The Last Innocent Hour
by Margot Abbott
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Page Count: 505
Release Date: October 1991
How got: public library
First attention getter: the synopsis
In 1946 Lt Sally Jackson returns to Berlin to work on photographic evidence for the Nuremburg Trials, and there, staring up at her, is the photograph of a handsome SS officer - her husband. Memories flood back - of parties, nightclubs, and glittering days spent in pre-war Nazi Germany.
Star Rating - 4
Oh snap! What a book… I was shocked where it went and at some of the content explored. From reading other reviews, I kinda had an inkling about where the book would go. But that still doesn’t fully prepare you for the entire work.
This book was a surprising blend of many genres, all merged together for one very satisfying whole. There’s romance, an in-depth examination of the early Nazi years and post-WWII Germany, a mystery/war crimes story, politics, and character examinations.
Yet, where this really shines is in its psychological thriller aspects. This book takes its characters on a mind-warping journey of deception, betrayal, and brain washing that keeps the reader spellbound. Abbott gives us a rare glimpse into really how powerful the psychological power of the Nazis were in their influencing the German masses to their beliefs. This is especially evident in Christian’s journey. His change from beginning to end is so drastic and so scarily believable that I was just stunned.
For the most part, I really liked Sally. She’s a pleasant balance of trusting innocent and spunky idealist that really jives with the reader. Her standing up for the oppressed Jews against the SA and the format her final showdown in the end took made me want to cheer her on. I mean, how many characters could do that in her condition as easily and well as she does?
However, there were times where her innocence was stressed too much. Even towards the end, after all the times her trust had been dinged, she still seemed to give people the benefit of the doubt and her trust far too easily. I don’t know if the author was just trying to stress her innocence in the face of Nazi brutality and mind-manipulation or she was just a somewhat empty-headed bimbo at times. But I wanted to slap some sense into her more than once.
The emotional journey this book will take you on defies description. From the banger of an opening all the way through the mind-twisting journey to the end, this book kept me on the edge of my toes and my emotions firmly held in the driver’s seat. I felt every deception, every triumph, and every urge to believe that Sally felt so strongly.
This is a winner overall. A blend of many genres, it balances out all the aspects of the story splendidly. A special focus on the psychological and emotional make for an even stronger story. The characters shine, even though there is an emphasis on certain character aspects that set my teeth on edge. I highly recommend this book to reads of WWII fiction as it’s a journey that won’t soon leave your mind or heart.