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This is a beautiful novel with threads of magical realism superimposed on the horror that was WWII and the Jewish holocaust Hoffman s writing is lyrical and magical as she weaves her powerful tale of a Jewish mother who gave up everything to give her daughter a chance to survive the war aided by the bravery of the French resistance who rescued so many Jews, including thousands of children The story is heart wrenching and the characters unforgettable.It s 1941 in Berlin and Jews are being denied basic rights and freedom and forced to wear the yellow star Hanni Kohn knows they should leave while they sill can but she can t bear to leave her elderly mother alone She wants her twelve year old daughter Lea to have a chance to escape what is surely coming but can t bear to send her away unprotected without her mother to care for her She seeks out Ettie, a Rabbi s daughter who agrees to create a magical creature, a golem who they name Ava, to act as Lea s guardian on her journey With a burning rage for what is happening to her family and friends, Ettie must also leave on her own journey without her family but she is fated to meet Lea and Ava again before the end of the war With chapters told from the point of view of all the main characters, we see them all change and strengthen as they face danger and adversity but also find kindness and love They will see Angels on Earth including the Angel of Death as well as a beautiful, elegant heron who plays an important role for both Lea and Ava Hoffman has crafted a wondrous tale in the darkness of times, one of great humanity and love With many thanks to Netgalley and Simon Schuster Australia for a digital copy to read Question I asked myself All Holocaust books are heartbreaking, Would this book become just another sad story without the magical realism I think that element made this book memorable, one that stands out, unforgettable Ava represents a mother s love, someone who is not human, but human than many others during this inhuman time I loved when the doctor thought, if one can love, one has a soul So much evil, so many deaths and yet so many good people that went above and beyond So many elements combined, a heron I adored, showing there are many other species able to love So I decided the magical realism allowed Hoffman to interject a great deal of love and wonder into a story of a time that represented, hatred, horror, death and loss It provided an emotional element that went above and beyond I loved the ending, it was just right.I still want a knight for Christmas and now I ve added three angels to my list.My monthly read with Angela and Esil This book provided much fodder for our discussion.ARC from Edelweiss #FREE DOWNLOAD ⚣ The World That We Knew ⚩ In 1941, during humanity s darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice Hoffman In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve year old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she s destined to be.What does it mean to lose your mother How much can one person sacrifice for love In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending. for what good is it to rescue yourself if you leave behind the person you love the most I don t think that I can do justice to this beautifully written tale of love, family, faith, resistance, longing, grief, pain, sacrifice, duty, and what it means to be alive Hoffman s writing is heartbreakingly beautifully, sad, hopeful and joyful at times during this novel but mainly it s dripping with a sadness so deep it leaps from the pages and affects the reader at least it affected this reader She also utilizes Jewish folklore mysticism and has a Golem as a main character as well Speaking of characters in this book, there are many in this book whose paths cross, their stories are unique and yet their individual stories have the same theme loss of family, loss of a parent or parents, loss of a sibling, loss of freedom, and a loss of one s home Heart of my heart, love of my life, the one loss I will never survive In the beginning of the book, a Mother, Hanni Kohn, seeks out a Rabbi hopping to save her twelve year old daughter, Lea She does not meet with the Rabbi that night, but instead meets with his daughter, Ettie, who has listened to her father for years, and creates a Golem she names Ava who is sworn to protect Lea When you have lost your mother you have lost the world Hanni sends her daughter away with Ava, choosing to stay behind with her Mother who is too ill to flee Ave and Lea are not the only ones who flee, Ettie and her younger sister flee as well, fearing the Nazi regime and the dangers or the time Both sets must leave their Mother s behind in hopes of saving their own lives Their time here was over, it was already in the past The young girls women in this book are not the only characters, there are two brothers, Victor and Julien, who have lost members of their families as well They are trying to survive in a world where they are unwanted, branded criminals, hunted, and turned away by those they once called friends people always lost what they loved the most All paths collide in this heartbreaking tale of cruelty, hatred, evil, courage and love Evil exists in this book as does goodness There are characters whose kindness and beauty shine through, who will sacrifice all that they have to give in order to save those condemned by the Nazis Those who saved lives in their own quiet way, those who did anything and everything they could to prevent evil from prevailing, who aided the resistance, who saved as many men, women and children as they could Remember when I loved you above all others and you loved me in return The relationships in this book are wonderful, the imagery dances off the page