As WWII was escalating, Hannah Martel, living in Berlin, Germany, together with her lover Isaac, were members of the resistance. Once Isaac was murdered, Hannah tried to escape by ship to Havana. When foreigners were unable to disembark and the United States refused to let the ship continue on, the passengers were forced to return to Europe. Hannah found refuge with a cousin who lived in Belgium. She is welcomed with open arms and Hannah moves in with her cousin Lily, her husband and young son in Brussels. Lily naively believes that she and the Jewish residents of Brussels are safe. As Hannah is a known member of the resistance, she fears for her life and seeks help to leave the country, which is now under German occupation. Hannah connects with a local resistance group known as the Sapphire Line, headed by Micheline, a brave young woman aided by her brother Matteo. Hannah agrees to help the group in exchange for a means to escape. Hannah gets involved in their efforts to rescue airmen as well as a unique plan to rescue Lily and her family on a train bound for Auschwitz after they are arrested.
Pam Jenoff has written a collection of compelling WWII-era books that are inspired by real-life occurrences and true heroes. In Code Name Sapphire, Jenoff found her inspiration for the Sapphire Line in the Comet Line, a resistance organization in the 1940's as well as the actual attack by the Belgian Resistance which freed over 100 prisoners from a train heading to Auschwitz in 1943. The women in this fast-paced book were complex, brave and fierce. They were not always likeable and did not always make the right decisions, which made them more realistic. As many books in this genre, this is a story of strength and resilience during the worst of times. These stories need to continue to be told.
Many thanks to Harlequin Trade Publishing | Park Row for the opportunity to read Code Name Sapphire in advance. As with all Jenoff's books, they set the reader down a path to learning more about the actual events, which I always appreciate.
Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: February 7, 2023.
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