June 20, 2022
The title of this haunting novel refers not only to the victims of Latvia’s Holocaust but also to their descendants, who carry the trauma of their ancestors. Sanders tells this story through three women: Miriam Talan, who survived the Rumbula forest massacre that took the lives of about 25,000 Jews; her daughter Ilana, whom she relinquished to save her from the internment camps; and Sarah, Miriam’s American granddaughter, who in the 1970s risks her life and travels to Soviet-controlled Latvia to ferret out the truth about her family’s wartime past. (Harper, May 3)
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New York Journal of Books
"A highly emotional tale, charged with heartbreak and suffering, yet awash with perseverance, persistence, and a strong will to survive, this is a read that will stay in the minds of those who are lucky enough to read it."
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Praise for Daughters of the Occupation:
"Every now and then, I encounter a novel that pulls me in with such force that I emerge at the other end with a keen thirst to learn more: to retrace the steps of the characters and immerse myself in their history. Shelly Sanders's latest book is one such story. We watch as a family cracks, crumbles and must ultimately rebuild under two regimes that are fighting for dominance over the Latvian people. Riveting, well-paced and beautifully written, Daughters of the Occupation exposes one of the most harrowing and overlooked tragedies of the Second World War. Don't miss this powerful story!"
--Ellen Keith, author of The Dutch Wife
"Daughters of the Occupation is a neatly crafted saga of personal and national trauma, a story of tentative hope in a world of menace, as three generations of women strive to understand who they are, where they came from and how they can feel free."
--Lucy Adlington, author of the New York Times best-seller The Dressmakers of Auschwitz.
In an artful way throughout this absorbing, chilling tale, characters wonder what can stop the tragedy of hatred from overcoming community.
Booklist Starred Review
Adeptly conveys the history, from Mikhail Rybachenko's real name to the bitter bigotry and
bloodbath...Critical for its underexplored subject.
Rachel's Secret effectively uses the historical record to create a compelling image of this troubled period,
making meaningful points about the role of hatred and hope in society--and how young people can break
free from the shakles of tradition.
iTunes, Book of the Week
A poignantly realistic portrayal of young Jewish woman's struggle towards independence
in early 20th C San Francisco, trying to embrace the new world while grappling with her ties to tradition.
The Jury, Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature (Rachel's Hope shortlisted, 2016)