Author: Sarah Steele
Published by: Headline Books on Jun. 14, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Mobius Books US
Book Rating: 10/10
My darling girl, I need you to find someone for me . . .’
France, 1942. At the end of the day, the schoolteacher releases her pupils. She checks they have their identity passes, and warns them not to stop until the German guards have let them through the barrier that separates occupied France from Free France. As the little ones fly across the border and into their mothers’ arms, she breathes a sigh of relief. No one is safe now. Not even the children.
Berkshire, present day. A letter left to her by her beloved late grandmother Gigi takes Hannah Stone on a journey deep into the heart of the Dordogne landscape. As she begins to unravel a forgotten history of wartime bravery and sacrifice, she discovers the heartrending secret that binds her grandmother to a village schoolteacher, the remarkable Lucie Laval…
Beautiful, captivating, and heart-tugging!
The School Teacher of Saint-Michel is predominantly set in France during 1942, as well as present day, and is told from two different perspectives; Hannah, a young woman who journeys to France after her grandmother’s death to unravel the secrets of her past, and Lucie, a school teacher who even at the detriment to her own safety does whatever she needs to in order to smuggle as many Jewish children as possible over the demarcation line and out of Nazi-occupied territory and into free France.
The prose is vivid and expressive. The characters are multi-layered, vulnerable, and resilient. And the plot is a moving tale about life, love, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, desperation, courage, hope, war, survival, suffering, romance, familial relationships, and regret.
Overall, The School Teacher of Saint-Michel is the perfect blend of historical facts, evocative fiction, and palpable emotion. It’s a bittersweet, affecting, tender tale that will make you smile, make you cry, and resonate with you long after you finish the final page.
This novel is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to Mobius Books US for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.