The Boy with the Star Tattoo

A Novel

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Pub Date 30 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 26 Mar 2024
William Morrow, William Morrow Paperbacks

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From acclaimed author of The Third Daughter comes an epic historical novel of ingenuity and courage, of love and loss, spanning postwar France when Israeli agents roamed the countryside to rescue hidden Jewish orphans—to the 1969 daring escape of the Israeli boats of Cherbourg.

1942: As the Vichy government hunts for Jews across France, Claudette Pelletier, a young and talented seamstress and lover of romance novels, falls in love with a Jewish man who seeks shelter at the château where she works. Their whirlwind and desperate romance before he must flee leaves her pregnant and terrified.

When the Nazis invade the Free Zone shortly after the birth of her child, the disabled Claudette is forced to make a heartbreaking choice and escapes to Spain, leaving her baby in the care of his nursemaid. By the time Claudette is able to return years later, her son has disappeared. Unbeknown to his anguished mother, the boy has been rescued by a Youth Aliyah agent searching for Jewish orphans.

1968: When Israeli naval officer Daniel Yarden recruits Sharon Bloomenthal for a secret naval operation in Cherbourg, France, he can’t imagine that he is the target of the agenda of the twenty-year-old grieving the recent loss of her fiancé in a drowned submarine. Sharon suspects that Danny's past in Youth Aliyah may reflect that of her mysterious late mother and she sets out to track her boss’s extraordinary journey as an orphan in a quaint French village all the way to Israel.

As Danny focuses on the future of his people and on executing a daring, crucial operation under France’s radar, he is unaware that the obsessed Sharon follows the breadcrumbs of clues across the country to find her answers. But she is wholly unprepared for the dilemma she must face upon solving the puzzle.

From acclaimed author of The Third Daughter comes an epic historical novel of ingenuity and courage, of love and loss, spanning postwar France when Israeli agents roamed the countryside to rescue...

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Featured Reviews

A sweet and heartbreaking story of one woman’s quest to find her lost child and another woman’s quest to defend her country.

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This well researched novel links together three time periods - 1942, 1946 and 1969. The author does a fantastic job of linking together the people in each time period and the result is a story that won't be forgotten.

1942 - Claudette is a seamstress who is disabled and unable to walk to school. She was basically illiterate until a Jewish peddler taught her to read and became her friend. After her grandmother dies, she goes to a French chateau in the Loire Valley as a seamstress. She begins to get very worried as she hears about the German Army invading France because she knows that they often killed invalids. When her friend, the Jewish peddler and his son show up at the chateau, she hides them for a few days and also has an affair with the son. After he leaves, she finds out that she's pregnant but refuses to tell anyone that the baby's father is Jewish. When she escapes to Spain with the Duchess and family, she makes a devastating decision to leave her baby behind with a nursemaid so that he'll remain safe. Will she ever see her son again?

1946 - Youth Aliya, a group of Israeli agents is combing the French countryside in search of Jewish orphans to send to Israel. During the war, Jewish children were often left with Christian families for safety and the parents never returned from the camps to claim their children. Youth Aliya was working to teach these children about their Jewish history and to help them regain their pasts. During this time period, the British were not allowing boats into Israel so the groups had to make secret and often dangerous trips to Israel to take their children to their new homes. Claudette is not aware that her beloved son has been rescued by this group and adopted by an Israeli couple.

1969 - twenty-year-old Israeli intelligence officer Sharon Bloomenthal, still grieving the loss of her boyfriend in a drowned military submarine, is recruited by naval officer Daniel Yarden to assist with the Cherbourg project - an Israeli military action involving the escape of the five missile boats from the French port of Cherbourg. The boats had been paid for by the Israeli government but had not been delivered due to the French arms embargo in 1969. When Sharon learns that Danny came to Israel with the help of Youth Aliya, she tries to find out if he knew her deceased mother who arrived in Israel at the same time. In trying to find out information about her mother, she discovers a secret about Danny and works to solve the mystery of his past.

