SONGBIRD by Walter Zacharius

SONGBIRD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The perils and wiles of a Jewish girl who escapes from Poland during WWII and travels to France to fight with the Resistance.

Zacharius (founder and CEO of Kensington Publishing) debuts with this story of Marisa (“Mia”) Levy, who grows up in a well-to-do family in Lodz, where her father runs a successful medical practice. Cultivated but provincial, the Levys have great hopes for Mia, a talented pianist, and send her to study in Paris. The war, unfortunately, puts an end to just about everyone’s ambitions—especially for Jews living under Nazi occupation. Mia’s father sizes up the situation right away: The Ghetto of Lodz (administered by the notorious Jewish collaborator Chaim Rumkowski) has been set up to bleed the Jews slowly of all their property before dispatching them to Auschwitz as quietly as possible. He tries to short-circuit the process by bribing an official for safe passage out of the country but is betrayed and ends up in the camps after all. Mia managedsto escape and get to Warsaw, where she joins an underground cell of Jewish partisans and is safely smuggled out of the occupied territories, first to Switzerland and later to the US. While staying with relatives in Brooklyn, Mia meets and falls in love with Vinnie Sforza, a big band clarinetist. She also makes contact with a secret branch of US Army Intelligence and provides them with information about the concentration camps and resistance movements in Europe. After America enters the war, Mia joins a branch of the special services that’s been set up to smuggle agents into France. Now, after all her trouble getting out, Mia is to return—but as an avenger rather than a victim this time. Since her parents are still alive in Auschwitz, her mission may become a rescue as well.

Standard Holocaust potboiler, nicely narrated but nothing special.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2004
ISBN: 0-7434-8211-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2004




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