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The German Girl

Review by Heather from Bits & Books

The German Girl is a fictionalised retelling surrounding the true events of the St Louis, a ship that carried Jewish refugees from Europe to Cuba before the outbreak of WWII.

Armando Lucas Correa uses the lives of two 11-year-old girls to tell the story: Hannah, who we follow from 1939 Berlin, through to her time on board the St. Louis, and then in Havana; and Anna living in New York in 2014, who eventually ends up in Havana also.

Correa has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years, so the detail in the novel is incredible and really supports the fictional characters. The contrast between the grey feeling of Berlin and the heat of Havana was lovely to read, while the scenes on board the St Louis had a sense of hopeful unreality about them.

It was difficult not to be affected by the things that happen to the characters in The German Girl – especially to Hannah and her family. It’s been a while since I cried so much at the end of a book, so maybe don’t read the final chapters in public like I did (or at least make sure you have tissues).