Ava receives a bundle of unsent letters along with her estranged mother’s ashes, letters sent to a tragic figure from Ilsa’s past. Ava finds the mystery person—Renate Bauer, and learns about her mother’s childhood growing up as a Hitler Youth, an organization that divided Ilsa from her best friend Renate. Epstein skillfully weaves the lives of two young girls into the horror that was WWII Germany, exposing secrets, betrayals, and primal fears, within all their complexities whilst rendering a friendship torn to pieces by circumstances. Though an oft written subject, Epstein’s take is unique in its in-depth view of how the Nazis reached out to indoctrinate children, evoking misplaced loyalty and mortal fear in even its youngest citizens. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this brilliantly written story from the publisher through NetGalley.