We Were the Lucky Ones
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds“Love in the face of global adversity? It couldn't be more timely.” —Glamour It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety. As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere. An extraordinary, propulsive novel, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century’s darkest moment, the human spirit can endure and even thrive.

We Were the Lucky Ones Details

TitleWe Were the Lucky Ones
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 14th, 2017
PublisherViking
ISBN-139780399563089
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II, Holocaust

We Were the Lucky Ones Review

  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    There was both too much and not enough going on for me in this novel based on the true story of a Polish Jewish family under Nazi occupation. There were times when it resembled non-fiction more than a novel – something to do with the reportage nature of the prose, its aspiration to provide a constant overview of the war and its fidgety perspective. There are also so many characters that it was dizzying being swept from one to another. I never settled with any of them, never really got to know an There was both too much and not enough going on for me in this novel based on the true story of a Polish Jewish family under Nazi occupation. There were times when it resembled non-fiction more than a novel – something to do with the reportage nature of the prose, its aspiration to provide a constant overview of the war and its fidgety perspective. There are also so many characters that it was dizzying being swept from one to another. I never settled with any of them, never really got to know any of them intimately. Also, a lack of dramatic contrast in all the narratives. It became clear about half way through that each narrative, in terms of outcome, was going to follow an almost identical trajectory. I could tell how it was all going to end up (the title is a giveaway) which dissipated much of the dramatic tension. The other problem I had was with the lack of creativity in the prose. I want some imaginative zest and depth in writing. That’s a big reason I read novels. I don't want to be told the obvious - for example, that a knock on the door at three in the morning is terrifying. I want to be made to feel how terrifying it is. When a woman is giving birth I don’t want to be told she’s covered in sweat; I want that thrill of an author expressing in deftly chosen words a part of my experience I had been unable to articulate. The author’s first port of call for detail or emotional response was too often the obvious. Also, it might be a true story but true stories don’t always tell the truth, especially the bigger truths. This family by comparison with what probably 99% of Polish Jewish families went through were indeed extraordinarily lucky. A new genre of heartwarming holocaust novels seems to be trending at the moment with an underlying implication that with ingenuity and courage and fortitude the Holocaust could be survived which is patently far from the truth. Personally, lest we forget or gloss over, I think we’d be better served by harrowing novels about the unlucky ones which don't have happy endings.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Any book about a Jewish family caught in the horrific web of the Holocaust is, by its very nature, going to be difficult reading. Heartbreaking. This is based on the lives of the author's family, something she didn't have a hint about until the age of nine. There are so many of these books, so many based on true events but what set this one apart is the scope of narrative. Starting in Radom, Poland, the Kurc family, mother, father, four adult children, the youngest son already in France, are 3.5 Any book about a Jewish family caught in the horrific web of the Holocaust is, by its very nature, going to be difficult reading. Heartbreaking. This is based on the lives of the author's family, something she didn't have a hint about until the age of nine. There are so many of these books, so many based on true events but what set this one apart is the scope of narrative. Starting in Radom, Poland, the Kurc family, mother, father, four adult children, the youngest son already in France, are happy, worried but sure things will be fine as long as they are together. It is, however, the beginning of 1939 and things will soon be far from fine.The family will soon be separated, take different but dangerous paths and this novel travels from Radom, to Lvov, which will soon be Russian occupied, to France, a Siberian prison camp , a prison in Northern Africa, South America and Italy. Not knowing who is alive or who is dead, individual or couples will do whatever it takes to survive. There is one touching yet horrific moment in Siberia, where one of the couples has given birth to their first son in freezing conditions. Every morning the baby's eyes are frozen shut and the mother must squeeze breast milk on his eyes Southey are able to open. Little touches like this help offset the large amount of people and places that this novel encompasses.The authors note at books end details not only her research but also how her family is now, where they are at, and what happened to those caught in Hitler's madness. The title of the book is explained and the reason for the title is amazing and unbelievable. ARC from Netgalley.Published February 14th by Viking.