As with many of the untold World War II stories, many of the people in the story were based on real people and real situations. I learned so much in this book -- I had never heard of Youth Aliya and wasn't aware of their work to find abandoned Jewish children and send them to Israel and I wasn't aware of the escape of the five boats in 1969. The characters were all well written and believable. Be prepared to shed a few tears -- some sad tears for the children that were left behind in France but also happy tears for the new lives they were able to begin. If you read WWII fiction, this is a definite MUST READ!

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The Boy with the Star Tattoo by Talia Carner was an excellent piece of historical fiction.
Carner has such a unique ability to combine historical events with character development that makes the characters come alive and all the human ways. She has the ability to evoke the complete range of emotions in her readers.
This story was a page turner and the character development of these characters were exceptional
Our MCs are written with such heart you feel for their every step in life.
The dual timelines really set scene here.
A gripping story of courage, of love and loss this is one not to be missed!

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

Thank You NetGalley and William Morrow for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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I received a copy of "The Boy with the Star Tattoo from Negalley. This book focuses on two different time eras. The 1940s between 1942-1946. And skips two decades to 1968 and 1969. In the forties in Europe Claudette a teenager with a crippled leg. a kind man taught her to read. She falls in love with a young Jewish man and becomes pregnant. since the baby is born out of wedlock and he is half Jewish the baby is in danger. Claudette fearing for her baby and her own safety she has a tiny tattoo of the star of David put on the baby Benjamin's foot. she is separated from the baby when he is six weeks old never knowing if she will ever see him again.
Flash forward to 1968 a young woman named Sharon is working for causes in Isreal and France. lOst her own mother when she was an infant after the Holocaust. She meets Daniel a soldier. Sharon learns of the baby Benjamin with the Star Tattoo and sets out to find him and hopefully reunite him with his mother if she is still alive. there is lot of going back and forth between the decades slowly intertwining other characters and the what became of mysteries. I liked this book for the most part but found it a bit annoying to go back and forth between the decades. comes together well though. I would give this book a 3.5.

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“75% of institutionalized French children had at least one living parent.”

Author Talia Carner “did not want to tell another Holocaust story but to explore what happened afterward. How were these children found?” She did just that in multiple timelines and from multiple POVs as we follow Danny, the boy with the star tattoo, who was the fictionalized child representing so many orphaned Jewish children after the war.

With a little bit of romance and a whole lot of heartache, Carner paints a picture with her prose of what it must have been like for these young children to be ripped away from their natural families during the war and then again from their adoptive families years later to either reunite with the family they lost or to be moved to a family of Jewish culture and heritage.

Here is another example of why I love historical fiction. I learn so much about topics I knew nothing about!


Read if you like:
Historical fiction
Learning about the IDF
Lost and found family stories

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Historical Fiction is my favorite genre and this book did not disappoint. It was so emotional and wonderfully written!

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I had enjoyed the Third Daughter and had enjoyed the way Talia Carner writes. It had a great historical element going on and the characters in the book felt like they belonged in this setting. I was invested in the story and what was happening to the characters.

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This book is quite a fascinating historical fiction that explores the plight of Jewish children during and after World War II, as well as the time period in the late 1960's when 5 Israeli boats escaped from Cherbourg, France to Israel. It follows Claudette, who relinquished her infant son, hoping to keep him safe, Uzi, who became part of the Youth Allayah after the war, who searched for those children who had been separated from their families, hoping to reunite them. In the late 1960's, Sharon, an Israeli officer working with the boat mission, headed by Danny, begins to unravel a mystery that is decades old. It is a well-researched book, and I learned so much about the history of these times that I had never known. Talia Carner has brought these little-known time periods to light with wonderful fictional characters that are as resilient and full of heart as those they represent. It is a book full of hope, courage, and a bit of romance. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for my advance copy. The opinions of my review are my own.

