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The Woman with the Blue Star

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1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers. Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish 1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers. Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. Scorned by her friends and longing for her fiancé, who has gone off to war, Ella wanders Kraków restlessly. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it’s a girl hiding. Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. Inspired by harrowing true stories, The Woman with the Blue Star is an emotional testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary strength of the human will to survive.


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1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers. Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish 1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers. Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. Scorned by her friends and longing for her fiancé, who has gone off to war, Ella wanders Kraków restlessly. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it’s a girl hiding. Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. Inspired by harrowing true stories, The Woman with the Blue Star is an emotional testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary strength of the human will to survive.

30 review for The Woman with the Blue Star

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    First half : 4 stars Second half: 2 stars Overall rating: 3 stars This book revolves around a very unlikely friendship. Ella and Sadie are from two different worlds. Ella is a Polish girl living with her selfish and uncaring stepmother who entertains Nazi officers occupying their town. Sadie is a Jewish girl hiding underground in the sewers with her pregnant mother and another Jewish family. Their chance meeting at the sewer grate begins a friendship that gets them through devastating and tragic First half : 4 stars Second half: 2 stars Overall rating: 3 stars This book revolves around a very unlikely friendship. Ella and Sadie are from two different worlds. Ella is a Polish girl living with her selfish and uncaring stepmother who entertains Nazi officers occupying their town. Sadie is a Jewish girl hiding underground in the sewers with her pregnant mother and another Jewish family. Their chance meeting at the sewer grate begins a friendship that gets them through devastating and tragic times. This was a mixed book for me. I enjoyed and appreciated learning about this time in our history. It always fascinates me when an author can provide a fresh perspective in such an over-saturated genre. I knew nothing of Jews hiding in sewer systems and found that shocking, eye-opening and informative. The first half of the book was stronger for me because it was highly atmospheric in its claustrophobic setting and it focused more on the sewer systems and what the families had to do to survive. The second half of the book focused more on the friendships and romance of the characters which didn’t work as well for me. At times the storyline felt cliche, predictable and slightly cheesy. Some of the dialogue and characters behaviour was too “cute” for such a harrowing plot. The main characters were charming and endearing but didn’t suit the situation and pull the plot forward for me. The storyline was informative and hopeful but it lacked the sense of feeling “real” which prevented me from forming a true connection or investment in the characters and their situations. I enjoyed reading the story from an educational perspective, but it failed to pull at my emotions since the characters didn’t seem realistic and I didn’t feel the true heaviness of the devastating situation they were living in. Overall, I’m glad I read it because I learned important parts of our history, but it wasn’t as enjoyable as I had hoped. I can certainly understand how this will appeal to many readers who enjoy lighter, less gritty wartime novels with charming characters and romance. Thank you to Park Row and Edelweiss for my review copy!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Sadie Gault is eighteen, she’s living with her parents in the Kraków ghetto in 1942, her parent’s think she’s safe hiding in the apartment during the day, and it’s not the case. One day when the adults are at work; the Germans start emptying the ghetto, all the children are taken and it’s just the start. Sadie manages to hide and the next day she starts working at the shoe factory with her mother. She has no idea her father has been making escape plans with a friend, Pawel is a sewer worker and Sadie Gault is eighteen, she’s living with her parents in the Kraków ghetto in 1942, her parent’s think she’s safe hiding in the apartment during the day, and it’s not the case. One day when the adults are at work; the Germans start emptying the ghetto, all the children are taken and it’s just the start. Sadie manages to hide and the next day she starts working at the shoe factory with her mother. She has no idea her father has been making escape plans with a friend, Pawel is a sewer worker and under the city is a long network of tunnels and chambers. One night Sadie is woken by her father, the Germans have blocked the street and are arresting everyone. She’s horrified when her dad wants her and her mother to climb down into the cities underground sewerage network and hide. Sadie and her pregnant mother Danuta begin living in a filthy sewer chamber and along with the devout Rosenberg family. They rely on Pawel to bring them food, every crumb has to be divided up fairly, what are they going to do when the baby arrives, babies are noisy and it doesn’t take long for things to get tense underground. Saul Rosenberg and Sadie explore the tunnels, being the youngest they collect water and dispose of the rubbish. One day Sadie takes a big risk and looks up through a grate in the market square, trying to get some fresh air and some sunlight on her face. Ella Stepanek’s father marched off with the Polish army, never to be seen again and she lives with her stepmother Ana Lucia. She’s a collaborator, she entertains German officers, she receives food and they have German stamps on their identification papers. Ella hates the Germans and Ana Lucia, her friends will no longer speak to her due to her stepmother’s behavior and she’s still waiting to hear any news about her fiancé Krys. Desperate to get out of the house she offers to go to the market, she has no trouble getting around Kraków or through checkpoints with her German endorsed papers and she’s shocked to notice a girl looking up at her from a grate and she can’t believe people are living cities sewerage system. Ella begins helping Sadie and they become friends, Sadie hanging around the market grate during the day is extremely dangerous for both of them, it only takes one person to notice something and alert the Germans. The Woman With The Blue Star is based around true stories of Jewish people living in sewers during WW II, desperate for somewhere to hide from the Germans and not be sent to Auschwitz. It’s a story about survival in a horrendous place, sacrifice, the good and the bad of human behavior, friendship, hope, and love. Thanks to Edelweiss for my copy in exchange for an honest review and five stars from me. