I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety. As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere.
Knowing this story is based on real members of the author's family, it's a bit difficult to review the plot adequately. Most of the events in this book are real, after all. It's a book set during WWII, which means there is despair and loss and heartbreak and yes, some hope. You have to have some hope in these books or you would never be able to get through them. This book is about a family who becomes separated after WWII. The books follows them through the entire war and it spans across Europe and Africa. I think that my rating went up a little when I finished the book and read the author's note detailing how this book was about her family. And the ending kind of helped me too. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what issues I had with this book. First of all, there were just so many members of the family and the chapters went back and forth between each one. It took me a while to get everyone straight in terms of who the parents were and siblings and spouses and honestly, I still wasn't sure I had everyone straight by the end of the book. But I eventually fell in love with these characters, even though I wasn't entirely sure who was married to whom. The author did a great job with her research and there were so many little details that made this book read like a truly accurate account of the horrifying conditions during the war. I loved that aspect of the writing. But there were times when the timelines would jump around and people would be in a different location the next time we saw them with no explanation of the time in between. I can appreciate that the author was telling the story of a lot of people, but I guess there were just so many people that the author couldn't really focus on everyone. So there was too much detail on some events and not enough detail on others. I do like that the author also put a note on the end, describing where everyone was in their lives and what happened to them. This was a very emotional story and it's worth reading, but I just didn't think there was enough focus on emotional depth on some events for my taste.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow this one.