February is always a tough month for book club. The month tends to fly by and everyone is so busy because of all of the Mardi Gras festivities. We chose to gather really late in the month, but definitely enjoyed our night out. February’s book club selection was by one of our favorite authors, Alice Hoffman. We chose her book The World That We Knew. We also dined at a relatively new local restaurant, Zuzul, which was fantastic.
If you are loved, you never lose the person who loved you. You carry them with you all your life.Alice Hoffman, The World That We Knew
The Publisher’s Synopsis…
In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.
What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never-ending.
What I Thought…
This historical fiction novel is set in Germany and France during the horrors of World War II. We are taken back to the beginning of the end in wartorn Germany when Hanni is trying to flee and save her daughter, Lea. Hanni knows that she can’t leave Germany because of the commitment to her mother who is too ill to travel. Hanni seeks the help of a renowned Rabbi, but his daughter, Ettie is the one that helps them the most. Ettie and her sister, Marta, help Hanni create a Gollum, Ava, to care for Lea and help her to flee Germany for France.
Ava and Lea set out across Germany and into France to stay in occupied Paris, where Lea meets her soul-mate, Julien, and a cast of characters who help shape her into the young woman that she becomes to survive the Nazis. The novel also has different storylines into Julien’s brother Victor and gives us insight into the brave women and men who help save the Jewish people and children from the Nazi death camps. Lea and Ava both learn to sacrifice, trust, and depend upon one another even if they are not related by blood.
The overall theme for the novel is definitely the power of enduring love. I really liked this book but could have done without the mystical elements which decreased some of the realism for me. I’m always a fan of WWII novels and this one’s details are superb and interesting. I just really couldn’t get into the whole Gollum story.
Next Month’s Selection…
A Few Other Titles I’ve Enjoyed This Month…
So what are you reading this month?? I would love to hear, I’m always on the lookout for my next favorite read.
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