When one nation forces occupation on the other, there are two choices: stay silent and hope that you live to see freedom. The other is to fight against the occupier, knowing full well what the consequences could be.
Pam Jenoff‘s new novel, Code Name Sapphire, was published last month. Hannah Martel is on the run from Nazi Germany. After losing her fiance during a pogrom, she hopes that the ship she is on will take her to America and freedom. But it is sent back to Europe ( a la SS St. Louis). With nowhere else to go, she lands in Brussels and moves in with her cousin Lily and Lily’s family.
Instead of laying low, she returns to her previous resistance work, hoping that this will be her ticket out. Joining the group known as Code Name Sapphire, she meets its leader, Micheline, and Micheline’s brother, Matteo. When a mistake causes Lily’s family to be arrested and put on the list for deportation to Auschwitz, Hannah has to choose. She can continue with her resistance work or find a way to undo the damage of her error.
Jenoff does it again. Her narratives are powerful, human, and compelling, and speak to the complications that war creates. One of the things that spoke to me was the perceived comfort that Lily believed was hers. Knowing what we know now, it was merely a smoke screen that temporarily delayed the inevitable.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Code Name Sapphire is available wherever books are sold.
P.S. It is beyond disgusting that once more, the Republican Party appropriates history to fit their needs.