The Woman with the Blue Star

Harlequin Park Row. May 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780778311546. $28.99; pap. ISBN 9780778389385. $17.99. F
In 1942 Poland, 18-year-old Sadie Gault and her pregnant mother flee the Nazi’s liquidation of the Kraków ghetto and take refuge with another family in the city’s sewers. Ella Stepanek’s life could not be more different; she and her stepmother, a Nazi collaborator, live in relative wealth, and all Ella can think about is her fiancé’s return from the front. One day Ella accidentally spies Sadie underneath one of the sewer grates, and they form an unlikely friendship. As the war starts to go poorly for the Axis powers, each of the girls will need to find the strength to make decisions that will either allow them to survive or condemn them to death.
VERDICT An inspired-by story centered around Sadie and Ella’s friendship, Jenoff’s latest book (after The Lost Girls of Paris) takes place entirely in Kraków and moves back and forth between the perspectives of the two young women as they navigate war, love, loss, friendship, and family. This is a heartfelt, emotional tale about human connection, hope, survival, and struggle during one of humanity’s darkest moments.
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