It’s been a week since the funeral, and Mali is at her mother’s Manhattan apartment ready to pack it up—at least that’s what she thinks—until she discovers a manila envelope, propped up against the back of her mother’s desk, and filled with a mass of unsent letters. Her mother’s hand writing on the lined notepaper is so familiar, and the slight German accent Mali hears ticking through her words, so haunting.
Mali reads the memories of her mother’s Jewish childhood in 1930s Berlin, then her life in war-torn London. But when she comes to her mother’s account of her too-early marriage and the divorce that forced her to leave her young daughter in London and go to New York, Mali is thrust back into her own unhappy childhood, where that relentless ache for her absent mother, lodged like a stony pit inside her, must now be reconciled.
A Note From the Publisher
Rising Star Award – 2nd Place
Ink & Insights – Judges’ Favorite
"The book’s voice is haunting, its characters compelling, and the story it tells an artful mix of historical and familial suspense. It is that rarity, a book both readable and important." -Jeffrey Skinner, Professor Emeritus, University of Louisville
"From the very first pages, it’s this novel’s remarkable gift to show history unfolding across generations, in a plot with roots in World War II Germany and a daughter still making sense of family stories. A riveting and wonderful book, memorable and vibrant.” –Joan Silber author of Secrets of Happiness
Average rating from 3 members
OH MY GOSH – I have read a lot of holocaust literature but I was NOT prepared for this book. The book centres on four generations of a Jewish family starting from present day New York and flashing back to Berlin in the 1930’s where the family are victims of the Nazi regime’s persecution on the night before the holocaust and follows to their escape and resettlement in London during the Second World War. But the heartache doesn’t stop there it then follows the separation of a mother from her young daughter before they are eventually reunited in New York where they stay and rebuild with each new generation. This book shows how events that people go through impacts not only them but also the generations that come long after them and I was totally engrossed from the very first page and I could not put it down so read it quickly, mostly through tears. As with all books like this that focus on this horrifically dark period of history, it is a story that should always be told and definitely never forgotten, I liked that this book didn’t focus all of its attention on the atrocities that were carried out in the name of the Nazis but instead put the readers focus on the human elements that these atrocities caused. I think this is an important book, because although the majority of people are horrified by the acts that occurred during the holocaust, sadly enough lessons have not been learnt and it could happen again, thus this book can definitely help people to broaden their understanding on the long-term impacts something like this had.
This book is captivating as it explores the relationships between mothers and daughters and how time and history have an impact them both as a family and as individuals. Shortly after her mother’s death, Mali begins to pack up her apartment. When she stumbles upon an envelope with her name on it, old memories start to flash before her eyes. As her mother shares memories of her childhood as a Jewish girl in WWII Berlin, Mali discovers how well she did and did not know her mother. The letters raise lots of questions for Mali and her own parenting. More than anything, these letters give her a better understanding of her mother, the horrors she experienced, the challenges she had to overcome and her own fears about motherhood. This book grabs a hold of you instantly. It’s written with so much compassion that you can’t help but get sucked up into the memories and emotions. While I felt it ended rather abruptly, I still give it 5 stars. It’s a great weekend read that will tug at your heartstrings and make you want to go give your own mother a hug! Thanks to NetGalley, Black Rose Writing and Jacquie Hertz for allowing me to read this lovely story ahead of its publication date! I hope my review helps folks looking for that good weekend read
From the brilliant title to the poignant cover to the aching stories written inside, this beautiful multi-timeline book is gripping, moving, evocative and incredibly insightful. The author's writing is introspective, keen, bright and thoughtful. Simply said, this is an unputdownable book. Mali makes a discovery which changes her life and causes her to question everything, including her relationship with her fascinating and unconventional mother. But the discovery also leads her to answers which clarify lifelong haziness. Mali's mother's diary is an important account of the past, her past. The author injects real portions of history such as Kristallnacht and effects of war into the story. "How would I have turned out if there had been no Hitler?" I've wondered what the world would have been had there been no Hitler and no Holocaust. Yet the story is not overwhelmed by that side alone but to me is also a study in relationships and choices. Readers are taken through different perspectives which are flawlessly written in parts which make a seamless whole. Mali reflects and pieces her memories together and begins to understand the whys and whats as she learns about her background spanning the past few generations. I am usually not a literary fiction fan but this...this is incredible! Am I ever glad I read it. It would have been a shame to miss. Literary fiction, Women's Fiction, General Fiction and Historical Fiction fans alike ought to read this book. My sincere thank you to Black Rose Writing and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this crushing, lovely and wondrously-crafted book.
I enjoyed the unique perspective of this storyline. Written in letter format to her daughter, the reader is immersed into her mothers live during WW II, and hw being Jewish affected man decisions through their lives. This is not your typical storyline form the time, but instead focuses more on life events and the decisions they caused.