The World That We Knew - Alice Hoffman

The World That We Knew

By Alice Hoffman

  • Release Date: 2019-09-24
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 657 Ratings



On the brink of World War II, with the Nazis tightening their grip on Berlin, a mother’s act of courage and love offers her daughter a chance of survival.

“[A] hymn to the power of resistance, perseverance, and enduring love in dark times…gravely beautiful…Hoffman the storyteller continues to dazzle.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

At the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. Her desperation leads her to Ettie, the daughter of a rabbi whose years spent eavesdropping on her father enables her to create a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Hanni’s daughter, Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

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.


  • Great

    By dlcs1
    I read a lot of historical fiction and many times the books can feel similar. This book was really unique and beautiful in its storytelling approach to such a terrible time in our world history.
  • Beautifully powerful

    By Miratatat
    When I was younger I devoured everything written by Alice Hoffman. I loved the way magic was infused into all her stories. This one stands apart from her other work, it is perhaps her greatest writing.
  • Thought Provoking

    By Reader Meg
    A story of love, life, and death. And, bravery. It challenges what we think we know about religion.
  • The World that We Knew

    By 323EL
    Alice Hoffman has written another lovely hard to put down novel. Her writing is always spare and moving and her characters have bold spirits. The magic that unites all her books always surprises but never seems out of place.
  • Another fantastic book by Alice Hoffman

    By lumurph
    Alice Hoffman’s whimsical writing is intertwined brilliantly into this story of Holocaust sufferers. Another book of hers I couldn’t put down.
  • The World That We Knew

    By Libda B
    A story revealing the compassion within us all. The danger of those who will release the ugliness within us all. A word for this time, a caution for our future. A beautiful story.