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TLC Review: Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff

Title: Code Name Sapphire
Author: Pam Jenoff
Year published: 2023
Category: Adult fiction (historical)
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom, France

Summary A woman must rescue her cousin’s family from a train bound for Auschwitz in this riveting tale of bravery and resistance, from the bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris.

1942. Hannah Martel has narrowly escaped Nazi Germany after her fiancé was killed in a pogrom. When her ship bound for America is turned away at port, she has nowhere to go but to her cousin Lily, who lives with her family in Brussels. Fearful for her life, Hannah is desperate to get out of occupied Europe. But with no safe way to leave, she must return to the dangerous underground work she thought she had left behind.

Seeking help, Hannah joins the Sapphire Line, a secret resistance network led by a mysterious woman named Micheline and her enigmatic brother Matteo. But when a grave mistake causes Lily’s family to be arrested and slated for deportation to Auschwitz, Hannah finds herself torn between her loyalties. How much is Hannah willing to sacrifice to save the people she loves? Inspired by incredible true stories of courage and sacrifice, Code Name Sapphire is a powerful novel about love, family and the unshakable resilience of women in even the hardest of times.

Review: I have read so many WWII historical fiction books, you'd think I'd be bored of them or feel that every story is a repeat. But, somehow that isn't true. This one is pretty good.

The cast of characters in this novel is an ensemble one, which I like. The chapters are told from the point of view of the three main women: Hannah; Micheline; and Lily. Each woman has her own reasons for helping the resistance (or not), all of their backgrounds are revealed, and we see how they all connect. The men in their lives (brothers, husbands, sons, and lovers) also play important roles and help propel and fill out the story.

The story is an interesting one and when I read the Afterword, I was surprised at which part was the true portion that stimulated the author to write the story. The rest of the novel is based on true concepts (resistance networks that smuggled British airmen out of Europe so that they could fly missions again), but not on actual factual events.

It turns out the author is doing a virtual visit for my local library in the near future so I am excited to hear her speak about the book.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Alphabet (Author)--J
  • Literary Escapes--Belgium
  • Popsugar--color in the title

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