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  • Can one ever outlive their past?

    This is two stories in one. It is the story of Liese Elfman and her family in Germany leading up to and during the Nazi rise to power under Hitler. The Elfman's were into the fashion business and even though they were Jewish they somehow felt they would be okay with the Nazi's because they were famous in the fashion world. They refused to head the warning signs until it was too late and they lost everything. Leise was only a young woman but she then had to look after her parents who had no idea how to live under Nazi rule. Michael her friend helped them until one day when the soldiers came and they were trapped. The second story is that of Karen Cartwright. When Karen was eleven her mother died and although she is now a successful architect she never got over the death of her mother. When her father falls ill she comes home to care for him. While going through some papers she finds a photo and a letter. She is determined to find out what it means and her mother's history. Her father refuses to talk of her mother before they were married and she wants to know more. She finds that sometimes it is harder to learn about the past than to let it be. It does however bring her and her father closer together once she learns the truth. The book is about love, death, the horrible things the Nazi's did to the Jewish people during that time period and how many of them never got over the cruelty inflicted on them and were unable to live a productive life afterwards. Survivor guilt, the unfairness of the trials for the Nazi criminals, and the still felt anti semantic feeling in Germany even after the war was lost. The loss of loved ones, sometimes whole families was such that many could not bear it. This book is also about love, forgiveness and letting go of the past and living and loving again. I couldn't put this book down once I got into it, although it did start off a bit slow in spots. It was a good read although a sad and tragic one. I would recommend it. Thanks to Catherine Hokin, Bookouture, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy in return for an honest review.

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  • Tragic yet beautifully written

    What only we know is a beautifully written historical fiction novel about more than just the Holocaust. Unlike many other Holocaust novels, the horrors endured lay just below the surface; hinted at but only mildly explored. Rather the story delves deeper into the emotional and mental turmoil wrecked on its survivors. It is evident that those who survived the Holocaust were often haunted by more than their physical scars. The book is written in parallel timelines. The story of two women intertwine and make for a truly heartbreaking read. One women lives through the Holocaust only to succumb to her survivors guilt while the other desperately searches for the answers to why. What only we know is truly a book of love, forgiveness, hope and overcoming the past. It is a tragically beautiful novel that draws you in and leaves you captivated. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Historical Fiction at its best.

    The more I read of this book, the more I had to read! Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and this did not disappoint. This story is done in a then and now format with the story beginning in Berlin in September 1936. Margarethe and Paul Elfmann ,along with their 16-year-old daughter Liese, run a top fashion house making apparel for wealthy women. The Elfmanns are Jewish and as changes begin to happen, the Elfmanns choose to ignore the changes until they lose their business, their home and their money. They are forced to live in a ghetto with Liese looking after them until that night when they hear footsteps in the hallway and a knock on the door with Liese's parents being taken away. Fast forward to Aldershot, England September 1971 where 11-year-old Karen is having a hard time accepting the drowning death of her mother, beginning a new school and living with her cold military father. When Karen is 16, she decides to look through her mother's jewelry box and discovers a passport with her mother's picture and a different name. She also finds another document that she cannot figure out. When she confronts her father, he refuses to answer her questions which further divides them. The story goes back and forth from Berlin to Aldershot and ends in Berlin September 2001. What a fantastic story this is touching just about every emotion there is. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC of this heart-wrenching story in exchange for an honest review. This is a very well-written and well-researched book.

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  • Beautifully written

    I absolutely love WW2 books. They are all heartbreaking but they also have hope and are inspiring. This story did not disappoint me. The two timelines wove together so perfectly. My favorite was the historical one of course. This definitely had a few surprises and was very heartwarming. I would recommend this book to any WW2 or historical fiction fan.

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  • Good book

    I really enjoyed this. Such a heart wrenching story. Can’t imagine those times

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