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!This is the story of the Kurc family, a Jewish family living in Radom, Poland, in the beginning of March of 1939. The exception being one son, Addy, living in the heart of Toulouse, who returns twice a year to Radom for Rosh Hashanah and Passover. He loves his family, but there’s an energy to Montmartre with its artists and musicians, the clubs he can’t quite bring himself to leave. You wouldn’t think anyone had a care in the world there. There’s been talk around, some graffi !! NOW AVAILABLE !!This is the story of the Kurc family, a Jewish family living in Radom, Poland, in the beginning of March of 1939. The exception being one son, Addy, living in the heart of Toulouse, who returns twice a year to Radom for Rosh Hashanah and Passover. He loves his family, but there’s an energy to Montmartre with its artists and musicians, the clubs he can’t quite bring himself to leave. You wouldn’t think anyone had a care in the world there. There’s been talk around, some graffiti, but nothing alarming, everything appeared very much still contained to Germany. Until that was no longer true. A day, a week, a moment later… life changed, little by little, people accepting the “small” changes. Best not to make a fuss when it’s just one change. One more change. Although this is Historical Fiction, this is based on the real-life story of Georgia Hunter’s grandfather, who was one of the members of this real family. Even though I was aware of this being based on the lives of actual people, this doesn’t read like a memoir, there is an essence of a multi-generational family saga that sweeps over six years time and five different continents to place the reader in a time and place so easily recognized now for what it was. You get to know this family, their quirks, their differences, and their unique personalities. As you may expect, there are trials that each of these individuals must make it through. The never-ending fear. The constant worrying about those loved ones. Where were they? How were they? Will they ever see them again? Are they even alive? So much heartache and heartbreak. All the time knowing that worse had happened, was happening, over and over again. I really appreciated that the chapters in this story began with the date and location along with the historical aspect of what occurred on that date, as well as the name(s) of the character(s) focused on in that chapter. I loved reading the Author’s Note at the end, and the inclusion of a photo of her with her grandfather, how she came to find out his real-life story, and how much research went into this novel. The real-life events mentioned in the telling of this story, as well as the story behind the naming of this book, are discussed in the Author’s Note, so make sure you read this after you’ve finished the story. Pub Date: 14 Feb 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by Penguin Group / Viking
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    This is the story of the Kurc family, a Jewish family, the parents and their five adult children, beginning in 1939, in Radom, Poland.We follow them through the years just prior to, and during World War ll, one of them sent to Siberia, and others fleeing to different locations in Europe.This is a lovely yet difficult story of survival, and family love.Based on the life of the author's grandfather.Thank you to NetGalley, Viking, and author Georgia Hunter for the ARC
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  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    Audiobook ...narrated by Kathleen Gati, and Robert FassI appreciate this story — the author’s personal relationship to it.....based on her Grandfather and the Kurc’s family harrowing experiences during WWII.....spanning from 1939 to 1947....And the Audio- voices were excellent - but when an audiobook is 15 hours long - it takes something extraordinary to keep us from drifting off into other thoughts. ....Sometimes — it just dragged — ....Other times I felt there was too much sentimentality —.... Audiobook ...narrated by Kathleen Gati, and Robert FassI appreciate this story — the author’s personal relationship to it.....based on her Grandfather and the Kurc’s family harrowing experiences during WWII.....spanning from 1939 to 1947....And the Audio- voices were excellent - but when an audiobook is 15 hours long - it takes something extraordinary to keep us from drifting off into other thoughts. ....Sometimes — it just dragged — ....Other times I felt there was too much sentimentality —....I didn’t feel strongly attached to the characters either — there were so many of them.....separated and dispersed in different countries throughout Europe. ....I had similar problems with ‘the-writing’ as I did with “Rust and Stardust”. Both books felt like they were ‘reporting’ ....from a ‘to do’ list? .....Journalistic style writing - AGAIN- It becomes grating. Overall .....I have honest respect for this book - but It was sloggy-long for true engrossing-reading/listening enjoyment.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    What a fantastic debut novel! How the Kurc family survived the atrocities of WWII is an amazing true story of courage & determination. The thing that stood out to me about this novel was that the experiences of the members of this one family were so diverse. Only complaint was that being a large family it was difficult trying to keep track of who, when and where everyone was. I did notice, however, that the print version includes a character chart which would've helped out a lot. This is ano What a fantastic debut novel! How the Kurc family survived the atrocities of WWII is an amazing true story of courage & determination. The thing that stood out to me about this novel was that the experiences of the members of this one family were so diverse. Only complaint was that being a large family it was difficult trying to keep track of who, when and where everyone was. I did notice, however, that the print version includes a character chart which would've helped out a lot. This is another, absolute, must read for lovers of WWII fiction. 4.5 stars.