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    3.5 stars The horrors of the war are innumerable and in this book, Pan Jenoff portrays a life of terror for two Jewish families who find their ghetto being sacked and their people being herded into convoys. Through the kindness of one man, they are led away to a kind of safety at least for now. The place is a sewer and the awfulness of this situation is well portrayed from the smell, to the rats, to the putrid water, they find themselves in. Tragedy happens almost immediately as the father drowns 3.5 stars The horrors of the war are innumerable and in this book, Pan Jenoff portrays a life of terror for two Jewish families who find their ghetto being sacked and their people being herded into convoys. Through the kindness of one man, they are led away to a kind of safety at least for now. The place is a sewer and the awfulness of this situation is well portrayed from the smell, to the rats, to the putrid water, they find themselves in. Tragedy happens almost immediately as the father drowns in the rushing dirty water and our main character, Sadie Gault, eighteen years old is left with her pregnant mother and others to hide out assisted by the man who rescued them. Life is bitter, until one day Sadie glances up through a sewer grate and sees Ella Stepanek, a young Polish girl. The two start to form a friendship through that grate and Ella is the one who eventually risks her life to help Sadie and ultimately the others who have survived the sewer so far. This is a story of friendship, of love in a time where live seems to have gone into a long winter's nap. There are other occurrences which bind the story together until its conclusion and reminiscence many years later. Recommended to those who love reading and learning about how through adversity one can often survive the worst of times. Thank you to Pam Jenoff, Park Row, and NetGalley for a copy of this courageous story due out May 4, 2021.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Imagine if you were given the opportunity to survive and escape the brutality of the Nazis. Would you sign on even if it meant putting up with deplorable living conditions, constant fear of being discovered and the ultimate loss of loved ones? That was what eighteen year old Sadie Gault and her parents chose to do in Pam Jenoff’s newest novel, The Woman With the Blue Star. Sadie grew up in Krakow, Poland and enjoyed a peaceful and fulfilling life there with her parents, friends, family and teach Imagine if you were given the opportunity to survive and escape the brutality of the Nazis. Would you sign on even if it meant putting up with deplorable living conditions, constant fear of being discovered and the ultimate loss of loved ones? That was what eighteen year old Sadie Gault and her parents chose to do in Pam Jenoff’s newest novel, The Woman With the Blue Star. Sadie grew up in Krakow, Poland and enjoyed a peaceful and fulfilling life there with her parents, friends, family and teachers until the Germans arrived. Sadie and her parents were Jewish and so their lives changed drastically after the Nazis arrived but they still had each other. They were forced to abandon their home and move into the Krakow Jewish ghetto. Things for the Jewish families in the ghetto progressively got worse and worse. One day, the Nazis decided to raid some of the houses in the ghetto. All the grown-ups were at work. The Nazis came and rounded up the unsuspecting and innocent children. Sadie heard the soldiers approaching and decided to hide in a chest in her parents bedroom. When Sadie’s parents came home from work they discovered what had happened. Sadie was an only child and was loved dearly by both her parents. When her parents could not find Sadie they thought the worst had happened. Sadie’s mother almost took her own life but Sadie was able to unlock the chest where she had hid just in time to prevent that tragedy. Sadie’s parents knew they had to try and escape from the ghetto. With the help of Pawel, a sewer worker, they devised a risky but clever plan. Sadie’s father had dug a hole under their toilet so they could escape the ghetto through the sewer system under the city that would ultimately take them out of Poland. However, as they were making their way through the sewer tunnels, two things happened. First, Sadie’s beloved father fell to his death. He was trying to help Sadie catch her balance. He lost his balance as a result and was swept away in the churning sewer waters. The other thing that happened was that Pawel told them that it was not safe any longer to escape from the sewer to the river that would take them out of Poland. To remain safe, they had to remain in the alcove in the sewer that had become their home. Sadie and her mother shared the space with the Rosenberg family, a very religious family that was comprised of the father, a son and elderly grandmother. To complicate things even more, Sadie’s mother was pregnant. The pungent smells of the sewer and the lack of light were something the two families never got used to but endured. Both families depended upon Pawel to bring them food and supplies and they tried their hardest to make the best of their situation. It was hard for Sadie to always stay close to her mother and remain in their alcove. She began to explore the tunnels of the sewer. One day she found herself in front of one of the grates of the sewer. As she looked up to see the sunlight and the sky, Sadie saw a girl about her own age peering down at her. The girl’s name was Ella Stepanek. She was a young, Christian, Polish girl who had traveled to that side of town to find and buy cherries for her stepmother,Ana Lucia, even though they were out of season and going to be hard to find.. Ella soon discovered that Sadie was in hiding and she also realized immediately that she would do anything she could to help Sadie. Ella had lost her father in the war and her mother had died years ago. She was living with her stepmother now. Ella had difficulty tolerating the selfish and mean ways of her stepmother. For one thing, her stepmother was a Nazi sympathizer and she was constantly entertaining important Nazi officers at her father’s home. Ella suspected that her stepmother was probably sleeping with one of them as well. Her Stepmother was a despicable, self-centered person. She belittled and ridiculed Ella constantly. Ella’s only sibling, her brother, was living in Paris. Ella and Sadie became good friends as their visits continued over the ensuing months. Sadie regarded Ella’s visits as the highlight of her days. As Sadie’s and Ella’s friendship blossomed and grew, the dangers they both encountered grew in magnitude. Would Ella be able to keep Sadie safe from the Nazis and help save her? The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff was inspired by real life events. During the Holocaust, there were some families that hid in the sewers of Krakow to escape the brutality of the Nazis. It was hard to imagine how these families survived and lived under those conditions. The will to live and avoid the horrific ways of the Nazis, I imagine, gave them the courage and determination. I have long been a fan of Pam Jenoff and have read many of her prior books but this one was one of my favorites. This book explored the themes of friendship across social classes, hope, religion, trust, family, love, resilience, survival and loss. The Woman with the Blue Star was heartfelt, harrowing and suspenseful. It was a historical fiction book about World War II and the Holocaust but so much more as well. I loved the ending. Pam Jenoff’s writing and research was brilliant. This book will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to Park Row Paperbook for allowing me to read this advanced copy of The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mary Kubica

    What a powerful and absolutely transporting novel. Pam Jenoff can do no wrong. This is a must read!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ink_Drinker

