In 1935, Madeleine Levy's beloved grandfather, Alfred Dreyfus, has passed away. But while Alfred Dreyfus has died, the values he instilled within his children and grandchildren have only grown stronger, particularly in the years leading up to WWII. It is with these values in mind that Madeleine dares to rise above her status and do whatever she can for people who are not as well off as she is and whose safety is threatened.
Prior to reading THE PARIS CHILDREN by Gloria Goldreich, I had heard of the Alfred Dreyfus affair, but I have never heard of his granddaughter, Madeleine Levy. In historical fiction of WWII, it's almost rare to read about Jewish heroes or heroines; quite often they are presented as either victims or survivors. Madeleine Levy's story is a true breath of fresh air in this subgenre of historical fiction.
There is plenty more to love about THE PARIS CHILDREN by Gloria Goldreich aside from Madeleine's character. It is clear Gloria Goldreigh did immense amounts of research into the Resistance and the actual historical figures featured in the novel and the life and death situations they are in. Madeleine Levy was a remarkable woman, who had relatable desires to help people, have a career and not let anything stop her. I hope her work during this tumultuous time in history is given more attention through this book.
For readers who are interested in a WWII story where Jews are heroes rather than victims and that focuses on the French Resistance in great detail, THE PARIS CHILDREN by Gloria Goldreich is guaranteed to keep one entertained and continuing to cheer for Madeleine to succeed.
Inspired by the true story of one woman's fight to survive during the 20th century's darkest hour
Paris, 1935. A dark shadow falls over Europe as Adolf Hitler's regime gains momentum, leaving the city of Paris on the brink of occupation. Young Madeleine Levy--granddaughter of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish World War I hero--steps bravely into a new wave of resistance and becomes the guardian of lost children.
When Madeleine meets a small girl in a tattered coat with the hollow look of one forced to live a nightmare--a young Jewish refugee from Germany named Anna--she knows that she cannot stand idly by. Paris is full of children like Anna--frightened and starving, innocent casualties of a war barely begun. Madeleine offers them comfort and strength while working with other members of the resistance to smuggle them into safer territories. But as the Paris she loves is transformed into a theater of tension and hatred, many people are tempted to abandon the cause--and the country. And amidst the impending horror and doubt, Madeleine's relationship with Claude, a young Jewish Resistance fighter, as passionate about saving vulnerable children as she is, deepens. With a questionable future ahead of them, all Madeleine can do is continue fighting and hope that her spirit--and the nation's--won't be broken.
A remarkable, paranoramic novel, The Paris Children is a story of love and tragedy that illuminates the power of hope and courage in the face of adversity.