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The German Girl
by Armando Lucas Correa


Overview - A stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel, perfect for fans of The Nightingale , Schindler's List , and All the Light We Cannot See , about twelve-year-old Hannah Rosenthal's harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion.  Read more...

 
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Overview
A stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel, perfect for fans of The Nightingale, Schindler's List, and All the Light We Cannot See, about twelve-year-old Hannah Rosenthal's harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion.

Before everything changed, young Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. But now, in 1939, the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; her family's fine possessions are hauled away; and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. Hannah and her best friend, Leo Martin, make a pact: whatever the future has in store for them, they'll meet it together.

Hope appears in the form of the SS St. Louis, a transatlantic liner offering Jews safe passage out of Germany. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart on the luxurious ship bound for Havana. Life on board the St. Louis is like a surreal holiday for the refugees, with masquerade balls, exquisite meals, and polite, respectful service. But soon ominous rumors from Cuba undermine the passengers' fragile sense of safety. From one day to the next, impossible choices are offered, unthinkable sacrifices are made, and the ship that once was their salvation seems likely to become their doom.

Seven decades later in New York City, on her twelfth birthday, Anna Rosen receives a strange package from an unknown relative in Cuba, her great-aunt Hannah. Its contents will inspire Anna and her mother to travel to Havana to learn the truth about their family's mysterious and tragic past, a quest that will help Anna understand her place and her purpose in the world.

The German Girl sweeps from Berlin at the brink of the Second World War to Cuba on the cusp of revolution, to New York in the wake of September 11, before reaching its deeply moving conclusion in the tumult of present-day Havana. Based on a true story, this masterful novel gives voice to the joys and sorrows of generations of exiles, forever seeking a place called home.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781501121142
  • ISBN-10: 1501121146
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publish Date: October 2016
  • Page Count: 368
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.35 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Historical - General

 
BookPage Reviews

The World War II haven in Havana

Set against the backdrop of World War II, award-winning journalist Armando Lucas Correa’s The German Girl follows 12-year-old Hannah Rosenthal, who is attempting to flee Nazi Germany with her family and her best friend, Leo Martin. After many refusals, the Rosenthals are overjoyed when they are given the chance to escape to freedom aboard the SS St. Louis, a floating fairy tale making its way toward Cuba. But the outlook soon becomes grimmer for the desperate family. Hannah and Leo promise to stay together—and are forced to make impossible decisions.

Alternating with Hannah’s story is that of Anna Rosen, a 12-year-old girl in present-day New York. Anna is coming to terms with the death of her father when she receives a package from the mysterious great-aunt in Cuba who acted as a mother figure to Anna’s late father. Searching for answers and a deeper understanding of her father, young Anna and her mother set off on their own journey to Havana’s shores.

Correa, the editor-in-chief of People en Español, successfully weaves a profoundly emotional coming-of-age tale, based on the real-life journey of the St. Louis from Hamburg to Havana, and the 900 refugees aboard. Despite this heavy subject matter, Correa’s impeccably researched historical details shine through, grounding the novel and honing its point.

Though at times The German Girl is heartbreaking, the novel never wallows, and readers can often feel joy and excitement emanating off the young narrators. Correa’s characters and details are beautifully crafted, creating an insightful and poignantly timed exploration of the refugee experience.

 

This article was originally published in the November 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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