Book Club: The German Girl

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Author: Armando Lucas Correa
ISBN: 978-1-4711-6160-5
RRP: $29.99

The German Girl is a new release already gaining some great reviews. I was approached by Simon & Schuster to feature this one as a book club and it is getting rave reviews in their office so I couldn’t resist. I hope our readers love it just as much.

I have an interesting relationship with historical novels in that I don’t read a lot of them but generally I grow to love the ones I do read. The German Girl is quite recent history and it centres on a terrible time for the human race which I fear is becoming more and more likely to happen again.

The story opens in Berlin, the year is 1939 and the persecution of ‘undesirables’ has begun. It isn’t actually said for a long time who the ‘undesirables’ are but we can put the pieces together to work it out. They are stripped of their jobs, their businesses and pushed out of their homes. Eventually 900 of them manage to buy passage on the SS St. Louis to take them out of Germany to begin a new life.

Hannah Rosenthal is fast approaching twelve and her life has always been charmed, her parents are wealthy and well respected in the community. All of this changes when the red, white and black flags begin being draped all through the city. Hannah and her best friend Leo continue exploring the streets of Berlin, avoiding the uniforms and the turned down noses of the pure. Leo is great at listening to what is going on with the adults and he manages to know what’s going to happen before it does.

A lot has been written about World War II and much of it focuses on the actual war, The German Girl takes us back before war is declared, to when the persecution began. 900 passengers boarded the SS St. Louis in the hope of starting a new life elsewhere. They managed to get together the exorbitant fees for passages and visas, through two different channels,and sail for Cuba where they plan to stay transitionally until they reach the top of the waiting list for entry into America.

Anna Rosen is an eleven year old girl living in New York City who receives a strange parcel of photos from Cuba connecting her to a family she wasn’t aware she had. She travels with her mother to meet her great-aunt Hannah and learn about where her family came from.

The German Girl is well researched and beautifully written, its is a heartbreaking tale of persecution and never finding a place to belong. It tells the tale of displaced persons who were evicted from their homes and unable to find a new one. They worked hard to gain entrance to another country and left their homes in good faith, only to be betrayed again. Families were separated, fortunes were lost and acceptance was never found even where resettlement was allowed.

I think it is important that these novels are still being written to highlight the acts perpetrated in World War II, many of us weren’t around to see it first hand but history certainly seems to be repeating.

There were a lot of things not actually spelled out which I think was a great story-telling tool and certainly spoke volumes about the times Hannah lived through.

I found that The German Girl took quite a while to really engage me, I’m not quite sure why. The story-telling was realistic and emotional, it was well written and the research was well done. I still read the first half in very short bursts, but once I was invested I got through the second half in a day or so. The German Girl tells an important story and I think it is one that we need to remember.

The Author’s Note tells us of the factual basis of the story and it’s heartbreaking to think of what these people went through, and what refugees suffer today.

Armando Lucas Correa can be followed on Facebook.

The German Girl is published by Simon & Schuster and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster 30 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading The German Girl so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

30 thoughts on “Book Club: The German Girl

  1. ‘The German Girl’ – one of the most thought provoking, moving, emotionally gut wrenching books I have ever read, and will probably ever read. Through tears of anguish I finished this book and salute the writer Armando Lucas Correa.

    A massive thank you to Beauty and Lace Online and Simon Schuster AU for supplying this book for review.

    Set in 1939 Germany in the midst of upheaval for all Jewish residents. Stripped of their livelihoods, occupations, and gradually their possessions, they are marked as ‘the hated’ among the population. Those who befriended them one day, oppose them the next.

    Hannah is a carefree 12 year old Jewish girl, living a life of opulence with her parents. Her close relationship with a fellow Jewish boy Leo is a special bond they share. Life becomes unbearable but for those who can afford visas and sea passage from Germany, the prospect of a new beginning looms. Hannah and her parents, together with Leo and his father board the St Louis passenger ship for Havana, Cuba. All seems well on the ship until word reaches them that the visas they have paid for are no longer valid and the Cuban government won’t let them disembark. Only those few that had visas issued by the Secretary of State of Cuba will be accepted. Hannah and her mother are amongst the few to disembark in Cuba. So the fate of over 900 passengers aboard is now unknown.

