The Daughter’s Tale by Armando Lucas Correa
Atria Books, 2019. Hardcover, 320 pages.
Correa returns with another novel that addresses the plight of the Jewish people who tried to flee Germany as Hitler and his minions tightened racial laws. And like with his debut, The German Girl, the ill-fated S.S. St. Louis makes an appearance.
The heart of this novel opens in 1939 Berlin. Bookseller Amanda Sternberg hopes to keep her family together, but all hopes are shattered when her husband, a Jewish doctor, is take away and dies in a concentration camp. Unbeknownst to her, her husband Julius enacted plans to save his family. The children, Viera and Lina, are to sail on the St. Louis to join their uncle who already lives in Cuba. Amanda is to flee to France and join the children later. But what will happen? Will things go as planned? Who will be the one to face untold hardships and devastations as the war progressed? Who will live and who will die?
The beginning and end of the novel take place in New York City in 2015. Elise Duval, an 80-year-old woman, is a French Catholic who arrived after the war ended. She is presented with letters written by her mother written in German from World War II, an event that leads to a heart attack. Who is she really? What was her past?
This haunting novel is beautifully and poetically written. It was hard to put it down despite the horrors of the atrocities committed during the war. While the heart of the story is the love of a mother for her children, readers will be shocked by the form this takes. It is also a story of survival, especially as two girls must find their way through the end of the war alone while witnessing some of the most horrific atrocities to take place in Western Europe during the war. And heartbreak is throughout due to the hard choices made by the adults around these girls. If you plan to read this novel, have tissue handy.
Do you think you will read this novel? If you read The German Girl, what did you think of that novel?
This review is based on a digital advanced copy of the novel obtained from NetGalley. It will be released on May 7th, 2019.