The World That We Knew: A Novel (CD-Audio)
I thought I was tired of WWII books, but this is a beautiful mix of magical realism, survival, love and adventure that transcends the ugliness of war, the sorrow of separation and celebrates the strength of love—and not just human love.
A Jewish mother sacrifices everything to save her daughter with a magical protector aided by the Huguenots, Jewish resistance groups, Operation Spring Breeze, etc. There is authentic French history surrounding the characters in this novel along with a bit of magic.
Ultimately, the book raises the question of what exactly is the scope of love, what defines humanity, and how does one continue in the face of overwhelming danger. The answer is delivered with a poetic tale that is a delight.— Anne
I have not been as huge an Alice Hoffman fan as Nancy was but I found her new novel The World That We Knew a beautifully written immersion into a world where the fantastical elements (a golem and a heron are main characters) somehow make the horrors of WWII more real.— Sarah
October 2019 Indie Next List
“Alice Hoffman, author of numerous novels—The Dovekeepers, The Marriage of Opposites, and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, among others—does her magic again with The World That We Knew. This is a story of great love and loss, a story of strong characters who, with heartfelt courage, save others by risking their own lives. The reader is taken on a journey of the world that once was—of memories of a past tainted by hatred during WWII. Alice Hoffman’s writing is passionate, poetic, and profound. This novel captivated me from the start and left me spellbound. A must-read!”
— Mollie Loughlin, The Book Vine, Cherokee, IA
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
On the brink of World War II, with the Nazis tightening their grip on Berlin, a mother’s act of courage and love offers her daughter a chance of survival.
“[A] hymn to the power of resistance, perseverance, and enduring love in dark times…gravely beautiful…Hoffman the storyteller continues to dazzle.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
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. Her desperation leads her to Ettie, the daughter of a rabbi whose years spent eavesdropping on her father enables her to create a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Hanni’s daughter, Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
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.
About the Author
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including Magic Lessons, The World That We Knew, Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Red Garden, The Dovekeepers, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, The Marriage of Opposites, and Faithful. She lives near Boston.
'Hoffman works her magic once again in this unique audiobook. Judith Light's intensely dramatic narration suits the subject matter well. She delivers the dialogue passionately, and the narrative is brisk and sharp. Set in Europe during WWII, this unconventional story traces the steps of women so desperate that they are driven to create a golem to serve as a protector. The magical elements seem perfectly realistic as revealed in Light's driving, theatrical delivery. It doesn't take long for the listener to get pulled into this other realm, eager to keep up with Light's narrative pace. The audiobook lays bare the essentials of love and evil, sacrifice and mortality, for contemplation."
— AudioFile Magazine