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Publisher's Summary

In Berlin in 1941, during humanity’s darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites, Alice Hoffman. 

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her 12-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked. 

Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soul mate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where 3,000 Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she's destined to be.

What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending. 

©2019 Alice Hoffman (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about The World That We Knew

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Extremely disappointing

Despite thoroughly enjoying this author’s previous excellent books I had push through the first 7 chapters before giving up.
Storyline weak, characters inconsistent and narration irritating.

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  • joanne
  • 06-06-2020

Emotionless. Worse narration ever

I have long been a fan of Alice Hoffman, and preciously read her books. This time I listened to the Audio edition. I’m an avid listener, consuming at least 1 book a week for last 5 years. I have never wished to end a book faster. If it wasn’t for this book bring a bookclub selection- I would have returned for a refund. Narration was boring, mono-tone, lifeless (even for the real life characters). This part of humanities shared history has been done so many times. Sometimes well and at times atrociously- this book has so much potential but it’s far too wordy, flies off on tangents with long explanations of very minor characters, that have little to no bearing at all. Needs a good edit & a far better narrator. Sorry but Judith Light was a very poor choice and absolutely ruined it.

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  • Jac
  • 30-04-2021

I could not stop listening

Beautifully read, wonderful story .
Once I stated to listen I just could not stop. Courage, love, fear, heartbreak and hope The inhumanity of humans

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