You won't soon forget this story of family, sacrifice, and the pull of history, set against the backdrop of WWII.
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Why I love it
Jenna Bush Hager
Co-host, TODAY with Hoda & Jenna
As year two of #ReadWithJenna quickly comes to an end, many readers have been asking for a historical fiction pick. I searched high and low for a book that was both beautifully written and captured the times, and I think that book is Send For Me by Lauren Fox. I have never read something so poetic and beautiful, that left me wanting so much more. This book felt like a natural choice this month.
Set in pre-WWII Germany and modern day Wisconsin, this novel is a nuanced story about what we will do for our family. Annelise is a young Jewish woman living in Feldenheim, Germany, around the time when anti-Semitic sentiments are on the rise. She has an opportunity to escape to America with her husband and young daughter but in doing so, is forced to leave her parents behind. Two generations later, in a small Midwestern city, Annelise's granddaughter Clare stumbles upon a collection of her grandmother’s letters. The novel moves between the two women’s stories as each must make impossible choices.
I’ve read so many books set in the pre-WWII era, but this one felt really raw and fresh. It captures the emotion of what it feels like to be human. It’s a love story, but is also about all the complications we experience in life from heartbreak to tough choices. Truthful and real, this is a book that completely captures the textures of real life.
Annelise is a dreamer: imagining her future while working at her parents' popular bakery in Feldenheim, Germany, anticipating all the delicious possibilities yet to come. There are rumors that anti-Jewish sentiment is on the rise, but Annelise and her parents can't quite believe that it will affect them; they're hardly religious at all. But as Annelise falls in love, marries, and gives birth to her daughter, the dangers grow closer: a brick thrown through her window; a childhood friend who cuts ties with her; customers refusing to patronize the bakery. Luckily Annelise and her husband are given the chance to leave for America, but they must go without her parents, whose future and safety are uncertain.
Two generations later, in a small Midwestern city, Annelise's granddaughter, Clare, is a young woman newly in love. But when she stumbles upon a trove of her grandmother's letters from Germany, she sees the history of her family's sacrifices in a new light, and suddenly she's faced with an impossible choice: the past, or her future.
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Cypress , TX
Sometimes I think, do I really need to read another book that revolves around WWII? Then I read it and think, “yes”. This novel was poignant and special and shined a light on it in a different way.
Pacific Grove, CA
As a German immigrant myself, I loved this book so much. It’s beautifully written and spot on. Not everyone will appreciate the book for what it is, but for me it was the right book at the right time.
Simpsonville , SC
Great historical fiction book by Lauren Fox. A story about family, mother and daughter relationships, sacrifices and so much mire. Loved the letters that were added to the book that were the authors
I connected deeply to this novel. To be the children and grandchildren of immigrants is an unique experience and I see myself in Clare. Send for me broke my heart and reinforced the meaning of family.
Oklahoma City , OK
Sad story, short read and fast loved it. Doesn't go into a lot of what was happening during that time. But you do get the idea what was going on around them in Germany. Story follows the daughter.
Farmington Hills, MI
Klara, Annelise, Ruth & Clare are 4 generations of women who are bound together by love of family. Speaks to love & frustration in a mother & daughter's relationship. Emotional & beautifully written!
Touching and heartbreaking at the same time. Snippets of Klara's letters throughout conveyed so much in sometimes so few words. I loved the dynamics of all the women including their inner struggles.
A different perspective on WWII. Whereas most historical fiction of this era centers in Europe or England this novel follows a young couple to America. Her mother’s letters end with Send for me.
Sweet, sentimental, sad, and full of love, regret, and memory. What a book. The relationship between the women - Klara, Lise, Ruth, and Clare - was so beautifully woven through the book. I loved it!
Spring Lake, MI
It is preWWII story told from a perspective I have yet to see. More importantly show the bond of mother and daughter in a way not normally shown as well. Very well done and one of my top reads!
Mount Pleasant, SC
Beautifully written about 4 generations of women with emotional struggles through life yet great love for each other. At times, the words felt a bit disjointed but much like how our mind works.
This is such a powerful read and well-worth your time. It gives a glimpse of what it was like to escape Nazi Germany and also what it was like to be left behind and to hope for escape. 5-Stars
The only disappointment I had in this story was...I wanted more. I wanted to know more of their fears, doubts, guilt, grief, love, happiness, and dreams of their new life in a foreign land.
As a daughter and granddaughter of German immigrants, this hit home for me. I can identify with the guilt surrounding leaving home and saw my mother and grandmother in these characters.
Delicate writing. A lovingly crafted story about mothers/daughters and unbreakable bonds. The writing is elegant with believable characters and a mournful longing of a Jewish family.
So good! I couldn't put it down. I loved the story between Lise and Walter. I also loved the fact that it took place pre-WW2. I have never read a book that was based before the war.
I loved this sweet book. To me, it was a love story of mothers and daughters. It was heart wrenching, beautifully written, full of love and hope and heartbreak. I'm glad I read it!
This book knocked my socks off. Very different perspective on WWII historical fiction but made me think about how a society can build its hate. Poignant and unforgettably touching
A very smooth transition between Annelise in the 30's-40's and Clare in present day. Heartwrenching and sentimental. Be sure to read the author's note at the end. Very touching.
I'm a sucker for mother-daughter relationship stories. I thought this book was beautiful. The author's note only confirmed the authenticity of the characters and their feelings.