The World That We Knew

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

Not the typical Hoffman story, and more suited to a YA book.  The story had  aspects of Jewish folklore. Needed to be read slowly to "get it" I thought. Not my favorite of her's.
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The World that We Knew weaves together several characters' lives who are all dealing with the atrocities brought by the Germans during World War II. Hoffman draws the reader into the story with a Mother wanting to save her child from death, going to the most extreme measures she can to do so.
The story follows the daughter, Lea, throughout her life during the war, and Hoffman intricately weaves several other men and women into this story of survival. Love prompted a Mother to save Lea, and in the end, Lea's love saves a beloved character who otherwise would be dead. 
I would recommend this book to the students in my middle school, especially those who like to read and study history and to those who are learning about the Holocaust.
The World That We Knew is a story I won't soon forget.
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In typical Alice Hoffman style, a true masterpiece! Somewhat like the style of the Dovekeepers with an important message about Love.
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The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman has to be one of the most unique WWII stories I have ever read! I was absolutely enthralled reading about how three young women's lives unfold in France during the Nazi takeover after they leave Germany.  One of the girl's mother's must remain behind to take care of her own mother.. but, she approaches the Rabbi's daughter and talks her into making a Golem to take care of her daughter throughout the upcoming war.

What impressed me the most.. was the research that Alice Hoffman put into the story!  I truly feel like I could go out and try my own hand at making a Golem.  It was truly interesting to find that this is one of the rare "creatures" that cannot be sensed by the angels.. as it does not have a "soul".  The Golem creature becomes a hardworking young woman who does everything she must to protect the young girl entrusted to her.  She instinctively knows when it's time to "move" before danger befalls.

This is easily going to become one of the "MUST READ" books when it debuts to the public.  Those that enjoyed reading "The Golem and the Jinni" by Helene Wecker will definitely want to read this novel as well!  One learns so much about the mythical history of the Golems!  A heartbreaking story this will tug at the heartstrings of every compassionate reader!
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Part story historical fiction about young Jewish teenagers in the time of World War II, part story about Jewish folklore, The World That We Knew is a slow, moving, beautifully written story. 

I came here to write my review as soon as I put the book down and was surprised to find this is classified as adult fiction because it definitely skewed more young adult to me, not just because all the characters were teenagers but also a lot of them felt a bit more shallow (in the writing) than the typical adult novel would be. The story was stronger than most of the characters were to me. I liked Ettie, Julien and Ava but felt very little towards everyone else. I think it could’ve used either more mystical elements or fewer, it just lacked balance for me in that regard. Any time a major character died, it was impersonal, dispassionate, told quickly by a external view. It lessened the impact of what should have been an emotional moment. The only characters that truly rugged at my heartstrings weren’t even human. 

This was an interesting combo on a much discussed historical topic but it did end up falling a bit short. I’d give it 3.5 stars.
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I would give this book one thousand stars if possible!  It is a lovely, mystical telling of the plight of Jews as the nazis invaded France. We know of all the loss and horror, but there’s a lot of love and kindness too. We learn of the resistance movement and the fate of some of their members, and border crossings of many children. There is a lot of symbolism throughout, hint:  pay attention to yellow. And many thought-provoking questions. Can those who create us, be the ones to decide our fate?  There is so much more. Read this book several times, I know that’s what I’ll be doing. Thank you to the publisher who provided this book to me through both NetGalley and Edelweiss. The opinions expressed here are my own.
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The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman is an intriguing and very informative novel.  There is also a bit of fantasy and a very creative part of the novel that you cannot see coming.  You feel the utter despair that is felt by the Jews in World War II.  Their suffering and pain is depicted in such great and clear detail.  I felt as if I was part of the journey of these women and the ones left behind.  The introduction of the golem, a creature that is "made" to help a teenager, learn to live  without her mother and grandmother as she attempts to escape, adds just the right amount of fantasy.  The golem actually appears to be a woman whose only goal is to protect a jewish girl and help her survive.  The beginning of the book is a bit slow but hang on because as you read along the story becomes fascinating and suspenseful.  I also learned quite a bit about Jewish heritage, persecution, and the possible journey of Jewish teenagers during World War II.  Read it .  You will not be disappointed.  Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A World War story, moving,  dark and realistic, except by the introduction of a mythical creature.Quite a bit of symbolism in this book and it required a slow read on my part. Truly this book is probably a wonderful read for many, unfortunately it was not something I enjoyed. I am probably more of a true historical fiction fan.  I thank Net Galley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy and submit an honest review.
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I love Alice Hoffman's books and read them whenever I can. Alice Hoffman has written a  story that we all need to read. Many of the dark forces that lead to WW2 are once again creeping over the world. This is not just another story about WW2 and the horrors of the Holocaust. It is the story of hope and love that succeeds because Ms. Hoffman has written a story that will capture your heart. She makes you want to feel what she is writing about and to care about what happened. The story starts in Berlin when everything is becoming difficult for the Jews. People are disappearing and life is becoming unbearable. A mother, desperate to save her daughter  Lea from the Nazi's, seeks help from a renowned rabbi. However, it is his daughter. Ettie offers her a solution and together with Ettie's sister, they create a  mystical Jewish creature a special golem which they name Ava. Ava's job is to protect Lea "as a mother would ". Her act is truly a gift and hope for the future. The four girls leave Berlin and head to France, where they believe that they will be safe. The world that they are in is torn apart by forces of evil that have been unleashed by the Nazi's.  As the horrors get worse Ava's job becomes more urgent.  Love and hate, hope and despair exist in the same house and Ava must find a way to fulfill her charge. Ava is mystical and speaks the language of the birds and fish and all things in nature. Ava knows what will happen and she manages to keep Lea safe but she cannot stop the horrors going on around them. Throughout the book, people resist, pay the price, fall in love and die. Ms. Hoffman weaves the natural world into the story in a mystical way. Ava is more a part of that world than the human world and her story is beautiful! The story ends with hope and love. I wanted to keep on reading, I wanted to know more of how the future would be for the characters that she created. I also want to believe that the things that happened can never happen again anywhere in the world.
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I have a strange relationship with Alice Hoffman’s books. This is the 10th book I have read by her. When I look back at my star–ratings, I find that about half of those I thought were “just OK“ but the other half were “phenomenal“. This was one of those 5-star books. The World That We Knew is a different kind of World War II book. In fact, I would consider this book to be historical/magical realism. It is rife with jewish mysticism, especially as it relates to the being known as “the golem“. Loved this book and will be recommending it to everyone.

