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We Were the Lucky Ones

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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.

403 pages, Hardcover

First published February 14, 2017

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About the author

Georgia Hunter

5 books1,593 followers
My first book, We Were the Lucky Ones, was inspired by a family reunion in 2000 that opened my eyes to the astounding, untold wartime stories of my grandfather, his parents and his siblings. In 2008, I set off to research and record this piece of my ancestry and a decade later, We Were the Lucky Ones was born. The book has been published in sixteen languages and has landed in the hands of over a million readers--and in recent and news, has been optioned by Hulu as a limited series! I can't wait to be a part of bringing my family's story to life on a screen.

My second book, One Good Thing, is a historical novel set in Holocaust-era Italy. Told from the perspective of of a young woman forced to trust her inner strength as she navigates a world turned upside-down, One Good Thing is a story of friendship and motherhood, romance and survival. I'm putting the finishing touches on it now; look for the book on shelves in 2024.

When I'm not neck deep in revisions, giving book talks, helping with the Hulu project or dreaming up ideas for my next book, you can find me at home in Rowayton, Connecticut, or on the road in search of adventure with my husband and two boys and our Aussie Shepherd, Dash.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,315 reviews
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,783 reviews14.2k followers
January 12, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,802 reviews2,384 followers
July 29, 2023

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 2017

Many thanks for the ARC provided by Penguin Group / Viking
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews627 followers
May 8, 2018
Audiobook ...narrated by Kathleen Gati, and Robert Fass

I 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.

Profile Image for Karen.
594 reviews1,196 followers
January 22, 2017
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
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (catching up).
747 reviews1,794 followers
February 20, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews46 followers
April 14, 2022
We Were the Lucky Ones, Georgia Hunter

We Were the Lucky Ones, based on the true story of a Polish Jewish family under Nazi occupation. The Kurc family shouldn't have survived the Holocaust. In the spring of 1939 three generations are living relatively normal lives in Poland, despite the hardships Jews face. When war breaks out and the family is cast to the wind, the five Kurc siblings do everything they can to find their way through a devastated continent to freedom. 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.

تاریخ نخستین خواننش روز ششم ماه فوریه سال2022میلادی

عنوان: خوش‌شانس‌تر از همه بودیم؛ نویسنده: جورجیا هانتر؛ مترجم: سارا حسینی‌معینی؛ ویراستار: مهدی خطیبی؛ تهران، کوله پشتی، سال1397؛ در551ص؛ شابک9786004611022؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

فهرست: (بخش اول: فصل یک: ادی؛ فصل دو: گنک؛ فصل سه: نچوما؛ فصل چهار: بِلا؛ فصل پنج: میلا؛ فصل شش: ادی؛ فصل هفت: جیکوب و بلا؛ فصل هشت: هالینا؛ فصل نه: جیکوب و بلا؛ فصل ده: نچوما؛ فصل یازده: ادی؛ فصل دوازده: گنک و هرتا؛ فصل سیزده: ادی؛ فصل چهارده: هالینا؛

بخش دوم: فصل پانزده: ادی؛ فصل شانزده: گنک و هرتا؛ فصل هفده: ادی؛ فصل هجده: میلا و فلیشیا؛ فصل نوزده: هالینا و آدام؛ فصل بیست: ادی؛ فصل بیست‌ و یک: جیکوب و بلا؛ فصل بیست‌ و دو: هالینا؛ فصل بیست‌ و سه: گنک و هرتا؛ فصل بیست ‌و چهار: ادی؛ فصل بیست ‌و پنج: جیکوب و بلا؛ فصل بیست ‌و شش: ادی؛ فصل بیست‌ و هفت: گنک و هرتا؛ فصل بیست ‌و هشت: میلا و فلیشیا؛ فصل بیست ‌و‌ نه: جیکوب و بلا؛ فصل سی‌: میلا و فلیشیا؛ فصل سی‌ و ‌یک: ادی؛ فصل سی‌ و دو: میلا و فلیشیا؛ فصل سی‌ و سه: سل و نچوما؛ فصل سی‌ و چهار: هالینا و آدام, فصل سی‌ و پنج: جیکوب و بلا؛ فصل سی ‌و شش: هالینا؛ فصل سی‌ و هفت: گنک و هرتا؛ فصل سی ‌و هشت: فلیشیا؛ فصل سی ‌و نه: ادی؛ فصل چهل: میلا؛ فصل چهل‌ و یک: بلا؛ فصل چهل‌ و دو: میلا و فلیشیا؛ فصل چهل ‌و سه: گنک؛ فصل چهل ‌و چهار: هالینا؛ فصل چهل ‌و پنج: گنک؛ فصل چهل ‌و شش: ادی؛ فصل چهل ‌و هفت: گنک؛ فصل چهل و هشت: جیکوب و بلا؛ فصل چهل ‌و نه: میلا؛ فصل پنجاه: هالینا؛ فصل پنجاه‌ و یک: میلا؛ فصل پنجاه‌ و دو: هالینا؛ فصل پنجاه‌ و سه: هالینا و آدام؛

