Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine where bloggers spotlight eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.
This week’s Waiting on Wednesday pick is an upcoming historical fiction set in the lead-up to World War 2. Its kind of weird how sometimes it seems like authors are in my brain examining ideas for what I would love to see featured in a book – and this book is no different.
A few months ago I was at the Holocaust Museum in DC (which if you have never been there, find a way to visit). Anyways, on the first floor you enter (which is actually the 5th floor) there are lots of displays about the lead-up to WW2 and one of the featured events was the sailing of the Saint Louis to Cuba from Europe – which many Jewish families were hoping to use as a way to escape Hitler’s persecution.
Added to being intrigued by what could potentially have happened on that ship and not knowing if anyone had even written anything about this period in history – I was immediately intrigued when I saw an advertisement for The German Girl by Armanda Luca Correa.
the German Girl has a release date of October 18, 2016 and while I don’t often pre-order books, I broke my rule for this one and can’t wait to read it.
In 1939 before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. Her family moved in Berlin’s highest social circles, admired by friends and neighbors. Eleven-year-old Hannah was often taken by her mother for an afternoon treat at the tea room of the beautiful Adlon Hotel, both dressed in their finest clothes. She spent her afternoons at the park with her best friend Leo Martin. But, in an instant, that sunlit world vanished. Now the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; their fine possessions are hauled away, and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. The two friends make a pact: come what may, they promise to have a future together.
As Hannah and Leo’s families desperately begin to search for a means of escape, a glimmer of hope appears when they discover the Saint Louis, a transatlantic liner that can give Jews safe passage to Cuba. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart from Hamburg on the luxurious passenger liner bound for Havana. Life aboard the ship is a welcome respite from the gloom of Berlin—filled with masquerade balls, dancing, and exquisite meals every night.
As the passengers gain renewed hope for a bright future ahead, love between Hannah and Leo blossoms. But soon reports from the outside world began to filter in, and dark news overshadows the celebratory atmosphere on the ship; the governments of Cuba, the United States, and Canada are denying the passengers of the St. Louis admittance to their countries, forcing them to return to Europe as it descends into the Second World War. The ship that had seemed their salvation seems likely to become their death sentence.
After four days anchored at bay, only a handful of passengers are allowed to disembark onto Cuban soil, and Hannah and Leo must face the grim reality that they could be torn apart. Their future is unknown, and their only choice will have an impact in generations to come.
Decades later in New York City on her eleventh birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah, a great-aunt she has never met but who raised her deceased father. In an attempt to piece together her father’s mysterious past, Anna and her mother travel to Havana to meet Hannah, who is turning eighty-seven years old. Hannah reveals old family ties, recounts her journey aboard the Saint Louis and, for the first time, reveals what happened to her father and Leo. Bringing together the pain of the past with the mysteries of the present, Hannah gives young Anna a sense of their shared histories, forever intertwining their lives, honoring those they loved and cruelly lost.