    The book details the emotional angst of Hannah and her mother Alma during their prolonged existence in Cuba, a country that never accepted or befriended ‘the foreigners’. Three generations of the Rosenthal family live during a time of oppressive heat, turmoil and political upheaval.

    A fourth generation family member living in New York begins to learn of her German Jewish heritage at the age of 11. Anna and her mother visit Hannah in Cuba to unravel the complicated web of family members Anna never knew existed. A special bond forms between an elderly Hannah and young Anna.

    This book describes in precise detail and dramatic effect, the pain and anguish the characters endured throughout their lives. You begin to live the life in their shoes and are swept along with the character’s journey.

    This book is not for the faint hearted. It is both heart warming and heart wrenching; but an absolute marvel of a read. You will love it and cry for and with the characters.

    This should be a compulsory read for everyone. Let’s hope we can all learn from the lessons presented in this book and the sins of the past never show their ugly heads again.

  2. Thankyou to Simon & Schuster and Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read this amazing book. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa.

    The story starts in Berlin in 1939. We follow Hannah Rosenthal and her family. Through Hannah’s 12 year old eyes we see the treatment of the Jewish people prior to the outbreak of World War 2.

    The SS St Louis , a transatlantic liner offers 900 Jewish passengers safe passage to Havana Cuba. After paying fortunes for their tickets, visas and documents, having to sign their property and possessions over to the German Government the ship sets sail for the 2 week voyage. It is uncertain times.

    The story is also set in 2014 in New York. 12 year old Anna Rosen lives with her Mum . Anna receives a package containing old photographs from her unknown Great Aunt Hannah in Cuba. Anna has her own questions and is seeking answers about her Father’s family.

    Their stories are told in a sensitive but compelling way and you want to know the answers too.

    Armando Lucas Correa thanks his grandmother, in his acknowledgments, for telling him about the tragedy of the St Louis. He thanks the curator of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington for access to 1200 documents and putting him in touch with survivors.
    Through his research he has taken a true and historical event, the treatment of the Jewish people before and during the Second World War, and the true story of the SS St Louis to write this unforgettable book. Although Hannah and Anna are fictional characters, their family stories are factual and compelling. This could be the story of any family who survived.

    I was moved by his dedication to the 3 people who as children boarded the St Louis at the Port of Hamburg in 1939. Photos of them taken on the ship are included at the end of the book.

    It is a fantastic read, very thought provoking.
    I hope it will be made into a movie one day!

  3. The German Girl was a fantastic read. I love History but it isn’t a subject I read alot of and this novel made me see WW2 from another perspective. The story is told from a 12 year old German-Jewish girls perspective Hannah Rosenthal. Her life before the war broke out was ‘charmed’ as in she came from a wealthy family. Then her family started to be shunned and eventually they find salvation on the SS St Louis destined for Cuba then onto America.
    Aboard the SS St Louis it all sounds so lushious, like a fancy holiday. Alma, Hannahs extravagant mother is back in her element wearing her expensive gowns and attending dinners and balls. Hannah and her friend from Berlin, Leo have fun on the ship everything seems to be going to plan until word gets out that the Cuban government are no longer allowing their visas. I don’t want to say too much in case I give anything away but things don’t go as planned.
    Seven decades later Anna Rosen in New York recieves a package from her Great Aunt from Cuba. She travels to Havana with her mother to find out about her past and learn about the father she never got to meet.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it did take me a chapter or so to get into it but once I was I couldn’t put it down. I love how we go from WW2 to the Cuban Missile Crisis (I’m presuming it was that war as the name was never mentioned but all events sound like it) then to September 11 all horrific events that link to Hannah and her family.

    This is a very confronting read but a fantastic one.
    Thank you Beauty & Lace, Simon & Schuster and Author Amando Lucas Correa for a great read.

  4. The German Girl was told through the eyes of two young girls, Hannah, who lived the tale during/after the war and Anna, her descendant named after Hannah.

    I must say I am not a war buff, but I do enjoy history and the story of the St Louis was moving to the point I felt a lot of sadness and yes,pity for them. I’m also grateful for the small snippets of happiness taken throughout such a traumatic time, the pearl which I think is a something akin to a New life, its a new beginning , lets see what you do with your life.

