NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER * A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK! An achingly beautiful work of historical fiction that moves between Germany on the eve of World War II and present-day Wisconsin, unspooling a thread of love, longing, and the powerful bonds of family. Annelise is a dreamer: imagining her future while working at her parents' popular bakery in Feldenheim, Germany, anticipating all the delicious possibilities yet to come. There are rumors that anti-Jewish sentiment is on the rise, but Annelise and her parents can't quite believe that it will affect them; they're hardly religious at all. But as Annelise falls in love, marries, and gives birth to her daughter, the dangers grow closer: a brick thrown through her window; a childhood friend who cuts ties with her; customers refusing to patronize the bakery. Luckily Annelise and her husband are given the chance to leave for America, but they must go without her parents, whose future and safety are uncertain. Two generations later, in a small Midwestern city, Annelise's granddaughter, Clare, is a young woman newly in love. But when she stumbles upon a trove of her grandmother's letters from Germany, she sees the history of her family's sacrifices in a new light, and suddenly she's faced with an impossible choice: the past, or her future. A novel of dazzling emotional richness that is based on letters from Lauren Fox's own family, Send for Me is a major departure for this acclaimed author, an epic and intimate exploration of mothers and daughters, duty and obligation, hope and forgiveness.
A quiet book, in many ways a sad book, but also a book filled with love. The special bond between mothers and daughters. Memories, cherished and not forgotten, lingering effects on the present, the future. New places, new challenges, friends, but difficult to adjust, to forget, overcome. Baggage, knowingly or not, passed down, what do we chose to keep, let become part of our story. Klara, Annalise, Ruth and Clare, mothers and daughters, loving, grieving, trying to make it through life with themselves and their relationships intact.
I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading more from this talented author.
ARC from Edelweiss
This is a heartbreaking story that begins during a terrible time in history that is stained with blood and shame. It is about the Holocaust in a way it is not often memorialized. It is about the effects of it upon those that experienced it
Four generations , four love stories, and four relationships between mothers and daughters that retain, above all, a sense of loyalty and devotion, are featured in this novel. The mundane day to day life is illustrated with very tender emotion and a deep feeling of authenticity. World War II and Hitler’s demonic plans for the Jews, set in motion a pattern of unusually dependent relationships that would continue for generations in the survivors of the savage and uncivilized behavior of the Germans. Alone, each event was not as awful as it was when they were all added up to become a whole. No one could come through such a tragic set of events without scars, and those scars would influence generation after generation, as some could not even speak of the atrocities, so awful was the memory and the experience. Those that did not experience it, but witnessed it, or were related to those who did, were also traumatized since their losses were too great to discuss openly and were hard to believe, as well. Families were taken away and simply disappeared. Jews were made to be invisible, and then they were slowly tortured, humiliated, brutalized and murdered. Many Germans claimed ignorance and others simply supported the abomination that was National Socialism. Because Germans were so meticulous about themselves and their record keeping, eventually, most of the Jews were accounted for, even if the records of the reasons for their deaths were false, but at least their final days were revealed, horrific though they were.
There are those who deny the Holocaust. There are those who downplay its horrors. There are those who deny knowing about it, although they were there and belonged to the Nazi Party. There are few left who witnessed it or suffered through it; so much time has passed. However, the effects of such barbarism will not soon be forgotten by anyone with a relation that experienced any part of Hitler’s brutality and inhumanity.
The book is a novel, and as such, it devotes itself more to the relationship between parent and child, mother and daughter, uncovering the loyalty and responsibility that the deep love for each other engenders, even when not faced with danger. Still, the memories of the war cast its shadow on generation after generation, so that independence of the family was difficult to accept or achieve. In those war-torn families, there is a need to stay together, not to lose touch, not to be forgotten or ignored because that would make Hitler successful, finally.
The book takes the reader through Hitler’s rise and the inability of Jews to face what was truly happening, so bizarre and horrendous were the actions, but so subtle and slow to occur that like a boiling pot, until the bubbles appeared, no one knew how hot the situation had become. By then, it was often too late to escape, and no one could send for them successfully.
The book seems loosely based on letters from the author’s great grandparents to her grandparents, but the book definitely illustrates the profound long-lasting and far-reaching effects of the horrors of Germany’s Third Reich.
There were times when the book was confusing as it went from generation to generation and character to character, but overall, it meshed well and knitted all the loose ends together, ending on a high note of hope, I think. Other readers may feel differently since the ending is not clearly defined.
This is an historical fiction work set both in 1930s Germany and in contemporary Wisconsin, that tells the one family’s story. Annelise is the daughter of a loving couple who own a bakery in Feldenheim, Germany. They are Jewish but not particularly religious or
I liked how Fox tells the story in the mundane details of life. Young people chafe at restrictions imposed by adults, enjoy some school subjects and hate others, form friendships and find love. Adults shop for groceries, talk to their neighbors, go for walks in the park, try on a pair of shoes. Mothers meet to exchange information about child-rearing. And all the while devastation is looming just over the horizon.
There were parts of the novel I really liked, when I was completely engaged and caught up in the story. But there were other parts that just fell flat for me. I think this is my fault; I am just so over the dual timeline in historical fiction.
Lauren Fox based this work of fiction on her own family’s history. She discovered her great-grandmother’s letters in boxes her grandparents had stored.
Natasha Soudek does a reasonable job of voicing the audiobook. But it did take me a while to get used to her delivery. I didn’t feel the characters come to life, and this affected my rating.
Annalise, Walter, and Ruthie emigrate to the US, where relatives of Walter agree to sponsor them. Walter’s friend, Oskar, also moved to the US. It is difficult living so far away from her parents. Klara, Annalise‘s mother, corresponds via letters, always sending her love to Ruthie, but also telling Annalise of the failures to get their papers correct.
Years later, Clare, Annalise’s granddaughter struggles in relationships, but also, feels a strong tote to her family.
This is a story of love between families, the difficulty of leaving everything you knew behind, including family, continuing traditions, and building new lives.
I liked how the author sprinkled in letters from her ancestors into the story. It made it authentic. While not directly about the way and the Holocaust, it still reflects the horrors of prejudice, and what racism takes from all of us.