In 2015, an elderly French Catholic woman, Elise Duval, is approached in New York City by a mother and her daughter who have come from Cuba bearing letters belonging to her. Faced with these letters Elise is forced to look back on a past which she has buried for almost 70 years.
The narrative then moves back in time to pre-War Berlin where Amanda Sternberg and her husband Julius have their lives disrupted by the arrival of the Nazis. Amanda was operating a bookstore handed down by her father - the Nazis arrive and burn all the books so she turns to taking care of her two daughters, Viera and Lina. Julius is a respected cardiologist who is dragged away to a concentration camp and not seen again. His final act for his family is to impose on the father of a former patient, who is now a Nazi officer to save his family. He secures passage to Cuba for his two daughters where they are to meet up with Amanda's brother who previously immigrated there. Unable to get passage for Amanda, he arranges for her to be sheltered in the home of a widow of one of her father's best friends, in Haute-Vienne, a small village in southern France.
When Amanda arrives at the docks to see her children off, she makes the impulsive decision to send only the elder Viera. She lives with the guilt of this decision for the rest of her life. Amanda and Lina are temporarily safe living with Claire and her daughter Danielle in France. But they are eventually betrayed and sent to an internment camp. There Amanda makes further difficult and dangerous decisions in order to help Lina escape.
Then follows the story of Lina's struggle to survive when the Nazis come down hard on the small town.
I'd say this is a fairly typical Holocaust book, but I did find it interesting and well written.