The Taster
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.

The Taster Details

TitleThe Taster
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 30th, 2018
PublisherKensington Publishing Corporation
ISBN-139781496712271
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II

The Taster Review

  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    Terrifying...riveting...fascinating piece of the puzzle into just how insane Hilter was through the eyes of ‘food tasters’. Madga Ritter, age 15, was naive about her country and politics. - and desperate for a job.She was ‘lucky’ to land an honored job tasting the Fuhrer’s food putting her own life at risk in case the food was * poison*. Naivety was replaced with rage when Madga learns the truth about the monster she was working for. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy, Hitler was Terrifying...riveting...fascinating piece of the puzzle into just how insane Hilter was through the eyes of ‘food tasters’. Madga Ritter, age 15, was naive about her country and politics. - and desperate for a job.She was ‘lucky’ to land an honored job tasting the Fuhrer’s food putting her own life at risk in case the food was * poison*. Naivety was replaced with rage when Madga learns the truth about the monster she was working for. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy, Hitler wasn’t!!!Engaging- captivating-well written! 4.5 stars
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  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars! This was a captivating, suspenseful, addictive and fascinating read! This story revolves around Magda Ritter, a young woman employed by Hitler during WWII. Magda blindly applied for work with the Third Reich, not knowing what the job would be – she was simply looking for employment. She was hired as one of Hitler’s “tasters” – a group of young German women who lived on Hitler’s properties whose job it was to taste his food prior to him eating meals to ensure it wasn’t poisoned. What a j 5 stars! This was a captivating, suspenseful, addictive and fascinating read! This story revolves around Magda Ritter, a young woman employed by Hitler during WWII. Magda blindly applied for work with the Third Reich, not knowing what the job would be – she was simply looking for employment. She was hired as one of Hitler’s “tasters” – a group of young German women who lived on Hitler’s properties whose job it was to taste his food prior to him eating meals to ensure it wasn’t poisoned. What a job! I had no idea about this piece of history prior to reading this enthralling story.The unique story, the courageous characters, the piece of history – it was all so fascinating to me! The author, V.S. Alexander, had me engrossed from the first to last page. The story flowed and unraveled perfectly with a pace that kept me hungry for more and wondering how things would conclude. I always find myself drawn to WWII historical fiction novels and this one really stands out as it explored a completely new angle for me. This was a Traveling Sister read with Brenda and we both loved this book! To find this review along with Brenda's Traveling Sister review, please visit Brenda and Norma's fabulous blog at: https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/2...A big thank you to NetGalley, Kensington Books and V.S. Alexander for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    (Please excuse the really bad pun! I can’t believe I’m using it! 😬 )4 delicious stars to The Taster! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ The Taster was highly recommended by my friend, Holly. Who knew there were food tasters for Hitler during WWII? This dangerous job was viewed as their service to The Reich. Magda’s story was loosely based on a real taster who only told her story late in life when she was in her 90s. Magda is not a member of “The Party,” and her sentiments do not lie with Hitler. So, as you can imagine, so (Please excuse the really bad pun! I can’t believe I’m using it! 😬 )4 delicious stars to The Taster! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ The Taster was highly recommended by my friend, Holly. Who knew there were food tasters for Hitler during WWII? This dangerous job was viewed as their service to The Reich. Magda’s story was loosely based on a real taster who only told her story late in life when she was in her 90s. Magda is not a member of “The Party,” and her sentiments do not lie with Hitler. So, as you can imagine, some unrest and drama ensues. I cannot remember a WWII story I’ve read from this perspective. The Author’s Note provided valuable insight into V.S. Alexander’s research, as well as what really happened and where he took liberties. There were places where the history was not documented, or even questioned, and he explored some of those things with Magda’s character. As I read those happenings, they seemed a little bit of a stretch, but then when I read the author’s explanation, it made me realize they were just one possible take on the truth, which we may never know. Magda is a strong character and made the read worthy for me. The story was well-written and interesting. Overall, I enjoyed this entertaining book, especially because of the fresh perspective on WWII. Thanks again to Holly! Thank you to V.S. Alexander, Kensington Publishing, and Netgalley, for the complimentary ARC. The Taster will be released on January 30, 2018.
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    4.5It's 1943- Magda Ritter, young ,naive and German. She is a food taster for the Fuhrer.Her position would place her in the Teahouse at Hitler's Berghof, The Wolf's Lair and The Furer's Bunker in Berlin.-Is this a job she seeked? NO-Did she want to be separated from her parents/family? NO-Was she a supporter of Hitler or the SS Party? NO-Did she fear for her life and the lives of her family and loved ones? YESMagda lives with her parents in Berlin and Allied bombs have been falling along with r 4.5It's 1943- Magda Ritter, young ,naive and German. She is a food taster for the Fuhrer.Her position would place her in the Teahouse at Hitler's Berghof, The Wolf's Lair and The Furer's Bunker in Berlin.-Is this a job she seeked? NO-Did she want to be separated from her parents/family? NO-Was she a supporter of Hitler or the SS Party? NO-Did she fear for her life and the lives of her family and loved ones? YESMagda lives with her parents in Berlin and Allied bombs have been falling along with rumors that Germany is not doing well in the war. To protect her, they send her to live with her Nazi Uncle Willy. She is expected to do her part, her duty, and winds up at The Berghof, Hitler's own remote mountain retreat. She is trained to recognize the smell and taste of poisons. Her teacher states "Your body is offered in sacrifice to the Reich in case the food is poisoned." Magda is utterly horrified!As the Allied forces move in and the war intensifies, so does the plight of Magda and those she loves. Magda must hide her hatred of Hitler or die. The author notes that several scenes are based on Margot Woelk's account of her experiences as a taster for Adolf Hitler (although not a biography, it is fiction). Ms. Woelk kept her accounts confidential until she turned 95 years old. Fascinating!If you enjoy WWII Historical Fiction, you may enjoy this "different take" as it is from the perspective of a German girl who despises Hitler. The story is fictional and the author does take some unsubstantiated turns, but it becomes part of her story!Thanks to Kensington Books/ Netgalley for my copy.