just as Ava danced with the heron at night There is something magical going on here Hoffman has a gift with words and has created a masterpiece She has created a story with characters having deep and meaningful relationships, having impact on each other and themselves, all the while fighting for their lives, the lives of others and for the chance to be together once again Find me before I disappear Hoffman had me from page one, heck she had me at the note in the beginning before the book started I found this book to be captivating, heartbreaking, hard to put down, thought provoking and moving I included some of my favorite passage in this review They speak for themselves So, I will simply speak to those reading this review, and simply say read this book.Highly Recommend.Thank you to Simon Schuster and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review All the thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not a fan of magical realism and, stylistically speaking, I don t care for narrative written as a fairy tale Hoffman employs both That said I had to consider if this novel works in terms of the author s intention and I think it does The mother s love is palpable, the symbolism of the heron is effective, the research is solid and the ending is powerful In addition, there are several very beautiful passages But, the characters are one dimensional and we are told rather than shown which diminishes the overall forcefulness of this novel about one of the blackest periods of history Hoffman readers will love this and many will disagree with me That s fine My rating reflects an objective point of view while my comments are, obviously, subjective. Alice Hoffman weaves a powerfully imaginative story of Europe s nightmarish historical horrors of WW2 and the Holocaust, coloured with the fantastical, Jewish folklore, the darkest of grim fairytales, set in Germany and Nazi occupied France, with its Nazi collaborators, the Milice, determined to destroy the brave French Resistance It speaks of love, loss, grief, heartbreak,resilience and courage in the face of the insanity and monstrous evil of the Nazi regime, illustrating both sides of the coin, the very best of humanity side by side with the terrifying side of its worst Hanni Kohn is living in a Berlin in 1941, facing a choice that no mother wants, her husband, Simon, has been murdered, Germany is far too dangerous for her bright 12 year old daughter, Lea Fiercely protective, she will do whatever it takes to save Lea, make any sacrifice even if it breaks her heart She seeks help from a rabbi, finding it from the daughter, Ettie, instead The remarkable Ettie can do what it is said only men can do, she conjures a special golem from clay, Ava, to protect Lea Hanni knows in her heart she cannot leave her ailing mother, and sends Lea, who doesn t want to leave her beloved mother, with Ava to France Ettie, too, escapes with her younger sister, Marta, their paths destined to intertwine and connect with that of Lea and Ava Encountering love, angels of death on earth, white roses, a white wolf, a dancing heron, and help from unexpected places, the unimaginably defiant spirit of the French resistance, there is inhumanity, terror, the madness of evil, and how far the human soul will rise to counter it This is the story about love, war, about the humanity of Ava, mothers and daughters, family, faith, survival and the unbelievable wonders of the human spirit This is unforgettable and well researched storytelling, with characters so vividly vibrant, where the magical realism elements simply strengthen the narrative, lending it an ever greater impact It goes without saying that I recommend this highly Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for an ARC. I am not a fan of magic realism But Alice Hoffman is the exception that proves the rule, as I have loved every book of hers that I ve read The book takes place during World War Two Lea s mother, Hanni, knows she must send her daughter Lea, away from Berlin Ava is a golem, a soulless creature created to act as a guardian to Lea Ettie, the daughter of a rabbi, is the one who creates Ava, thereby linking the three of them We hear from each of them with their individual stories Each story reveals their strength, their love, their humanity, yes, even soulless Ava It s not often that I care equally about multiple main characters Once again, Hoffman is the exception to the rule As always, Hoffman transports us Numerous books have tackled the terror of the Nazi regime, yet Hoffman brought up things I ve never read elsewhere Her research was intense but is woven seamlessly into the stories Primarily a story of survival, it also shows us the best and worst of humanity My thanks to netgalley and Simon Schuster for an advance copy of this book. NOW AVAILABLE A little than six years ago I read The Golem and the Jinni, 1 and shortly after that, I read The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, which I might have struggled with the concept of a man created out of earth and clay had I not read The Golem and the Jinni, and I enjoyed both of those stories, but this one took my breath away.Beautifully written, this story is shared with just the right touch of magical realism needed to lend it the air of a lyrical fairy tale set in Germany and France during World War II This golem brought to life by Ettie, the daughter of a rabbi, who has overheard her father create a golem once And so Ettie creates this female being to protect Lea, daughter of Hanni, who must leave Berlin for her own safety Strict rules come with the creation of such a creature, including ensuring the destruction after a limited period of time Lea must leave for her own protection, but her mother can t leave her own mother behind, and so Hanni convinces