Review: The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

 

Title: The World That We Knew

Author: Alice Hoffman

Published: October 1st 2019, Simon & Schuster AU

Status: Read October 2019 courtesy Simon & Schuster

++++++

My Thoughts:

“It was protection, it was love, it was a secret, it was the beginning, it was the end.”

The World That We Knew is a lyrical, evocative and poignant tale set during World War II from Alice Hoffman.

“I beg you for one thing. Love her as if she were your own.”

As the Nazi’s purge Germany of its Jewish population, a mother desperately seeks a way to save her twelve year old daughter, Lea. Turning to her faith for a miracle she finds help from a Rabbi’s daughter, Ettiene, who, in exchange for train tickets to make her own escape with her sister, creates a Golem, a creature made from magic and clay, compelled to deliver Lea safe from the war.

“Hers was a wish that could never be granted. It was too late, it was over; there was no home to go back to.”

While Lea grieves for all she has left behind, Ava, learning to walk within the world, ensures they safely reach Paris. There they find refuge with the Levi family, distant cousins, and Lea a friendship with Julien Levi that eases her heartache, but once again the darkness closes in, and Ava and Lea must flee.

“It was a dark dream,… it was nothing like the world we knew.”

A story of family, love, grief, faith, sacrifice, survival, duty, good and evil, The World That We Knew is a spellbinding fairytale, grounded in the horrific reality of the Holocaust. It contrasts the very worst of humanity with its best during one of history’s darkest periods, and celebrates the astonishing ability of love to thrive even in the bleakest of circumstances.

“People said love was the antidote to hate, that it could mend what was most broken, and give hope in the most hopeless of times.”

Lea and Ava’s path is fraught with danger, yet illuminated with love, as it also is for those with whom they connect on their journey. Ettie seeks out the resistance after her sister is gunned down during their escape from Berlin; Marianne returns home to her father’s farm in the Ardèche Mountains, and discovers all that she left to find; Julien Levi narrowly escapes being shipped off to Auschwitz during ‘Operation Spring Breeze’, doing all he can to keep his one promise to Lea – to stay alive.

“If you survive, I survive inside of you.”

Powerful and poetic, The World That We Knew is a stunning novel and a compelling read.

“Once upon a time something happened that you never could have imagined, a spell was broken, a girl was saved, a rose grew out of a tooth buried deep in the ground, love was everywhere, and people who had been taken away continued to walk with you, in dreams and in the waking world.”

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Indiebound I Book Depository

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stacy Renee @ Lazy Day LIt
    Oct 10, 2019 @ 12:08:37

    Definitely adding this one to my TBR list! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Lisa
    Oct 11, 2019 @ 01:44:55

    Lovely review. I loved this book as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Vicki
    Oct 11, 2019 @ 06:00:00

    Sounds emotional. I might be adding it to my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Helen Murdoch
    Oct 11, 2019 @ 11:40:46

    I have read so much WWII literature that I think I need a break from it, but this sounds good.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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