by Pam Jenoff
In 1942, Hannah Martel is on a ship traveling from Germany to America via Cuba. Her fiancé has been killed and she lost her unborn child when the Nazis invaded their business where they were publishing anti-Nazi propaganda. When the ship reaches Cuba, they are refused entry and have to be re-routed to Brussels. Hannah does not want to be back in Nazi territory again but she has no choice. She gets word to her cousin, Lily, who lives in Brussels with her husband and child. Although she and Lily haven’t seen each other in quite awhile they were very close as children and she is hoping that Lily will meet her when the ship docks and take her in until she can make new plans to go to America.
Lily’s husband is a doctor and although Germans police are everywhere, she thinks that because they are from Brussels, they are safe. Hannah knows what is happening and it isn’t until Lily’s husband loses his job at the hospital and food becomes scarcer that Lily begins to understand that all Jews are in danger. On a chance meeting, Hannah meets Matteo who introduces her to his sister, Micheline. Micheline is running the Sapphire Line an underground network that rescues downed British fliers and tries to get them across the Pyrenees to safety. After Micheline learns about Hannah’s resistance work in Germany she makes a bargain with her. If Hannah helps them she guarantees that she will get her new identity papers and safe passage out of Brussels. Hannah has no choice but to help her because she is also Jewish and is a marked woman in Germany because of her resistance work. She must get to America and safety and this is her only option.
The work of the Sapphire Line is dangerous and when some of their safe houses are raided and some of rescued soldiers and their operatives are killed, Micheline begins to realize that they have a traitor in their midst. Who is it and who can they trust? When Hannah does something foolish that brings Lily to the attention of the German police, she is arrested along with her husband and son. Hannah can’t let Lily be transported to Auschwitz so she stays and tries to figure out a way to save Lily and her family.
Based on true events, Code Name Sapphire is an unforgettable story of war, love, sacrifice, loyalty and family bonds.
Thanks to Park Row and NetGalley for the advanced reading copy.