    What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down? For me, it was this book!! I have read many historical fiction books taking place during WWII, and Pam Jenoff is one of the best writers in this category! I am always looking to learn something new and her books are always well researched and deliver every time. I think this is one of her best yet!! The book is based on true events and shares the stories of the Jewish families that lived in the sewers of Krakow Poland during WWII (1942- What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down? For me, it was this book!! I have read many historical fiction books taking place during WWII, and Pam Jenoff is one of the best writers in this category! I am always looking to learn something new and her books are always well researched and deliver every time. I think this is one of her best yet!! The book is based on true events and shares the stories of the Jewish families that lived in the sewers of Krakow Poland during WWII (1942-1943) to escape the Nazi concentration camps. It truly breaks my heart to think that people had to live in these unsanitary conditions just to live another day in the sewer. How they kept going is beyond me! This story shows the strength, resilience and kindness of people in an otherwise bleak and sad time in our history. Jenoff develops such amazingly strong characters that you feel a connection with both Sadie and Ella instantly. Sadie, a Jewish girl, living in the sewers, trying to survive with her family and Ella, a polish girl, doing everything she can to help Sadie and the others survive even though it might put everyone in more danger. It was the only way they knew of to try to make it, losing some people despite their efforts. Sadie and Ella are two characters I won’t soon forget. These strong girls were shining examples that even if you come from two extreme different backgrounds, love and trust can overcome any obstacle. Something that we could all learn from even today! I can’t say enough good things about The Women with the Blue Star!!! Again, it goes on sale 5/4/21!! What are you waiting for?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    3.5 Stars The Woman with the Blue Star is inspired by the true story of a small group of Jewish people who escaped the Nazis and survived WWII in the sewers of Lviv, Poland. Now, as time goes by, it's harder to tell these stories and base them on real-life people as the people who lived through them are gone. Theirs stories still need to be told, and authors are a little more creative in the way they tell them. Pam Jenoff has done that and taken inspiration from the nonfiction book In the Sewers 3.5 Stars The Woman with the Blue Star is inspired by the true story of a small group of Jewish people who escaped the Nazis and survived WWII in the sewers of Lviv, Poland. Now, as time goes by, it's harder to tell these stories and base them on real-life people as the people who lived through them are gone. Theirs stories still need to be told, and authors are a little more creative in the way they tell them. Pam Jenoff has done that and taken inspiration from the nonfiction book In the Sewers of Lvov by Robert Marshall. It's on our list to read.  The Woman With The Blue Star is set in the Kraków Ghetto and tells the fictional story of an unlikely friendship and bond between two different girls Sadie and Ella, who become friends through a grate above the sewer. Their friendship, bond, and sacrifices are the heart of the story, and while I liked seeing their bravery and kindness, I struggled to buy into the instant bond between them. The story starts with an intense claustrophobia feel from the descriptions and conditions in the sewer. It loses some tension to the story when the tone turns more towards a lighter, hopeful tone that centers more around the love between the characters. While this brings a more heartfelt tone to the story, it took away from the danger and fear I imagined they must have experienced. I struggled a bit, buying into their motivations and actions. However, this did not affect the way I felt about the story. I enjoyed the lighter, more hopeful tone of the story. The ending takes a turn to the story I did not expect, and I enjoyed the way the story wrapped up. I highly recommend it for readers who like some dark with more of a love story to it over the dark realities of WWII. I received a copy from the publisher on EW

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sally Hepworth

    Pam Jenoff can do no wrong

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jaimie

    Maybe I've just read too many historical fiction novels and memoirs set during World War II which explore the Jewish experience, but this novel just didn't work for me. Jenoff's premise is enticing: a dual storyline pairing two young girls, one a Jewish girl in hiding (Sadie) and the other a wealthy Polish girl (Ella), with heightened tension due to the precariousness of Sadie's hiding place in the sewers of Krakow. Yet, Jennoff's writing is borderline brusque and the language is childish, jumpi Maybe I've just read too many historical fiction novels and memoirs set during World War II which explore the Jewish experience, but this novel just didn't work for me. Jenoff's premise is enticing: a dual storyline pairing two young girls, one a Jewish girl in hiding (Sadie) and the other a wealthy Polish girl (Ella), with heightened tension due to the precariousness of Sadie's hiding place in the sewers of Krakow. Yet, Jennoff's writing is borderline brusque and the language is childish, jumping from event to event and doubling back to ensure that not a second of the dual perspective is missed (which is unnecessary in many places), her characters felt shallow and not particularly original, and then she threw in some unnecesary romance themes. If this book was marketed at a younger audience I would have given it a bit more of a pass, but for an adult audience it doesn't really hit the same level of engagement as others of similar plot and theme. Sure, I wanted to know how Sadie's and Ella's stories ended, and that kept me turning the pages, but I felt myself disengaging with the story and characters too much for it to be very enjoyable.