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  • Brenda - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    I was lost in a coulee reading The Taster with Lindsay and this one really surprised us and not what we were expecting. The Taster gave us a different perspective on WWII than we are used to reading and we learned some things we were not aware of. The story really had us thinking, wanting to know more and we really enjoyed our discussion. V.S Alexander takes us to the places Hitler lived, giving us some insight into his life and relationships and as to why Germans followed him. The story is tol I was lost in a coulee reading The Taster with Lindsay and this one really surprised us and not what we were expecting. The Taster gave us a different perspective on WWII than we are used to reading and we learned some things we were not aware of. The story really had us thinking, wanting to know more and we really enjoyed our discussion. V.S Alexander takes us to the places Hitler lived, giving us some insight into his life and relationships and as to why Germans followed him. The story is told from the perspective of one of Hitler’s servants Magda Ritter who becomes a taster. Her job is to taste his food for poison. We were intrigued and became fascinated by a part of history we never really put much thought into before. V.S Alexander does a good job balancing history here and storytelling and we loved the unique angle the story was written from. A little high on drama sometimes with a little spin at the end that left us fascinated and completely satisfied in a coulee after reading this one. We highly recommend.Review written and posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading.https://twosisterslostinacoulee.comCoulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsIt is ironic that I never considered that there would have been women whose job it was to taste the food that was prepared for Hitler. Also, it was ironic that all of these tasters were women, not a man among them. Yet, these women were selected to offer up their lives for a man that many idolized. Magda Ritter, a young German girl was chosen for the position of taster. She is brought into the very core of Hitler's various residences, Berghof, Wolf's Lair, The Fuehrer's bunker all to have 4 starsIt is ironic that I never considered that there would have been women whose job it was to taste the food that was prepared for Hitler. Also, it was ironic that all of these tasters were women, not a man among them. Yet, these women were selected to offer up their lives for a man that many idolized. Magda Ritter, a young German girl was chosen for the position of taster. She is brought into the very core of Hitler's various residences, Berghof, Wolf's Lair, The Fuehrer's bunker all to have the job she really does not want. However, Magda fears for her life, the life of her family and eventually the life of the man she loves. She is not a Party member, in fact she comes to hate Hitler and plots and dreams of a way to eliminate him. As the war continues and the end is at hand, Magda makes a decision that she has wanted to make for quite some time.Supposedly, this story is loosely based on a true taster, a woman named Margot Woelk who at the age of ninety-five told her story. The book is interesting but at times does really require large leaps of faith to believe the narrative. The war and its many problems inherent in the behavior of Hitler and those that followed his every word was a true testament to how evil one man can be especially when he molded the minds of an entire nation.Thank you to V.S. Alexander, Kensington Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book for an unbiased review.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this book was fabulous !!! And, I felt like it was a bit ironic that I finished it yesterday, on the 73rd anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s death. The plot which centered around Magda Ritter’s life working for the Reich and having the job of being one of Hitler’s tasters, due to his mounting fear of being poisoned, was heartbreaking as well as an emotional story filled with acts of extraordinary courage.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Stars !! I thought this book was fabulous !!! And, I felt like it was a bit ironic that I finished it yesterday, on the 73rd anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s death. The plot which centered around Magda Ritter’s life working for the Reich and having the job of being one of Hitler’s tasters, due to his mounting fear of being poisoned, was heartbreaking as well as an emotional story filled with acts of extraordinary courage.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars !!
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  • Dawn Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. I requested this book because it sounded interesting. I had no idea just how in-depth it would be and just how much this book would affect me. I cannot even imagine what life must have been like during the war, especially for the Germans who didn't subscribe to Hitler's madness; I can imagine even less what it must have been like to be plucked out of nothing and made a "taster" of Hitler's food to make sure it wasn't poisoned. Magda is just a normal German girl; she has no great ambitions a Wow. I requested this book because it sounded interesting. I had no idea just how in-depth it would be and just how much this book would affect me. I cannot even imagine what life must have been like during the war, especially for the Germans who didn't subscribe to Hitler's madness; I can imagine even less what it must have been like to be plucked out of nothing and made a "taster" of Hitler's food to make sure it wasn't poisoned. Magda is just a normal German girl; she has no great ambitions and she isn't interested in being part of the "party" that was spreading across Germany with the rise of Hitler and his Army. She is sent to her Aunt and Uncle's house where she earns the favor of the SS and is sent to Hitler's private Alpine residence to become one of his 15 official tasters. While there, she meets and falls in love with a young SS captain and also learns just how much she truly dislikes Hitler and all he was doing, while his people were suffering. Magda has to hide her displeasure and pretend, all while wishing the very man she was "tasting to save" dead. This was an amazing story and I am so glad that I was able to read it. Thanks to Kensington and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC; I guarantee if you read this, you will never be the same.