بخش سوم: فصل پنجاه‌ و چهار: خانوادۀ کرک؛ فصل پنجاه‌ و پنج: خانوادۀ کرک؛ فصل پنجاه‌ و شش: هالینا؛ فصل پنجاه ‌و هفت: خانوادۀ کرک؛ فصل پنجاه‌ و هشت: خانوادۀ کرک؛ فصل پنجاه‌ و نه: جیکوب و بلا؛ فصل شصت: ادی؛ فصل شصت ‌و یک: جیکوب و بلا؛ فصل شصت‌ و دو: خانوادۀ کرک؛ فصل شصت‌ و سه: خانوادۀ کرک؛
و یادداشت نویسنده؛ تاکنون؛ قدردانی)؛

داستانی راستین، حکایت یکی از خاندانهای «یهودی» که با رویداد جنگ زندگی آرام خود را از دست داده‌، و تلاش می‌کنند به سلامت آن را سپری کنند؛ بهار سال1939میلادی ترس و وحشت در سرتاسر «اروپا» همه‌ گیر شده، و هر سه نسل از خانواده ی «کرک»، با همگی تلاشی که برای داشتن یک زندگی آرام می‌کنند، جنگ گریبانشان را می‌گیرد؛ خانواده ها از هم‌ می‌پاشند و هر کدام از افراد خانواده وادار می‌شوند به تنهایی راه خویش را ادامه دهند، و دشواری‌های جنگ را به تنهایی بر دوش بکشند؛ آن‌ها برای زنده‌ ماندن است که دست و پنجه نرم می‌کنند، و با همگی درد و رنجی که بر سرشان می‌بارد، کوشش دارند از مرگ نجات یابند؛ یکی تلاش می‌کند از «اروپا» فرار کند، و ...؛ دست به کارهای بسیار خطرناک می‌زنند، ساعت‌های بسیاری گرسنگی می‌کشند و...؛ اما برای نجات و رسیدنِ دوباره به همدیگر استوار هستند؛ اراده ی راسخ اعضای خاندان «کرک» برای زنده ماندن، و ترس از اینکه دیگر نتوانند یکدیگر را ببینند، به آن‌ها انگیزه ی رفتن به جلو و پایداری می‌دهد