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  • Quirkyreader
    January 1, 1970
    Five stars all around for this story. Thanks to the Penguin Random House publishing group for sending me this book as an ARC. As soon as it comes out go and grab a copy. It will be a roller coaster ride you will not forget. It is a story of survival in Poland during World War II. Much of Poland and the Jewish community was ravaged by the Nazi regime. What unfolds in this story is just mind blowing.
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  • Wilma
    January 1, 1970
    Indringend...schrijnend...waargebeurd verhaal over de Poolse, joodse familie Kurc, die als één van de weinigen WOII weten te overleven...dit verhaal komt bij je binnen...grijpt je bij de keel...en laat je niet meer los...Sol en Nechuma, Genek, Mila, Addy, Jakob en Halina(alsmede hun partners), zij hebben WOII weten te overleven op karakter en met een hele grote dosis 'geluk'. Zij hebben , ieder op eigen wijze, de kracht gevonden te overleven in de meest mensonterende omstandigheden. En ook uit d Indringend...schrijnend...waargebeurd verhaal over de Poolse, joodse familie Kurc, die als één van de weinigen WOII weten te overleven...dit verhaal komt bij je binnen...grijpt je bij de keel...en laat je niet meer los...Sol en Nechuma, Genek, Mila, Addy, Jakob en Halina(alsmede hun partners), zij hebben WOII weten te overleven op karakter en met een hele grote dosis 'geluk'. Zij hebben , ieder op eigen wijze, de kracht gevonden te overleven in de meest mensonterende omstandigheden. En ook uit die kracht kunnen putten om na WOII het leven weer op te pakken in een 'nieuw land'.Een goed gedocumenteerd verslag van alle historische gebeurtenissen zijn in het verhaal verwerkt.Dank aan Georgina Hunter dat zij dit verhaal over haar familie met ons heeft willen delen!
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  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    January 1, 1970
    You can read all of my reviews at Lit.Wit.Wine.DineWe Were the Lucky Ones is the fictionalized account of the true story of the Kurc family and their experiences during WWII beginning in their home town of Radom, Poland in 1939. The book spans eight years as we follow the Kurc family members to several countries and continents including Austria, Italy, Argentina, South America, and Siberia, Russia as the war continues and finally ends.As many of you know, I read a lot of WWII fiction. This book You can read all of my reviews at Lit.Wit.Wine.DineWe Were the Lucky Ones is the fictionalized account of the true story of the Kurc family and their experiences during WWII beginning in their home town of Radom, Poland in 1939. The book spans eight years as we follow the Kurc family members to several countries and continents including Austria, Italy, Argentina, South America, and Siberia, Russia as the war continues and finally ends.As many of you know, I read a lot of WWII fiction. This book is very special in that, if it weren't a true story, I would have thought it unbelievable. I would be writing things like "wrapped up a little too neatly" and "implausible". But this is a story based in fact and lovingly told by Georgia Hunter, the granddaughter of Eddy Kurc (Addy in the book). She wasn't aware of her own family's history until she was fifteen years old.It's obvious from the start that this book has been well researched. In the Author's Notes and Acknowledgements we learn that Georgia Hunter has traveled the world and spent countless hours interviewing family members. I can only imagine how it must have felt to hear all of these stories and learn so much of the history of such close family members. I'm so glad she decided to write a novel about their stories as opposed to a nonfiction work. She did a remarkable job of giving dimension and voice to the characters.I was, at first, intimidated by the map included with my ARC as well as the family tree at the beginning of the book. Too many times, for me at least, maps + trees = hard to follow + a lot of work. I'm happy to say that wasn't the case here. I really only referred to them a couple of times at the beginning of the book.Prior to each chapter which alternate between characters, the author has woven in historical points of fact which remind us of the horror and devastation that was the Holocaust. I found this had a very grounding effect."By the end of the Holocaust, 90 percent of Poland's three million Jews were annihilated; of the more than thirty thousand Jews who lived in Radom, fewer than three hundred survived."I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read WWII fiction or family or individual-centered (vs. strictly military history) WWII nonfiction. I'm sure this is only the beginning for Georgia Hunter as a novelist and I'll certainly be one of the first in line for her next book.4.5/5 starsMany thanks to Viking for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Anne ✨
    January 1, 1970
