THE TASTER, by V.S. Alexander, Kensington Fiction


Amid the turbulence of World War II, a young German woman finds a precarious haven closer to the source of danger than she ever imagined–one that will propel her through the extremes of privilege and terror under Hitler’s dictatorship . . .

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.

Out January, 2018


“V.S. Alexander is an ardent student of history with a strong interest in music and the visual arts. Some of V.S.’s writing influences include Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, or any work by the exquisite Brontë sisters. V.S. lives in Florida and is at work on a third historical novel for Kensington.”


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

What a fresh perspective on a subject that’s so difficult to write about!  I absolutely love the MC, Magda. She was strong and brave and unbelievably admirable. I couldn’t wait to read this book based on the premise alone, but as I got in to the story, I devoured the pages in one sitting! It was that good!  I think the attraction was also credited to the fact that this was a unique approach to a WWII, especially about Hitler, story.

A taste tester for Hitler… what a job! The most interesting thing about this book is that although it is a fictional piece, it’s loosely based on the notes and memoirs of an actual taste tester for Hitler, named Margot Woelk who recently released her account of her experiences as a taster for Adolf Hitler.  This woman didn’t release her notes until she was in her nineties, and you can bet I will be hunting down a copy of her book for review!

The relationship between Magna and Karl was fully fleshed out along with many of the other characters in the story.  Even Hitler’s charisma was written well showing the conniving worm that he was and how he managed to get people to do atrocities and diabolical things. Magna’s character was written so well, you felt everything she did, held your breath when she almost trips up and cheer for her when she’s at risk of being exposed for the fraud that she actually is.  She is German and she hates Hitler. So from this perspective you see a horribly conflicted girl shoved in to the middle of a nightmare as a taster for Hitler.

Every day she has to pretend to be a true follower of Hitler when all she really wants is for him to die.

One thing you must remember when reading this book, this is fiction based on facts, so there are some elements of creativity that are obviously fictional.  There’s a section by the author that explains his thoughts when researching and some explanation why he did what he had done when writing this book. I wish it had been fifty pages more since I didn’t want the story to be over so quickly.  I became very invested in the characters and story-line.

Plot moved along easily and smoothly transitioning from one plot point to the next.  Pace was steady and enthralling, and setting was incredibly written.

I highly recommend this book to all.

I gave it:





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