This book will not be released until September 2019. I would like to thank SIMON & SCHUSTER for giving me access to this eGalley.
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I think this book is considered magical realism combined with historical fiction and for some crazy reason, it worked.  This story really has it all, love, sacrifice, death, adventure, hope, and even a mythical creature created from the earth.  Interwoven brilliantly, the story follows three Jewish women trying to survive during WWII. It is told honestly, lyrically, and beautifully and will make you question what it means to have a soul.  Some of the most breathtaking scenes involve a golem and a heron. If that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will.
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Beautifully written WW2 historical fiction with a touch of magic...but not enough? I don’t know..This book fell flat to me.  I also recently read quite a few WW2 books recently so maybe my dislike is more of a timing issue.

Thank you netgalley for the ARC.
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A beautifully written story about a history I was not aware of. You will meet Ettie, Lea, and Ava and follow them thru a very sad time in history. But in the end, love shines through.
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Mothers and daughters, sisters, friends, love, history, and a little magic. All the makings of a good book. And add in that Alice Hoffman style and now it’s a perfect book. 
Lea and her mother experience the horrors of being separated when Nazis invade their hometown. Lea’s mother feared for her daughter and wanted to ensure her safety so she goes to great lengths to protect Lea, no matter the cost. Lea’s journey is filled with fears and loss, but she is never alone. Along the way, we meet many others that enter Lea’s life and help bring her closer to safety. But will she ever truly be safe when there is so much evil in the world? How much can a mother protect her daughter? 
Alice Hoffman paints her signature word masterpiece and truly gives the reader a wonderful story of love and faith. 
I have read many of Hoffman’s books and I can honestly say this is her very best.
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I was expecting something closer to her novel "Practical Magic" but this was something else entirely, and I still loved it. This book was filled with emotion and set during World War II. I loved the historical elements as well as the magical elements with the golem. I enjoyed learning a bit too about this kind of folklore as well because that wasn't something I'd experienced much of before. Overall, this was a great, gripping novel all about love and loss. I highly recommend it!
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Alice Hoffman's writing is lyrical and engaging as always. The historical facts told in this story are tragic, yet a thread of hope runs through it even in the darkest of times.  This is a tale of  World War Two and Nazi Germany about a Mothers sacrifice and her daughter Lea, who must undertake a dark and perilous journey through an increasing war torn torn landscape.  Lea has with her a special companion. One created by sacred magic meant to protect her at all costs, even her own undoing.  The topic is dark , and as is the way of Hoffman we feel it, yet there are many magical moments that make us see the beauty of the world amongst the darkness.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was superb and I was sad when it was over.
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I was so excited to get to read this book I love Alice Hoffman’s previous books and this didn’t disappoint! She always keeps the reader intrigued and engaged. I hope they turn this one into a movie!
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The World That We Knew is a story told from many POVs, trying to escape a world full of Nazis and death in Europe in 1940s. Throughout the entire book we see all these heartbreakingly beautiful stories from those trying to find peace from their suffering and fight for their life. 

This one was a very emotional read for me and it tugged on my heart from start to finish. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading. Hoffman does such an incredible job making you feel like you are right in the middle of the chaos it leaves a small hole in your heart once it is over. 

Highly recommended if you are a fan of historical fiction and have a box of tissues close by, it will make your heart ache greatly. Such a beautiful read that will haunt me for quite sometime.
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Let start by saying I am a huge Alice Hoffman fan. Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic, The River King, The Ice Queen.... I could go on and on.  I love her work and the interweaving of magic that Hoffman pulls off every time. Its one of the reasons that I love her work! Maybe I am just over the historical fiction push that seems to be going around revolving WW2; but this book just did not work for me. I struggled through the majority of it, wanting to just put it down most of the time. And this is not the relationship I usually have with Hoffman's work. I needed more magic..... It absolutely pains me to give this book a 3 star rating. I will definitely continue to read Hoffman's new works and reread her older work too.
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The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman is exquisite. This is the first book I've read by her but it will not be my last. It is a historical fiction with magical realism. I was drawn in from the first page. This is about loss, tragedy, hope and love. It is about the lengths a mother will go to in order to save her daughter and how a child grows and learns. It is as beautiful as it is tragic. I couldn't put it down and think others will enjoy it.

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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