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Send for Me by Lauren Fox
Historical fiction

Send for Me

by Lauren Fox

Excellent choice

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Quick take

You won't soon forget this story of family, sacrifice, and the pull of history, set against the backdrop of WWII.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional

    Emotional

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational

    Inspirational

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Literary

    Literary

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Real-life-characters

    Real-life characters

Synopsis

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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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Send for Me.
Send for Me

Section One

It starts with the panic, the sound of sharp knocking. The pounding on Annelise’s door, a crash in her skull, jolting her from sleep. They’re coming. Her heart slams, and she sits up, blind in the darkness. Her arms reach out. Where is the baby? Fear floods her lungs. She’s drowning.

They’re coming. Breathe. Hold the baby close, keep her quiet.

Is there something else in the churning flood of terror? In the squeeze of panic, the slightest slackening, relief? She’s been waiting so long for this moment, dread her constant companion, and now it’s here. Whatever horror is about to befall her, she won’t have to fear it any longer.

In the room, silent now, she strains to hear. Her heart is pounding so hard her body is thrumming, her hands trembling. Is that her husband next to her, snoring softly? Is that the warm, reassuring shape of him? They will take him, too. They’ll take all of it, everything and everyone she has ever loved. In an instant. A flash.

 

Years will pass, a long, surprising slant of light, and this terror will abate. She will pick her daughter up from school, stand in her kitchen with her hands on her hips, sip from a glass in the evening, slip under smooth sheets. But this will always be her frozen moment, the definition of her days. They will always be pounding on the door in the middle of the night. They will always be coming.

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Why I love it

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.

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Member ratings (4,719)

  • Karen C.

    Mount Pleasant, SC

    Excellent book. There have been so many books written about WWII that I hesitated to read this book. But the overlay of different personalities and their “choices” or lack of “choices” was intriguing!

  • Rebecca J.

    Salem, OR

    I’ve been taking a break from WW2 books because they were all starting to sound the same, but this was such a moving story and didn’t follow the usual tropes. So moved by the author’s note at the end.

  • Brittney D.

    Mobile, AL

    A beautifully told story by Lauren Fox. Just like she said in her Author’s note: “..I understood the heart of the story: the great, bottomless, complex, consuming love between mothers and daughters”.

  • Lydia L.

    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.

  • danielle r.

    Astoria, NY

    You will not want to put this book down. The story is so beautiful and based off of letters between the author’s mother and grandmother. There was one story line that felt unfinished by the end though

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