Praise for We Were the Lucky Ones
Based on popularity and top ratings, We Were the Lucky Ones has been selected by Goodreads as one of its readers’ most “beloved” books about World War II. The full list of top picks is here.
“We Were the Lucky Ones Belongs on Your Top 10 Books to Read This Summer,” according to an Odyssey review. “Georgia Hunter’s work is one of the best you will read about what is was like for Jews before, during, and after the war,” writes Megan Hayes, describing the book as “a beautiful story … packed with action, destruction, love, and above all hope.”
“You will pick it up and then not put it down until you’ve finished the very last sentence on the very last page,” writes the reviewer of We Were the Lucky Ones in the just-published Author Interview & Review: The Scoop on Georgia Hunter.
We Were the Lucky Ones is featured as a “Best New Book” in the January 29, 2018, issue of People: “The author researched the experiences of her own forebears to write this gripping, emotional novel…”
The Jewish Book Council has selected We Were the Lucky Ones as a 2017 National Jewish Book Awards Finalist in its Book Club Award category. Rachel Sara Rosenthal wrote the review for the Council. The awards followed a busy season of author talks and readings around the country, sponsored by the Council, for which Georgia also served as a Visiting Scribe.
Pennie’s Pick is Costco’s monthly book feature – and for January 2018, Pennie writes, “First-time novelist Georgia Hunter delivers just the kind of story I love…” Hope Katz Gibbs reviews the “epic historical novel” as an Arts & Entertainment feature in the Costco Connection.
In advance of her upcoming appearances in La Jolla, CA, Georgia Hunter was interviewed by The San Diego Jewish World about We Were the Lucky Ones. The review concludes: “In short, this is a wonderful novel, filled with courage, honor, and uprightness, even in the worst of times. For anyone who wants to be uplifted by the nobility of the spirits of honorable human beings, this is a book well worth reading.”
We Were the Lucky Ones is a 2017 favorite in the Prose & Pastime online book club. “Occasionally, you find a book that moves you, that stays with you, that demands you share it. A story that is simultaneously heart wrenching and gratifying. One that is too unlikely to be true, yet it is true. We Were the Lucky Ones is that book.” This review at The Art of “Why Not?“ concludes: “Should you read We Were the Lucky Ones? Let’s just say you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t.”
For the literary site Running ‘n Reading, November 2017 is non-fiction month. As part of this deep dive, the editors chose Goodreads Finalist We Were the Lucky Ones to pair with its non-fiction selection, The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan, also set in World War II and highly researched. Although told from different perspectives, both books are lauded as “highly inspiring tales of perseverance through extraordinary circumstances and a devastating period in our history.” About We Were the Lucky Ones, the reviewer writes: “I cannot say enough complimentary things about this novel…YOU MUST READ IT.”
The 20 titles on this year’s list were chosen “on the basis of their appeal to reading groups, which seek books that open up lively conversations about a myriad of timely and provocative and diverse topics, from the intimate dynamics of family and personal relationships to major cultural and world issues.”
According to Shelf Awareness, National Reading Group Month chair Jill A. Tardiff says: “Our goal is to have these outstanding and often inspiring titles become reading-group staples with facilitators and that booksellers and librarians across the country feature them during the month of October, which is, of course, National Reading Group Month–and, throughout the year.” –Shelf Awareness, October 5, 2017
“This heart-stopping yet heartwarming story of the Kurc family ebbs and flows beautifully, but always leaves the reader with the desire to keep going, keep turning the pages…I came away with a greater understanding [of the Holocaust]…and I also walked away with a new sense of, and pride in, the human spirit.” –more from Historical Fiction Addiction
Even though it’s early, this year is already jam-packed with winners: spellbinding author-narrated memoirs, poignant and timely young adult novels, captivating original productions, and more. Explore some of the best audiobooks of the year so far across your favorite genres, plus…the books listeners like you have been wishing for the most this year. –Audible, June 2017
“This is by far and away the best book I’ve ever listened to on Audible.” –Reader Review
“If you love historical fiction and are looking for a new author to read, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest recent historical fiction debuts. Featuring new releases from first-time novelists, these reads will transport you from Civil War America to 1970s South Korea.” –BookBub
“World War II and the Holocaust continue to provide fodder for contemporary novelists. Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale are just two examples of runaway bestsellers that capture the fear and horror that gripped Europe in those days. Now comes first-time novelist Georgia Hunter with a tale that is equally gripping and based on the experiences of her family . . . If you pay attention to international news, this book should make you more than a little uncomfortable. The plight of Europe’s Jews and the hesitancy of other countries to come to their aid brings to mind today’s refugees who flee violence in Syria, Somalia, and the Sudan. . . . Hunter writes movingly from many different perspectives the book moves at a swift, devastating pace, and she makes us care about every soul whose life is threatened.” —The Providence Journal
Virginia Magazine highlights We Were the Lucky Ones as one of six New & Noteworthy new books from alumni and faculty:
“…a striking re-creation of the breathtaking courage of an ordinary family inspired by their deep love for one another” –Anne Garvey of the Jewish Chronicle
“Brace yourself. I am about to introduce you to the next big thing in literature, Georgia Hunter. Her first novel, We Were the Lucky Ones, is already receiving fantastic reviews. And having read an advanced proof I can tell you first hand that is is exquisitely written and heartbreakingly good. It took Georgia almost a decade to write this book as she delved into her family’s history during World War II…” –Lindley Pless of The Sentimentalist
We Were the Lucky Ones ranked #18 on the Indie Bestseller list for hardcover fiction!
