The story is about life, love and survival in Europe during WWII for the Jews.
In Berlin in 1941 Hanni must send her twelve year old daughter, Lea, to Paris to be taken care of by family because of the violence upon Jews occurring. She goes to see a rabbi, and meets his daughter, Ettie, who secretly agrees to create a golem to protect Lea for the price of tickets for herself and her sister to also escape to Paris. The golem's only mission is to keep Lea safe. The golem is made in the image of a woman and they call her Ava.
Lea and Ava left for Paris and found the family's relatives and were reluctantly taken in to live with them. The family's maid, Marianne, had recently left so Ava took on that job. Marianne had become close to the family's oldest son, Victor. She had decided to return to her father's farm and left Victor a note:
"Always remember me, as I remember you."Soon after, Victor left to fight for the Resistance. Meanwhile, Lea had grown close to the other son, Julien.
Ettie also was hoping to join the Resistance and was finally able to find a contact. She and Victor began working together. Meanwhile, it became unsafe in Paris, so Ava moved Lea to a convent in the country. Lea and Julien had grown close to each other. Her last words to Julien were "Stay alive".
It is amazing to me how Hoffman weaves so much detail, history and mysticism into this book. I loved seeing how each of the characters evolved.