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Ratings and Book Reviews (13 102 star ratings
13 reviews
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4.3 out of 5
102
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  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

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    Heartbreaking and Hopeful

    I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman is a story of the Holocaust. I think that sometimes you can tell more truths in a fairy tale than you can in a non-fiction book and that is true in this book. It brings to light the goodness and the evil, the hope and the despair that was Berlin and France during World War 2. The story begins in Berlin, Lea’s mother aware that the world is greatly changing and that it is not a safe place for her daughter but unable to abandon her crippled mother she causes a golem to be created to protect her daughter. The golem named Ava is charged with protecting Lea and keeping her safe through the war. They journey to Paris and then to the French countryside over the course of the war. Their story is told in a series of interconnecting tales of love between a parent and their child, between brothers, between sisters and between men and women, and is one of much heartbreak and great hope. I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend reading it. Publishing Date September 24, 2019 #NetGalley #TheWorldWeKnew #AliceHoffman #HolocaustStories #fairytales #SimonandSchuster #Bookstagram #HistoricalFicton
  • 3 person found this review helpful

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    Another Epic Tale from a talented author

    The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman is part fantasy, part fiction, part history....all good!  First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Simon and Schuster, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.   My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions) WWII, and it doesn't matter what country, if you are Jewish, you are being hunted. Hanni Kohn will do anything to keep her 12 year old daughter Lea safe.  Lea must leave Berlin, but Hanni cannot travel with her.  She enlists the help of Ettie, the daughter of a rabbi.  Ettie has learned a lot of the old religion by watching her father.  They create a "golem" out of clay, and water, and air and words.  The golem comes to life and they call her Ava.  She will keep Lea safe on her journey to their distant cousins in France, and continue to keep her safe until the need passes.   Ettie and her sister Marta also try to escape Berlin on the train, but their VISA's are obviously fake.  They leap from the train, but Marta is killed in the field.  Ettie joins the resistance group to avenge her sister's death.    The paperwork Lea and Ava present pass inspection.  Having reached their cousins, Lea and Ava take refuge with the Lévi's, although they are not really welcomed.  Viktor Lévi soon leaves to join the resistance, but his younger brother Julien becomes close with Lea.  Unfortunately,  evil is on the brink of finding the Lévi's house, and Ava and Lea move on.  Before they leave, Lea and Julien make a pact to stay alive. But Lea and Ava and Ettie are still tied together, and they are bound to meet again.  Their journey's take unexpected turns.   My Opinions:   First, let me just say that I love the cover.  Second, this was a little out of my comfort zone, because I rarely read anything about wars or history.  That being said.....this book was amazing. The characters were wonderful, the writing sublime, and the story heart-breaking and up-lifting all at the same time.  It is about the travesty of war,  about bigotry and hatred, and the atrocities that follow.  It's also about love and sacrifice, bravery and hope...and it's about humanity, which can sometimes be found in strange places. I loved how the author wove fairy tales and real events.  How she took stories that were handed down from one generation to the next so that they live on.  I worried how she would end this tale, but it was perfect. Alice Hoffman has now written another epic tale, one that will live on in my mind for a long time to come.  I will never look at a heron the same way again! 
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Awesome storytelling

    First book that I have read in a long time that I just did not want to put down. Fantasy mixed with harsh true history.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Beautiful writing

    In Hoffman's characteristic style, the novel weaves a smidgeon of the super-natural into lyrical prose that is both enchanting and simple. One of my favorite things about the book is the juxtaposition between the atrocities of war and the pure joy of loving and being alive. Well worth the read.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    A mesmerizing book

    Beautifully written. Alice Hoffman wove tragedy into hope, pain into purpose.
102

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