Lea to go with Ava At its heart, this is a love story, but it is about love in a general sense our love of life, the everyday moments we take for granted, the beauty in the world isn t always so easily recognized in days like these, when living an ordinary, everyday kind of life isn t even possible And yet, even in dark times and these were very dark times there always seems to be that thread of love and hope and perhaps most important of all humanity There is some romantic love, as well as embracing our love of this gift we ve been given of life, and how to honor it by honoring the humanity in others, themes that flow through these pages The always strong, beating heart of this, though, is the maternal love shown through Hanni s sacrifice for her daughter s benefit, and the maternal love of Ava, who represents the fiercely protective, nurturing maternal nature of mothers Set in a time of rising evil infecting the land, this is an extraordinary portrait of the never ending nature, and power, of love Pub Date 24 Sep 2019Many thanks for the ARC provided by Simon Schuster LONG ha..again I couldn t help myself , but NO SPOILERSThis book has crawled under my skin It s a book of womanly strength, love, and wisdom.set in WWII Usually I write a review immediately upon finishing it I m glad I waited It took me longer to read this novel than others of the same length I paused longer lingered longer over sentences I also spent time studying history I was unfamiliar with With feelings of being small in my own ability to write a review of this very ambitious historical novel I needed time to let my feelings neutralized contend with my thoughts and locate my Courage Hat I m not going to get this right but I promise to do the best I can.My very first inner voice response after reading The World That We Knew , was close, but still not The Dovekeepers.I quickly marked read with 4 stars highlighted on Goodreads., but I think I knew in my gut this was equally valuable to me as The Dovekeepers I was just a little ashamed at how much I had to work I m Jewish and read many Holocaust stories shouldn t I know these basic facts by now..THE HISTORY IN HERE THAT I DIDN T KNOW.which I m grateful to having learned many thanks to Alice Hoffman is NOT SOOOOO BASIC I did some serious thinking for a few days about this book along with some re reading of passages and dialogue I also re studied historical facts filling holes in my education It s amazing to me how many gaps still of WWII history have been left behind At least for me So.first acknowledgements I m deeply grateful to our award winning author I appreciate Alice Hoffman s dedication to writing about a remarkable period of history I appreciate the immediate connection with the characters her lush luminous prose the extraordinary storytelling and for being a real inspiration for me personally in opening my heart in seeing the importance to keep learning.I was not only submerged in the intricate relationships but page after page I fell deeper into the richly imagined world.pausing to google historical communes and children s orphanages none of which I knew about.Thank you and I ve said this 1 million times before But I m sincerely thankful , to Netgalley and the publishers who have trusted me enough to offer an advance copy to review and with this book special thanks to Simon Schuster s Publishing team.It was tumultuous times I asked myself what was the most important personal goal in a world where evil was rampant everywhere you turned TO LIVE.the goal was TO STAY ALIVE to LIVE I thought about every possible successful turn in my life and those in the lives of others What stands out is somebody was FOR ME somebody was FOR MY FRIENDS.For Leaher mother, Hanni, was Lea s biggest allied The world was black with horror Millions of Jews tortured, separated by those they loved many were made to dig their own graves castrated humiliated millions murdered at the rate of a thousand a day in Auschwitz WE KNOW THESE THINGS..YETALWAYS HORRIFYING..felt newly on any given day One of the strongest themes for me is the POWER of a MAGICAL REMARKABLE DEEPLY LOVING relationship between a mother and daughter Throughout all the storytelling adventures from beginning to end.I was constantly moved by a mother s love for her daughter This excerpt is soooo beautiful..speaks volumes 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 boy looked at you, when you learned prayers in the convent, when you ran through the woods Soon after meeting twelve year old Lea, shy, but highly intelligent, and having survived a frightening failed rape intent Hanni Kohn, her mother, will do anything in her power to have her daughter protected which means sending Lea far away from Berlin..save her from the Nazi regime Hanni s husband a medical doctor was murdered outside the Jewish Hospital He had saved 720 souls After Simon died it was believed and hoped for in the Jewish religion that perhaps on the day that he left OLAM HaZEH, the world that we walk through each living day, those who had been saved we re waiting for him inOLAM HaBa, the World to Come Hanni refused to believe that her husband s life meant nothing In Berlin, evil came to them slowly and then all at once Hanni was determined that Lea would live and save souls It would go on and on, until there was good in the world than evil.SUPPORT IS CALLED FOR..Grandmother, Bobeshi, had told Lea stories and told her to be a wolf Lea learned early to rise out of darkness she became the flower on a stem of thorns Lea learned from experience about The Angel of Death The angel took away the evil man who tried to pick a flower Lea , and all he got was a handful of thorns.then he got what he deserved death Grandmother Bobeshi was sick, bedridden Hanni needed to honor the 5th