    What makes this 'historical-fiction' such a meaningful read is that it is steeped more in fact than fiction. The author spent many years researching the incredible true story of her grandfather's family, the Kurcs, a family of Polish Jews living in Radom, Poland in 1939, who get split apart far and wide throughout WWII. While they each endure many harrowing experiences, at its heart this is a story of determination, survival and the bonds of family love. The story is told through alternating POV What makes this 'historical-fiction' such a meaningful read is that it is steeped more in fact than fiction. The author spent many years researching the incredible true story of her grandfather's family, the Kurcs, a family of Polish Jews living in Radom, Poland in 1939, who get split apart far and wide throughout WWII. While they each endure many harrowing experiences, at its heart this is a story of determination, survival and the bonds of family love. The story is told through alternating POV's of each of the 5 siblings (Genek, Mila, Addy, Jakob, and Halina). The alternating chapters can be confusing at first, especially if listening in audio, so you might want to create a little cheat sheet of each sibling and where they are as the story progresses through many locations and years. The writing is compelling and well balanced , the rawness of war offset with the tenderness of family love. Some fictional imagining was needed by Hunter to 'fill-in' the sibling’s perspectives, but once you read the author's note at the end of this book you will realize how much of the story was based on factual experiences and how incredible this family’s story is.
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  • Susan Meissner
    January 1, 1970
    Expertly researched, beautifully told, compelling to the last page.
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This is the miraculous story about the Kurc family living in Poland before war breaks out and continues through til the end of the war. The chapters alternate between characters when the family is separated and end up in different parts of the world. This is truly a remarkable story about survival against incredible odds and the fact that it is based on the author's own family is what makes this novel special. Georgia Hunter has written a story about heartbreak and what family means that I will This is the miraculous story about the Kurc family living in Poland before war breaks out and continues through til the end of the war. The chapters alternate between characters when the family is separated and end up in different parts of the world. This is truly a remarkable story about survival against incredible odds and the fact that it is based on the author's own family is what makes this novel special. Georgia Hunter has written a story about heartbreak and what family means that I will remember for a very long time.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I feel bad rating this book because it is based on a family's true story. As an ancestry novel for a family it would be an amazing novel of their ancestors. However, as a story for the masses, the characters lack depth and therefore the story lacks emotion. I have read much better novels from this time period. I didn't hate it but I didn't like it either.
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  • Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
    January 1, 1970
    Well, I just found another auto-buy author. This book destroyed me. It's amazing. EVERYONE needs to read it. ETA: I loved it so much I ordered a copy and had it shipped to my parents just IN HOPES they will read it (they probably read 10 books a year put together). Full review to come!
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  • Stephanie Anze
    January 1, 1970
    As the Kurc family, a Polish-Jew family, is having its last meal together (they do not know this yet), they talk about babies and their growing family. While they see signs of a potential struggle, they also believe it will not amount to much. As Hitler grows in power though, they are sadly proven wrong. In their race to survive, they flee, hide in plain sight or resort to just about anything that will increase the likelihood of being able to see each other again. Through five continents and six As the Kurc family, a Polish-Jew family, is having its last meal together (they do not know this yet), they talk about babies and their growing family. While they see signs of a potential struggle, they also believe it will not amount to much. As Hitler grows in power though, they are sadly proven wrong. In their race to survive, they flee, hide in plain sight or resort to just about anything that will increase the likelihood of being able to see each other again. Through five continents and six years, this family will do the impossible to reunite.WWII and Holocaust novels are abundant. I, myself, read quite a bit of them. While there is not anything intrinsically different in this novel than there is in the others that have been published, each is valuable. Each has its own voice and heart. This narrative belongs to the Kurc family as they attempt to survive Hitler´s destruction. Spanning five continents and six years, the story takes place in Poland, France, Italy, Siberia, and Brazil (just to name of the the locations). Based on the author´s family, this is a narrative about resilience in the face of adversity but its also a family saga. I am glad Georgia Hunter decided to write this as historical fiction instead of a memoir. It was much more impactful. Prior to reading the book, I did not get the title but as soon as I turned the last page, it clicked. Its truly a beautiful story. A must read for any historical fiction fan.