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  • Deanne Patterson
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely amazing novel loosely based on an interview a 95 year old woman gave several years ago that was a taster for Hitler. It was fascinating to read about the many books the author has read on the Third Reich and all the research he has done on this. German woman Magda Ritter is at the end of her life and feels she must release her lifelong secrets from their inner prison. She feels she has been punished enough by them so it goes to the beginning of her life and tells her story. . Young An absolutely amazing novel loosely based on an interview a 95 year old woman gave several years ago that was a taster for Hitler. It was fascinating to read about the many books the author has read on the Third Reich and all the research he has done on this. German woman Magda Ritter is at the end of her life and feels she must release her lifelong secrets from their inner prison. She feels she has been punished enough by them so it goes to the beginning of her life and tells her story. . Young German women are expected to do their duty—working for the Reich or marrying to produce strong, healthy children. When she is interviewed she is assigned to Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat. She is there for weeks clueless before she learns of her duty as one of fifteen tasters of Hitler's foods. She offers herself in sacrifice to keep him from being poisoned. Upon arriving for her assignment she was meek,mild, timid but as the books moves on we see Magda come into her own as she adjusts to where she is and becomes a stronger woman and self assured. She then goes on to reassure other new women coming in to work. As time goes on she becomes disillusioned and hatches a plan to "get rid of Hitler". Tough,gritty,heartbreaking,breathtaking and not knowing what to expect will keep you on your toes wanting to read more and more of this book.Hitler was pure evil but yet he was grandfatherly towards some of the children and his dog Blondi went everywhere with him. I enjoyed it so much it was hard to see this Historical fiction book come to an end. I will definitely be reading more books by this author.Pub Date 30 Jan 2018 I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Books through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    I had mixed feelings about this book. It was really engaging, and I liked Magda a lot. It's always truly fascinating to see WWII from the perspective of an average German citizen, and this was no exception. However, despite how average Magda is, everything happens to her. Warning, a lot of spoiler in this spoiler - like the entire plot. (view spoiler)[She experiences evacuation out of Berlin for safety, employment in the Führer's kitchens, falling in love with an SS officer who is actually part I had mixed feelings about this book. It was really engaging, and I liked Magda a lot. It's always truly fascinating to see WWII from the perspective of an average German citizen, and this was no exception. However, despite how average Magda is, everything happens to her. Warning, a lot of spoiler in this spoiler - like the entire plot. (view spoiler)[She experiences evacuation out of Berlin for safety, employment in the Führer's kitchens, falling in love with an SS officer who is actually part of the plot to kill Hitler, returning to Berlin to visit her father in the hospital in time to be in the bombing of Berlin in which her mother dies, marriage to her soldier who then ends up dead thanks to the plot, being sent to a concentration camp as a political prisoner, being released, escaping back to Berlin where she can't find her father, living in the uncertainty and hunger of ravaged 1945 Berlin, being raped by Russian soldiers, finding her way to Hitler's bunker for care where she lives out the final days of the Reich, actually pulling the trigger and killing Hitler, fleeing as a refugee, and ultimately being reunited with her husband who was not dead after all! (hide spoiler)] Now, if you can suspend disbelief that one woman can experience literally every facet of the war in Germany that a civilian woman could possibly experience, it's a highly readable and page-turning work of fiction. Also, because of her vast experience, the reader learns a lot about the workings of the Reich and what it was like for civilian women, including what information they had about the government's actions. I liked this book a lot; it just requires a giant grain of salt to swallow!The fine print: received ARC from NetGalley.
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  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    There are many good novels on the subject of WWII. What makes this book stand out? It is something never told before. The idea of this book was prompted by an account of Margot Woelk, a real taster for Adolf Hitler, who revealed her story at the age of ninety-five. This book is not based on her life, although several scenes from her life were incorporated into this story.“Who killed Adolf Hitler? (…) The circumstances surrounding his death have been disputed since 1945…”In this story, a fictiona There are many good novels on the subject of WWII. What makes this book stand out? It is something never told before. The idea of this book was prompted by an account of Margot Woelk, a real taster for Adolf Hitler, who revealed her story at the age of ninety-five. This book is not based on her life, although several scenes from her life were incorporated into this story.“Who killed Adolf Hitler? (…) The circumstances surrounding his death have been disputed since 1945…”In this story, a fictional character of Magda Ritter answers this question by telling her story. “She is one of the fifteen women who tastes Hitler’s food as he is obsessively concerned about being poisoned by the Allies or traitors.”In 1943, at the age of 25, Magda’s parents send her to their family in Bavaria to keep her safe from Allied bombs raiding over Berlin. As soon as she arrives in the charming town of Berchtesgaden, her aunt forces her to get a job to pay her share.She is taken to Berghof Chalet perched on a hillside above her uncle’s town. Here she learns about her job description. As she learns her duties and how to identify poisonous food, she also learns about an underground network operating right under Hitler’s radar. The National Socialism they’ve been fed by Hitler turns out to be full of cruelty proven by photos taken at Auschwitz.Cut off from the world and fed by Hitler’s propaganda, most of the German people don’t know the truth and the atrocities done in the camps. But as war progresses and as some hope it’s nearing its end, more and more Germans start questioning Hitler’s ideology, if it’s rather madness. More and more attempts are made to kill him, but they all fail. Now they’re hopeful that Operation Valkyrie will work.The first part of the book is slow in action, but not in pace. It is still an interesting part. The second half has more action and graphic descriptions about brutality of the war.How did Adolf Hitler die and did most of the Germans not know about atrocities of the WWII? We may never find out the answers to these questions. Nevertheless, this is a very fascinating [email protected]/BestHistoricalFictionhttp://bestinhistoricalfiction.blogsp...