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I have always loved historical fiction, and this did not disappoint! It was interesting to see the aftermath of WWII, which is not always something that is explored. Oftentimes we hear of the tragedies that occurred during the war and the Holocaust, but not always what happened immediately after and how those ripples impacted future generations. I really enjoyed reading the unique take, and it was a very well-developed and emotional read. I will definitely be looking for more of Talia's books in the future!

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In the passing of five decades, was how all of these events-the Holocaust in Europe, the clandestine immigration to Palestine, and the escape of the Boats of Cherbourg, were interwoven and how close, timewise, they had been. In the spectrum of human history, and even in the shorter arc of the Jews' exile for two thousand years from their homeland, these three events occurred in the span of less than thirty years. Only in the blink of an eye. And then I read the inscription at the museum entrance and the significance of history came rushing in, like a tidal wave: Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen Psalm 77:19

Even on land, history's footprints can disappear just as quickly as if they were marked on water.

Talia Carner brings history to life of what most of the population does not know. Looking at this novel thru the lens of a Christian, strengthens my faith even more. God's hand is still on the people of Israel and with that he reveals that He is sovereign. The narration is done in two significant time periods of the Jewish nation. The holocaust and in 1968 when many Arab nations went against the nation of Israel. God tells his people in the Old testament and New that the Jewish people will be scattered and in one day be brought back to the promised land as a nation. The main focus is bringing the Jewish children that escaped Nazi terrorism back to Israel to be raised as Jewish. Many were so young that they did not know of their heritage and the Catholic church was set on making Christians.

It is the story of a little boy during the chaos of World War II. A catholic mother and a Jewish father. The mother in her fear of losing her child at a young age had the star of David tattooed on the bottom of his foot so she could identify him if he was taken from her. During this time she was waiting the babies father to come back to her. Her story and what happened to her child is heartbreaking and shows the determination of love. In 1968 Sharon a young Jewish woman lost her fiance in a military action. It left her with no answers but a determination that Israel must survive. She is hired by Danny a Naval Captan from Israel on a secret mission. Sharon not knowing her own mother is intrigued by Danny and the tattoo on his foot.

I loved how the story progressed. Knowing Danny's mother and her pain to Danny not wanting to know his past and why. Of course this leads to a conflict between the two but also a deep connection. I was totally into this and highly recommend for historical fiction fans.

A special thank you to William Morrow and Netgalley for the aRC and the opportunity to post an honest review

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dual-time-frames, grief, grieving, historical-novel, historical-places-events, historical-research, history-and-culture, Israel, Jews, relationships, Youth-Aliyah, orphaned, IDF, 1940s, 1960s

This ambitious novel tackles some of the answers to the questions of "what happened next". What happened to the supposedly orphaned children housed with (hardly) Christians, How did Jews escape the illegal embargo placed upon emigrés by the English and French. And how did a people survive the intense grief of survivor's guilt and the uncertainty of the fate of their loved ones. It is a novel written about two time periods: The 1940s and the 1960s. It's an amazing read, but best read in segments in order to have a better understanding of the meaning of history.
I requested and received an EARC from William Morrow/William Morrow Paperbacks via NetGalley.

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I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review . This is a very good historical novel that begins in 1940 in France and ends in 1969 in Israel. Much of the novel is based on real people and real events. The story centers around Sharon, an Israeli, whose fiancé died in a horrific submarine disaster in 1969 and Claudette, in 1940 in France, who fell in love with a Jew trying to escape from the Nazi’s. I learned about the boats of Cherbourg. In 1969, the boats were commissioned and paid for by Israel. They were built in Normandy in a private shipyard . The book also talked about Hadassah’s “Youth Aliyah” program which rescued Jewish children before , during and after the Holocaust . I enjoyed the story and the many characters, however, it was a little confusing with so many people and alternating between countries and years.