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  • Bri
    January 1, 1970
    Let me start by saying I love historical fiction and particularly love WWII literature. I thought this was a good book and the story was very interesting. It’s different than a lot of other books like it and at times seems unrealistic, but obviously it’s based on a true story. I laughed and cried, but I’m not sure I ever really connected with this book. There are so many characters and it jumps locations constantly, which makes it’s difficult to keep track of everything. I kept flipping to the f Let me start by saying I love historical fiction and particularly love WWII literature. I thought this was a good book and the story was very interesting. It’s different than a lot of other books like it and at times seems unrealistic, but obviously it’s based on a true story. I laughed and cried, but I’m not sure I ever really connected with this book. There are so many characters and it jumps locations constantly, which makes it’s difficult to keep track of everything. I kept flipping to the family tree, which helped some, but then I would forget what happened to which characters. By the end I got the storylines straight, but at times it was annoying and took me out of the story. I liked the inserts with updates of the war because it helped me follow along with the story and also I’m a history nerd and this gave more context to the story. However, I read historical fiction to fall in love with characters and learn about their experiences, unfortunately these characters lacked development. I didn’t really know the characters, just their relation to other characters and what happened to them. This made it difficult to get swept away into the novel, because I didn’t feel an emotional connection to this family even though I sympathize with their story. Overall, I still enjoyed this book simply because it was different and a nice change of pace. I just wanted more as far as character development and that would’ve also helped keep each storyline straight.
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  • Lewis Weinstein
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fabulous, emotional story of a family from Poland (2 parents, 5 children + others) and their experiences during the Nazi horror, based on an actual family, written by the granddaughter of one of the 5 children. The pace is unrelenting, and each short chapter is frightening and also thrilling, with survival always at stake. Tears came to my eyes many times as I could not stop turning the pages. In addition to being a marvelous story, the writing is outstanding. The author has total cont This is a fabulous, emotional story of a family from Poland (2 parents, 5 children + others) and their experiences during the Nazi horror, based on an actual family, written by the granddaughter of one of the 5 children. The pace is unrelenting, and each short chapter is frightening and also thrilling, with survival always at stake. Tears came to my eyes many times as I could not stop turning the pages. In addition to being a marvelous story, the writing is outstanding. The author has total control over what, in lesser hands, could easily have been impossibly complicated.
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  • SissiReads
    January 1, 1970
    What a very very special book indeed. I finished this last night and my heart cannot be still, it is frantically trying to make senses of it all, trying not to be torn into million pieces and trying to process all that is in the book to tell. This book has no doubt become one of my favourites of all time.You all know my favourite genre to read is historical fiction and especially the time period set in the Second World War. I do not say it lightly but I really do learn something new and learn mo What a very very special book indeed. I finished this last night and my heart cannot be still, it is frantically trying to make senses of it all, trying not to be torn into million pieces and trying to process all that is in the book to tell. This book has no doubt become one of my favourites of all time.You all know my favourite genre to read is historical fiction and especially the time period set in the Second World War. I do not say it lightly but I really do learn something new and learn more about the history every time I read a historical fiction. I thought I know it all but I don't. It breaks my heart again and again but this is my way of remembering the history and remembering the heroes and remembering the incredible strength and courage we all have as a human being.This book is based on TRUE EVENTS and follows the Kurc family at the start of the war in 1939. Two parents, five children and their spouses. It follows each couple from 1939 to 1947 and tells their stories of survival, of devastation, of separation, of despair, of courage, of every decision they have made that lead to their own fate and to the end. I have read a lot of historical fiction but this one really really is special. The way the author unfolds the story, the way every word is chosen, I love how it is told based on the experience of each person in this family. It is so refreshing but at the same time it is soo raw because it is real. It was what happened to the Kurc family for all those years! The author is the granddaughter of one of the five children. I am so grateful she has written this story for her family, so we can all be part of this journey. It is devastating but at the same time it shows us love and gives us hope. Family and love are all that really matter.