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    This is a different look at World War II than readers are used to reading. The Taster is from the perspective of a young German girl and is about life inside Germany during the war. It's a coming of age story for a young girl with little to no interest in politics and war to a young woman who begins to see the moral dilemmas of the war and the inhumanity of the Nazi party.Magda's parents send her out of Berlin because the allies have started bombing and they fear for her safety. She goes to live This is a different look at World War II than readers are used to reading. The Taster is from the perspective of a young German girl and is about life inside Germany during the war. It's a coming of age story for a young girl with little to no interest in politics and war to a young woman who begins to see the moral dilemmas of the war and the inhumanity of the Nazi party.Magda's parents send her out of Berlin because the allies have started bombing and they fear for her safety. She goes to live with relatives and they feel that it is a German woman's role to have a job that will help the country. After several interviews, she gets a job at Hitler's mountain retreat as a taster - she tastes every food that he will be served at his meal to make sure the food hasn't been poisoned. She is willing to sacrifice her life to save the life of the ruler of Germany. The longer Magda is at the German headquarters, the more she sees about the inhumanity of the war and once she falls in love with a conspirator, she really begins to have questions.This is fantastic war story about a subject that we don't usually read about. It's a story about love and courage in the face of war.Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    A big thank you to Kensington publishing, V. S. Alexander and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you as well to my Goodreads friends for introducing me to this book. The moment I started reading, I was captivated and intrigued. It's not too often that a book captures my attention from start to finish but The Taster was successful in achieving this feat. I found the writing style to be quite interesting. It was simple and straightforward A big thank you to Kensington publishing, V. S. Alexander and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you as well to my Goodreads friends for introducing me to this book. The moment I started reading, I was captivated and intrigued. It's not too often that a book captures my attention from start to finish but The Taster was successful in achieving this feat. I found the writing style to be quite interesting. It was simple and straightforward and worked well in this instance. We meet Magda, a young woman who is naive and seemingly apathetic about WW2 and her country's Nazi regime. Up until now, Magda has lived a sheltered existence but her life is about to change. As the Allies draw nearer to Berlin and the likelihood of being killed by bombs increases,, Magda's parents arrange for her to stay with relatives outside of the city. It is through her uncle that she is hired as a Taster for the fuhrer. Who knew that such an occupation even existed??? The story does a fabulous job in mixing Magda's fictional experiences with historical details. It is the first time I've read a war story from this particular perspective and with Hitler playing a prominent character in the narration. I found it fascinating. The story moves along at a good clip. Readers that enjoy more of a plot-based narrative will probably enjoy this book. Magda's situation changes throughout the story from 1943 to 1945 (and beyond), which allows the reader to witness different aspects and atrocities of the war from a German civilian perspective. i felt the author successfully achieved a nice balance of detail and narration. Although it is raw and tragic, it is well crafted and I found the violence to be an instrumental part of the plot, which added depth and understanding. I do love a good war story, however, so this may not be everyone's cup of tea. If you're okay with some violence, like WW2 stories and looking for an interesting, engaging and unique WW2 historical fiction, this might be worth a try. I found it to be quite thoughtful and hard to put down.
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  • Trudy
    January 1, 1970
    Historical Fiction at its best!
  • Sheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Classic case of "good concept, bad execution". The Taster is a World War II story told from the point of view of one of Hitler's food tasters, meant to protect him from poisoning attempts. Great concept, but that's about all this book has going for it. (WARNING: I'm going to spoil the ending a the end of this review, so be forewarned.)The novel starts with the sentence "Who killed Adolf Hitler?" and I'm immediately disappointed. That's the story? It's a mystery about who killed Hitler? I feel li Classic case of "good concept, bad execution". The Taster is a World War II story told from the point of view of one of Hitler's food tasters, meant to protect him from poisoning attempts. Great concept, but that's about all this book has going for it. (WARNING: I'm going to spoil the ending a the end of this review, so be forewarned.)The novel starts with the sentence "Who killed Adolf Hitler?" and I'm immediately disappointed. That's the story? It's a mystery about who killed Hitler? I feel like there was a lot that could have been done with the story other than making it specifically about killing Hitler. A lot of the things I had hoped for this book were attempted (a look at how people within Hitler's service viewed the war; a look at how the common German people viewed the war; what it was like to work for Hitler when you disagreed with his actions) but I felt they were very shallowly explored and put to the side for the main plot of killing Hitler.The story is told as a recollection of the main character, Magda, remembering the 1940's from 2013, and honestly, I think I'm over the trope of "old woman telling a dark secret from her youth on her deathbed because it doesn't matter anymore because I'm old and going to die anyway." This also just leads to the story being written in a not very engaging manner: it's Magda TELLING a story instead of an author SHOWING us the story, and it honesty just comes across as very boring in several parts of the book. Magda herself is not a very likeable character. She's incredibly naive - almost to the point of stupidity - in the beginning, in a very offensive way. "I don't know any Jews, so I guess I can't say if they're still alive or not. Oh well." I get that the point was to illustrate that many German people DIDN'T know the atrocities of committed by Hitler, and also to parallel certain people's naivety and ignorance of today, but I think a better way to do this would be to use a secondary character as that example, instead of making the main character so annoying. She also switches from "I don't really care about the war or Nazis or Jews or anything but myself" to "OMG I NEED TO KILL HITLER" very abruptly and unbelievable. She's shown pictures of concentration camps and that makes her realize that she's on the wrong side of history which is good. But even when the Allies are killing her friends and family, she's still like "the Allies are the good guys and we're the bad guys" and I feel like it shouldn't have been that black and white. She should have had more conflict. Especially considering she knows Hitler as a person - there should have been more conflict over her wanting to kill him because she also sees he's a likable enough human one-on-one. I mean, yeah, she ultimately should have still decided he needed to be eliminated, but she never really debates it. She just knows innately and that's not believable. Magda also manages to abandon her friends at every opportunity; she shows hesitation but she literally NEVER stays with anyone when given the choice to leave or stay. She also flaunts her privilege at every opportunity. Saying "I work for Hitler" gets her out of almost every bad situation she encounters. She keeps claiming everything is Hitler's fault, then name drops when she can. Good representation of white privilege, I guess, but again, it doesn't make her very likeable. When she uses Hitler's name to escape from a concentration camp, it is honestly just so insulting. And after a brief flicker of concern for the people she leaves behind in the camp, she NEVER THINKS ABOUT THEM AGAIN.The romance and attraction between Magda and her husband is rushed, and the sex scene is just so so terrible. One of the worst sex scenes from a woman's point-of-view written by a man that I have ever seen. The rape scene was equally terribly written. I felt like it probably needed some more seriousness behind it, but instead it's tucked in a few quick paragraphs of horror and then they move on.Honestly, it felt a little bit like the author just wanted to fantasize about killing Hitler. But when they finally get to his death, it is just SO DISAPPOINTING. Spoilers: After the entire book of plotting to kill Hitler secretly, Magda finally kills Hitler because he asked her too and then she never tells anyone about it so it's like NOTHING HAPPENED AT ALL IN THIS ENTIRE BOOK. I felt like the entire book was a set up for V. S. Alexander to write a three page condemnation of Hitler that's completely unnecessary because everyone already knows that Hitler was evil, thanks.The book makes a lot of apologies for Nazi supporters and even frikkin' Eva Braun. As they say, there's a word for people who joined the Nazi Party not because they hated Jews, but for all the other things the Nazi Party stood for - and that word is Nazi. Cool concept; terrible execution: bad writing, Nazi apologies, unlikable main character and a terribly disappointing ending. I had such high hopes for the The Taster, but sadly it couldn't following through on that intriguing plot.
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  • Tiffany Jones
    January 1, 1970
    **FTC DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED AN E-ARC FROM THE AUTHOR, IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. RECEIPT OF THIS BOOK IN THIS MANNER DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION OF THE BOOK OR THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW.**Magda Ritter, a young German girl, finds herself in a precarious position, one that, ironically, gives her her best chance at relative safety during the horrors of World War II. This new position ensures that she’ll be fed and taken care of, exposing her to circumstances that are luxurious compared to wha **FTC DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED AN E-ARC FROM THE AUTHOR, IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. RECEIPT OF THIS BOOK IN THIS MANNER DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION OF THE BOOK OR THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW.**Magda Ritter, a young German girl, finds herself in a precarious position, one that, ironically, gives her her best chance at relative safety during the horrors of World War II. This new position ensures that she’ll be fed and taken care of, exposing her to circumstances that are luxurious compared to what the rest of Germany faces, while at the same time facing the daily terror of knowing that every meal may be her last. In 1943, Magda’s parents send her to stay with family in Bavaria, in the hopes that she’ll be safe from the Allied bombings in Berlin. It is not long afterward that she’s expected to fulfill her duty as a loyal German young lady: either serve the Reich or marry and produce strong, healthy children. After an interview for civil service, Magda is assigned to Hitler’s mountain retreat, the Berghof. She is trained to become a Taster, to join the young women who taste all of the Füher’s food, essentially offering herself in sacrifice to prevent him from being poisoned. She’s terrified, at first, but slowly becomes adjusted to the dangers of her position. She falls in love with a conspirator within the SS and slowly becomes aware of the atrocities being performed by the Reich. She’s drawn into the plots against Hitler, all the while knowing what will happen if she’s discovered to be anything less than perfectly loyal. I love historical fiction and the description of this book intrigued me. I was excited to be chosen to review it and I was definitely not disappointed! This book grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go. I found Magda’s entire story fascinating and found myself rooting for her all the way through. It was so well written that you almost feel as if you’re experiencing everything along with Magda. Her relationship with Karl and their loyalty to each other was one of my favorite parts. There were a great number of amazingly written characters and the author managed to show the charismatic personality that Hitler was known for, his ability to inspire great loyalty, without hiding his true nature. It highlights the question of how could normal, everyday people follow such a monster. We’re they all actively complicit or did they truly not see the truth of what was happening? While much creative license was taken in the writing of this amazing novel, I could also see the great deal of research the author did in the intense detail imparted. If this isn’t on your “to read” list, then you definitely need to add it.
