As parents, we will do almost anything to ensure that our children will grow up to be happy, healthy and productive members of society. But during wartime, a parent’s main concern is that they, their children and their family survives the war.
Armando Lucas Correa’s latest book, The Daughter’s Tale: A Novel starts in modern-day New York City. Elise Duval is in her golden years. Born in France and raised as a Catholic, her formative years were during World War II. After the war, Elise moved to the United States, where she was raised by her uncle. Then a stranger brings Elise a box that opens the door to her past.
In 1939 in Berlin, Amanda Sternberg and her husband live a comfortable life with their two young daughters. But Amanda and her family are Jewish and the noose around Europe’s Jews is tightening. Making the ultimate parental sacrifice, Amanda puts her older daughter on a boat to the Americas before fleeing to France with her younger daughter.
Amanda hopes that living in France will provide the respite that she and daughter desperately need. But the Nazis are not too far behind. When Amanda is forced into a labor camp, she knows that the only way to save her daughter is to send her away.
This book is fantastic. What drew me in was the force of Amanda’s love for her children and how she knew instinctively that in order to save her children’s lives, she had to send them away. Regardless of faith, family background or cultural history, it is a message that I believe speak to all of us, especially those of us who have children.
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.