I thought Fatherland was such a good read! Alternate history intrigues me and I think this particular point in history is one of the most speculated about when it comes to 'what if's'. What if Germany won WWII?
To begin with I found it hard to lose myself in the alternate reality because my mind kept trying to correct what I was reading and saying 'No, no, no, that's now how it was/is'. But several chapters in and I was sucked into the pages and loving it.
Some might say the characters are a bit hackneyed; loner cop, dumped by his wife for overworking, estranged from his kid, meets much younger feisty heroine who he hooks up with no problem, antagonist is a bad bully with no redeeming features....and, and, and. You get the idea. But really, why fix it if it isn't broken? All those very things and more are what make this book great. The alternate ending to WWII means we're taken out of our comfort zone and those other constants give us something familiar to work with.
That's where the familiarity ends though, the story itself is slick, well constructed and highly enjoyable but imaginative use of 'what if' takes us to places that I for one am glad I'll never see. Things are grim. There's everything to hope for and nothing to lose.
I gave this to my dad to read and he loved it too. He lived through things the first time around and says Robert Harris has put into words everything he feared at the time and he's glad he only had to read about it.... and not live it.