This is a French adventure of a 20-something gentile archeology student, Hélène, who is determined to understand more about her family’s secret history. She begins by being housed in Paris by her elusive great-uncle, Daniel. Daniel has written numerous famous adventure novels under a pseudonym. As Hélène learns more about her uncle’s past, she too becomes wrapped up in the travel adventure stories in the Black Signia series as it relates to her uncle and her family’s history.
As she begins to uncover an archeological past, she draws the reader in on a journey through pre- and post-war Paris. She becomes familiar with the lost Jewish neighborhoods, and the buildings and communities that were destroyed by the war. As this story becomes intertwined with her own family’s history, she develops a relationship with a fellow student and becomes part of a Parisian student group. The students spend time contemplating the world, smoking, drinking, and playing childish games; their world seems more foreign to Hélène than does the prewar reality of Paris. Some of her family discoveries seem obvious, but her search and much of the history and detail she unearths keep the reader engaged.
Recommended for ages 14 and above.