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  • Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to my friend, Georgia Hunter, Viking Books, and Netgalley for providing me with an advance copy of We Were the Lucky Ones.World War II "annihilated over 90% of Poland's Jews and [...] all but about 300 of the 30,000 Jews from Radom," Georgia Hunter's ancestors' home. Yet, her entire family survived. We Were the Lucky Ones is based on the story of how they did it. The Kurc family's experience during World War II, beginning in Poland and stretching to Siberia, Italy, and Brazil is nothin Thank you to my friend, Georgia Hunter, Viking Books, and Netgalley for providing me with an advance copy of We Were the Lucky Ones.World War II "annihilated over 90% of Poland's Jews and [...] all but about 300 of the 30,000 Jews from Radom," Georgia Hunter's ancestors' home. Yet, her entire family survived. We Were the Lucky Ones is based on the story of how they did it. The Kurc family's experience during World War II, beginning in Poland and stretching to Siberia, Italy, and Brazil is nothing short of a harrowing odyssey, the outcome of which defies statistics, explanation, and imagination. Despite the many horrific details of their experience, this is a story of hope, inspiration, and true grit.I've historically had a tendency to get bogged down in World War II books, but I never felt that way while reading We Were the Lucky Ones. Hunter did a masterful job at keeping the story moving along, making it feel like a "quick read" in a page-turning sense, even though it's not a short or light book. Rather than the war itself, the story is more about what life was like during the war for a Polish Jewish family and Hunter's caring attention to detail made the backdrop come alive. We Were the Lucky Ones would be a fantastic choice for anyone who enjoyed The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.PS - I always love Author's Notes in historical fiction...and this one is not to be missed!
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    As I wipe the last tears from my eyes, I am in awe of this beautiful story. What a privilege it was to learn about this incredible family. Their journeys were not easy, their heartbreaks were many, but the bonds and hope they shared are inspiring. Every time I encounter a story of the Holocaust, I am taken by the strength of the human spirit and will to survive. May we never forget the horrors inflicted on the millions of innocent people.5 heartfelt stars.
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  • Stacia (the 2010 club)
    January 1, 1970
    How, in an instant, his future can be decided for him. 3.5 stars. I've started this review three times already and hit the backspace button every time. I could write an entire review about the love/hate that I have with WWII fiction. The market is so saturated with stories that it's easy to dismiss most of them because they can't all be the one that you need to read. Yet at the same time, every single story deserves to be told. If you have read other WWII fiction or have seen enough WWII movi How, in an instant, his future can be decided for him. 3.5 stars. I've started this review three times already and hit the backspace button every time. I could write an entire review about the love/hate that I have with WWII fiction. The market is so saturated with stories that it's easy to dismiss most of them because they can't all be the one that you need to read. Yet at the same time, every single story deserves to be told. If you have read other WWII fiction or have seen enough WWII movies, this book could probably be a skip for you. If you haven't read much or any WWII fiction, then this book might be a great introduction into the hardships and heartbreak that befell so many families of the time. It was the soft thud of the infant's body meeting the earth that broke Herta, causing the numbness to give way to a hate that burned so deeply within, she wondered if her organs might catch fire. There were, however, some differences in this story which kept me interested. Even though it was a little confusing to follow so many points of view, it was extremely crazy to realize that this book followed an entire family as they were split apart and scattered all over the world. I give the author credit for trying to piece together a story from so many various accounts of family members (as always with books like these, please read the author notes. I always feel the most connection to the story after seeing the inspiration). I had to shelve We Were the Lucky Ones as both fiction and non fiction because this book was real life pieced together and interpreted through a lens in order to make a cohesive story. This family was put through the ringer. It was almost hard to believe that so many connected people were able to survive such a great amount of close calls. When you get to the end and see what happened to everyone, it almost becomes surreal to see how everything turned out the way that it did. There was a fair share of tribulation, so you should expect those moments of tragedy and peril, but given the title, hope is implied. And in the end, hope is restored. I guess that counts for something. We don't get too much of that in WWII fiction.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    Courage, resilience, love of family, and strength are the concepts so inherent in this amazing novel of the survival of one Jewish family living in Poland during World War 2. While the world fell apart around them, while their neighbors and friends were marched off to the camps, to the ovens, or to a life of intimidation, fear, and possible death, this one family managed through their own strength and the help of God to survive the war's devastation. This was an amazing story that again showed s Courage, resilience, love of family, and strength are the concepts so inherent in this amazing novel of the survival of one Jewish family living in Poland during World War 2. While the world fell apart around them, while their neighbors and friends were marched off to the camps, to the ovens, or to a life of intimidation, fear, and possible death, this one family managed through their own strength and the help of God to survive the war's devastation. This was an amazing story that again showed so well the indomitable spirit people possess and how one will do anything that is within them to survive even when the world they inhabit is so against them and wishes their demise. This truly was a story of unbounded courage and the way strong family ties are the ones that oftentimes gets one through all the harshness that life offers. In our world today where Antisemitism seems to be again rearing its ugly head, a book such as this will reawaken those who take to time to read it that even though the phrase "never again" is often said, we can only pray and hope that its meaning of never again will always be true.
