"See you soon Caroline!"
A young English girl, exploring her family history as part of a homework assignment, stumbles across an episode in the life of her family which takes her to the remains of internment camps in the south of France. She learns about the evil and suffering, but also about the courage and heroism which saved her grandfather's life. The story follows Caroline's attempts to discover the truth behind her grandfather's mysterious origins. We follow her to the Shoah Museum in Paris, and to the site of the Drancy camp where thousands of Jews were held before being sent to their deaths in Poland.
When she arrives in the south of France she discovers that behind the sunny beaches and relaxed holiday atmosphere there is a dark and unhappy past of suffering, hunger, sickness and death of which most people are unaware. She learns that not only the Jews but Spanish people also suffered here.
But all is not gloom. She meets and commences a happy relationship with a local lad who opens her eyes to the hidden history of the region. Together they solve the mystery of her grandfather's family, and the story ends with a dramatic revelation which no-one could have foreseen!
This is a book for teenagers and young adults. Although a work of fiction, it is based on the true story of an Irish woman, Mary Elmes, working for the American Quakers in France throughout the Second World War. In 2014 she was honoured by Yad Vashem in the State of Israel as "Righteous among the Nations", the first Irish person to receive this honour.
Lisa G, an American award-winner film producer says of "See you soon, Caroline!"
I loved "See you soon, Caroline!" I planned to start with the first chapter and ended up reading the entire novel in two sittings. I found the narrative to be very compelling and cared deeply about all of the characters. Caroline's enthusiasm for and commitment to her family history project, and how she encouraged her entire family to open up to the experience, is so inspiring. I hope "See you soon, Caroline" encourages young people to talk to their parents and their grandparents, and to get to know their personal histories. And, also, to not make assumptions and fast judgements about other people. This story unfolds like a mystery. The writing was so good that I was able to visualize all of the places Caroline visited with her family. I think it will have great appeal to middle school and high school students because they will find their contemporaries in Caroline, John and Pierre.
The writer has found a great way to tell the story of how Quakers and others helped persecuted Jews in France in World War 2. A schoolgirl is given a project on family history which leads to discoveries about her own background which take her on a fascinating journey to Europe. Teenagers (and older readers) will be gripped by what she uncovers on her trip and who she meets (and grows very fond of!) It would be great if this book was widely read by young people for not only is it a great story but it also has an important message.
Number Of Pages: 99
Published: 19th May 2014