Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy FranceVillage of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France by Caroline Moorehead

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a small village in an inaccessible part of eastern France. It sits high in the mountains and has been a refuge for Protestant French people who wanted to be able to practice their religion freely. This history of valuing religious freedom made the inhabitants of the area willing to hide Jews that were fleeing from the Gestapo.

The other aspect of life in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon that made it a good place to hide was all the children’s homes that had already been set up by the people in the area as missionary work. Jewish children were taken in and hidden in plain sight with the Protestants.

While the story is interesting, the book is a bit difficult to get into. The first 70 pages are background information on the roundup of Jews from all over France. This is information that you need to know to understand where the children that were hidden in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon came from but it feels like you are taking a long time to get the main point. It picks up from there but the cast of characters is large and there isn’t an easy single narrative to follow through the story.

My husband started reading this book while we were in France this month and is enjoying it too.

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