  10. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    Pam Jenoff’s latest WWII-era novel is set in Poland. In this moving book’s prologue, a woman in her 70s has traveled to Kraków and has summoned up the courage to speak to an elderly women in her 90s who she believes holds important information for her. The story then transports us back to wartime and the friendship that develops between Sadie Gault and Ella Stepanek. In 1942, Sadie Gault and her parents have been forced out of their home to live in the Kraków Ghetto. Soon, the Nazis no longer se Pam Jenoff’s latest WWII-era novel is set in Poland. In this moving book’s prologue, a woman in her 70s has traveled to Kraków and has summoned up the courage to speak to an elderly women in her 90s who she believes holds important information for her. The story then transports us back to wartime and the friendship that develops between Sadie Gault and Ella Stepanek. In 1942, Sadie Gault and her parents have been forced out of their home to live in the Kraków Ghetto. Soon, the Nazis no longer seek to simply keep the area’s Jewish people isolated, they are now gathering men, women and children and sending them to work camps and ultimately concentration camps. By 1943, the Gault family has to flee. With the help of a Polish sewer worker, Sadie, her father and her now pregnant mother along with the Rosenberg family, are taken through the sewer tunnels to a location they can hide in. At the same time, Ella Stepanek, still mourning the loss of her father, lives in their affluent home with her stepmother who spends her time romancing SS officers. When Ella gets a glimpse of Sadie through a sewer grate while walking through town, they end up speaking and the two 19-year-old women eventually form a bond. How this chance encounter changes their lives makes for a very emotional story. The events of WWII and the horrors of the Holocaust are well documented and new books set during this period are published continually. But The Woman with the Blue Star is a standout in that the circumstances are unique. It is incredible that a true story inspired it, although the book is pure fiction. I’ve enjoyed Pam Jenoff’s other novels and view her as an auto-read author. Her books are well-researched and extremely heartfelt. Many thanks to Park Row for the advance copy. Rated 4.25 stars. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Leaving your beautiful home, having to move to the ghetto, and then forced out of the ghetto into hiding in the city sewer system. Could this get any worse for Sadie and her family? Could it really be a hiding place unknown to the Germans and a safe place for two Jewish families? Sadie and her mother knew it was the best place to be for now, but living there was horrible. No windows, awful smells, floods, and always cold. One day Sadie notices a girl looking down through a grate. Sadie drew back, bu Leaving your beautiful home, having to move to the ghetto, and then forced out of the ghetto into hiding in the city sewer system. Could this get any worse for Sadie and her family? Could it really be a hiding place unknown to the Germans and a safe place for two Jewish families? Sadie and her mother knew it was the best place to be for now, but living there was horrible. No windows, awful smells, floods, and always cold. One day Sadie notices a girl looking down through a grate. Sadie drew back, but the girl actually became the light in Sadie’s dreary days and brought food. It was very dangerous for both girls and the others hiding below. You will feel the terror and desperation the characters felt but also the hope that things will work out. Ms. Jenoff has brought another heartbreaking situation to light but also showed us the power of friendship, caring, and endurance. If you are a fan of Ms. Jenoff’s books, this one is an outstanding addition to her marvelous, well-researched gems that you do NOT want to miss. You will be glued to the pages as you live the lives of the characters. 5/5 This book was given to me as an advanced digital review copy by the publisher via NetGalley and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin-Trade Publishing for an egalley in exchange for an honest review Pam Jenoff is an author that always has me anticipating what aspect of WWII that she will explore next. In her latest novel, set in Krakow Poland, we are introduced to two women- Ella, a Christian Pole from an affluent neighbourhood and Sadie, a Polish Jew whose family takes refuge in a sewer when their ghetto is liquidated. As their paths run into each other, there will be times of great danger a Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin-Trade Publishing for an egalley in exchange for an honest review Pam Jenoff is an author that always has me anticipating what aspect of WWII that she will explore next. In her latest novel, set in Krakow Poland, we are introduced to two women- Ella, a Christian Pole from an affluent neighbourhood and Sadie, a Polish Jew whose family takes refuge in a sewer when their ghetto is liquidated. As their paths run into each other, there will be times of great danger at every turn. Once I began reading this novel, I was basically a resident of my couch as I held my breath waiting to see how the story would play out for our two protagonists. Would Sadie and her family be caught? What would happen to Ella if she continued going to the sewer grate and speaking to Sadie? If I had one criticism it is that I really didn't like the Hollywood-style ending. When authors choose to go that route, it frustrates me so much. It's a personal feeling especially having read so much fiction and non-fiction regarding this time period. On the other hand, I enjoyed the majority of the story enough to say that it is my utmost pleasure to recommend this book to those who are interested. Publication Date 04/05/21 Goodreads review 02/06/21 #TheWomanwiththeBlueStar #NetGalley

  13. 5 out of 5

    NILTON TEIXEIRA

    This is a work of fiction inspired by the true story of a small group of Jews who survived World War II in the sewers of Lviv, Poland. The setting here is Krakow, Poland (1942/1943). It’s a haunting and heartbreaking story of extraordinary bravery, survival, love and friendship. The will to survive is unbelievable. Can you imagine leaving hidden in the sewers for at least one year with your family, sharing with strangers, depending on the generosity of others and leaving with fear of betrayal and be This is a work of fiction inspired by the true story of a small group of Jews who survived World War II in the sewers of Lviv, Poland. The setting here is Krakow, Poland (1942/1943). It’s a haunting and heartbreaking story of extraordinary bravery, survival, love and friendship. The will to survive is unbelievable. Can you imagine leaving hidden in the sewers for at least one year with your family, sharing with strangers, depending on the generosity of others and leaving with fear of betrayal and being discovered? The storyline is well developed and I enjoyed the author’s concept but unfortunately I did struggle feeling any connection with the characters, and adding some romance did not help. Also I found the conclusion a bit unbelievable. I thought that this was a light take on the subject matter. I was expecting more depth. This is my third book by this author and I’m looking forward to reading her next work.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica | JustReadingJess

    The Woman with the Blue Star is an excellent story of friendship during World War II. This great historical fiction story is told from the perspective of two teenagers. Sadie is Jewish and living in a sewer with her mother and a family they just met. Ella is a rich girl living with her step mother after her father’s death. Her step mother is friends with Nazis and has them over for parties, which Ella doesn’t approve of. All Sadie has is her family, and all Ella wants is someone that cares about The Woman with the Blue Star is an excellent story of friendship during World War II. This great historical fiction story is told from the perspective of two teenagers. Sadie is Jewish and living in a sewer with her mother and a family they just met. Ella is a rich girl living with her step mother after her father’s death. Her step mother is friends with Nazis and has them over for parties, which Ella doesn’t approve of. All Sadie has is her family, and all Ella wants is someone that cares about her. The Woman with the Blue Star is a great story of friendship. Their friendship developed with short meetings. Their lives seem very different, but they are more similar than they appear. I was very invested in Ella and Sadie’s stories. The characters are all dealing with a lot but still help each other. There are hardships throughout the book but also some romance. The story takes place in Poland. I have never heard any stories of people living in sewers which is devastating but also makes sense. The Woman with the Blue Star is a must read for fans of Pam Jenoff or World War II novels. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya, Emily Lawrence and Nancy Peterson. All the narrators did a great job bringing the characters to life. The spoke with emotion and their voices were different enough I didn’t confuse which character was talking. Thank you Park Row and Harper Audio for The Woman with the Blue Star. Full Review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ann Sheldon Mezger

