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Monday, July 8, 2019

Review: The Daughter's Tale

Title: The Daughter's Tale
Author: Armando Lucas Correa
Publisher: 1st June 2019 by Simon & Schuster (Australia)
Pages: 320 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction
My Rating: 3.5 crowns

Based on the true story of the Nazi massacre of a French village in 1944, an unforgettable tale of love and redemption from the bestselling author of The German Girl. 
New York City, 2015: Elise Duval, eighty years old, receives a phone call from a woman recently arrived from Cuba bearing messages from a time and country that she's long forgotten. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise and her world are forever changed when the woman arrives with letters written to Elise from her mother in German during the war, unravelling more than seven decades of secrets. 
Berlin, 1939: Bookstore owner and recent widow Amanda Sternberg is fleeing Nazi Germany with her two young daughters, heading towards unoccupied France. She arrives in Haute-Vienne with only one of her girls. Their freedom is short-lived and soon they are taken to a labour camp. 
Inspired by one of the most shocking atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis during World War II, the 1944 massacre of all the inhabitants of the village of Oradour-Sur-Glane in the south of France, The Daughter's Tale is a beautifully crafted family saga of love, survival and hope against all odds.
My Thoughts

“Everybody has their opinion. Everybody thinks they’re right, but where does that get them? Nowhere. Nobody does anything,”

Armando Correa’s, The German Girl” was fabulous and I could not wait to try his latest tale. Don’t go in expecting strong links to his previous book as the link is tenuous. What we do have is another heart breaking story of survival against the power of Nazi Germany. 

Yes, this is another war time story, however ultimately, it is more of  a book about mothers and their daughters with the often heart wrenching decisions they had to make in an effort to protect their children. Inspired by actual events, Correa presents a fictional family, highlighting the courage people had to have when caught up in events not of their making. His writing is engaging as you are taken on a journey with first the mother and then later her daughter and their attempts to survive. You will be introduced to many strong supporting secondary characters who assist both Amanda and Lina - but ultimately this really is the story of young Lina as we also encounter her in present day New York.

Sadly however, this was not as complete a tale as ‘The German Girl’. In the blurb a clear emphasis is placed on the horrific events of the massacre but very little of the story is dedicated to that. There are many characters with much going on that it does, at times, get somewhat  confusing and some character stories are left unresolved. This then led to a seemingly abrupt ending that appeared a little rushed. The story of modern day Elise seemed superfluous to me as it contributed little to the overall tale and required more fleshing out for it to be meaningful. This would have been beneficial, particularly concerning characters such as the other sister, Viera, and her story in Cuba - she seemed quite forgotten once she boarded the boat. 

‘She knew well that no matter how the author fashions his characters, no matter which words he chooses, it is always the reader who holds the power of interpretation.’

A Daughter’s Tale is, overall, a moving WWII novel with a strong focus on the themes of family, hope, faith and above all, identity in a search for who you really are.

“You know something, Adele? I’ve lived so many lives, I don’t know which of them is coming to an end now.”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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