نقل از متن: («هالینا» دیگر نمی‌توانست درست فکر کند؛ «فرانکا» و خانواده‌ اش مفقود شده بودند؛ می‌دانست اگر دنبالشان نمی‌گشت، نمی‌توانست «ورشو» را ترک کند؛ او، «آدام»، «جیکوب» و «بلا» در دردسر افتاده بودند؛ بی‌پول و گرسنه بودند؛ زمستان در راه بود؛ پیش از قیام، رئیس «هالینا»، آقای «دن»، به او گفته بود که تقاضای انتقال به «کراکوف» را داده است؛ گفته بود: «اگه چیزی احتیاج داشتی، من رو می‌تونی تو بانکِ مرکز شهر تو خیابون رینک پیدا کنی.»؛ «هالینا» انتخاب دیگری نداشت؛ باید روی کمک او حساب می‌کرد؛ «آدام» به این پیشنهاد اعتراض کرد زیرا به عقیدۀ او رفتن «هالینا» به «کراکوف» آن‌هم به تنهایی خطرناک بود، اما «هالینا» دست‌بردار نبود؛ تعدادی از افراد سازمان زیرزمینی هنوز در «ورشو» به کارمشغول بودند، و بیش از هر زمان دیگری به «آدام» نیاز داشتند؛ «میلا» هم مشکل دیگری بود، زیرا برای رسیدن به «فلیشیا» بسیار بی‌قرار بود؛ «هالینا» گفت: «اگه بمونی، می‌تونی به میلا کمک کنی تا یه راهی برای رفتن به صومعه پیدا کنه؛ در ضمن می‌تونی دنبال فرانکا هم بگردی؛ خواهش می‌کنم، من تنهایی از پسِ خودم برمیام.»؛ قول داد زود با مقداری پول که زمستان را با آن سپری کنند، برخواهد گشت؛ بالاخره «آدام» موافقت کرد؛ کتش را با یک جوان یهودی در ازای کیسه‌ای سیب‌زمینی مبادله کرد، تا در نبودش بقیه غذایی داشته باشند، و این چنین راهی «کراکوف» شد؛ اما پس از گذشتن یک ‌روز، نقشۀ خوبش در ایستگاه قطار به بن‌بست رسید؛ زیرا چند دقیقه پس از پیاده شدن دستگیرش کردند؛ افسر گشتاپویی که توقیفش کرد علاقه‌ای به شنیدن داستان او یا تماس با آقای «دن» نشان نداد؛ «هالینا» بدون آنکه عصبانیتش را پنهان کند گفت: «پس بذارید با همسرم تماس بگیرم.»؛ دوباره افسر به او اعتنایی نکرد)؛ پایان

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 24/01/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
457 reviews3 followers
April 21, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Anne ✨ Finds Joy.
282 reviews67 followers
September 10, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Quirkyreader.
1,542 reviews44 followers
January 3, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Susan Meissner.
Author 33 books6,573 followers
August 18, 2018
Expertly researched, beautifully told, compelling to the last page.
Profile Image for BriTalksBooks.
40 reviews73 followers
January 7, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Wilma.
106 reviews51 followers
May 13, 2018
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!
Profile Image for Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine).
189 reviews230 followers
April 7, 2017
You can read all of my reviews at Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine

We 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 stars

Many thanks to Viking for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jetmira.
40 reviews8 followers
April 23, 2020
First ebook so far ! Quarantine definitely made me catch up new habits , not a big ebook fan I’m more an old school book lover well this book tore me ! I’ve read so many books of the Holocaust but this one takes a special place in my heart
What are you waiting for? Go buy this book already! It will make you laugh, cry, cry some more and it will keep you on the edge of your seat. I won't give anything away. You have to be willing to have a box of tissues nearby. It also makes me thing of my ancestors. What they went through to make it this far. Would I ever write about my family's history? No. I don't have the patience. We cannot deny the painful part of our prior history. We need to learn from it and do better as each generation passes. I cried, I honestly did. It made my stomach churn and drop. But this is a book about sacrifice and love. I know as a mother wich I’m not yet but in the near future I would do anything to save my children. But this family is simply remarkable. Yeah, maybe some parts were dramatized but Mrs. Hunter took me there. I could imagine the horrors her family went through. If this book doesn't make you feel something, I don't know what else to tell you. I plan on buying this book on hardcover and it will remain a treasure for the rest of my life. What we need is a whole lot more love in this world and a lot less hate. Thank you, Mrs. Hunter. Bless you and your beautiful family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. I'm sure it was painful for her to write this. I could only imagine.
Instant fan of Hunter , a must read !!!!
Profile Image for Lewis Weinstein.
Author 10 books512 followers
November 22, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Valeria Lipovetsky.
19 reviews7,203 followers
June 18, 2020
This book touched me deeply.
As a Jewish woman and as someone who doesn’t know their family’s history. We Were The Lucky Ones- left me proud, sad, happy and with lots of questions about my own family experience.
Profile Image for Liza Fireman.
839 reviews148 followers
May 14, 2018
I was surprised of how boring this book was. Looking back, the story of the family is a very interesting one, and they definitely were the lucky ones, so many family members that survived the holocaust and were reunited. The main thing is that Georgia Hunter is not a story teller, is not a writer, and I am sure that another writer could make it a great book.

