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For readers of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah who are hungry for a non-fiction account of Nazi-occupied Paris, Star Crossed is an epic true story of love and resistance during WWII from the award-winning author of 999. Part historical portrait of life during the Occupation, part valentine to The City of Light and the resilience of its people, this true love story follows the romance between the Romeo and Juliet of war-torn Paris – a Catholic Resistance fighter and a Holocaust victim who meet at the famous Café Flore before war, prejudice, and disapproving families set them on divergent and tragically inevitable paths.
A Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee
“What a beautiful, heartbreaking story.” – Erica Robuck, National Bestselling Author of Sisters of Night and Fog
Paris, 1940. The City of Light has fallen under German occupation. Among patriotic Parisians, the pursuit of art, culture, and jazz has become a bold act of defiance. So has forbidden love for talented and spirited Jewish teenager Annette Zelman, a student at the Beaux-Arts, and dashing young Catholic poet Jean Jausion. Despite their devout families’ vehement opposition, the young couple finds acceptance at the famed Café de Flore, whose habitues includeSimone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso, Django Reinhardt, and other luminaries of the Latin Quarter.
For a time, Annette and Jean feel they have eluded the brute might of the relentless Nazis -- and more immediately, their parents’ threats and demands. But as restrictions on the Jewish community escalate to arrests and deportations, the maleficent forces gathering around the young lovers set them on divergent and tragically inevitable paths.
Drawn from never-before-published family letters and other treasures, as well as archival sources and exclusive interviews, Star-Crossed offers us precious insight into the Holocaust and the lives French people bravely led under the Hitler regime. This breathtaking true story of beauty, art, liberation, and the transformative power of love resonates with an intimate story of undying devotion, seen through the prism of history.
About the Author
HEATHER DUNE MACADAM is the author of the international bestseller and Pen Award Finalist 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Transport to Auschwitz, translated into 18 languages, and the producer/director of its companion documentary film, 999. Her first book was the bestselling memoir Rena’s Promise: A Story of Sister in Auschwitz. A New York State Council of the Arts Fellow and recipient of a Society of Authors Research Grant, she is a board member of Cities of Peace: Auschwitz and the director and president of the Rena’s Promise Foundation. Her work in the battle against Holocaust denial have been recognized by Yad Vashem in the UK and Israel, the USC Shoah Foundation, the National Museum of Jewish History in Bratislava, Slovakia, and the Panstowe Museum of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland. She and her partner, Simon Worrall, divide their time between East Hampton, New York, and Herefordshire, England. Please visit her online at www.heatherdune.com.
SIMON WORRALL is the author of two highly acclaimed books, The Poet and the Murderer (Dutton & Plume/Penguin Putnam USA, 2002; Fourth Estate UK), which William Styron called, “A gripping tale, done with great style and elegance…it held me in its spell from beginning to end,” and the novelized true story of his mother in World War II, The Very White of Love (HarperCollins, 2018). A Francophile since his Parisian childhood, Simon is fluent in French and speaks five other languages. He was the curator and interviewer for National Geographic’s “Book Talk” program for many years. He has been published in The Independent, The Guardian, The London Times, Marie Claire, GQ, and numerous other publications worldwide. His feature, “Emily Dickinson Goes To Las Vegas,” was the first piece of nonfiction ever published by George Plimpton in The Paris Review. Worrall is an experienced broadcaster, whose commentaries have aired on the BBC and NPR.
Praise for Star Crossed
“A worthwhile addition to Holocaust literature focused on young artists navigating occupied Paris.” —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for 999 by Heather Dune Macadam
A PEN AWARD FINALIST
“Researched over the course of the last decade and building on a narrative thread (author Heather Dune Macadam) followed since the 1990s, (the book) draws on interviews and testimonies from survivors of that first transport and their families.” —Time.com
“The library of books about the Holocaust is broad and deep. Still, 999 is an important addition with its focus on the lives of women and its unbearably vivid details. It should be considered essential reading for any modern history class.” —New York Journal of Books
“An intimate and harrowing account of dozens of young Jewish women who were on the first convoy to arrive at Auschwitz in March 1942 . . . Macadam doesn’t shy away from the gruesome details but also notes the women’s close-knit bonds and willingness to protect each other when they were sick. She movingly describes how the legacy of trauma has impacted the children and grandchildren of the handful of survivors. This careful, sympathetic history illuminates an incomprehensible human tragedy.” —Publishers Weekly
“A fresh, remarkable story of Auschwitz, on the 75th anniversary of its liberation. The author makes great use of her interviews with witnesses, survivors, and families, and USC Shoah Archive testimonies. Throughout the book, readers will be consistently astounded by the strength of these women. An uplifting story of the herculean strength of young girls in a staggeringly harrowing situation.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A staggering narrative about the forgotten women of the Holocaust. In a profound work of scholarship, Heather Dune Macadam reveals how young women helped each other survive through one of the most egregious events in human history. Her book also offers insight into the passage of these women into adulthood, and their children, as ‘secondhand survivors.’” —Gail Sheehy, New York Times bestselling author of Passages and Daring: My Passages
“It is so humbling to read of these young girls and their courage. Where did they find that? However much one reads about the Holocaust there is always something more with the power to shock. I kept thinking as I read this powerful book, we must never allow ourselves to become numbed by thinking we know all there is to know since clearly we do not. The story of these teenage girls is truly extraordinary and the willpower, guts and determination to live of those few who survived demands to be celebrated. Congratulations to Heather Dune Macadam for enabling the rest of us to sit down and just marvel at how on earth they did it...” —Anne Sebba, New York Times bestselling author of Le Parisiennes and That Woman
“An important contribution to the literature on women's experiences. . . With passion and extensive research, Heather Dune Macadam gives the first official women’s transport to Auschwitz its rightful place in Holocaust history. Readers can relate to these very young women as individuals, while getting a sense of all women’s horrors of daily life and death in Auschwitz-Birkenau.” —Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, founder and executive director, Remember the Women Institute
“999 girls who were transported to Auschwitz became the initial victims of the Final Solution, but the girls disappeared from the historical record . . . Heather Dune Macadam’s 999 rights this wrong and reinstates the girls to their rightful place in history.” —Foreword Reviews
"Against the backdrop of World War II, this respectful narrative presents a compassionate and meticulous remembrance of the young women profiled throughout. Recommended for all collections.” —Library Journal
“Compelling…. “999” clearly illustrates how the women of the first transport had an advantage over the Jews who arrived later, many of whom were immediately sent to the gas chambers — including many of the girls’ own family members. Those of the women who managed to survive the initial shock of adjusting to the nightmarish conditions learned how to keep themselves and their friends and relatives alive.” —The Times of Israel