cover image The Forger of Marseille

The Forger of Marseille

Linda Joy Myers. She Writes, $17.95 (342p) ISBN 978-1-64742-231-8

Memoirist Myers (Song of the Plains) makes her fiction debut with a well-researched if simplistic novel centered on the plight of three WWII refugees. In 1938 Berlin, 19-year-old artist Sarah Rosen gets surrounded by threatening Hitler Youth and is rescued by a Nazi officer who, when he learns she is Jewish, expects sex in return for his kindness. After kissing him, she feels a mix of horror and titillation. Joshua Lieb, violin maker and father figure to Sarah, sees the writing on the wall about the bleak future for Jewish people in Germany and, spurred on by her conflict with the SS officer, arranges for himself and Sarah to get false identity papers, allowing them to travel to France. With new identities as French citizens, they settle in Paris, where Sarah meets a former Spanish doctor named Thomás, who fled Franco’s oppressive regime and runs a forgery business supplying refugees with new identity papers. When Germany invades France, the three are forced to flee yet again, this time to Marseille, where the Nazis have not yet infiltrated. Myers captures the desperation and horrors of the times, though the heavy plotting leaves little room for character development. There’s not much below the surface of this page-turner. (July)