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  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    January 1, 1970
    Audiobook #270 of 2018I originally rated this 🤩🤩🤩, but I think I had a bad audiobook experience because I can’t get this family out of my head! This is such a deeply felt story, so meaningful and such a new approach to the Jewish experiences of WWII. I think if I had read a paper copy of the book it would have been a 4 hands down.
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  • MaryBeth's Bookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    Georgia Hunter's debut novel We Were the Lucky Ones is a stunning account of one Jewish family (her family!) during World War II in Poland. Told through the differing perspectives of the Kurc family, this story follows family members from Poland to Russia, to Persia, to France, and to South America. Each of the family members story to faith, survival and perseverance had me on the edge of my seat. It amazes me what people endured in order to try and stay alive during this horrific time in histor Georgia Hunter's debut novel We Were the Lucky Ones is a stunning account of one Jewish family (her family!) during World War II in Poland. Told through the differing perspectives of the Kurc family, this story follows family members from Poland to Russia, to Persia, to France, and to South America. Each of the family members story to faith, survival and perseverance had me on the edge of my seat. It amazes me what people endured in order to try and stay alive during this horrific time in history. I blew through this 400 page book in 3 days, mesmerized by each line of writing. This is truly a tale of what people will do to survive.
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  • Tara - Running 'n' Reading
    January 1, 1970
    Over the past few years, since I began keeping track of the books I read, I've noticed that the books I rate the highest are either nonfiction or, if they are fiction, involve a marginalized group of individuals, or both. Maybe this has to do with the type of work that I do, or the life experiences I've had, but these are the stories that seem to be the most impactful and stick with me for the longest period of time. Shortly after finishing We Were the Lucky Ones, I emailed the author, Georgia H Over the past few years, since I began keeping track of the books I read, I've noticed that the books I rate the highest are either nonfiction or, if they are fiction, involve a marginalized group of individuals, or both. Maybe this has to do with the type of work that I do, or the life experiences I've had, but these are the stories that seem to be the most impactful and stick with me for the longest period of time. Shortly after finishing We Were the Lucky Ones, I emailed the author, Georgia Hunter; I'm sure I sounded like a bumbling idiot. I was feeling, as some would say, all the feels. In that email, I mentioned to her that I'd not felt this impacted by a novel, a story, since I was a young girl and read The Diary of Anne Frank (In case you're wondering, she responded quickly and is absolutely delightful.). Of all the novels I read as a youngster, and even as a teenager, the two I think of most often are The Diary of Anne Frank and All Quiet on the Western Front; I guess it's no surprise that I ended up studying the history of our world wars in college. Even if you're not a fan of either of these time periods, or even of historical fiction, We Were the Lucky Ones is too good to miss: the experiences of a single family, throughout the span of World War II (from the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to V-E Day in 1945, and beyond), and the events that would change their lives, their entire trajectory, forever. "Holding the wrinkled paper with both hands, she recognizes her sister’s handwriting immediately.'They are taking us away. I think they are going to kill us.'"Hunter's writing, her capacity for sharing this story, prompted me to immediately fall in love with the Kurc family. I found myself alternately cringing during the most heinous of their treatment, and the conditions under which they were forced to live, and shouting for joy at every small victory."She hugs her purse to her side, feeling the lump of the cutlery against her ribs. The last time she’d used these knives and forks was around her parents’ dining table. She’d have laughed then if someone had told her that someday they might be worth her husband’s life."Although Hunter has been researching, interviewing and writing for several years, this novel seems quite timely; it is a heartbreakingly realistic reminder that we all share the same desires, the same needs, the same humanity. It is also a reminder that the most horrifying, traumatic experiences of our lives never leave us; rather, they become incorporated into our story, our being, and place us on an entirely different path than the one we might have expected. "Six years ago, Hitler’s proclamation to remove the Jews from the continent seemed absurd. No one believed such coldblooded plans could come to fruition. But now they know."After finishing this novel, I seem to have strong emotional surges when I reflect upon it and I'm sure I'll be doing that for quite some time. I feel unequipped to give you an accurate description of its worthiness, but I'll admit that I've already purchased extra copies (I can't remember ever having done this in the past) to give as gifts and I hope that many of you will take the time to read about this nearly unbelievable journey. "What matters, she tells herself, is that even on the hardest days, when the grief is so heavy she can barely breathe, she must carry on. She must get up, get dressed, and go to work. She will take each day as it comes. She will keep moving."As a side note, just when you think you've heard it all, please make sure to read the author's notes at the end...mind blowing!
