Review Blog

Jun 05 2012

To Hope and Back by Kathy Kacer

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2012. ISBN: 9 781743 310632.
Recommended. To Hope and Back is truly the kind of book that will keep you up at night, the novel, a powerful biography recounting the journey of two young people and their families aboard the St Louis, tells a compelling tale about the black and white world of Jews during the Holocaust. Free of many of the gory truths of the time this gripping novel is sure to horrify and provoke sympathy in any man woman or child.
Sol and Lisa know that they are lucky. Germany is being thrown into chaos and even at their young ages Sol and Lisa are well aware of the anti-semantic views of the German Government. Years of caution bought their families the time that they needed to scrape together enough to afford a ticket out of the soon to be war-torn country.
Boarders of the St Louis believe that they are leaving Europe for good and travelling to the safety of Cuba and then on to America and Captain Gustav Schroeder is determined that they should never return to Germany to face the inevitable Death Camps. But when politics gets in the way of bringing the St Louis into harbour can the captain succeed in saving his crew?
These true historical events recounted through the life affirming stories of Sol and Lisa are sure to bring even the hardest hearted person to the verge of tears. Kathy Kacer has captured the sense of hopelessness aboard the St Louis and brought it again to life through the power of the written word. I would happily recommend this novel to be read by anyone interested in history and urge teachers to keep in mind that it would be a brilliant point of reference to be used in class regarding the events of the Holocaust.
Kayla Gaskell, (Student,age 16)

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