    The book I found hard to get into for the first bit, changing between the 1940’s to the mid 2010 era. There was so much information to absorb, useful information, but once I found the thread of the story it waslike a horror movie that you don’t think you can watch but do through your fingers. I wanted to know the fate of the ship, of Leo, and what became of Hannah.

    It was interesting that the author did write through the eyes of young girls, 12 years old and the journey they took at the same age almost paralleled itself in certain parts, the loss of the father, a young boy who befriends them, their loneliness, the passing on of the pearl. They both seemed to be more mature than their age as well.

    I also read the true information at the back, and I am so glad that someone has passed on the story of St Louis so that it would not be forgotten, that future generations can (hopefully) learn from histories makes, that these events did happen and its effect that still reverberates today.

    As I said, I am not a war buff, in fact I shy away from war movies but this story has made me think about the people, not just the acts of war.

    Thank you beauty and lace and thankyou to Armando Correa.

  5. Tankyou BeautyandLace, Simon&Schuster and Armando Lucas Correa for the opportunity to read this great novel.
    I have read many very sad and cruel books relating to the persecution of the Jewish during WorldWar2 so was very interested to be able to read and review this unique book.
    It was written with sensitvity and was very extensively researched.
    The story concerned Hannah almost 12 (turned 12 during the book) living a privileged lifestyle with her parents in 1939, this didn’t stop her being persecuted for having Jewish ancestry. She was mistaken for the “pure”, which she wasn’t happy about. Her parents arrange, with difficulty, berths on the “St Lewis”, a luxury liner to Cuba. Her friend Leo and his father also among the passengers.
    In the book we switch between Hannah in 1939 and her great niece Anna in 2014. Anna is living with her mother, her father having died before her birth. They travel to Havana where they meet Hannah and hear of the family tragedies and history.
    There is much that can also be revealed but that would spoil this interesting, absorbing read.
    I found the lists and information at the end of the book so excellent too.

  6. The German Girl is a story that filled me with sorrow and great pity for the people that were transported for being nothing more than who they were. Told through the eyes of two 12 year old girls decades apart but related through time and history.

    I am not a war buff but I do love history and what we can learn from it. I am so pleased that Armando Correa has written a story of the St Louis and its journey with compassion and an ability to bring a story to life, that readers will be able to relate to.. While the story of young Hannah and Leo may not be true, the ship and its passengers was and that should not be forgotten.

    War stories and movies usually have me running but I found this one rather interesting as told through twelve year old Hannahs eyes and her decades later grand niece Anna, named after her aunt. There were parts that I could draw parallels to, such as their loneliness, befriending of a boy their age, and the handing down of the pearl. My thinking is that this represents the handing down from generation to generation saying, I have had my turn now its yours, make it a better life than mine and remember what happened to me. New Life so to speak.

    Whilst I did have a bit of difficulty at the beginning getting into the story, shifting from the 1940’s back to 2014, I had to go back and check a couple of times , but once I got into the thread of the story I had to know what happened to Hannah, her dad, the St Louis, Leo and whether Hannah’s mother Alma, adjusted to life in Cuba.

    Armanado, may you find another story and bring that to life as well! Thank you for letting me read The German Girl.

  7. The German Girl uses as a central device a part of history that I was vaguely aware of, but could not have explained with any clarity. In 1939, many Jews were finally realising the dangers of remaining in Hitler’s Germany, but avenues of escape were closing quickly. Some managed to board transatlantic liners bound for safer countries – but the liners did not always prove the smooth path to safety that they hoped. Although fictionalised, this novel is based on a true story.

    Hannah Rosenthal and her family were among the Jews who boarded the SS St Louis, bound for Havana, where they expected to stay for only a short time before progressing to America. Hannah and her family had been very privileged before the rise of the Nazis; Hannah is only a child and does not understand why people now treat them so differently, and her mother is not coping at all with the changes.

