cover image Send for Me

Send for Me

Lauren Fox. Knopf, $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-101-94780-7

Fox (Days of Awe) draws on old family letters for a poignant fictional memoir of her Jewish grandparents, who left Germany in 1938 with her mother and settled in Milwaukee. Annelise, the daughter of bakery owners in Feldenheim, Germany, is struggling with her own adolescence against the backdrop of rising anti-Semitism. In her early 20s, she finds true love with Walter Goldmann, a regular at the bakery, newly divorced and 10 years older. In the midst of increasingly vicious anti-Semetic cruelty—Annelise miscarries after a brick is thrown through their window—the couple has a child, Ruth, born in 1937, and seek asylum in America. Fox then intercuts scenes of the couple’s new life in the Midwest with flashbacks of more horrors in Germany. A brief scene after Annelise’s death at 85 has Ruth cleaning out her apartment with the help of Ruth’s daughter, Clare, who finds a cache of letters to Annelise from her mother, which make a deep impact on both women. Fox satisfyingly brings this story of love and desire full circle, as Clare and Ruth reflect on what it means to be both a mother and a child in the darkest of times. This tender and deeply inspired story will move readers. Agent: Julie Barer, the Book Group. (Feb.)