    I hate to give bad reviews because I know how hard it is to write a novel and I appreciate all the work an author puts into it. But "The Woman with the Blue Star" just doesn't work -- as adult fiction anyway. (Revised for a young teen audience, maybe.) The two protagonists are supposed to be 19-year-old women, but they act and sound like immature 12-year-olds, at best. Their voices are interchangeable. Minor characters are simply stereotypes. Evil stepmother, anyone? Situations strain belief. No I hate to give bad reviews because I know how hard it is to write a novel and I appreciate all the work an author puts into it. But "The Woman with the Blue Star" just doesn't work -- as adult fiction anyway. (Revised for a young teen audience, maybe.) The two protagonists are supposed to be 19-year-old women, but they act and sound like immature 12-year-olds, at best. Their voices are interchangeable. Minor characters are simply stereotypes. Evil stepmother, anyone? Situations strain belief. No one notices a young woman spending a lot of time around a sewer grate? I could go on, but that's enough complaining from me. Like I said, I hate to give bad reviews and usually manage to do so by only choosing to read books that I'm fairly certain I'll like or find worthwhile. I made a mistake when I picked up this one.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    The Germans have occupied Krakow, Poland, and are rounding up Jews. Sadie and her parents know they need to do something, and Pawel, a Polish sewer worker who knows her father, says he will help hide them underground in the sewer. They are joined by another family, a young man, and his father and grandmother. One day Sadie is looking up through the sewer grate, and locks eyes with Ella a young Polish woman. Ella starts to help them after Pawel is arrested, and the harrowing story continues. In t The Germans have occupied Krakow, Poland, and are rounding up Jews. Sadie and her parents know they need to do something, and Pawel, a Polish sewer worker who knows her father, says he will help hide them underground in the sewer. They are joined by another family, a young man, and his father and grandmother. One day Sadie is looking up through the sewer grate, and locks eyes with Ella a young Polish woman. Ella starts to help them after Pawel is arrested, and the harrowing story continues. In this intense historical novel based on fact, the author has created unforgettable characters, and offered insight into life in wartime Poland. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristina McMorris

    The latest historical from one of my Grand Central coauthors!! I remember reading Pam's debut, The Kommandant's Girl, years before we met and was spellbound from the very first page. And now, I've been lucky enough to get an early peek at her upcoming release for a quote! (Jealous??) :) “Once again, Pam Jenoff displays her mastery at illuminating little-known yet remarkably important nuggets of WWII history. I was immediately mesmerized by The Woman with the Blue Star, a haunting tale of enduri The latest historical from one of my Grand Central coauthors!! I remember reading Pam's debut, The Kommandant's Girl, years before we met and was spellbound from the very first page. And now, I've been lucky enough to get an early peek at her upcoming release for a quote! (Jealous??) :) “Once again, Pam Jenoff displays her mastery at illuminating little-known yet remarkably important nuggets of WWII history. I was immediately mesmerized by The Woman with the Blue Star, a haunting tale of enduring bonds, impossible sacrifice, and an inspiring fortitude to survive the darkness—in every sense. Book clubs will assuredly devour this compulsively readable novel that both wrenches and warms the heart.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    A few days ago I finished reading “The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos” which was also set in Poland. Unfortunately, this novel felt so superficial when compared to the nonfiction account of women during the war that it seemed pointless for me to continue reading this.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marci Colyer

    An intriguing and thrilling book! I really enjoyed the suspense throughout the story and am appalled that someone would have to live in a sewer to be safe, let alone, be born there. This historical fiction book was inspired by others who really did stay in the sewers during WW11 to escape the Jewish persecution. I’m thankful to the author for reaching out to me to read it!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)

    “Because when people look back on the history of this time, at what happened, they should see that we tried to do something.” Oh my heart. This book broke it to pieces and then gently put it back together, a little tender from the process but for the better. There were moments I wept, moments I smiled (despite the ever-present ache for these characters), and moments I even swooned a little. And most of all I fell in love with each of the major players in this story – their courage, their humanity “Because when people look back on the history of this time, at what happened, they should see that we tried to do something.” Oh my heart. This book broke it to pieces and then gently put it back together, a little tender from the process but for the better. There were moments I wept, moments I smiled (despite the ever-present ache for these characters), and moments I even swooned a little. And most of all I fell in love with each of the major players in this story – their courage, their humanity, their hearts – and was struck by the parallels and juxtapositions between their tale and our current world. The Woman with the Blue Star gripped me from the very first chapter and held me in rapt attention until the bittersweet end. I’ve read a lot of WW2 fiction, much of it written around the Jewish perspective of events and the variety of conditions in which they fought to survive. But I’ve never been introduced to conditions quite like these, and I am still recovering from the new awareness of such stunning situations and such brave resilience. The scene where Sadie and her pregnant mother realize that to survive, after already so great a loss, they must hide for an indeterminate time … in the sewers …. Y’all. I can’t even describe how my mind & heart & spirit viscerally reacted to this knowledge on their behalf. That, because you are labeled with a blue star, forced upon you by an enemy who wants to eradicate you for your heritage, you must leave your comfortable and joy-filled lifestyle to be imprisoned in a ghetto where random arrests & killings are the norm. To then live for who knows how long in nearly complete darkness, with smells we do everything to avoid in our comfortable world. Sewage water all around you, soaking your clothing and shoes, seeping into your pores. Filth you can never escape. Forced to eat food that goes against your religion. Food dependent on the continued concern of a rescuer – and on the rescuer’s continued safety. All just to ensure you and your loved ones – and a remnant of your people – survive when so many others have not. I don’t think my safe, comfortable American lifestyle can truly comprehend the horror of such a change in circumstance. Even in the middle of a pandemic when circumstances have changed all around us, we are still so far removed from conditions like those Sadie, her mother, the family who escaped with them (and the actual, non-fictional others like them) had to endure. Lest you think this book is heavier than you can bear, let me assure you that there is a thread of hope that lets in light to illuminate the darkness. In fact, those rays of light look an awful lot like sunshine flickering through a sewer grate to the murky blackness below. It looks like a hand reaching down to the pit – and a hand reaching up – in friendship and compassion. It looks like people of great courage enduring the unimaginable to conquer what seems to be an impossible opponent. It looks like sacrificial love, and it looks like the best of humanity standing strong even when the worst of humanity seems to be winning. Your heart may be bruised a bit from the reading of this beautiful story – it should be bruised a bit – but it will also swell with joy in the end. Because true Hope never disappoints us. Bottom Line: There were so many moments in The Woman with the Blue Star when I held my breath, not knowing what would happen next or who would survive… or who was the modern-day woman in the prologue? Pam Jenoff expertly weaves together a multi-layered tale with a distinct skill that reminded me why I loved The Orphan’s Tale so much too. The smartly-written, shifting first person narrative connected me on a personal level with these characters, putting me in someone else’s shoes for a while, and their imprint will linger on my heart for a long time to come. This is a story not easily forgotten, and one that everyone needs to read. (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book) first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ceylan (CeyGo)

