Review: A Daughter’s Tale by Armando Lucas Correa

 

Title: A Daughter’s Tale

Author: Armando Lucas Correa

Published: June 1st, Simon & Schuster AU

Status: Read May 2019- courtesy Simon & Schuster AU

++++++

My Thoughts:

A Daughter’s Tale is Correa’s second book of historical fiction, following the publication of The German Girl in 2016. In ‘A Letter to the Reader’ penned by the author he explains the story was inspired by a conversation with a holocaust survivor, and his desire to tell another forgotten story of WWII.

Despite the troubling unrest in the streets of Berlin, and then the forced purge and closure of her bookstore, Amanda and her cardiologist husband Julius, naively believe their family, which includes young daughters Viera and Lina, will come to no harm from their German compatriots. It’s not until Julius is forcibly dragged from his office to serve the Führer in 1939, that Amanda finally realises the danger she and her girls are in, and when the pogrom begins, she is forced to flee. One of Julius’s last acts was to secure passage for their daughters on a refugee ship destined for Cuba, but unable to abandon both her children to an unknown fate thousands of miles away from her, Amanda sends only Viera to her brother’s adopted homeland. With three year old Lina in tow, Amanda makes her way to a friend’s home in southern France, hoping to escape the persecution she and her daughter face as German Jews.

Correa’s tale is one of courage, hope, desperation, and tragedy, as Amanda and Lina fight to survive among those that hunt, and fear, them. I appreciated the way in which he shows how Amanda struggles with each decision she makes, never certain if her choices will save, or condemn them. A brief period of respite with her friend Claire and her daughter, Danielle, renews Amanda’s optimism for the future, and she writes loving letters to Viera on the few pages she rescued from her favourite book, a botanical encyclopaedia, hoping they will find her in safe in Cuba. But their situation worsens when France surrenders to the Nazi’s, and Amanda grows ever more determined that Lina will have a future, and eventually reunite with her sister, no matter the cost to herself.

The strength of A Daughter’s Tale is in the characterisation, Amanda and Lina in particular are fully realised and sympathetically rendered. I was especially affected by the guilt Amanda felt, and the sacrifices she made.

Where it suffered, I felt, was in the pacing. Though I liked the way in which the story was introduced, and ended with Elise in 2015, I think the tale in Germany perhaps began too early. Only a fraction of the story, barely a few pages in fact, actually features the horrific event in 1944, where the villagers of Oradour-Sur-Glane in the south of France, were brutally massacred by soldiers, though the tragedy becomes a pivotal moment for Lina. Such a heinous act is difficult to convey, and while I think Correa gave it the gravitas it deserved, I’m not sure the brevity had the impact within the story that the author hoped for.

A Daughter’s Tale is a moving novel, also exploring larger themes such as identity, home, family and faith, it’s impossible to be unaffected by the experiences portrayed by Correa.

Read or listen to an Excerpt

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Available from Simon & Schuster AU

Or purchase from your preferred retailer via Booko I Indiebound

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1girl2manybooks
    Jun 05, 2019 @ 12:06:52

    This is on my pile for this month. I know I’ll have to be in a certain mood to tackle it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Greg
    Jun 06, 2019 @ 07:21:21

    Wow, sounds harrowing and a powerful read. Glad this one was so good in spite of the pacing issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. cherrymischievous
    Jun 07, 2019 @ 07:33:59

    Correa is a new-to-me author, thanks for the heads up!

    Like

    Reply

  4. DoingDewey
    Jun 09, 2019 @ 09:29:58

    I just Resistance Women, so while I’d been burnt out in WWII stories, I’m feeling more excited about them again. This sounds really well done.

    Like

    Reply

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