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  • Rae
    January 1, 1970
    There are many good novels written about WWII, however, I think what drew me to this work was the fact that it was written from the point of view of an ordinary German woman. Many ordinary Germans played an important role in WWII and the character, Magda Ritter, is one such woman. She was a young German woman who out of necessity and family demands needed work to help support the household. Magda interviews and is chosen to work for Hitler as a "Taster" of his food. This sounds promising, after There are many good novels written about WWII, however, I think what drew me to this work was the fact that it was written from the point of view of an ordinary German woman. Many ordinary Germans played an important role in WWII and the character, Magda Ritter, is one such woman. She was a young German woman who out of necessity and family demands needed work to help support the household. Magda interviews and is chosen to work for Hitler as a "Taster" of his food. This sounds promising, after all, she will be well fed, better than most Germans at that time. The author goes on to describe Magda's extreme fear despite poison detection training and assurances from kitchen staff, that each sampling bite from the various dishes to be served to Hitler could be her last. Magda is not a fervent Nazi, nor does she subscribe to Hitler's beliefs, in fact she comes to wish him dead, all the while "tasting to protect" him from harms way. Over the years, there has been much speculation over the death of Hitler and the possibilities of how and who might have been involved. The author has explored a new and very interesting possibility in this novel. Never once did I realize the groundwork was being laid out all along, until after I finished this book. Lastly, as the author stated in the Author's Note "this book should serve as a remembrance for all those who lost their lives in World War II. We tend to forget that the events portrayed in this novel occurred only seventy-five years ago, a blip in time." May we always Remember!
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  • Truusje
    January 1, 1970
    The Taster tells the story of Magda, a young woman who tasted Hitler’s food to make sure he didn’t get poisoned. It’s an interesting premise, but sadly the book doesn’t live up to it. I think the main issue is the writing. It’s very distant, with lots of telling instead of showing. I never felt connected to the characters or the events described in the book. The story covers several years and is told in a linear fashion, without any suspense or surprises. It all makes the book a little uninspiri The Taster tells the story of Magda, a young woman who tasted Hitler’s food to make sure he didn’t get poisoned. It’s an interesting premise, but sadly the book doesn’t live up to it. I think the main issue is the writing. It’s very distant, with lots of telling instead of showing. I never felt connected to the characters or the events described in the book. The story covers several years and is told in a linear fashion, without any suspense or surprises. It all makes the book a little uninspiring. The one surprise at the end was so farfetched, it didn’t really make sense. I had to work hard to suspend my disbelief at some other points in the book as well. *** I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ***
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  • Traci Hall
    January 1, 1970
    I remember being fascinated with the Holocaust when I was a teenager and I couldn't get enough of what life might have been like. Anne Frank was a favorite. The Taster shows another view entirely as Magda--impoverished but with her family, comes of age as a young woman during the war. German born, she is forced to do her "duty" and work for Hitler as his food taster. She struggles with her own views politically, and morally, and yet finds the courage to act. V.S. Alexander has crafted an epic no I remember being fascinated with the Holocaust when I was a teenager and I couldn't get enough of what life might have been like. Anne Frank was a favorite. The Taster shows another view entirely as Magda--impoverished but with her family, comes of age as a young woman during the war. German born, she is forced to do her "duty" and work for Hitler as his food taster. She struggles with her own views politically, and morally, and yet finds the courage to act. V.S. Alexander has crafted an epic novel guaranteed to make you feel as if you are in the thick of it all. I highly recommend this book!
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  • Alyssa Maxwell
    January 1, 1970
    Magda Ritter is a young German woman intent on getting through the war and living her life. Politics don't particularly interest her, and she has no use for Third Reich idiologies. When, by necessity, she goes to the party looking for a job, she's thinking it will be something inocuous, maybe clerical. What happens next changes her life and her outlook on her country forever, challenges her faith in human nature, and at times makes her question her own humanity. I felt as though I were living ea Magda Ritter is a young German woman intent on getting through the war and living her life. Politics don't particularly interest her, and she has no use for Third Reich idiologies. When, by necessity, she goes to the party looking for a job, she's thinking it will be something inocuous, maybe clerical. What happens next changes her life and her outlook on her country forever, challenges her faith in human nature, and at times makes her question her own humanity. I felt as though I were living each page along with her, and I felt every nuance of her trepidation as she battled to stay alive. We all know about WWII from our own perspective; this book brings to life the perspective of someone trapped on the other side, who wished to bring about change but for the most part was powerless to do so. This is a story of hope, resilience, courage, sheer determination, and redemption. Highly recommended!
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  • Christopher Hawke
    January 1, 1970
    A unique look behind enemy lines. In “The Taster” we follow the story of young Magda Ritter, the newest poison tester for Adolf Hitler, as she wrestles with her beliefs (and what to believe) in the midst of war-torn Europe. A winning novel, well worth reading!
