The World That We Knew
By Alice Hoffman
It is 1941 and Hanni Kohn is desperate to get her 12-year-old daughter Lea out of Berlin and to safety. Seeking out a renowned rabbi, she instead meets Ettie, his precocious teenage daughter. Hanni and Ettie come to an unusual agreement. Ettie will create a mystical golem to protect Lea on her journey. For this, Ettie will get enough money for she and her sister to escape Berlin themselves. Set in France during the second World War, this novel follows Lea and her protector Ava as they leave Germany and try to travel through France to safety. In alternating storylines we also meet Victor and Julien, brothers who each escape capture as the Jews are being rounded up in Paris. When Julien and Lea meet they vow to stay alive for each other.
What did it make me think about?
How much I love Alice Hoffman’s writing and how thankful I am that she is such a prolific writer!
Should I read it?
I am obviously a fan of Alice Hoffman and would read anything she wrote. This novel takes on good versus evil and Alice Hoffman writes a very unique story. This is a beautiful book!
“Night after night, in the trees or in the grass, Lea dreamed of her mother. She heard Hanni’s voice in the wind, in birdsong, in falling leaves.
I was with you when the roses bloomed with silver petals, when you saw Paris for the first time, when that you looked at you, when you learned prayers at the convent, when you ran through the woods.
Every time Ava took your hand, it was my hand that you held.”