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read The Woman With The Blue Star When Sadie and her family decide to escape the Kraków ghetto , they end up living underneath the city, in the sewers with another family. Sadie forms an unlike relationship with Ella, a Polish girl with ties to the Nazis, so tries to help Sadie and her family. Overall, this book didn’t like up to my expectations. The underlying story of the families living in the Kraków sewers to survive was not someth Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read The Woman With The Blue Star When Sadie and her family decide to escape the Kraków ghetto , they end up living underneath the city, in the sewers with another family. Sadie forms an unlike relationship with Ella, a Polish girl with ties to the Nazis, so tries to help Sadie and her family. Overall, this book didn’t like up to my expectations. The underlying story of the families living in the Kraków sewers to survive was not something I was familiar with, and I found that aspect educational and informative. I did not like Sadie’s character - she quite often acted way younger than her years, and behaved more like a petulant child than a young woman ( especially in those times) ... the love stories seemed forced and didn’t really add much to the story, and overall, I wanted to know what happened, but I wasn’t that invested in the story at all.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robin Loves Reading

    Is there any way to survive beyond despair and hopelessness? In this fictionalized tale of two young women, this incredibly heartbreaking and what will most certainly prove to be memorable story by Pam Jenoff, these very emotions due to harrowing experiences are explored. Surviving in the Kraków Ghetto during the bleak days of World War II was mostly impossible and proved a death sentence for an incredible number of Jews. Driven to the sewers and being forced to survive in utterly deplorable con Is there any way to survive beyond despair and hopelessness? In this fictionalized tale of two young women, this incredibly heartbreaking and what will most certainly prove to be memorable story by Pam Jenoff, these very emotions due to harrowing experiences are explored. Surviving in the Kraków Ghetto during the bleak days of World War II was mostly impossible and proved a death sentence for an incredible number of Jews. Driven to the sewers and being forced to survive in utterly deplorable conditions is the only way two families can survive the Nazis intent on liquidating the ghetto in 1942. Sadie and her parents barely survive day by day and one day she looks up through a grate and meets Ella Stepanek, a Polish woman of a similar age. The two become as close as sisters despite their impossible predicament. Both Sadie and Ella's lives are filled with grief, but for entirely different reasons. Hiding in the sewer is a nearly impossible experience for Sadie. For Ella, living with her stepmother who has allianced herself with the Germans, and losing her fiancé brings Ella her own form of grief and pain. I have read more than a few historical fiction books and they all have had a powerful impact on me. This book, The Woman with the Blue Star, hit me harder than most. I admit to breaking down in tears more than once, and even had to put the book down a few times to gather myself. This book is an important one, and it is utterly relevant. In fact, in the Acknowledgments at the back of the book the author gives great insight as to why she wrote this book and how it even impacts us now, as many of us are leaving the seclusion of our lives due to the pandemic. With Sadie and Ella, their seclusion was different, of course. With Sadie, she had to remain hidden underground in order to survive. For Ella, even walking about Poland as a legal citizen, she could not go about without papers. Unimaginable to me, but definitely worth deep thought. I am reading this book late, but in searching through my backlog, I realized the importance of this book and strove to get it read and reviewed, and now hope that other readers will also take the time to immerse themselves in this nugget of history. This book teaches about survival and that is something that we all need to learn in one way or another. Many thanks to Park Row and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Baubie

    This was my first go at historical fiction and I’m happy to say it was just wonderful! A gripping story of heartache, love, death and life.. beautiful. In this fast-paced, heart-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat read we follow Ella and Sadie on their journey of friendship and survival amidst the chaos of WW2. It drew me in fairly quick. Thinking of the terrors that many people were drawn to and forced to endure to simply survive,.. and barely at that, makes me sick. A real page turner—especially towa This was my first go at historical fiction and I’m happy to say it was just wonderful! A gripping story of heartache, love, death and life.. beautiful. In this fast-paced, heart-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat read we follow Ella and Sadie on their journey of friendship and survival amidst the chaos of WW2. It drew me in fairly quick. Thinking of the terrors that many people were drawn to and forced to endure to simply survive,.. and barely at that, makes me sick. A real page turner—especially towards the end. Such an excellent reminder(for myself) that when things seem awful, they could be much MUCH worse. Overall, an intense and captivating read. Definitely recommend! *Side note* That ending!!!..🤯🤯…It sent me. Completely caught me off guard. Talk about twisty!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Metcalf

