Title: The Curator’s Daughter
Author: Melanie Dobson
Major Themes: Germany, Holocaust
Synopsis: As she researches for her PhD dissertation about the Holocaust, Ember has to face the demons of her past—as well as someone else’s past, and in the process, she finds answers to an 80-year-old mystery.
Several years ago, I read Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson. It was one of the first time-slip novels I had ever read, and I could hardly put it down. That story stood out in my memory so much that when I saw The Curator’s Daughter recently, I knew I wanted to read it. I was not disappointed! This book tells the story of what happened in Germany during World War II in an amazing way. It also shows how the aftermath of Nazi Germany affects people today.
1940—Hanna loved her work as an archaeologist, and she was determined to find the Holy Grail to prove the greatness of Germany. Her life began to unravel, though, when she was barred from the field, forced to work in a museum, and to marry an SS officer. And then, he brought home an adopted daughter for her to raise. Now she started seeing behind the facade and realizing what was really happening in her beloved country.
2020—Ember Ellis was immersed in her work as a Holocaust researcher, prepared a dissertation intended to confront hatred toward minorities, including Jews. After learning that a former teacher’s mother worked for the Nazis during World War II, she reconnected with Mrs. Kiehl and learned some surprising things. A journey to Nuremberg helped solve some mysteries, bringing healing and helping answer questions.
In the same way that Mrs. Kiehl had to face her past and her nightmares to make sense out of her life and find healing, Ember discovered that she, too, had to work through her memories. Could she find peace and healing—or would an old enemy silence her first?
Wow. The Curator’s Daughter is quite the ride. Even though it jumps back and forth constantly from the 1940s to the present, with occasional glimpses of a third time and place, I didn’t have any trouble keeping track of who I was with or where I was in the story. Little by little, layers of mystery were peeled back, and I learned why various people were the way they were. This is an amazing story. I have recommended it to my 18-year-old son to read; it’s the kind of book that will capture his attention, and there is nothing in it that makes me hesitate to offer it to him.
There was a sentence that really stood out to me:
Whoever owned the definitions, tweaking familiar words for their own use, could influence the morality of a people.
This sure sounds like what we are seeing around us today!
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: There is an attempted murder in chapter 52. There is a murder in chapter 53, but not graphic. Throughout, the horrors of the Holocaust are hinted at, but not described.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults