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The Woman with the Blue Star

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  4,491 ratings  ·  684 reviews
1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish
Kindle Edition, 281 pages
Published May 4th 2021 by Park Row
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
First half : 4 stars
Second half: 2 stars
Overall rating: 3 stars

This book revolves around a very unlikely friendship. Ella and Sadie are from two different worlds. Ella is a Polish girl living with her selfish and uncaring stepmother who entertains Nazi officers occupying their town. Sadie is a Jewish girl hiding underground in the sewers with her pregnant mother and another Jewish family. Their chance meeting at the sewer grate begins a friendship that gets them through devastating and tragic
Karren  Sandercock

Sadie Gault is eighteen, she’s living with her parents in the Kraków ghetto in 1942, her parent’s think she’s safe hiding in the apartment during the day, and it’s not the case. One day when the adults are at work; the Germans start emptying the ghetto, all the children are taken and it’s just the start. Sadie manages to hide and the next day she starts working at the shoe factory with her mother. She has no idea her father has been making escape plans with a friend, Pawel is a sewer worker and
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
3.5 stars

The horrors of the war are innumerable and in this book, Pan Jenoff portrays a life of terror for two Jewish families who find their ghetto being sacked and their people being herded into convoys. Through the kindness of one man, they are led away to a kind of safety at least for now. The place is a sewer and the awfulness of this situation is well portrayed from the smell, to the rats, to the putrid water, they find themselves in.

Tragedy happens almost immediately as the father drowns
May 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Imagine if you were given the opportunity to survive and escape the brutality of the Nazis. Would you sign on even if it meant putting up with deplorable living conditions, constant fear of being discovered and the ultimate loss of loved ones? That was what eighteen year old Sadie Gault and her parents chose to do in Pam Jenoff’s newest novel, The Woman With the Blue Star. Sadie grew up in Krakow, Poland and enjoyed a peaceful and fulfilling life there with her parents, friends, family and teach ...more
May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down? For me, it was this book!!

I have read many historical fiction books taking place during WWII, and Pam Jenoff is one of the best writers in this category! I am always looking to learn something new and her books are always well researched and deliver every time. I think this is one of her best yet!!

The book is based on true events and shares the stories of the Jewish families that lived in the sewers of Krakow Poland during WWII (1942-
Mary Kubica
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a powerful and absolutely transporting novel. Pam Jenoff can do no wrong. This is a must read!
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 Stars

The Woman with the Blue Star is inspired by the true story of a small group of Jewish people who escaped the Nazis and survived WWII in the sewers of Lviv, Poland. Now, as time goes by, it's harder to tell these stories and base them on real-life people as the people who lived through them are gone. Theirs stories still need to be told, and authors are a little more creative in the way they tell them. Pam Jenoff has done that and taken inspiration from the nonfiction book In the Sewers
Apr 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pam Jenoff’s latest WWII-era novel is set in Poland. In this moving book’s prologue, a woman in her 70s has traveled to Kraków and has summoned up the courage to speak to an elderly women in her 90s who she believes holds important information for her. The story then transports us back to wartime and the friendship that develops between Sadie Gault and Ella Stepanek.

In 1942, Sadie Gault and her parents have been forced out of their home to live in the Kraków Ghetto. Soon, the Nazis no longer se
Sally Hepworth
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pam Jenoff can do no wrong
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Leaving your beautiful home, having to move to the ghetto, and then forced out of the ghetto into hiding in the city sewer system.

Could this get any worse for Sadie and her family?

Could it really be a hiding place unknown to the Germans and a safe place for two Jewish families?

Sadie and her mother knew it was the best place to be for now, but living there was horrible. No windows, awful smells, floods, and always cold.

