The Woman With the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff
Release Date - May 4, 2021
Eighteen-year-old Sadie Gault lives with her parents in the Krakow Ghetto during WWII. When the ghetto is raided and all Jews are removed, Sadie, her pregnant mom, and her dad escape with the help of a local worker. They're forced to live underground in the sewers where they rely on food deliveries from the guy that helped them.
It's there that Sadie "meets" a Polish girl who lives in a wealthier part of town. Ella is shocked to learn of the people living in the sewers and vows to help them. It's hard to keep this up when her stepmother brings home the Germans every night, and people in town question why she keeps heading into the impoverished, dangerous parts of town.
In a dangerous time and in extraordinarily grim situations, the friendship that forms between Sadie and Ella is undeniable but puts them both in extreme danger.
The Woman With the Blue Star is fictional but based on some true accounts. It's hard not to feel so many emotions while you read Sadie's story and see how Ella fits into it. I enjoyed getting to know both characters, but I definitely felt every ounce of Sadie's sadness and frustration.
Plus, there's the mystery that starts in the opening chapter. A woman is in Poland ready to meet the stranger she's been watching for days. When she finally gets up the courage, she realizes the person she's meeting isn't who she thought. Until the end, you won't learn who these women are, and you'll be eager to get to the end to figure it out.
It's an exceptional story that held my attention from start to finish. My heart still breaks that people could be so cruel and that some still haven't learned from the past. Pam Jenoff once again delighted me with her look at the hope and sadness the Jews experienced during that time.