My main issue was that I felt nothing, I didn't care about any of the so many characters. I didn't know anything real about them, and I still don't. I know their names, and I know where they were. I know that they thought about their other family members. I know nothing of who they really were. It lacks depth, it lacks development, it lacks emotion.

I am a huge reader of Holocaust books, as a person that grew up in Israel and listened to Holocaust survivors, I was always intrigued and shocked of how humans do such horrible things to other humans. There are so many great and so many sad books about it, some are true stories, such as the unforgettable Night by Elie Wiesel or The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. And many fiction ones as well, to name two that made me cry: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. And there a few that I just couldn't connect to, like All But My Life: A Memoir by Gerda Weissmann Klein or The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom by Corrie ten Boom. Their stories are incredible, especially Corrie ten Boom's, who is a true hero, and an amazing person, but their writing skills are not as great, and the books are mediocre at best.

I will give the family story as many stars as in the sky. But the book cannot get more than two, since it is written so flatly and as such loses the whole point.
Profile Image for - The Polybrary -.
329 reviews187 followers
April 2, 2017
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!
Profile Image for Tara - Running 'n' Reading.
317 reviews98 followers
February 17, 2017
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!

Profile Image for SissiReads.
153 reviews311 followers
March 26, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,133 reviews95 followers
September 25, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Tonkica.
648 reviews122 followers
July 2, 2021

Roman utemeljen na nevjerojatnoj i istinitoj priči koja seže od prijeratnih godina u kojima obitelj Kurc živi uobičajeni život unatoč sve težim prilikama s kojima se kao Židovi suočavaju, sve do sumornih sibirskih gulaga gdje prati članove njihove obitelji kao izbjeglice, zatočenike i borce. Autorica Georgia Hunter otkrila je da potječe iz obitelji koja je preživjela holokaust. Roman „Mi koji smo preživjeli“ nastao je iz autoričine želje da ispriča nevjerojatnu priču svoje obitelji za koju je napravila opsežno istraživanje kako bi prikazala sve što točnije i što autentičnije. Fascinantna priča!

Cijeli osvrt pronađite ovdje: https://knjige-u-svom-filmu.webador.c...
Profile Image for Stephanie Anze.
657 reviews114 followers
June 7, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,983 followers
May 22, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Marialyce (on our way to Venice).
2,038 reviews709 followers
March 3, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelves.
523 reviews467 followers
February 10, 2017
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!
Profile Image for Britany.
992 reviews434 followers
November 25, 2021
I read this book in three sittings and bawled my eyes out at the end.

Georgia Hunter has an amazingly incredible story of her own family. She classifies his book as fiction since she took some liberties with the context, but knowing that this family survived the unthinkable still has me breathless.

The Kurc family lives in Radom, Poland and the story starts in 1939. As you can imagine, we go through the perspectives of different family members mixed in with a timeline of historical events. I loved the mix of the timeline and the individual stories. the chapters were short and left me on the edge of my seat. The tension was palpable, and I can never understand the horrific events that happened during the genocide during WWII. I especially appreciated the soviet union perspective and how their family quickly found themselves split between Nazi Germany overtaking part of Poland and the USSR taking the other half. My heart broke over and over again as I read about the family struggles and the losses they carried on their backs.

I especially appreciated the authors note at the end and how she learned about what her family went through and how much it impacted her to research and properly document this story.
Profile Image for Sue.
2,732 reviews225 followers
January 30, 2022
This well researched book based on a true story is remarkable.
This story came about due to the authors family history that she herself knew nothing about until she was nine years old.

There are many many, many historical accounts such as this based a true account, however, this was written with love, emotion and understanding.

The audio book itself was over 19 hours long, I’m so glad I listen at twice the speed now as in some parts it dragged. It’s a story needing to be told, and told fully but as a listening concentrating it leant a bit on the ears!

A fantastic writer and I’d definitely read more from her.

There are a few things that stood out for me, and if you read it, I’m sure each one of us will take something from it.

Loved the authors notes at the back of the book. It brought it alive and brought historical atrocities to the fore.
Profile Image for Letty.
627 reviews
February 20, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Kate.
26 reviews3,707 followers
November 21, 2022
Gripping, heart-wrenching, and unimaginable. Truly a book that I cannot stop thinking about. Highly recommend if you want to get emotionally invested in a story!
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