One day Sadie notices a girl looking down through a grate. Sadie drew back, bu
Jun 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin-Trade Publishing for an egalley in exchange for an honest review

Pam Jenoff is an author that always has me anticipating what aspect of WWII that she will explore next. In her latest novel, set in Krakow Poland, we are introduced to two women- Ella, a Christian Pole from an affluent neighbourhood and Sadie, a Polish Jew whose family takes refuge in a sewer when their ghetto is liquidated. As their paths run into each other, there will be times of great danger a
May 09, 2021 rated it liked it
This is a work of fiction inspired by the true story of a small group of Jews who survived World War II in the sewers of Lviv, Poland.
The setting here is Krakow, Poland (1942/1943).
It’s a haunting and heartbreaking story of extraordinary bravery, survival, love and friendship.
The will to survive is unbelievable.
Can you imagine leaving hidden in the sewers for at least one year with your family, sharing with strangers, depending on the generosity of others and leaving with fear of betrayal and be
Jessica | JustReadingJess
The Woman with the Blue Star is an excellent story of friendship during World War II. This great historical fiction story is told from the perspective of two teenagers. Sadie is Jewish and living in a sewer with her mother and a family they just met. Ella is a rich girl living with her step mother after her father’s death. Her step mother is friends with Nazis and has them over for parties, which Ella doesn’t approve of. All Sadie has is her family, and all Ella wants is someone that cares about ...more
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I've just read too many historical fiction novels and memoirs set during World War II which explore the Jewish experience, but this novel just didn't work for me. Jenoff's premise is enticing: a dual storyline pairing two young girls, one a Jewish girl in hiding (Sadie) and the other a wealthy Polish girl (Ella), with heightened tension due to the precariousness of Sadie's hiding place in the sewers of Krakow. Yet, Jennoff's writing is borderline brusque and the language is childish, jumpi ...more
Apr 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Germans have occupied Krakow, Poland, and are rounding up Jews. Sadie and her parents know they need to do something, and Pawel, a Polish sewer worker who knows her father, says he will help hide them underground in the sewer. They are joined by another family, a young man, and his father and grandmother. One day Sadie is looking up through the sewer grate, and locks eyes with Ella a young Polish woman. Ella starts to help them after Pawel is arrested, and the harrowing story continues. In t ...more
Kristina McMorris
The latest historical from one of my Grand Central coauthors!! I remember reading Pam's debut, The Kommandant's Girl, years before we met and was spellbound from the very first page. And now, I've been lucky enough to get an early peek at her upcoming release for a quote! (Jealous??) :)

“Once again, Pam Jenoff displays her mastery at illuminating little-known yet remarkably important nuggets of WWII history. I was immediately mesmerized by The Woman with the Blue Star, a haunting tale of enduri
May 11, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, overdrive, dnf
A few days ago I finished reading “The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos” which was also set in Poland. Unfortunately, this novel felt so superficial when compared to the nonfiction account of women during the war that it seemed pointless for me to continue reading this.
Marci Colyer
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing and thrilling book! I really enjoyed the suspense throughout the story and am appalled that someone would have to live in a sewer to be safe, let alone, be born there. This historical fiction book was inspired by others who really did stay in the sewers during WW11 to escape the Jewish persecution. I’m thankful to the author for reaching out to me to read it!
Ann Sheldon Mezger
I hate to give bad reviews because I know how hard it is to write a novel and I appreciate all the work an author puts into it. But "The Woman with the Blue Star" just doesn't work -- as adult fiction anyway. (Revised for a young teen audience, maybe.) The two protagonists are supposed to be 19-year-old women, but they act and sound like immature 12-year-olds, at best. Their voices are interchangeable. Minor characters are simply stereotypes. Evil stepmother, anyone? Situations strain belief. No ...more
Ceylan (CeyGo)
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read The Woman With The Blue Star

When Sadie and her family decide to escape the Kraków ghetto , they end up living underneath the city, in the sewers with another family. Sadie forms an unlike relationship with Ella, a Polish girl with ties to the Nazis, so tries to help Sadie and her family.

Overall, this book didn’t like up to my expectations. The underlying story of the families living in the Kraków sewers to survive was not someth
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
“Because when people look back on the history of this time, at what happened, they should see that we tried to do something.”