“Thirty-thousand Jews lived in the town of Radom, Poland, at the start of World War II, a number that would shrink to fewer than 300. One of many, the Kurc family is ripped apart as one sibling tries to flee Europe, another is forced into exile and others hide as gentiles in plain sight.”—New York Post
“Turning history into fiction can be tricky, especially when using real names and details. Hunter finesses the challenge. Her novel brings the Kurcs to life in heart-pounding detail, from passionate young love and beloved traditions to narrow escapes, heartbreaking choices, starvation, imprisonment and torture. We come to care deeply about the fate of each of these resourceful, determined characters.”—The Jewish Voice
“…We Were the Lucky Ones serves as a testament to the strength of the human spirit and ingenuity. It, and accounts like it, should form the basis of what we understand about the Holocaust–it’s all very well reading dry, academic texts about what happened, but the lived experience of that dreadful time is so much more compelling.” –more from It Takes a Woman
“There are many lessons to be learned from reading this book other than how people cope with great sadness. It is about resilience, the strength of the human spirit, family, and love. Hunter is a writer to watch.” —more from Bookworming Tonight
“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. ” –Tara Leigh
“putting faces and names to the victims of the Holocaust in a way that a history class or textbook can’t do”
Cool Material recommends We Were the Lucky Ones as one of 11 New Books You Should Read in 2017:
“Most of the time, when we talk about the horrors of the Holocaust, we do so with sweeping statements and big picture statistics. We don’t actually dive into the minutiae of what it meant to be one of the Jewish families broken up, scattered, or exterminated. But exploring that minutiae is exactly what We Were the Lucky Ones aims to do. The book follows a single family, the Kurcs, as they struggle to survive Nazi persecution, each sibling finding their own way to deal with a government that has made it explicitly clear what they are trying to do. The Kurcs are putting faces and names to the victims of the Holocaust in a way that a history class or textbook can’t do.”
Quiet Fury Books reviews We Were the Lucky Ones: [Hunter] puts us there, in the heart of the Holocaust, from beginning to end. She lets us feel what the characters felt. She shows us what they see. Her research is impeccable…This book is powerful, aching heartbreak wrapped up in hope and love, and tied together with beautiful writing.”
“WWII and its heartbreaking history have served as the backdrop to some of my all-time favorite novels (Code Name Verity, The Nightingaleto name a few). It is in these dark times that we search most desperately for a person’s humanity – and these stories all share incredibly brave, yet incredibly human, characters. Georgia Hunter’s debut novel We Were the Lucky Ones was born of her childhood discovery that she descended from a family of Holocaust survivors and her years-long attempt to unravel her family’s history. Rich in setting, poignant in delivery, and amplified by moving performances from Robert Fass and Kathleen Gati, Hunter’s novel is set to enter the impressive canon of WWII literature that touches you at your core.” –Katie, Audible Editor
The Historical Novel Society calls We Were the Lucky Ones “an amazing piece of historical reconstruction, expertly translated into fiction . . . The novel is full of tangible details but has thriller-style pacing. Reading it is a consuming experience.”
We Were the Lucky Ones is selected by Harpers Bazaar as one of 14 Books You Need to Read in February…”a tale of resilience and commitment to one another amidst the direst of obstacles.”
