The German Girl: A Novel Book Review

War has a way of changing things. During World War II in Europe, the change to Europe’s Jewish population was more than war. It was extermination and many were looking for a way out.

The 2017 novel, The German Girl: A Novel by Armando Lucas Correa, is initially set in 1939 Germany. Up until this point, young Hannah Rosenthal has led a very happy life. But the war and the noose that is quickly tightening around Germany’s Jews is changing all of that, and not for the better.

In spite of the darkness around them, there is glimmer of light in the distance: the S.S. St. Louis. The ship promises to take her passengers to the freedom and safety of Cuba. But hope soon turns to tragedy when the passengers learn that their new country is not as welcoming as they thought it would be.

In 2014, Anna is a young lady living in New York City with her mother. Her father is dead, she knows next to nothing of him or his family. Then she receives an envelope from a great-aunt Hannah from Cuba whom she has never met. Inside the envelope is a picture of a young girl who looks like Anna. This envelope leads Anna and her mother to take a trip to Cuba to meet her great-aunt and find out the generations old secrets of her late father and his family.

Though the beginning of this book is a little slow, when it picks up, it really picks up. One of the hardest things that a writer can do is write in two different time periods with two different characters while slowly weaving them together until they create one narrative. Mr. Correa not only succeeds at this, but tells a timeless tale of family, love and the destruction that is caused by hate.

I recommend it.


Thoughts On Memorial Day

There are two views on Memorial Day. The first view is that it is seen as the first day of summer, when many of us go to the pool, go to the beach, barbecue or just enjoy what will hopefully be a nice day. The second view is that today we remember those who put their lives on the line for this country, especially those who did not come home.

My first thought today is to think of the men in my family who fought in World War II: my grandfathers (of blessed memory) and my late maternal grandmother’s two brothers. Her eldest brother (also of blessed memory) passed away decades ago. Her younger brother is still alive and is very proud of the time he spent serving his country.

When we think of war, we think of the men on the battle field and the women who stayed home to take care of the family. But this was not completely accurate during World War II. Approximately 350,000 American women served their country both at home and abroad.

Last year, I visited Washington D.C. with a friend. The World War II Memorial is both overwhelming and powerful. It is the perfect reminder of the sacrifice of those who put country before their own needs. Among the various parts of the memorial, the quote recognizing the women who fought for their country is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

May the memory of those who gave their lives for this country forever be a blessing to us all. May we never forget their sacrifice and may we always be grateful for the freedoms that they died protecting.

Enjoy your Memorial Day.

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