    The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff  tells the story of an unlikely friendship between Sadie, a young Jewish girl, and Ella,  a Polish girl whose step mother is in collaboration with the Nazi's. Given this was set during WWII their friendship is surprising enough.   The fact that Sadie and her remaining family are in hiding from the Nazi's and have spent months inside the sewers beneath the streets of Krakow Poland makes it seem all the more unlikely.      Though this story was definitely The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff  tells the story of an unlikely friendship between Sadie, a young Jewish girl, and Ella,  a Polish girl whose step mother is in collaboration with the Nazi's. Given this was set during WWII their friendship is surprising enough.   The fact that Sadie and her remaining family are in hiding from the Nazi's and have spent months inside the sewers beneath the streets of Krakow Poland makes it seem all the more unlikely.      Though this story was definitely a work of fiction the author noted it was inspired by the true story of a small group of Jews who survived the war in the sewers beneath Lviv, Poland.    Every time I pick up a WWII novel I learn something and this was no exception.     How could it be possible to live in the sewers?   To spend not just hours, or days but weeks and months in those conditions.  Their very survival depended upon the goodness of others willing to risk their own lives by providing food and other essentials.      One thing I often wonder about when reading WWII fiction is how I would behave if I found myself in this situation.   Ella expressed it this way when she first met Sadie. The truth was, I was not a brave person. I would never help the Germans— of that much I was certain. But I had not been courageous enough to stop them from expelling Miriam, and I was wary of trying to help this strange girl now. Though she expressed her doubts she was indeed the type of brave person who made a difference and helped others survive.     I hope never to be tested in this way but would like to imagine I'd pass the bravery test in the name of helping others. Whilst the horrendous treatment of Jews by the Nazi's was referenced it somehow seemed less evident than some other WWII books I've read.   Damage to property and the threat of violence was included and these threats were enough to ratchet up the tension but thankfully the concentration camps and the worst of the atrocities performed in these places was only hinted at.     This, combined with the ages of our central characters Sadie and Ella, gave the book an almost YAF feel.    It is not promoted that way but I felt it might be a way to introduce historical fiction to younger readers. This was my introduction to Pam Jenoff's work and I would definitely try her again.   My thanks to her, to Harlequin Books and NetGalley for the opportunity of reading this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review which it was my pleasure to provide.

  25. 5 out of 5

    warhawke

    Genre: Historical Romance Type: Standalone POV: First Person - Dual Rating: Sadie Gault had a dream of her future she looked forward to. However, the longer the German forces occupied her city, the quickly her dream crumbled like the buildings around her. But hope came from an unlikely ally she found in Ella Stepanek. A friendship that could save their souls, no matter how the odds stacked against them. When I read books in a war setting, I want to feel the characters’ pain and suffering. This book Genre: Historical Romance Type: Standalone POV: First Person - Dual Rating: Sadie Gault had a dream of her future she looked forward to. However, the longer the German forces occupied her city, the quickly her dream crumbled like the buildings around her. But hope came from an unlikely ally she found in Ella Stepanek. A friendship that could save their souls, no matter how the odds stacked against them. When I read books in a war setting, I want to feel the characters’ pain and suffering. This book is a bit mild on that aspect but it didn’t take away my enjoyment of the story. "But what choice do I have? To live with fear or grief or any emotion constantly would be paralyzing. So I put one foot in front of the other and I breathe and I string the days together. It isn’t enough,” she continued, gaining force behind her words. “I want more for my life. But this is the reality.” Sadie and Ella might come from a different part of the city but desperation, survival, and humanity brought them together. I loved how they helped each other overcome their personal and shared adversity. I also enjoyed the addition of the supporting characters and the mild romance amid difficult situations. The Woman with the Blue Star is a tale of friendship and survival. It would appeal to readers who enjoy Historical Fiction set in the World War II era. ✖💠✖ . . . (F)BR With Twinsie CC . . . ✖💠✖ For more reviews/interviews/promo visit:

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Cappelluti

    The Woman With the Blue Star is a WWII story of survival that will grab the reader's attention, captivate his/her soul, and then break his/her heart. It is filled with so many rescues, escapes, tragedies, resilience, love and friendship, and heroism. First we meet Sadie and her parents, escaping the German destruction of the Jewish ghetto and all its residents with another family, to take residence underground in the sewers of Poland. Loss and survival live side by side in this dirty and dank tun The Woman With the Blue Star is a WWII story of survival that will grab the reader's attention, captivate his/her soul, and then break his/her heart. It is filled with so many rescues, escapes, tragedies, resilience, love and friendship, and heroism. First we meet Sadie and her parents, escaping the German destruction of the Jewish ghetto and all its residents with another family, to take residence underground in the sewers of Poland. Loss and survival live side by side in this dirty and dank tunnel.It is bleak, dark, and unimaginable. Then we meet Ella, a young and beautiful Polish girl, left an orphan in war torn Poland during the occupation, but living in her father's lovely home with her horrible step-mother who has taken to collaborating with the Nazis. It is while running an errand for her step-mother when Ella catches sight of a girl's face through the slats of a sewer, after Sadie, perhaps in a moment of weakness, succumbs to the urge to, just once, feel the sun on her face. This chance "meeting" is just the beginning and the two girls form an unlikely friendship as a result. The tragedies and heartache that befall both girls will keep you captivated as it did me; I could not stop reading until I reached the last page and finished the book in just a day and a half. My only complaint was that it left me so very confused between the last few pages of the last chapter and the Epilogue. In fact, if any readers of this review care to discuss the confusing ending, I'd welcome it! But for that confusion, The Woman with the Blue Star would be my "MUST READ" of the year!!!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allyson Jamison