“Love in the face of global adversity? It couldn’t be more timely.” –Glamour magazine, on We Were the Lucky Ones
We Were the Lucky Ones is picked by Glamour magazine as one of the Best Books to Read in 2017!
“Based on a true story, this novel tells the tale of how the Polish, Jewish Kurc family was separated by World War Two and eventually found its way back together, traveling across continents and years and through all manner of hostility. Love in the face of global adversity? It couldn’t be more timely.”
“Based on the true experiences of the author’s grandfather, Georgia Hunter’s debut novel We Were the Lucky Ones tells the gripping and moving story of three generations of one Jewish family, the Kurcs, who are ripped apart at the start of World War II, and whose lives quickly become unrecognizable — as they lose their homes, their jobs, their friends, their safety and other basic rights, and each other. But despite the unrelenting horrors of the war and the Holocaust, the Kurcs still manage to hold onto their humanity: sharing moments of hope and love, resilience and new life with those around them, and remaining determined to reunite with one another after the violence has subsided.”
“We Were the Lucky Ones is the most gripping novel I’ve read in years. Georgia Hunter pulled me into another world, vivid, horrifying, astonishing, and heartbreaking, and I walked with the Kurc family as they traversed the edges of life and death.” —Lauren Belfer, New York Times bestselling author of City of Light and And After the Fire.
“An extraordinary, propulsive novel based on the true story of a family of Polish Jews who are separated at the start of the Second World War, determined to survive—and to reunite . . . A novel of breathtaking sweep and scope that spans five continents and six years and transports readers from the jazz clubs of Paris to Kraków’s most brutal prison to the ports of Northern Africa and the farthest reaches of the Siberian gulag, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how, in the face of the 20th century’s darkest moment, the human spirit can find a way to survive, and even triumph.”—Book Bub “Biggest Historical Fiction Releases Coming in 2017” and “11 Great World War II Novels Coming in 2017”
“Elegantly executed and always clear, Hunter evokes pre-war Poland with loving detail, clearly showing what was left behind and lost . . . We Were the Lucky Ones immediately bring[s] into sharp relief the millions of displaced today: Syrians, Yemeni, Somalians, and others. They, too, are musicians, doctors, sophisticated and well-educated humans, individuals with lives worthy of empathy, just as the Jewish refugees of the 1930s and ‘40s were. Just as the Kurcs, they have been uprooted – each with a web of children, siblings, parents, and cousins whose safety and happiness are of paramount importance . . . We Were the Lucky Ones is a compelling read, notable for Hunter’s clear portraits of her plucky, resilient family, and for her ability to build suspense and investment without emotional manipulation.” —Courtney Naliboff, Reform Judaism Magazine
“Georgia Hunter’s We Were the Lucky Ones is a skillfully woven reimagining of her own family’s struggle for survival during World War II. Hunter takes us from the Polish ghetto to Siberia to Brazil, all with spectacular historical detail. This emotionally resonant, gripping portrait of the war is filled with beautifully drawn and wonderfully heroic characters I won’t soon forget.” —Jillian Cantor, author of Margot and The Hours Count
“Reading Georgia Hunter’s We Were the Lucky Ones is like being swung heart first into history. A brave and mesmerizing debut, and a truly tremendous accomplishment.” —Paula McLain, bestselling author of Circling the Sun and The Paris Wife
“In her debut novel, We Were the Lucky Ones, Georgia Hunter has crafted her own family history into a sprawling, yet still intimate portrait of those swept up in the devastation of war and scattered to the winds. It is an astonishing saga of hope, of luck, of destruction, and most remarkably of love, made all the more astonishing because of the true story at its core.” —David R. Gillham, New York Times bestselling author of City of Women
“When Georgia Hunter learns that she is a descendant of large family of Holocaust survivors, she knows that she is destined to be the recorder of their story. This is the result of years of research to gather as much detail about her relatives as she possibly can…an inspiring read, and one that honors the memory and struggle of not just the author’s family, but all of the people who suffered during the war.”—Library Reads
“The story Hunter tells through the eyes of her grandparents, great-grandparents and other relatives is one of amazing endurance, bravery, determination and unwavering love . . . Hunter does an excellent job of bringing history to life . . . conveying the desires and hopes of the Kurcs as they fell in love, got married, and had children.” —Shelf Awareness
“Debut author Hunter excavates the remarkable history of her own family this this chronicle . . . Hunter side-steps hollow sentimentality and nihilism, revealing instead the beautiful complexity and ambiguity of life in this extraordinarily moving novel.” —Publishers Weekly