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  • Letty
    January 1, 1970
    I read quite a lot of historical fiction that takes place during WWII. Even though reading about the horrors of war and the Holocaust can be so very heartbreaking, I feel it is important to remember those who fought in the war and to especially remember those who died so tragically. This story of three generations of the Kurc family is beautifully written and is indeed heart-rending. While it is considered historical fiction, it is based on author Georgia Hunter's grandfather and his family. Fro I read quite a lot of historical fiction that takes place during WWII. Even though reading about the horrors of war and the Holocaust can be so very heartbreaking, I feel it is important to remember those who fought in the war and to especially remember those who died so tragically. This story of three generations of the Kurc family is beautifully written and is indeed heart-rending. While it is considered historical fiction, it is based on author Georgia Hunter's grandfather and his family. From the beginning of the book to the very end, including the Author's Note, this book will have readers captivated. I highly recommend this magnificent debut novel.Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of We Were the Lucky Ones in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    We Were the Lucky Ones By Georgia HunterThis story was based on the author's Grandfather and the Kurc's family experiences during World War II beginning in Poland in 1939. This was both a beautiful and heartbreaking story. It is told through different member's of the family alternating throughout the book. The prose is lovely and lush and crystalline. The family gets scattered in all across different countries in Europe. This debut novel stayed with me and I haven't been able to stop thinking ab We Were the Lucky Ones By Georgia HunterThis story was based on the author's Grandfather and the Kurc's family experiences during World War II beginning in Poland in 1939. This was both a beautiful and heartbreaking story. It is told through different member's of the family alternating throughout the book. The prose is lovely and lush and crystalline. The family gets scattered in all across different countries in Europe. This debut novel stayed with me and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.Thank you to Net Galley, Georgia Hunter and Viking Publishing.
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  • Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsThis historical fiction on based on author's careful research that traces her family from Poland to across the world. Several present-tense perspectives provide experiences of The Kurc's, a Jewish family spanning three generations, as each member battles to survive WWII and genocide. While some accounts are moving "We Were the Lucky Ones" lacks some layers. I think this book needed a strong central character with more emotional depth. .Buddy Read with Stacia
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  • RoseMary Achey
    January 1, 1970
    What makes the Jewish Kurc Family living in Nazi occupied Poland during 1939 the Lucky Ones? Yes, they were lucky, but they also demonstrated true resilience, forethought and they were smart.While this was a well written novel, the Kurc family includes the matriarch, patriarch, 5 adult children and their spouses. That is 12 characters to keep straight, at times a challenge for my simple brain. The author is the granddaughter of one of the five Kurc siblings and this novel is based on true events What makes the Jewish Kurc Family living in Nazi occupied Poland during 1939 the Lucky Ones? Yes, they were lucky, but they also demonstrated true resilience, forethought and they were smart.While this was a well written novel, the Kurc family includes the matriarch, patriarch, 5 adult children and their spouses. That is 12 characters to keep straight, at times a challenge for my simple brain. The author is the granddaughter of one of the five Kurc siblings and this novel is based on true events. Enjoyed this story but you really need to commit and stay focused with all that is going on with the 12 characters or risk some confusion.
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  • Lollita
    January 1, 1970
    So good, the story, the characters, the historical details. Amazing book, I loved it!
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