"A moving story of loss, longing, and perseverance."—A Best New September Release, Real Simple
"In this sharply observed historical novel, a web of friendships connect German Jews in pre-Hitler Germany after they emigrate to America. In their complex relationships and struggles both emotional and cultural, we are given insight into life at its most resilient and joyous. An important book to remind us of the humanity in the current wave of immigrants, and how much they have to offer us."—Alice LaPlante, New York Times bestselling author of Turn of Mind
"Betsy Carter's warm and beautiful prose brings us
love, tragedy, mystery and hope in a moving celebration of America and the
people who have come to it."—Amy Bloom, New York Times bestselling author of Lucky Us and Away
"Moving and intensely personal, this subtle novel of the immigrant experience in 1940s Manhattan boasts impressive and varied character development... There are multiple read-alikes here: Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale (2015) for Carter's lovely writing style and the pathos in her story; Dinaw Mengestu's The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007) for Carter's evocation of the poverty and yearning to belong that are so often the immigrant's lot; and Natasha Solomons' Mr. Rosenblum Dreams (2010) for Carter's endearing characters with their unbridled determination and positive attitude. A memorable, important, and insightful novel."
—Booklist, starred review
"This is a gorgeous, heartbreaking book... beautiful in its characters' resilience and reminders of the contributions immigrants have made to this country... Carter has created a vivid world... Their stories are unique and distinctive, and yet their struggles feel familiar. Could this be required reading for anyone who seeks to keep refugees out of this country?"—Historical Novels Review
"The sights, the sounds, the fears, the disappointments, the hopes, the triumphs and the passion of a group of people are so real, readers will believe they are their friends and neighbors."—RT Reviews
"I was carried through We Were Strangers Once by a story as swiftly paced affecting as the events that deposit its characters on wartime American shores. I believed in this desperate flotsam of immigrant souls, drawn with keen historical accuracy, humor, and a lackmaker's eye for detail. I didn't want to leave these benighted, unlikely lovers. Imagine: A literate, deft and moving binge read."
—Gerri Hirshey, author of Not Pretty Enough: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown
"Historically accurate, warm, moving and easy to recommend."— New York Journal of Books
"A gorgeous novel about a tight-knit group of immigrants in New York in the 1930s, sharing friendship, triumphs and disappointments as they try to forge new lives in a strange new land."—New York Post
"WE WERE STRANGERS ONCE, though a work of historical fiction, demonstrates how difficult and stressful it was/is to arrive in a foreign land to begin a new life. We are reminded that, yes, we all were strangers here once and that the refugee experience continues to repeat itself today in many parts of the globe. What we see on the evening news is just a tiny glimpse of what strangers to any foreign land must endure and overcome."—Book Reporter
"In this unsentimental yet affecting novel, intertwined tales of Irish and German immigrants to the U.S. vividly capture the characters and their eras. Taking its title from a Barack Obama quote, the book illuminates the experience of immigrants--and our conflicted promise to them--even today."—People Magazine