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  • Oreoandlucy
    January 1, 1970
    A longer review is available on my blog:https://reviewsofbooksonmynightstand...."It's a dangerous job. I was nervous at first. You never know which meal will be your last."It is Germany in the middle of World War II. Magda Ritter's father is worried about Magda's safety in Berlin and sends her to live in Bavaria with her uncle and his Spanish wife. She can't seem to please her aunt, who wants her to find a job to pull her weight as soon as she arrives. Her police officer uncle pulls some strings A longer review is available on my blog:https://reviewsofbooksonmynightstand...."It's a dangerous job. I was nervous at first. You never know which meal will be your last."It is Germany in the middle of World War II. Magda Ritter's father is worried about Magda's safety in Berlin and sends her to live in Bavaria with her uncle and his Spanish wife. She can't seem to please her aunt, who wants her to find a job to pull her weight as soon as she arrives. Her police officer uncle pulls some strings to get her a job working directly with the Fuhrer. She has been awarded a job as a taster. She must be able to find poisons in food meant for Hitler by smell, sight and taste. This new position has enabled Magda to learn things about the Reich that has been hidden from most of the citizens of Germany. Soon, she finds out that the SS has been doing horrible things. Will she participate in brining down the man who rules the Reich?I received an advanced copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
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  • Kirstie
    January 1, 1970
    Not a terrible book, but also not one that I really loved. I didn’t feel anything for the romance that seemed to just happen one day. There was no real development I feel. It was just like ‘one day we made love’ and so on. Was just emotionless for me. Towards the ending though, I begin to feel the heartache and sorrow the world experienced back then. Overall, the story was okay, but a bit unbelievable. The writing was okay. I wouldn’t rule out reading other books from the author, but this won’t Not a terrible book, but also not one that I really loved. I didn’t feel anything for the romance that seemed to just happen one day. There was no real development I feel. It was just like ‘one day we made love’ and so on. Was just emotionless for me. Towards the ending though, I begin to feel the heartache and sorrow the world experienced back then. Overall, the story was okay, but a bit unbelievable. The writing was okay. I wouldn’t rule out reading other books from the author, but this won’t be a book I keep on my shelves unfortunately. Would still recommend it if you want a short historical fiction read with a slightly different approach.
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  • Bonnie
    January 1, 1970
    Magda Ritter, a German woman living with her parents in Berlin at the beginning of WW II. Her father was worried in early 1943 about the danger from the war, & sent her to live with her aunt & uncle in Berchtesgaden. Her aunt pressured her into applying for a job, the few available for women were working for the National Socialist government. She was told to pack a bag & was taken by a Mercedes flying the Nazi flags to Berghoff. Once there she reported to Captain Weber who told her s Magda Ritter, a German woman living with her parents in Berlin at the beginning of WW II. Her father was worried in early 1943 about the danger from the war, & sent her to live with her aunt & uncle in Berchtesgaden. Her aunt pressured her into applying for a job, the few available for women were working for the National Socialist government. She was told to pack a bag & was taken by a Mercedes flying the Nazi flags to Berghoff. Once there she reported to Captain Weber who told her she was to be a Taster of food intended for the Fuhrer. She was instructed about several poisons & also how they smell. This provides a background for the story, read it, enjoy the story & get a painless history lesson.
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  • Hellcat Mental
    January 1, 1970
    At the end of the book the author states that this is based off a mix of historical facts, stories shared by multiple people and fiction. I didn’t know when reading it if any of the events happened (I assumed it was pure fiction), but it was heartbreaking nonetheless and knowing that any part of it actually happened is just tragic. I really liked this book because regardless of if it were based on true stories, I’ve always been both fascinated and disgusted how Hitler managed to do what he did a At the end of the book the author states that this is based off a mix of historical facts, stories shared by multiple people and fiction. I didn’t know when reading it if any of the events happened (I assumed it was pure fiction), but it was heartbreaking nonetheless and knowing that any part of it actually happened is just tragic. I really liked this book because regardless of if it were based on true stories, I’ve always been both fascinated and disgusted how Hitler managed to do what he did and for so long. Really well done book.