    The novel is filled with a surprising amount of tension, given we have some idea of how things will turn out from the first few pages. The story is told in two strands; Hannah’s, beginning in 1939, and that of Anna in 2014 New York. Anna receives a package from an unknown relative in Cuba – her great aunt Hannah. That sets Anna on a path to discover more about the father she never knew, but it also gives us an inkling of where events in 1939 are heading. Despite this, there’s considerable suspense as we wonder how exactly Hannah reaches that point, and what happens to those around her.

    I found this a very moving novel. This is not just an exploration of the trauma of the Jewish experience of World War II, but also of grief, mental illness, despair, and fatalism. That sounds pretty depressing, but this isn’t a depressing novel. It’s deeply sad, but it also gives glimpses of hope and optimism.

    Enjoyed doesn’t seem quite the word for this novel, but I am pleased I read it. It was emotional and moving, and gave me a little more information about a part of history that was vague to me. There is much about World War II that we should be ashamed about, and I think it’s important to have fiction that looks at more than just heroic stories (although they’re important too).

    One of the strengths of the novel, and I think why it’s so moving, is the characters. Not all of them are empathetic. Hannah goes with the flow a little more than I find sympathetic – I wanted her to take control and make some decisions, do something for herself. Her mother is prickly and unpleasant (and quite probably mentally ill). And while I found Anna’s mother’s grief entirely understandable, I wanted to kick her for what she loaded on her child’s shoulders.

    Despite these character flaws, you’ll likely feel for the characters – you’ll certainly feel strongly ABOUT them – and that makes the story absorbing and powerful.

    Strongly recommended for people who like strongly character based novels; who want to learn a little more about history; or who simply enjoy good writing.

  8. The German Girl

    The German Girl is a well researched and descriptive story loosely based on the journey of refugees from Germany on the St Louis bound for Cuba in WWII. I did find the book a little slow at the beginning and at times struggled to keep reading but I’m glad I did as it is a book that grows on you. I love historical fiction and this is a story about a little known event in WWII history so I thank the author for his sensitive writing as we should never forget the shame and horror of that period of history.

    The German Girl is told through two lives – Hannah and Anna.

    Hannah Rosenthal story traces the events from 1939 of her former ideal life in Berlin where her family were part of German society; to them being targeted as the ‘impure’ and her family’s plans to escape Hitlers Germany. Hannah’s only refuge once the ‘ogres’ take charge is her best fiend Leo. The family secure passage on the St Louis to what they hope is a new temporary life in Cuba but Cuba refuse to allow the ‘impure’ passengers to disembark in Havana. Hannah and her pregnant mother are finally allowed to leave the ship and take up residence but her father, Leo and his father remain on the ship bound for a country that will take them. Life is unbearable for Hannah without her best friend and her father as she is considered an outcast in Cuba.
    There is much sadness and heartache for the Rosenthal family through the years of war in Europe and then the communist rule in Cuba invades Hannah’s life as history repeats itself in the country where she never felt at home.

    Anna is her great niece; a young girl searching for answers about her father. Anna with her mother travel to Cuba to meet with Hannah after they receive a parcel of photos and documents that Hannah has sent. Anna’s father Louis died before she was born in the 9/11 attacks and she is keen to learn more about his life as Hannah raised Louis after his parents died in a plane crash.

    The German Girl is an unforgettable read.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Simon Schuster for the opportunity to read and review. Review also appears on GoodReads.

  9. Thank you BeautyandLace and Simon & Schuster for this reading opportunity.
    The German Girl is a book that brought out many emotions for me as I read it. I felt sad, happy, despair, hope and gratitude.

    It is the story about WWII and about a certain aspect of this war that I was not entirely aware of. There are so many things that I take for granted in my daily life, but while reading this book, I was reminded how difficult life was for others, especially for innocent little children. The torment and ridicule Hannah feels brought tears to my eyes, for instance, when she hide she near the stairs, and it’s easy to understand why she is not able to find a reason for the hatred she and her family experience. It also reminds us that these things happened to people not so long ago.

    I found the storyline fascinating, and since it is a part of history, I enjoyed reading that aspect. The book itself is a little hard to get into, but I suggest to keep reading and then soon enough, you will be engrossed in the story.

    The book contains photos of the ship and the people who boarded the vessel in hopes of a safe and better life. It almost took my breath away to see the signatures and the photos.
    In today’s world, these sort of things aren’t commonly seen, so to look at the photos, is actually looking at history itself. It gave me a chill to think of the uncertainty and danger the passengers faced.

