From the internationally bestselling author of The German Girl, an unforgettable, “searing” (People) saga exploring a hidden piece of World War II history and the lengths a mother will go to protect her children—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls, We Were the Lucky Ones, and The Alice Network.
Seven decades of secrets unravel with the arrival of a box of letters from the distant past, taking readers on a harrowing journey from Nazi-occupied Berlin, to the South of France, to modern-day New York City.
Berlin, 1939. The dreams that Amanda Sternberg and her husband, Julius, had for their daughters are shattered when the Nazis descend on Berlin, burning down their beloved family bookshop and sending Julius to a concentration camp. Desperate to save her children, Amanda flees toward the South of France. Along the way, a refugee ship headed for Cuba offers another chance at escape and there, at the dock, Amanda is forced to make an impossible choice that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Once in Haute-Vienne, her brief respite is interrupted by the arrival of Nazi forces, and Amanda finds herself in a labor camp where she must once again make a heroic sacrifice.
New York, 2015. Eighty-year-old Elise Duval receives a call from a woman bearing messages from a time and country that she forced herself to forget. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise is shocked to discover that the letters were from her mother, written in German during the war. Her mother’s words unlock a floodgate of memories, a lifetime of loss un-grieved, and a chance—at last—for closure.
Based on true events and “breathtakingly threaded together from start to finish with the sound of a beating heart” (The New York Times Book Review), The Daughter’s Tale is an unforgettable family saga of love, survival, and redemption.
Impossible choices faced by loving parents lie at the heart of this underwhelming tale by Correa (The German Girl). The story opens in New York City in 2015, when the elderly Elise Duval receives a phone call from a strange woman who had recently been in Cuba and found some letters that belong to Elise. The narrative then jumps back to Berlin, starting in 1933 and continuing through 1947 in France. After Julius Sternberg, a Jewish doctor, dies in a prison camp, his wife Amanda carries out his wishes that the rest of the family leave Germany. The plan is for their two daughters, four-year-old Lina and five-year-old Viera, to live in Cuba with an uncle. Unable to secure the necessary travel documents to accompany them, Amanda will go to an old friend, Claire Duval, in France until it's safe to bring the girls back. At the last minute, Amanda decides Lina is too young to go and sends Viera alone. Amanda and Lina's new life in Haute-Vienne with Claire and her daughter, Danielle, turns dangerous when WWII erupts and the Germans arrive in France. Lina and Danielle hide out in an abbey, but in 1944, the Germans come looking for weapons and one of their missing soldiers. While Correa convincingly evokes the perils of occupied France, his characters rarely move beyond being one-dimensional, and the hasty conclusion about how the war ended for Viera and Lina is unsatisfying. Readers interested in WWII fiction have plenty of better options elsewhere.