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  • Missy
    January 1, 1970
    I love World War II books, anything I can learn I will, even if fictionalized to make it more interesting. The bones are there, and that is what I like. Of course, no one knows exactly what was said, but the setting is true and fills my history loving heart.This is the story of Magda Ritter, a German girl, but not a party member because she wasn’t sure she believed the ways of the Reich. When Berlin was being bombed her father and mother sent her to Berchtesgaden to live with her aunt and uncle I love World War II books, anything I can learn I will, even if fictionalized to make it more interesting. The bones are there, and that is what I like. Of course, no one knows exactly what was said, but the setting is true and fills my history loving heart.This is the story of Magda Ritter, a German girl, but not a party member because she wasn’t sure she believed the ways of the Reich. When Berlin was being bombed her father and mother sent her to Berchtesgaden to live with her aunt and uncle who praised Hitler. They demanded she get work, at which she went and eventually because a taster for the food to be eaten by Hitler. This was a job that was very dangerous, but showed extreme faithfulness to ensure the safety of the Fuhrer. Magda fell in love with an SS Captain, who turns out felt the same as her and was in a group set to kill Hitler. Being close to the Fuhrer also brought some advantages to make this more possible. She watched as two friends were killed, one was murdered, and the thought of her love dying brought the cause of killing Hitler that much closer to the person she wanted never to become.I truly enjoyed this book, and would recommend it highly to those that enjoy reading about World War II and the trials that some went through to stay alive. I received this book from Netgalley, Kensington Books, and author V. S. Alexander for my honest review. As such I would give this one 4.5 stars.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    I'm torn about this interesting piece of historical fiction. On the one hand, I learned about something I hadn't known before- the life of a taster for Adolf Hitler. On the other, it periodically made my skin crawl. Magda is an intriguing character. A woman sent by her family to work for the Reich, she ends up in the closest proximity to Hitler and Eva Braun. That said, there's very little emotion, even at times when there should be a lot. I don't know if it's because this was written by a man b I'm torn about this interesting piece of historical fiction. On the one hand, I learned about something I hadn't known before- the life of a taster for Adolf Hitler. On the other, it periodically made my skin crawl. Magda is an intriguing character. A woman sent by her family to work for the Reich, she ends up in the closest proximity to Hitler and Eva Braun. That said, there's very little emotion, even at times when there should be a lot. I don't know if it's because this was written by a man but there is more than once when I thought she seemed cold in circumstances when others would be flat out. I think this would have benefited from another edit to weed out a few times when there were repeats as well as to make the story more personal. Karl, Magda's husband, is critical to the plot but has no back story. There's some insight into Eva Braun. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. Recommend this for those interested in the lives of Germans during WWII.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    This is an exceptionally well done work of historical fiction. I love WWII historical fiction but I want it done well, like Stones from the River or The Book Thief. I want WWII historical fiction that is going to have me completely immersed in time and place and I really love it when the story is told from an unexpected POV. This book did both of those things so very, very well. I found the descriptions of the bombings and destruction to be some of the best I have read and found them to pack a p This is an exceptionally well done work of historical fiction. I love WWII historical fiction but I want it done well, like Stones from the River or The Book Thief. I want WWII historical fiction that is going to have me completely immersed in time and place and I really love it when the story is told from an unexpected POV. This book did both of those things so very, very well. I found the descriptions of the bombings and destruction to be some of the best I have read and found them to pack a pretty strong emotional punch as well. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a very unique perspective on WWII. Many thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Chequers
    January 1, 1970
    Pensavo sinceramente che questa fosse la biografia di Margo Wölk, una delle assaggiatrici di Hitler che racconto' la sua storia durante un'intervista nel 2013.Mi sono trovata invece con un libro completamente diverso, con un finale ridicolo, una scrittura molto semplice, senza spessore ne' mordente.Peccato che tutto questo l'ho scoperto leggendo la nota dell'autrice a fine libro, che dichiara : "Al servizio di Adolf Hitler non è un resoconto della vita di Margot Wölk, nonostante molte scene del Pensavo sinceramente che questa fosse la biografia di Margo Wölk, una delle assaggiatrici di Hitler che racconto' la sua storia durante un'intervista nel 2013.Mi sono trovata invece con un libro completamente diverso, con un finale ridicolo, una scrittura molto semplice, senza spessore ne' mordente.Peccato che tutto questo l'ho scoperto leggendo la nota dell'autrice a fine libro, che dichiara : "Al servizio di Adolf Hitler non è un resoconto della vita di Margot Wölk, nonostante molte scene del romanzo siano basate sulle sue esperienze. E non vuole nemmeno essere una biografia mascherata."OK, allora cos'e'? Non lo so, non riesco a definirlo, ma guarda caso la protagonista, Magda, e' una antinazista ( ma allora se erano tutti contro Hitler, chi lo voto'? ) che fa dichiarare a Hitler che "Mussolini e' il mio unico amico" (sic!) , che fa deambulare Eva Braun come se fosse una cerebrolesa, e ci immerge in questa atmosfera quasi surreale della corte di Hitler ( e non manca una puntatina in un campo di concentramento, ma proprio una puntatina).Se non avete mai approfondito la storia della II guerra mondiale questo libro vi sembrera' interessante ed anche rivelatore di alcuni dei suoi orrori; se invece, come me, venite da letture un poco piu' specifiche e affidabili, e magari anche da qualche bel saggio sull'argomento,cercate in rete l'intervista alla vera Margot Wölk e girate alla larga da questo libro che e' solo una perdita di tempo.
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  • Rachel McMillan
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fascinating and unputdownable book.I admit that I feel that WWII era fiction has been saturating the historical market for a long time and it is difficult to find a different slant or perspective. This is where Alexander reins: in a fresh, compelling and troubling (not to mention bleak look) at a ( to me) unexplored tenet of a harrowing time in history. Deftly researched and well told in a voice perfect for the subject and story, The Taster is one of the most original historical ficti This was a fascinating and unputdownable book.I admit that I feel that WWII era fiction has been saturating the historical market for a long time and it is difficult to find a different slant or perspective. This is where Alexander reins: in a fresh, compelling and troubling (not to mention bleak look) at a ( to me) unexplored tenet of a harrowing time in history. Deftly researched and well told in a voice perfect for the subject and story, The Taster is one of the most original historical fiction books I have read this year.
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