Cuckoo Clock New York follows the exodus of Dr. Esther Rosenthal and her father, Mordechai, from their hometown of Hildesheim, Germany. This story is an excellent narrative for humanizing the experiences and events leading up to WWII and the ethnic cleansing which ensued. I have read my fair share of Holocaust novels and every story is tragic in its own way. Cuckoo Clock New York is an easier read because it allows you to witness the journey of a family that was able to get away. Not only is Esther able to flee to America, but she and her father were able to contribute to the relief effort for German refugee children. This is the story of a woman who helped others even when she was on the run and barely able to help herself.
My only critique would be small details about the writing style. This is the first book I’ve read from this author, and sometimes the passages would come off disjointed and the character dialogues felt clunky. The text was also simple to the point of being plain. This made the book feel less immersive and dramatic. Although the events of the book were very important, there were missed opportunities that could have been used to build more tension. There could have been more balance between being a plot-driven and character-driven story. Overall, Cuckoo Clock New York was a pleasant read and a good contribution to the large collection of WWII and Holocaust stories.