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Why 'The Woman With the Blue Star' Should Be On Your Summer Reading List

You’ll find hope and inspiration in this heartwarming story.

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Woman reading book on sofa
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Whether you’re vacationing at the beach, stretched out on a lounge chair in your backyard, or snuggled under a comfy throw in your air-conditioned bedroom, summer is the time for can’t-put-it-down reads. If you enjoy thought-provoking historical fiction centered on strong, empowered women, then The Woman With the Blue Star, an instant New York Times best seller, is a great pick.

Author Pam Jenoff brings us this unforgettable, gripping tale of heroism and sacrifice, the enduring bonds of family and friendship, and strength in the face of adversity. The Woman With the Blue Star is inspired by the true story of a group of Jewish people who survived World War II by fleeing to the sewers of Lviv, Poland.

One day, a young woman in the sewer looks up through the grates and sees a girl about her age buying flowers. Sadie and Ella come from vastly different worlds. Still, that fleeting glimpse is the beginning of an improbable friendship with deep and dangerous consequences that will reverberate for decades and change both of their lives profoundly. 

About the Setting
Facing the possibility of discovery by the Nazis, as well as starvation and life-threatening floods, the heroic characters of The Woman With the Blue Star live, eat, and sleep in the dark underground of Krakow. “The story originates, as so many of my books do, from my love and reverence for the people who lived through the Holocaust, born out of the years I spent in Eastern Europe working on Holocaust issues,” Jenoff says.

The Author’s Inspiration
Looking for an idea for her next book, Jenoff came upon research about Jews who hid from the Nazis by living for many months in the sewers of Lviv. She was struck by the horrific circumstances they endured, their ingenuity and resilience in surviving, and the selflessness of those who helped them. 

“After 25 years of studying World War II and the Holocaust, when I find a story that makes me gasp, I know I am onto something that will make my readers feel the same way,” Jenoff says. “This was certainly the case with the true inspiration for The Woman With the Blue Star.”

Why This Book Will Resonate With You
Jenoff wrote The Woman With the Blue Star during the pandemic. She notes the challenges we’ve confronted don’t begin to approach the horrors people faced during the Holocaust. However, she believes there are parallels in the way we have all sought and managed to find human connection despite isolating circumstances. “My wish,” Jenoff says, “is that you will see a bit of yourself in my characters and their harrowing but rewarding journey, and that you will find hope and inspiration for your own life.” 

Described by The Washington Post as “a page-turner,” The Woman With the Blue Star has a moving underlying message that will ring true for many of us this summer: Where there is courage, there is hope. Where there is friendship, there is survival.

Don’t miss the next issue of  The Girlfriend  newsletter on July 8. You’ll have a chance to win your own copy of The Woman With the Blue Star!  (25 winners will be randomly chosen).    

Read Pam Jenoff’s emotional and heartwarming story. Purchase your copy of The Woman With the Blue Star.