20 February 2022

Book Review ~ The Puppet Maker's Daughter: A startling and emotional WWII novel by Karla M. Jay


Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Hungary 1944. The war comes late to Budapest. Nineteen-year-old Marika, forced out of nursing school, believes she and her Jewish family will remain safe, even as Nazi soldiers fill their cobbled streets. With Russians to their east, the Allies to their west, everyone assumes the war is nearly over. Her father, once a prominent engineer, returns to his passion for puppet making. Soon, she is pulled into the resistance to rescue orphans and displaced Jews while keeping her family one step ahead of Eichmann’s extermination plans.

This book made me sit up and think about the power of historical fiction. As well as giving a voice to those who can no longer tell their stories, we can travel back in time to hear the sounds and smells - and even experience harrowing events, and the horrors of times and places which should never be forgotten.

This is rarely more important than in the city of Budapest of 1944. Karla M Jay pointes out in her author’s note that the Jews of Hungary almost made it. In only nine months they went from living under what were known as ‘restrictive regulations’ to wholesale mass deportation and the murder of 565,000 men women and children.

The opening line is ‘The Germans have arrived’, and our knowledge of the inevitable lurks in the background as we follow the lives of an apparently unremarkable family. The narrator, nineteen-year-old trainee nurse, Marika, sums up their situation in her chilling realisation, ‘The war may be living at our lives eating away at our freedoms, but now it’s found us. If we don’t leave this city, it will surely devour us all.’

Like most people, my knowledge of what actually happened in Budapest was limited to a few stark facts, which is why this book needs to be read by everyone.

Tony Riches

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About the Author

Karla M. Jay is the award-winning author of When We Were Brave and It Happened in Silence. She has wanted to write books since she was seven. Originally from the east coast, she makes her home in Salt Lake City. Over the years she has written in several different genres, ranging from humor to noir, but currently is focused on historical fiction. When she's not writing, she's reading, gardening, playing with her dog, or traveling to new places to try to find a story that has never been told. Find out more at Karla's website https://www.karlajay.com/ and find her on Facebook and Twitter @KarlaMJay1

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