The Curator’s Daughter
Tyndale House Publishers (2021)
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (03/21)
Readers will not only love the beautiful, effortless writing of author Melanie Dobson in this book, but they will also give a standing ovation for the amazing story, characters, and history that this woman was able to capture in “The Curator’s Daughter.”
It is 1940, and a woman works as an archaeologist for the dreadful Third Reich. Her name is Hanna, and she’s one of the lucky few who loves her job. However, life changes on a dime, and when she’s taken from that beloved daily journey of attempting to find The Holy Grail and other awesome creations and reassigned as a museum curator in Nuremberg, Hanna’s world sours quickly. Marrying an SS officer, because she is forced to do so, Hanna ends up also adopting a young girl named Lilly. Becoming a protective mother to the girl, Hanna is quickly frightened by a secret the girl holds that could put them both in front of a Nazi firing squad.
Ember Ellis, living eighty years after Hanna’s time, works as a researcher; she digs up data on the Holocaust in order to battle the hatred shown toward Jews and other minorities. Meeting up with a former teacher, Ember is told the tale of a woman who once worked with the Nazi’s yet at the same time was a “friend” to the Jewish people. Ember wants to discover how both could possibly be true, while at the same time help her former teacher by uncovering exactly what happened during World War II to the woman’s family.
This was quite personal for me on a number of levels. Although it is not the most emotional level, I have to say number one is the fact that I am a true lover of Indiana Jones, and anything that has to do with archaeology is pure entertainment for me. On a more emotional note, the second reason I found this remarkable was the fact that my own beloved mother, who we recently lost to Alzheimer’s, was a WWII fan. And I don’t use “fan” lightly here. She was a lifetime librarian and found that time period to be the most amazing that ever occurred. Every word of fiction or non-fiction that covered WWII was read, and loved, by that incredible woman.
Last but not least, I have read a wealth of books that would probably total over what the shelves of my hometown library held. Following in Mom’s footsteps, I am an avid reader. However, when it comes to history, I prefer the ancient times. About a decade ago I was given a debut novel to judge for a contest that was all about WWII and…I fell head over heels in love with it. The writer went on to win a myriad of awards for her work, and rightfully so. I have not been struck like that since…until I read this one. It is no surprise, seeing as that this author has written over twenty incredible novels, but the monumental heart, strength, passion, and emotion that appears on every page of “The Curator’s Daughter” is phenomenal. Not only did I get so into this book that I sat up all night in order to finish it, but I can also say that I will be going back and getting every Melanie Dobson masterpiece written because I am her latest (and greatest) fan!