The Taster

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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 Führer’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.
 
Praise for V.S. Alexander’s The Magdalen Girls
 
“Fans of Barbara Davis and Ashley Hay will enjoy this tenderhearted story of sinner, saints, and redemption.”
--Booklist
 
“Alexander has clearly done his homework. Chilling in its realism, his work depicts the improprieties long abandoned by the Catholic Church and only recently acknowledged. Fans of the book and film Philomena will want to read this.” --Library Journal
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About the author

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.
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4.7
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Additional Information

Publisher
Kensington
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Published on
Jan 30, 2018
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781496712288
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Jewish
Fiction / Sagas
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The #1 International Bestseller & New York Times Bestseller

This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.

“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

“The Summer Wives is an exquisitely rendered novel that tackles two of my favorite topics: love and money. The glorious setting and drama are enriched by Williams’s signature vintage touch. It’s at the top of my picks for the beach this summer.”

—Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Perfect Couple

New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings us the blockbuster novel of the season—an electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power, and redemption set among the inhabitants of an island off the New England coast . . .

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl from the margins of high society, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda’s catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans: the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his mysterious wife. In summer, Joseph helps his father in the lobster boats, but in the autumn he returns to Brown University, where he’s determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph’s enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and as the summer winds to its end, Miranda’s caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the landmark summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned Shakespearean actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same—determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. But the formerly powerful Fisher family is a shadow of itself, and Joseph Vargas has recently escaped the prison where he was incarcerated for the murder of Miranda’s stepfather eighteen years earlier. What’s more, Miranda herself is no longer a naïve teenager, and she begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice for the man she once loved . . . even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.

From the acclaimed author of The Magdalen Girls and The Taster comes a powerful, unforgettable novel of strength and resilience, set against the backdrop of the Irish famine.
 
Ireland, 1845. To Briana Walsh, no place on earth is more beautiful than Carrowteige, County Mayo, with its sloping fields and rocky cliffs perched above the wild Atlantic. The small farms that surround the centuries-old Lear House are managed by her father, agent to the wealthy, reckless Sir Thomas Blakely. Tenant farmers sell the oats and rye they grow to pay rent to Sir Thomas, surviving on the potatoes that flourish in the remaining scraps of land. But when the potato crop falls prey to a devastating blight, families Briana has known all her life are left with no food, no resources, and no mercy from the English landowner, who seems indifferent to everything except profit.  
 
Rory Caulfield, the hard-working young farmer Briana hopes to marry, shares the locals’ despair—and their anger. There’s talk of violent reprisals against the callous gentry and their agents. Briana’s studious older sister, Lucinda, dreams of a future far beyond Mayo. But even as hunger and disease settle over the country, killing and displacing millions, Briana knows she must find a way to guide her family through one of Ireland’s darkest 
hours—toward hope, love, and a new beginning.
 
 
Praise for V.S. Alexander’s The Taster
 
“This haunting and engrossing novel will appeal to fans of Anthony Doerr and Kristin Hannah.”
—Booklist
 
“The ‘taster’s’ story adds to a body of nuanced World War II fiction such as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, and Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key. Book clubs and historical fiction fans will love discussing this and will eagerly await more from Alexander.” 
—Library Journal
From the acclaimed author of The Magdalen Girls and The Taster comes a powerful, unforgettable novel of strength and resilience, set against the backdrop of the Irish famine.
 
Ireland, 1845. To Briana Walsh, no place on earth is more beautiful than Carrowteige, County Mayo, with its sloping fields and rocky cliffs perched above the wild Atlantic. The small farms that surround the centuries-old Lear House are managed by her father, agent to the wealthy, reckless Sir Thomas Blakely. Tenant farmers sell the oats and rye they grow to pay rent to Sir Thomas, surviving on the potatoes that flourish in the remaining scraps of land. But when the potato crop falls prey to a devastating blight, families Briana has known all her life are left with no food, no resources, and no mercy from the English landowner, who seems indifferent to everything except profit.  
 
Rory Caulfield, the hard-working young farmer Briana hopes to marry, shares the locals’ despair—and their anger. There’s talk of violent reprisals against the callous gentry and their agents. Briana’s studious older sister, Lucinda, dreams of a future far beyond Mayo. But even as hunger and disease settle over the country, killing and displacing millions, Briana knows she must find a way to guide her family through one of Ireland’s darkest 
hours—toward hope, love, and a new beginning.
 
 
Praise for V.S. Alexander’s The Taster
 
“This haunting and engrossing novel will appeal to fans of Anthony Doerr and Kristin Hannah.”
—Booklist
 
“The ‘taster’s’ story adds to a body of nuanced World War II fiction such as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, and Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key. Book clubs and historical fiction fans will love discussing this and will eagerly await more from Alexander.” 
—Library Journal
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