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The Daughter's Tale

Review

The Daughter's Tale

Armando Lucas Correa’s debut novel, THE GERMAN GIRL, was an international bestseller, telling the story of a Jewish girl sent from war-torn Berlin to Cuba on the ill-fated St. Louis ship. Now, in his second novel, THE DAUGHTER’S TALE, Correa tells another emotional tale of World War II.

The book opens in the present day, in New York City, where an elderly woman named Elise receives an unexpected visit from a mother and daughter bearing letters they claim belong to her. They are written in German, and as soon as Elise reads them, vague memories of her long-distant childhood --- and her abandonment by her mother --- come flooding back in.

"As with Correa’s earlier novel, THE DAUGHTER’S TALE is well researched and informed by actual historic events, stories that will vividly remind readers of the horrors of war."

The narrative then shifts to Berlin in 1933, where a young woman named Amanda lives with her husband, Julius, a respected cardiologist. Amanda runs a bookstore, and the two of them are expecting their first child. As Julius is fond of saying, they already have realized most of their life’s dreams and goals. But trouble is brewing around them --- Amanda has been threatened for stocking books by Jewish intellectuals and others whose ideas are anathema to the Nazi party, which is rapidly gaining power. Over the next few years, the young couple --- who are also Jewish --- and their daughters face more and more threats but feel trapped in Berlin, with no safe alternatives elsewhere.

When tragedy strikes, Amanda learns that Julius has been making plans for her and their daughters’ safe passage. He has secured two places on a ship bound for Cuba, where Amanda has relatives. The girls will travel there, and Amanda will go to France to stay with an old friend until the war ends and it is safe to reunite with her daughters. At the last minute, however, Amanda decides that her younger daughter, Lina, is too small to survive the voyage, and she keeps the little one with her, sending the older girl, Viera, off on her own. Amanda hopes that in rural France, she and Lina can remain isolated from the Nazi threat. But when the horrors of war follow them, Amanda is forced to make an impossible choice.

As with Correa’s earlier novel, THE DAUGHTER’S TALE is well researched and informed by actual historic events, stories that will vividly remind readers of the horrors of war. The book’s scope is ambitious, but its emotional core is palpable and affecting. At times, the characters’ spoken passages don’t quite ring true as authentic dialogue, but this could be due in part to the translation from the original Spanish. Nevertheless, the emotions underpinning their speeches seem genuine, and the love at the heart of this war-torn family will inspire readers’ compassion as well.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on May 10, 2019

The Daughter's Tale
by Armando Lucas Correa

  • Publication Date: May 7, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • ISBN-10: 1501187937
  • ISBN-13: 9781501187933