    The story is slightly difficult to follow, but again, it’s a matter of reading and taking your time to understand what is happening. There were pages that I had to read with a bit more concentration to make sure I understood what was happening. I think this is because the book goes back and forth in time.

    I enjoyed the feeling of gratitude I had after reading this book. It is a good reminder for us how people were treated terribly due to no fault of their own. This part makes it sad and a real story.

    I think this book would suit anyone who wants to learn about happened to people who suffered and made choices to improve their lives and to keep themselves safe.

    It is a challenging read, but worth it due to the insight we gain from the journey that these people really took all those years ago.

  10. My thanks go to Beauty & Lace & Simon & Schuster but especially to Armando Lucas Correa for this exceptional & compelling read.Congratulations to the author for the in depth research that went into this book.

    I received this book knowing I wanted to read it but also with that feeling of dread of what so called humanity could actually do to innocent people that never harmed anyone.

    This is a story of Hannah & her great niece Anna & the wounds of persecution that are both heartbreaking & enduring through the generations, a story that should still be told now & in the future so as hopefully it will never happen again.

    There were tears as I read it but also pride in the bravery of Hannah & others who endured such horror.
    I loved this book in a weird way & wish that many others should read this & learn from it.

  11. Thank you Beauty & Lace & Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read The German Girl.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel by Armando Lucas Correa and was quite tempted to read it all in one sitting! It was well written and gave me great insight into what life was like for Jewish people before the awful second world war.

    The story is told through the eyes of the main characters Hannah and Anna and even though this is a fictional read, the meticulous research by the writer is obvious and could very truly be very close to the truth.

    Well done to Armando Lucas Correa for this exceptional novel.

  12. The German Girl is a thought provoking book based on factual events of the persecution of the Jewish in Germany.
    The strength that these people had to endure being ripped from their homeland and be treated as undesirables amazes me.
    Even though this book is fiction, there has been meticulous research that shines throughout and the reproduction of the original St Louis ship passenger list and the photos included at the end of the book brings the reality of these unsettled times to life.
    The book is told through the eyes of a 12 year old girl living through this and her great niece many years later and the meeting of these two is heart wrenching.
    I knew very little bout the forced relocation of the Jewish people in World War Two.
    I highly recommend reading The German Girl to war buffs.

  13. Once again thank you for the opportunity to review this novel. I enjoy books which have a base in truth and as appalling as the events of the 1930s and 40s were for Jewish people in Europe, the author has imbued the story line with the courage, strength and reslience of those who were victims of genecide. The interweaving of the past with the present, Hannah and Anna brings a sense of hope for the future but it is important to keep reminding ourselves of the volatile nature of humanity. In current times we have similar issues with refugees so perhaps things have not changed ? Congratulations to Armando Lucas Correa for the in depth research and the timely reminders that humanity is still capable of atrocities such as these.

  14. The German Girl is about a little-known event from World War II but it’s an important story nonetheless. The book is the debut novel from journalist, Armando Lucas Correa. It is also a fictional re-telling of the transatlantic passage of the St Louis ship that travelled from Hamburg to Cuba in 1939. It’s a story that remains relevant today as we need to consider the plight of refugees throughout the world.

    This story alternates between the perspectives of two young women. There is the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Hannah Rosenthal. She is the daughter of a professor and a member of a wealthy, German family. She is Jewish but in some respects she is accepted by the German community because she looks Aryan, much to the chagrin of the “ogres” (the name that she as a child gives the Nazis.)

    Over time, the Rosenthal family is like many of the other Jewish families living in Germany at the time, in that they are subject to discrimination and maltreatment. Eventually the situation becomes so untenable that they sell everything they have in order to buy tickets to travel across the sea and gain passage to Cuba in the hope of eventually settling in America. But things do not go according to plan because Cuba reneges on its promises (i.e. on the previously-issued visas that were awarded to the majority of the passengers.)

    Anna Rosen is the other key narrator here. She is Hannah’s long-lost niece who is living in New York with her mother. Rosen’s father seems like a mystery to Anna because he was killed in the tragedies that took place in America on September 11. Anna’s father never got to know that he would become a father someday. Rosen’s aunt reaches out to her niece and the two bond over family history, sadness and shared tragedy.

