The World That We Knew

The World That We Knew Review

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.

Title:The World That We Knew
Edition Language:English

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    The World That We Knew Reviews

  • Angela M

    This is one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful books I’ve read. I don’t know much of anything about Jewish Mysticism or folklore, but it’s woven into the story in such a stunning way. It does...

  • Nilufer Ozmekik

    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 ...

  • Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters

    LONG....( ha.....again?/! ......I couldn’t help myself), but NO SPOILERS...This book has crawled under my skin. It’s a book of womanly strength, love, and wisdom....set in WWII. Usually I write a ...

  • Beata

    Having waited patiently for a copy from Overdrive for many weeks, I was a little apprehensive once it finally arrived. Why? Much as I enjoy magical realism, I am not familiar with the Jewish folklore,...

  • Will Byrnes

    Ruth knew what evil could befall a girl traveling alone. Especially now, when there were demons dressed in army uniforms on every corner. Ruth knew of them as mazikin, terrible creatures whose work w...

  • Diane S ?

    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 stand...

  • Debra

    "...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, ...

  • Paromjit

    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,...

  • Liz

    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...

  • Tammy

    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 t...