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Publisher's Summary

A stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel, perfect for fans of The Nightingale, Schindler's List, and All the Light We Cannot See, about 12-year-old Hannah Rosenthal's harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion.
Before everything changed, young Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. But now, in 1939, the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; her family's fine possessions are hauled away; and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. Hannah and her best friend, Leo Martin, make a pact: whatever the future has in store for them, they'll meet it together.
Hope appears in the form of the SS St. Louis, a transatlantic liner offering Jews safe passage out of Germany. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart on the luxurious ship bound for Havana. Life on board the St. Louis is like a surreal holiday for the refugees, with masquerade balls, exquisite meals, and polite, respectful service. But soon ominous rumors from Cuba undermine the passengers' fragile sense of safety. From one day to the next, impossible choices are offered, unthinkable sacrifices are made, and the ship that once was their salvation seems likely to become their doom.
Seven decades later in New York City, on her 12th birthday, Anna Rosen receives a strange package from an unknown relative in Cuba, her great-aunt Hannah. Its contents will inspire Anna and her mother to travel to Havana to learn the truth about their family's mysterious and tragic past, a quest that will help Anna understand her place and her purpose in the world.
The German Girl sweeps from Berlin at the brink of the Second World War to Cuba on the cusp of revolution, to New York in the wake of September 11, before reaching its deeply moving conclusion in the tumult of present-day Havana. Based on a true story, this masterful novel gives voice to the joys and sorrows of generations of exiles, forever seeking a place called home.
©2016 Armando Lucas Correa. All rights reserved. (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Simone on 09-02-17

Very Disappointed

A warning to fans of Sarah’s Key: the promise that this book is “perfect for fans of Sarah’s Key” is ludicrous. The two stories are incomparable!! What’s the link?? Because this story happens to mention the Vel d’Hiv in passing?? GRRRRR. Don’t fall for it!!

The story line of Hannah’s life in pre-war Berlin, her escape to Cuba, and the story of the Voyage of the St Louis were all very interesting… when I could find them! I don’t know if it was it because it was told from the point of view of a child or if it was the narrator, but the ethereal quality of the writing made it hard for me to really get into the book. All the descriptions of dreams / visions / fantasies just confused me and on more than one occasion I was perplexed wondering: “is this really happening or is she just thinking it?” It was equality true for Anna and Hannah’s stories… it was all hidden behind some flourishy veil, ever so slightly (yet frustratingly) out of reach.

Regarding the audio, I think two separate narrators would have been a better way to go. In the beginning I was often mixed up between the two protagonists (Anna and Hannah) since they kept talking about their dreams and thought and feelings, it wasn’t until they started talking about what was happening around them was I able to anchor myself in place. I particularly didn’t like the narration because I have close to zero-tolerance for bad accents – this narrator’s French and German pronunciations were atrocious.

I was very disappointed overall.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By DT Canada on 11-06-16

Loved it.

Best book I have read this year. Narrator exceptional. Read for sure!!!!
Learned a lot too.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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