    Please go read this book. Please, just go. No questions asked it is definitely a must read. This is an emotional and heartfelt book. The raw emotion, pain, and love had me crying so many times throughout this book. No, not just crying, sobbing. I don't know if I have ever cried so hard over a book. Everything about it was just amazing and I truly cannot rant and rave over it enough. The unlikely friendship that formed between these two girls and carried them through so much was just breath taking. Please go read this book. Please, just go. No questions asked it is definitely a must read. This is an emotional and heartfelt book. The raw emotion, pain, and love had me crying so many times throughout this book. No, not just crying, sobbing. I don't know if I have ever cried so hard over a book. Everything about it was just amazing and I truly cannot rant and rave over it enough. The unlikely friendship that formed between these two girls and carried them through so much was just breath taking. There are no words that could truly express this book and all the emotions packed in. I think this is a book that everyone needs to read but be warned, if you are looking for a comedy than this is not the book for you. Otherwise, it is.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara Salehi

    The Woman With the Blue Star is a story of hope, loss, and friendship set in WWII in Poland. Sadie and her family are Jewish, and they've been relocated to live under a sewer to stay hidden from the Nazis. Ella, a Polish girl who lives with her step-mother, a collaborator who entertains the Germans, has peculiarly met Sadie. They're both attempting to survive while living the most challenging time of the war. Both of their families have intertwined in despair, and a shadow of hope, and their liv The Woman With the Blue Star is a story of hope, loss, and friendship set in WWII in Poland. Sadie and her family are Jewish, and they've been relocated to live under a sewer to stay hidden from the Nazis. Ella, a Polish girl who lives with her step-mother, a collaborator who entertains the Germans, has peculiarly met Sadie. They're both attempting to survive while living the most challenging time of the war. Both of their families have intertwined in despair, and a shadow of hope, and their lives ultimately depend on each other. This book is written from both perspectives and gives a new range of thoughts on survival and fate. I'm amazed by Pam Jenoff’s way of creating such an incredible and imaginative story that is a definite page-turner. Though the book is entirely fiction, it's partly based on a real family living in a sewer during the war, which makes this story even more powerful. Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    Pam Jenoff’s latest WWII novel is set in Poland. In the prologue there is a woman in her 70s who has traveled to Kraków to find some information to finally put together her story. She is trying to get up the courage to speak to another woman, a 90 year old lady sitting in the cafe. Although this sounds like it will be a dual timeline story, it is not. The prologue and the epilogue bookend this story with the present, but the rest transports us back to wartime and the friendship that develops bet Pam Jenoff’s latest WWII novel is set in Poland. In the prologue there is a woman in her 70s who has traveled to Kraków to find some information to finally put together her story. She is trying to get up the courage to speak to another woman, a 90 year old lady sitting in the cafe. Although this sounds like it will be a dual timeline story, it is not. The prologue and the epilogue bookend this story with the present, but the rest transports us back to wartime and the friendship that develops between Sadie Gault and Ella Stepanek. The story opens in 1942, with eighteen year old Sadie living in the Kraków ghetto with her parents. She looks a lot younger than 18, so her parents do not have her register to work. While the adults are away, the Nazis swoop in to find and take the children. Sadie hides and is safe, but many others were taken, never to be seen again. As this happens more often, Sadie's parents decide they need to leave the ghetto and go into hiding, just as the Germans are rounding up all the residents so they can close the ghetto. They head to the sewers, her father, her pregnant mother, herself and a devout Jewish family, the Rosenbergs. A sewer worker and friend of her fathers, Pawel, is their only link to the outside world. He brings them food and news until the day he doesn't come back. Ella Stepanek is dealing with a lot. Her father joined the Polish Army and never came back. Her stepmother is partying and collaborating with the Nazis. She tells Ella it is to keep them safe and provide them with what they need, but Ella is sick about it. She also loses all her friends because of her stepmother's actions. She is in the market one day, when Sadie just happens to look up and their eyes meet. Ella begins helping Sadie and they become friends, Sadie hanging around the market grate during the day is extremely dangerous for both of them, it only takes one person to notice something and alert the Germans. This is a story based on true stories of Jewish people living in sewers during WWII, although the story itself is fiction. They were desperate for somewhere to hide from the Germans and not be sent to the concentration camps. I can not fathom what the Jewish people went through during this time to try and survive, some of them still being found. The characters in this story are well developed and elicited many emotions. These are characters who will be with me for a long time to come. I know when I pick up a Pam Jenoff book that it will be well-researched and extremely heartfelt. I read a lot of books involving WWII, and I am always looking for a new POV, one that shows me a new piece of what happened, and this one did just that. This is a story about survival in a horrendous place, sacrifice, the good and the evil of human behaviour, friendship, hope, and love. I recommend this book to those who read Historical Fiction, specifically WWII stories. I did a read/listen of The Woman with the Blue Star and enjoyed both formats. The audiobook was narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya, Emily Lawrence & Nancy Peterson. I always enjoy books that have a team of narrators as they can give characters a unique voice. This book was extremely well done with the expression, tone and inflection depicting the emotions of the time and situation. I recommend either the audiobook or the physical book. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    I haven’t done a whole lot since yesterday, because I was so completely engrossed by this book—The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff. Gripping and heart-wrenching, it is the story of two Jewish families who find refuge in a sewer in Krakow, after the ghetto in which they were living was liquidated by the Germans. I’m always astonished when I learn one more story of incredible desperation and bravery which took place during the Holocaust, and this particular story took my breath away. With m I haven’t done a whole lot since yesterday, because I was so completely engrossed by this book—The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff. Gripping and heart-wrenching, it is the story of two Jewish families who find refuge in a sewer in Krakow, after the ghetto in which they were living was liquidated by the Germans. I’m always astonished when I learn one more story of incredible desperation and bravery which took place during the Holocaust, and this particular story took my breath away. With masterful storytelling, I felt as if I were in that sewer with Sadie and the others, traversing the tunnels under the city, hungry and filthy and terrified. This is also a story of an unlikely friendship between two women who meet under extraordinary circumstances, and their devotion, selflessness, and courage.

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