Oh my heart. This book broke it to pieces and then gently put it back together, a little tender from the process but for the better. There were moments I wept, moments I smiled (despite the ever-present ache for these characters), and moments I even swooned a little. And most of all I fell in love with each of the major players in this story – their courage, their humanity
Baubie xx
May 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first go at historical fiction and I’m happy to say it was just wonderful!

A gripping story of heartache, love, death and life.. beautiful. In this fast-paced, heart-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat read we follow Ella and Sadie on their journey of friendship and survival amidst the chaos of WW2. It drew me in fairly quick. Thinking of the terrors that many people were drawn to and forced to endure to simply survive,.. and barely at that, makes me sick. A real page turner—especially towa
Genre: Historical Romance
Type: Standalone
POV: First Person - Dual

Sadie Gault had a dream of her future she looked forward to. However, the longer the German forces occupied her city, the quickly her dream crumbled like the buildings around her. But hope came from an unlikely ally she found in Ella Stepanek. A friendship that could save their souls, no matter how the odds stacked against them.

When I read books in a war setting, I want to feel the characters’ pain and suffering. This book
Gayle Cappelluti
The Woman With the Blue Star is a WWII story of survival that will grab the reader's attention, captivate his/her soul, and then break his/her heart. It is filled with so many rescues, escapes, tragedies, resilience, love and friendship, and heroism.
First we meet Sadie and her parents, escaping the German destruction of the Jewish ghetto and all its residents with another family, to take residence underground in the sewers of Poland. Loss and survival live side by side in this dirty and dank tun
Sara Salehi
May 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Woman With the Blue Star is a story of hope, loss, and friendship set in WWII in Poland. Sadie and her family are Jewish, and they've been relocated to live under a sewer to stay hidden from the Nazis. Ella, a Polish girl who lives with her step-mother, a collaborator who entertains the Germans, has peculiarly met Sadie. They're both attempting to survive while living the most challenging time of the war. Both of their families have intertwined in despair, and a shadow of hope, and their liv ...more
Susan Peterson
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t done a whole lot since yesterday, because I was so completely engrossed by this book—The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff. Gripping and heart-wrenching, it is the story of two Jewish families who find refuge in a sewer in Krakow, after the ghetto in which they were living was liquidated by the Germans. I’m always astonished when I learn one more story of incredible desperation and bravery which took place during the Holocaust, and this particular story took my breath away. With m ...more
Stephanie (Bookfever)
The Women with the Blue Star is set in Kraków, Poland during World War II. It’s told through the point of view of two main characters, Sadie Gault and Ella Stepanek. When the Nazis started liquidating the ghetto where Sadie as well as her father and pregnant mother were forced to live along with the other Jewish people, she and her parents fled into the sewers along with another family.

Ella in the meanwhile is living with her stepmother after losing her father when he went off to fight in the wa
As we've all come to expect from Pam, this is a beautifully written and extraordinarily well-researched story. She captures the trials and the triumphs of the human spirit during the WW2 era like no one else. This book is a must-read for all historical fiction fans. ...more
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Pam Jenoff’s latest WWII novel is set in Poland. In the prologue there is a woman in her 70s who has traveled to Kraków to find some information to finally put together her story. She is trying to get up the courage to speak to another woman, a 90 year old lady sitting in the cafe. Although this sounds like it will be a dual timeline story, it is not. The prologue and the epilogue bookend this story with the present, but the rest transports us back to wartime and the friendship that develops bet ...more
Apr 29, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
**Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.**

2.5 stars

Generally, historical fiction is not a genre that I venture into. I studied history for my minor in my degree, and my focus was on the World Wars, the Holocaust, and the Russian Revolution and following. I think for those topics, I tend to have a harder time accepting fictional accounts when I have read so many nonfiction memoirs and writings about experiences during those times. I sa
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Pam is the author of several novels, including her most recent The Woman With The Blue Star, as well as The Lost Girls of Paris and The Orphan's Tale, both instant New York Times bestsellers. Pam was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambri ...more

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