Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Kommandant's Girl

While the concept of this novel is quite good - a Polish Jew whose husband works for the Resistance dons a new identity and works as a secretary to the German Kommandant in Krakow - the writing itself falls flat.
Yes, it's simplistic. Yes, it's very easy to read. But I found that the cliches and other rather mundane details didn't quite draw me into this world of danger and intrigue. It's written in first-person and thus, offers a limited view of the world of nineteen-year-old Emma, a.k.a. Anna.
Since the author, Pam Jenoff, spent time in Poland and studied the Jewish Resistance in that country, I thought perhaps there would be a plethora of great historic detail. While there is some, I still had a hard time "picturing" the setting. Since setting is so important to a story - especially this particular one - I never quite connected with the sense of place.
That being said, this book has a great story to tell. The curious relationship between Emma and the Kommandant is riveting. Jenoff manages to keep you turning the pages to find out if Emma is going to get caught spying for the Resistance while she works at one of the most important Nazi strongholds in Krakow.
Worth a read. If you're a fan of the simplistic style of writing, you'll enjoy this novel of heroism and danger.