    The German Girl is a cautionary tale about an overlooked chapter in history. It’s an emotional story filled with uncertainty, horror and heartbreak. This is ultimately a well-researched and emotive book that offers another important perspective on the atrocities of the Second World War and patriotism in general.

  15. Captivating. I couldn’t put it down. A story and characters that will haunt me for life. One of the best books I read in 2016. Highly recommend.

  16. What a fantastic book! It reminded me of how lucky we are that brave people fought for us so these terrible horrors ended. Read this book and hold a piece of history with you forever.

  17. Though years apart the lives of Hannah and Anna are not all that different. This tale tells of the struggles of a 12 year old Hannah trying to understand and deal with the changes and hardships in Berlin just pre and during WWII. Her friends now foreign to her as she is “impure” and her family struggling to survive.
    Anna, also 12, is growing up in 2014 in a world where her father was taken from her before her birth, sending her mother into depressive turmoil.
    Unknowing they are from the same family until a surprise parcel leads Anna on a journey of discovery to find out who her father was, her heritage and essentially herself.
    Such a different perspective this book has taken. It clearly demonstrates the lessons not yet learnt in the world. Highlights how fortunate we are in the now and how unfair the past has been. An eye opener and a great read. Thanks for the opportunity!

  18. Hannah is a carefree 12 year old Jewish girl, living a life of opulence with her parents. Her close relationship with a fellow Jewish boy Leo is a special bond they share. Life becomes unbearable but for those who can afford visas and sea passage from Germany, the prospect of a new beginning looms. Hannah and her parents, together with Leo and his father board the St Louis passenger ship for Havana, Cuba. All seems well on the ship until word reaches them that the visas they have paid for are no longer valid and the Cuban government won’t let them disembark. Only those few that had visas issued by the Secretary of State of Cuba will be accepted. Hannah and her mother are amongst the few to disembark in Cuba. So the fate of over 900 passengers aboard is now unknown. this book reminded me of the stories my mum told us about how the Jewish people were treated during the war
    it was very well written and it pull and your heartstrings i cried when parts reminded me of mums stories

  19. What an absorbing and incredibly important Armando Lucas Correa’s The German Girl is, relating the pre-WWII atrocities of Nazi Germany and humanising their impact on so many people around the world. I had never previously heard the tragic story of the St Louis and its passengers and found it fascinating and heart-breaking all at once. And the impact on many future generations was immense. The ongoing Rosenthal family curse is seen with the link to the Twin Towers.

    This book has opened my eyes to an area of modern history I was not previously familiar with, and has also prompted me to learn more about Cuban history.

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history, politics or drama. It is thoroughly researched and well written, and the archival material provided at the end brings home how solid a grounding in historical events the book has. I was deeply moved by the strength of character and ongoing compassion shown by Hannah and read the last few pages through tears.

    Thanks so much to Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this powerful portrayal of a tragic time full of heinous acts with long-lasting effects.

  20. Thank you Beauty and Lace for selecting me to read The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa
    This book is amazing the author has written an incredible book that takes readers an insight as to the horrors that the jewish people had to endure
    The book begins in Berlin 1939 with a young girl called Hannah and her family
    The next chapter we are in 2014 New York with another young girl called Anna even thought the chapters do go backwards and forwards to different times the book is incredibly easy to read
    The author has really put a lot of research into this book as you can see by the beautiful pictures from the US Holocaust Museum and the credits in the back of the book
    I have personally read the story of the SS St. louis and these poor passengers never had any idea of outcome when they set sail from Germany to Cuba
    Armando Lucas Correa thank you for writing this incredible book

  21. Thanks for the opportunity to read this book.
    This is the story of two characters- Hannah and Anna across two different times. Hannah’s story is set in 1939 Berlin before the war has begun but the Jewish persecution has started. Hannah and her family board the SS Louis to Cuba to escape the persecution as they are a wealthy family that can afford the passage.
    In the present time we meet Anna who is related to Hannah and we find out she has her own life troubles as well as her father being killed in 9/11 before she was born. She receives a parcel that takes her on a journey to find out about her families history during the war.
    It is an interesting take on the war and the world as seen through the perspective of young girls. I really struggled to get into this book and had to keep pushing myself to read it but in the end it is well worth a read and gives you another insight into the war.

