Her Hidden Life by V.S. Alexander
Her Hidden Life is currently just 99p in the UK on Kindle!
The title was released in the US under a different name – ‘The Taster’.
A forbidden love. A deadly secret.
It’s 1943 and Hitler’s Germany is a terrifying place to be.
But Magda Ritter’s duty is the most dangerous of all…
Assigned to The Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat, she must serve the Reich by becoming the Führer’s ‘Taster’ – a woman who checks his food for poison. Magda can see no way out of this hellish existence until she meets Karl, an SS officer who has formed an underground resistance group within Hitler’s inner circle.
As their forbidden love grows, Magda and Karl see an opportunity to stop the atrocities of the madman leading their country. But in doing so, they risk their lives, their families and, above all, a love unlike either of them have ever known…
Karl informed us that Hitler often stayed at the Berghof for only a short time before leaving for another headquarters or hiding place. When Hitler was in residence, a giant Nazi flag flew over the grounds. As it turned out, he wasn’t even at the Berghof for about two weeks in May. I wasn’t sure where he went, but Karl, on the sly, told me it was to the ‘Wolf’s Lair.’ To foil assassination attempts, the Führer kept his travel schedule secret and often switched trains or flights at the last moment or showed up early or late for appointments. He’d used this tactic for years, and it had served him well, particularly since the war broke out.
A rumor circulated that Hitler was holding a reception at the Teahouse for kitchen staff before he left on his next trip. It would be the first time I had a chance to meet the leader of the Reich. I asked Karl about this and he confirmed it was true.
After breakfast the next morning, everyone was in high spirits and anticipation about ‘tea’ with the Führer. A light rain fell, but it did not dampen our gay mood. Cook wanted me to take inventory from the greenhouses and record food items, in addition to my tasting duties, so I was late getting back to my room.
‘Eva has instructed everyone to wear traditional Bavarian garments,’ Cook told me. ‘There will be a costume on your bed.’
‘Why is dressing up so important?’ I asked her.
‘Because Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler’s personal photographer, is here. He and Eva thought it would be a good opportunity to capture the benevolent spirit of the Führer as he entertains and thanks his staff.’ She chuckled. ‘Eva loves to dress up. That’s really why we’re doing it.’
When I went back to my room, I interrupted Ursula. She was already dressed in her Bavarian costume. I really had no fondness for the hose, petticoats, the flouncy dress and puffy sleeves of the garment. Ursula sat on her bed, sewing her apron. She turned quickly away from me when I entered.
‘You’d better get ready,’ Ursula said, looking back over her shoulder. Her fingers trembled and the needle slipped from her hand.
‘Are you all right?’ I asked. ‘Is there a problem with your apron?’ She shook her head. ‘I’m shaky because I haven’t eaten. I need to get to the kitchen for some food.’ She began sewing again and stitched across the apron’s left pocket.
‘There’s not much to eat now. The staff is preparing lunch, but I wouldn’t be concerned about me getting ready. I’m sure it’ll be after four before we’re called to the Teahouse. We’ve got plenty of time.’ Ursula sighed. ‘Yes, plenty of time.’
She went back to her work as I inspected my dress and its trimmings. ‘I don’t have an apron. Do I need one?’
Her eyes dimmed. ‘I don’t know. You might ask Cook. This one was given specifically to me.’
I stretched out on my bed with a book. ‘The weather is so nasty it’s a good day for reading.’
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