cover image Code Name Sapphire

Code Name Sapphire

Pam Jenoff. Park Row, $17.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7783-8709-1

Jenoff (The Woman with the Blue Star) draws on the activities of a WWII resistance network dedicated to getting downed Allied airmen to safety in her uneven latest. Hannah Martel created satiric anti-Nazi cartoons that her lover, Isaac, printed in his underground Berlin newspaper. But in 1942, after Nazis kill Isaac, Hannah flees Germany for Havana via passage on the MS Brittany. However, upon arrival, the refugees aren’t allowed to disembark, and with America’s shores closed to them as well, the ship returns to Europe, where some will be allowed to live in Belgium. Hannah ends up living with her cousin Lily Abel and her family, and seeking help from Micheline, 23, who runs a resistance effort to rescue downed Allied pilots and air crew. Hannah finds herself falling for Micheline’s brother, Matteo, who’s involved in his sister’s campaign. In the final act, Jenoff reveals a complex web of connections between the Abels, Matteo, and Hannah. The author finds plenty of thrills in the historical material, which makes a melodramatic denouement involving a love triangle feel all the more unnecessary. Thin characterizations are another minus. There’s little to help this one stand out from the glut of WWII fiction. (Feb.)