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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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.