commandment she couldn t leave her mother.But each day groups of Jews were taken to Grosse Hamburger Strasse then soon be sent to their deaths on trains to resettle Jews in the East.NOT LEATante Ruth was over hundred years old Her father was a rabbi in Russia..called a magician Her own husband was named The Magician s assistant The men studied the Zohar, The Book of Splendour, holy mysteries Women were denied the opportunity to study denied Torah study However, Tante Ruth learned a lot listening to the men debate After her husband died who knew 72 kinds of wisdom that he learned from his father , Ruth believed in their miracles It was believed that all creation came from thought, language, and mathematics Hanni turned to Tante Ruth a magical brilliant pillar in their small community of Jews Neighbors didn t listen to Ruth when the Nazi policies first began to separate Jews from the rest of the population To fight the WICKEDMAGIC and FAITH were needed This is how we learn of The Golem The Golem was created by the use of 22 Hebrew letters of the Hebrew alphabet The Golem can see the future among other things including seeing the exact day and time of a person s death It can speak to angels Ruth sent Hanni to speak to their local Rabbi knowing the rabbi would refuse to speak to her He would not allow another woman in the room other than his own wife..however Hanni was to talk to the rabbi s wife The real miracle help came from the rabbi s daughter Ettie.Ettie brings forth the creature with mud and water Ava Perrin , six feet tall , is the name of Ettie s creation Ava, was created to protect Lea, who would follow her to the end of the earth and never abandon her Ava made from clay wasn t suppose to feel.as she was created without a soul Lea wasn t so sure Ava and a heron had a special relationship.Ettie was bright as a whip clever independent ambitious defiant when necessary Ettie s mother wasn t helpful to Hanni but Ettie was.Ettie wished she were born a boy Only the most learned person such as Ettie was , could use the 72 names of God to bring forth a Golem SUCCESS and Tante Ruth had said only men could bring a Golem to life ha Ettie was exceptional she was born to fight She re named herself Nicole Duval.WE FOLLOW Ettie, her younger sister Marta died , Lea, and Ava on a long journey.So many men had been entering The World To ComeOLAM HaBa THESE STRONG WOMEN NEEDED TO SURVIVE I learned a lot I didn t until this book , know anything about the Huguenot residents of Le Chambon Sur Lignon who made a haven for the Jewish people fleeing from the Nazis I also didn t know about Izieu A Jewish orphanage In 1943, a school for children opened at Izieu a commune in eastern France.A year later everyone was gone The children were sent to Auschwitz The French government said it was kindness to send the children to be with your parents Different police were in collaboration with the Germans and all 42 children were taken to Montluc Prison Not a single child survived You ll meet Julien a Heron Dr Girard learn of other communes bombing in Vienna visit Haute Loire ponder over sights, sounds, smells, language, and tidbits of details Did you know that the German government forced every Jewish women to use the name Sarah after her own name on every official document I didn t And..most you feel as if you know the main characters and minor characters well.If you are like me you ll be moved by a mother daughter strength that you just might either be a little jealous that you re on relationship with your own mother was lacking OR.bask in the special love you did or do have with your mother.A perfect gift to our mother s who read Magical realism crashes into folklore, mysticism with heart wrenching Holocaust casualties poignant story with well rounded, fantastically developed, relatable characters could be the best formula and definition of WRITING A MASTERPIECE AND CREATING AN AMAZING PORTRAIT BY USING WORDS AS LIKE SMALL BRUSHES OF VIVID COLORS I can only do things with my hands First I can applause the author for creating such memorable characters stories entwined with each other like and writing my second best Holocaust story after Book Thief The other thing I can do giving five billion stars and applause the author for one time A mother s emotional story about sacrificing herself for giving her daughter a second chance to survive by pleading rabbi s daughter to create a golem mystical and powerful creature to protect her daughter from the monsters hid in human furs Ettie rabbi s daughter does what she requested in exchange of jewelries which will help her and sister to escape from the country along with Lea and her golem formed in human body Ava.Their story starts with the escape till their horrifying adventure turns into running for their lives and facing to the true nature of hatred, violence, crimes and it finally ends with a poetic, emotional, meaningful way.The writing is like calm and serene river flows between harsh reality and fairy tales It s also tear jerker and heart melting tribute to those brave heroes who helped Jewish people with their secret underground organizations by putting their lives in danger to save souls and bringing the divine justice to their country I ll never forget Lea, Hannie, Ettie, Julien, Hector, Marianne All those meaningful, heartwarming, intense relationships, their amazing connection and affection that wound your heart will be imprinted on your minds and at your hearts forever It s impossible not to feel for them Especially those Julien words as he is about to lose his faith with for seeing too much violence, ruthlessness in his young age Find me before I disappear And this poetic, splendid, spectacular ending SIGH I have no words left to tell my feelings T1his is my favorite historical novel of the year