From the New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris comes a riveting tale of unfathomable sacrifice and unlikely friendship during World War II.
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.
This was read as part of a blog tour.
I’ve read a lot of historical fiction books about WWII and how the Jewish people survived. This is one that I never would have imagined. Never! It’s beyond belief what one race is capable of doing to another. It’s amazing what a person can endure to survive. This book gives us a look at one of the worst I have read about yet. The conditions are horrendous. How they endured it is beyond belief. Yet it was based on an actual account. This happened. Though this book is a work of fiction.
This story is told from Ella and Sadie’s POVs. Each has a story to share. How they intersect is quite a touching and sad story indeed. But it’s a story of a strong friendship found in a short period of time. These two girls barely knew each other yet would do anything for the other. Including put their own life in jeopardy for the other. Give up their life for the other. A deep and true friendship of the most unlikely kind.
It amazes me how the German’s were so filled with hate. How they thought that a person who was different was not worth anything. How anyone that is Jewish did not deserve to live. How they were less valued than anything or anyone. Or as Ella noticed, The paintings were being rescued, yet we were being left behind to face whatever fate awaited us under the Germans. How can a human life be less value than any painting? Who does this? What makes a person so cold and cruel?
This book starts out in 2016 with one woman watching for another. Planning to meet her. Then it goes back to 1943 and tells the story of what happened back then. At the end all comes together in a way that will make you hold your breath. Make you take a shaky breath for sure. I was shocked. I was not prepared for who the woman was meeting. But it’s a great ending to a well written and much researched story. A story of such sadness. Such heartache. Such loss.
This book will pull you in from the very beginning and it won’t let go. Knowing what is happening to these people and what happened to so many who were not even this fortunate. Not even fortunate enough to have a sewer to survive in. The characters are so likable, most of them. The setting is so sad. The conditions so horrible. You will feel the filth and stench of the sewer. The pain that these families go through. The loss they feel. The sadness at losing family. Giving up the only life they had ever known. The kindness of the girl that helped as much as she could.
Thank you to #NetGalley, #PamJenoff, #Harlequin for the ARC.. This is my own true feelings about this book.
5/5 stars and the highest recommendation. Grab this one.