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A really gripping storyline; could not put it down. The writing is, at best, competent, but the storytelling really drew me in. I had not been familiar with either of the historical events that drive the plot (boats of Cherbourg and the search for Jewish orphans post holocaust) and they were, in themeselves, worthy of the read. Other takeaways include insights on the Israeli mindsets, customs, and internal conflicts. A good read for today's times.

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The Boy with the Star Tattoo is a historical fiction novel told from multiple perspectives, while also spanning multiple timelines. In 1942, Claudette Pelletier is a young woman living in France, working as a seamstress while also living in fear of the Nazis due to her own physical disability. She falls in love with a young Jewish man who temporarily hides in the Chateau she works in and gives birth to a son out of wedlock. In 1946, Uzi Yarden is a young man from the new state of Israel with the Youth Aliyah, searching the French countryside for Jewish orphans who can be taken back to Israel. In 1969, Sharon Blumenthal is a young woman working in Israeli intelligence after losing her fiancé in a tragic submarine incident. She is enlisted to help with a covert operation for Israel in France under Daniel Yarden, the adopted son of Uzi Yarden. Sharon's mother Judith worked with the Youth Aliyah as well before her untimely death when Sharon was only 6 weeks old, and she takes the work in France in order to research her mother's life, but ends up becoming fascinated with Danny's past, determined to reunite him with his parents, if they are still alive while they are in France.

Eash timeline has its own distinct voice and were easily discernible from each other. The writing is clearly well done, and well researched, and I enjoyed the opportunity to read more about an aspect of history that I was unfamiliar with, this is certainly a book that would appeal to other lovers of historical fiction. There were times when I felt the book was too meandering and somewhat repetitive, but the ending was satisfying and neatly wrapped up the experience.

Thank you to Book Club Girl, William Morrow, and NetGalley for the electronic ARC of this novel for review.

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“The Boy with the Star Tattoo" by Talia Carner is an epic historical novel that weaves together tales of ingenuity, courage, love, and loss against the backdrop of postwar France and the daring escape of Israeli boats from Cherbourg in 1969. The narrative spans three timelines – 1942, 1946, and 1969 – creating a complex and compelling story that demands concentration from the reader.

The story begins in 1942, as the Vichy government intensifies its hunt for Jews in France. Claudette Pelletier, a talented seamstress, falls in love with a Jewish man who seeks refuge in the château where she works. Their whirlwind romance leaves her pregnant and facing a heartbreaking choice when the Nazis invade. Forced to flee to Spain, Claudette leaves her baby in the care of a nursemaid, only to find him missing upon her return.

In 1968, Israeli naval officer Daniel Yarden recruits Sharon Bloomenthal for a secret operation in Cherbourg. Sharon, grieving her fiancé's recent loss in a submarine accident, becomes curious about Danny's past and embarks on a journey to unravel the mysteries surrounding her boss.

The novel explores Claudette's struggle to find her missing child, the post-war efforts of Youth Aliyah to rescue Jewish orphans, and the complex operation in Cherbourg.

The triple timeline adds intricacy to the narrative, requiring readers to piece together the threads of the story. While Sharon is determined to uncover Danny's origins, he remains focused on his mission, creating tension between the characters. The novel touches upon real historical subjects, including Youth Aliyah, the disappearance of the submarine INS Dakar in 1968, and Israel's plans to acquire boats from France.

Talia Carner's meticulous research is evident, shedding light on lesser-known aspects of history. The book delves into the challenges faced by Jewish children in post-war France and the difficulties in reuniting families. The story captures the resilience and heartache of those affected, making it a poignant and thought-provoking read.

Overall, "The Boy with the Star Tattoo" receives five stars for its intricate storytelling, well-researched historical context, and the exploration of post-war challenges faced by Jewish families. Fans of complex historical fiction will find this novel to be a compelling and informative read.

I received an advance copy of the book. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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