  22. The German Girl is a novel that I found difficult at first to get into the story, changing between 1939 and 2014. There was much information to take in but once I had read a few chapters I really found the story started to flow for me and from then on I was hooked.

    The story begins in Berlin in 1939. We follow the life of 12 year old Hannah Rosenthal and her wealthy and well respected family. We get to see what happens to the Jewish/German community as the outbreak of World War 2 strikes from the eyes of Hannah. The family is set in turmoil as they are stripped of their jobs, business, and finally their home. The family has to pay exorbitant fees to be able to get passages and visas for the sailing on the SS St Louis to Havana Cuba to start a new life.

    The story is also set in 2014. Anna Rosen who is also 12 lives with her mum. Anna receives a package from her unknown Great Aunt Hannah of old photos and then has questions and answers about her Father’s family. Anna and her mum then travel to Havana to try to find theses answers about the father that she never met.

    The story really made me see things in a different light and opened my eyes to what life would have been like in World War 2 in Germany, a real history lesson.

    The German Girl was a great read, and I would highly recommend to everyone.

  23. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa is a historical fiction novel that spans generations throughout the tale.
    We are introduced to Hannah Rosenthal, a German Jewish girl, aged almost 12, who hails from a fairly wealthy background, living in Berlin.
    Her best friend is a boy named Leo Martin, who I found to be a delightful character that bought some brightness to this rather confronting story.
    It is 1939, just before the war, and the town where Hannah resides is changing, and not for the better.
    Friends no longer want to communicate with each other, and the neighbourhood feels unsafe.
    Hannah and her parents become 3 of some 900 passengers to board the SS St Louis, a luxurious transatlantic liner that will take them safely to Havana, where they will then be put on a waiting list to gain entry in the United States of America.
    But it is not all smooth sailing once they are onboard.
    We also meet Anna Rosen, who resides in New York, the year is 2014, and Anna has lost her father to the Twin Tower bombings.
    She receives a package from Hannah, who is in fact her long-lost great Aunt.
    Anna travels with her grieving mother to meet Hannah, who still resides in Havana after all this time.
    This story has a lot of information to process, but it has been researched very, very well, and that really comes across as you read.
    I felt at times that there was a little bit too much going on at once, which made it a little complicated, and it did take me quite a bit of time to get really attached to it, but the story is highly emotional, and focuses on persecution and finding salvation and hope in the direst of circumstances.
    It is not difficult to see why it is getting many great reviews.
    If you are a fan of historical fiction, then this book should be the next one you read.
    Personally, I enjoyed it, even though it was quite sad and not one I would usually choose to read.
    I particularly liked the Author’s Note and the photos that are included at the back of the novel.

  24. I was very late in having the book delivered, living the other side of australia literally, and only received last week. It is a book that I am reading through very slowly as it is written somuch about what happened in the past for this family, but I know it did happen, not quite the same , for lots of families, and therefore it is good to be brought to our notice again, even though the wars mentioned are past… It involves the past life of one family, that is indirectly involved with a later family of their own, through the aunt Hannah, and literally it is very modern, as how many of us are into the geneology of our families, and the backgrounds that we want to know so much about..I know I am., and find that research brings back up so much… I would recommend this book, but suggest you make a little time each day to read some of it, and then absorb, and go to the next few chapters… I shall keep handy and in another month or so read it again…… thank you for the privelege of being able to read it… it is very enlightening about the past for one or more families.

