Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler, by Trudi Kanter.
This book tells the true story of a jewish, Viennese milliner from just before the Anchluss through the end of the war, with flashbacks to earlier years and an epilogue that fills in the remainder of her life. This book captivated me right from the beginning. Unusually for nonfiction, there was nothing about this book that detracted from the story itself. There were no long passages about the history of hat making, or the nazi rise to power. There was just enough background given to allow the reader to follow the story, but not a detail extra to bog one down. The author did an admirable job of building and keeping the tension at a boil throughout this book, making you feel as if you were right there with her, experiencing the terror of potentially being trapped within Hitler's nightmare with no escape and enemies all around. I found myself sighing with relief, literally, as good events happened, and feeling almost sick to my stomach as potentially bad events happened. In short, I was transported back to Europe in the period just before the first world war, and plonked down to share the characters' fates. I found this to be most effective, so much so that it was hard for me to put this book down. The fact that the story ends up showing the better side of humanity ultimately, and has a happy ending, just improved on an already enjoyable read. 4.5
I received an electronic review copy of this book from the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way.