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The World That We Knew

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The World That We Knew

A Novel

Bookseller Recommendation

The World That We Knew

“A devastating WWII story with a silvery ribbon of magical realism woven in, this could be the love child of All the Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale. Although filled with unimaginable loss and destruction fueled by hatred that we still struggle to comprehend, it provides a much needed contrast showing how redemption is found through tenacity, bravery, hope, and love. After Lea, Ettie, and Ava escape Berlin, we follow the orbits of multiple lives as their paths parallel and intersect at different moments in German occupied France.”

Bright Side Bookshop image Cori, Bright Side Bookshop


Audio bonus! The audio download edition includes an exclusive interview with Alice Hoffman and Judith Light!


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.

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