  25. The German Girl was a great book. It is based on a true story. I found it very difficult to start and read a few pages and put it down. I was having trouble following the thread. Then I suddenly became immersed in Hanna’s story and could not put it down.
    Hanna’ is a young Jewish girl in a wealthy family, she has no idea of what is happening or why people are calling her dirty. Her father was an esteemed professor and her mother a wealthy socialite. Now they are the undesirables. The story is beautifully written. I knew a lot about this period of history. But I did not know the story of the ship.SS St Louis. They sailed from Germany to Havanna en route to USA. However the political situation changes and they are not welcome anywhere. Hanna is one of the fortunate few to disembark.. She spends the rest of her life there.
    At the same time there is the 2014 story of Ana in New York, who is related to Hanna. Their meeting and discoveries deepen the story. The story of Hanna’s lost love is heart wrenching.
    There are similarities between Hanna and Anna’s mothers, which add more depth to the story. There are also very real links to the current world view of anti refugees. Why has not the world learned from history?
    This is a book well worth reading. It is very emotional, poignant, informative and interesting.

  26. Thankyou for the chance to read The German Girl

    I found this book to hard get into a good read rhythm as it jumped back and forth in dates quite often it was like i was reading two books at once but bout half way through it all seem to fit together. And turn into a very moving book and the way Armando Lucas Correa descibe what happened back in the 1930 -1940 was fantastic. It was like you were there experiencing it for youself.

    I feel id like to know more about a couple of other characters in the book that were important to the storyline but i must remember it wasnt their story. I just felt a little incomplete.
    Overall a very good read and would highly recommend it to someone who is into historical fiction.

  27. Simon and Schuster you have done it again! Every time I pick up a book published by you it guarantees never to fail me.
    Although I had to read a few chapters to start really getting into this book, it was so worth persisting, Armando was a very in depth and clever writer, captivating me into the world of Hannah, Leo and Anna and all other people around them. I felt like I was right there beside them feeling their pain, heartache and all the others senses around them.
    This book was worth getting into reading as what went on back then, made me feel the loneliness, detachment, loss and hope which is a talented way of writing on Armando`s behalf.
    I would love this book to be made into a mini-series, how good would that be!?
    This book really takes you back into history and there is so much we can all learn and how nowadays we can be so grateful our lives are not as bad as back then.
    My partners nanna is German and made me realise how bad it must have been for her as I know she went through hard times through the war and this was so relatable to that. Events like these must really change a person.
    I absolutely love pictures in a book as it brings reality and depth to any book.
    How interesting this story was and I would recommend this book as it is very moving and not one to be forgotten.
    Thankyou B & L for choosing me to read and review.

  28. Thank you for the chance to review The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa.

    It starts in Berlin in 1939 through the eyes of a jewish girl twelve year old Hannah. It is an insight how the Jews were treated at the time. I found it a bit frustrating that the story changes between the 1940’s and mid 2010.

    Hannah and her mother Alma are going on a ship called the St. Louis to Cuba and then America. A great time was had on the ship by Alma with dinners and balls. Hannah also has a friend Leo from Berlin with her, they are having fun but then the Cuban government is now not allowing them visas.

    The story is also set in New York, 2014. Anna Rosen receives a package from her Great Aunt Hannah which contains photographs. Anna is seeking answers about her fathers side of the family. Anna travels to Havana with her Mum to learn about the father she never knew.

    I did enjoy the book although I didn’t really get into it until the second chapter. The author has included notes and photographs also.

  29. A highly moving and sensitive story about Hannah and her Jewish family. Her life about war torn Germany and what they need to do to obtain safe passage to Cuba. One on the passenger ship they find their purchased visas are not valid but they find a way! Cuba is where they will live.
    Enter Anna and her mother, years later, who live in New York. Anna receives a letter from her Great aunt in Cuba. Anna’s family history leads her and her mother to Cuba where she meets Hannah. Here she learns about her father who died prior to her birth.
    The books moves from Hannah to Anna with each chapter. A little confusing at first but a few chapters in and the characters come to life as being related.
    A sensitive story, well written with history being captured.
    A lovely read, albeit sad at times.
    Thankyou for the opportunity to read and review.

  30. Wow, talk about a heart wrenching read! This is the most involved in a historical fiction novel I have ever been. The first sentence gripped me and I found myself clenched throughout the entire read. The most moving factor for me was the complete list at the end of the book that stated the names of all the passengers on board the St. Louis. I found myself choking back tears while reading the horrible history described in the author’s note; reflection on such torture seemed not important enough an action to take, yet it’s all we can do. I’m hoping books such as this one can help us remember the injustices done in our world history as to not repeat them again. Highly recommended to fans of WWII historical fiction;.

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