covering such an expanse of time means you get a really in-depth exploration of the way in which the Nazi ideology took hold of Germany in those vital pre-war years, and I personally felt that this element of the novel was particularly well done. Sadly, it is still common in historical fiction  set in pre-war Germany to present the German people as cruel bullies who welcomed Hitler's campaign of horror with open arms (albeit with perhaps one brave individual striving out as the novel's hero). And while I understand that writing in such a manner serves as a way to distance ourselves from these events, to prove 'well I wouldn't do that', it simply doesn't reflect the true and complex nature of living in such a time. However, this is something Fein has done perfectly, creating a very accurate yet nuanced representation of the complexities of this time, and of how Hitler was able to slowly and insidiously seize control of a country that had been brought to its knees. 

Similarly, she has created a very strong character in the form of Hetty. This novel takes the unique approach of adding a coming of age element to the story, something I've never before experienced with historical fiction set during WW2. Our narrator is the daughter of a prominent Nazi, who has benefited hugely from Hitler's rise to power and lives a fairly enviable life. Now, this means that, at least from my perspective, we started off with a character who was a bit of a pain. Especially in the early years, I found her very naive, and often mistook her innocence for being an immature spoilt brat. But as the novel progresses, you are faced with the fact that Hetty's attitude is rooted in who she has been told to be. She is being raised in a world where Hitler is being portrayed as the conquering hero, who will restore Germany to it's previous glory, and in this world her family has a fairly decent standard of living. Of course she doesn't want to question the Nazi rhetoric! But seeing how her relationship with Walter opens her eyes to the atrocities around her... that was just heartbreaking, and during her period of 'awakening' to the realities of the world around her, I really found myself feeling for her and warming to her as a character.

In this sense, I didn't really feel like the romance element of the novel was the priority. Of course, there's sections between Hetty and Walter, but personally, the real meat of the book was reading of a young girl learning of the sins of her father, and having to find a way to question the new world order that everyone else seems to accept without question. Seeing Hetty find out the truth of her world, and the horrors that lurk behind closed doors, was the real focal point of the book for me, and I thought it showed incredibly writing and true skill.

I've said it before in other reviews -  I read a LOT of historical fiction, especially that which is set in WW2. And so for me, the bench mark is high. While this one wasn't quite a five star read, I did find it to be a very strong piece of historical fiction, which manages to tread the fine line between writing about, and from the POV of, a teenager, but without falling into YA territory and the tropes that go with it (no instalove here! And it's definitely written for an adult audience). I also loved the fact that this book felt very unique compared to other novels set during the time, and touched on some rarely discussed elements of Nazi Germany, including one element that felt very handmaids tale-esque... Yes, it's a long book, but to me, it's definitely worth the effort.

Disclaimer - I was lucky enough to receive an advance reading copy from NetGalley. This has not affected my review in any way, and all opinions are my own.
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Based on a true story.

Hetty is the daughter of a high ranking SS officer. Walter was a Jew and their neighbour. This story starts when Walter and Hetty were innocent children and Walter had rescued Hetty from drowning. Then the Nazu regime begins and friendship turned to forbidden love. Her brother is in the Luftwaffe. Hetty was a member of the BMD.

This is a story of love, sorrow, confusion, anger and frustration and I felt everyone of the along with Hetty. Grrman student were brainwashed into believing the life the life they were to lead. I enjoyed reading the from the point of view of a German character through pre war to post war and the struggles she found herself going through. Reading this story brought tears to my eyes. You  ust read the authors note as it  brings to life thenstory of her own past.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Aria and the author Louise Fein for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I liked how it looks at Germany before the war officially started and the measures that Hitler took when he came to power in the 1930's, as I think a lot of people forget that these atrocities didn’t start when the war started but in fact long before war was officially declared. I was intrigued right away, with Fein's beautiful writing and narration style.
 I always love good character development and Fein didn't disappoint! Hetty developed a lot from the beginning of the book to the end. I enjoyed the side characters as well, learning their secrets, lives, and seeing morally grey characters. The book made me cry and sob throughout the book but especially the last 100 pages. This book broke me; I haven’t cried this much since I read "Me Before You." You should totally read it!

I give this book 5 stars!! "People Like Us" is a unique historical fiction novel set in Pre-WWII and unlike most set in this era. It's definitely my number 1 fave book of April, and will also be one of my favorites for the year.
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Hetty Henrich is a perfect German child. Her father is an SS officer, her brother in the Hitler Youth, training to become a fighter pilot, herself a member of the BDM. She believes resolutely in her country, and the man who runs it.
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Until Walter changes everything. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew.
As Hetty falls deeply in love with a man who is everything she’s been taught to hate, she will have to risk everything to save him, even if it means sacrificing herself.
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Wow. My heart ached after reading this. From the outset you understand that, probably like so many children of the Reich, Hetty doesn’t fully comprehend what is going on in the world around her - or why. There is a vague innocence about it all. That the physical traits between an Ayran child and a Jewish child are difficult to tell. But soon Hetty starts to discover that Walter “oozes otherness”, that looks are deceiving, blood and breeding never lie. 
She decides that Walter is worth the risk. 
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There are themes are sexuality throughout, the different social expectations of genders. Why can a boy do this, but a girl can’t? 
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The author has done an amazing job of describing that not all Germans agreed with the racial hatred regime forced upon them. Hetty begins to learn of the hardships and restrictions placed on Jewish people. Her mind alters and her love for Walter grows. She starts to stand up for her own beliefs, while hiding a number of secrets too.
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Stories from this tome are rarely written from the “Nazi” point of view, it was heartbreakingly refreshing.
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“There are two sides, or more perhaps, to every thought. Every action. We only ever want to see one.”
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