I hadn’t heard the story of Marcel Marceau, the mime who risk his own safety to help Jewish children flee France to the safety of Switzerland during the Second World War.
While Masters of Silence by Kathy Kacer ($12.95, Annick Press) focuses on Henry and Helen, two children whose mother leaves them at a French convent disguised – in plain sight – as Catholic orphans, Marcel begins to play a bigger role in the book as the story moves on.
After his mother leaves, Henry retreats into silence, sharing his feelings – and his real name – in a notebook, which he uses as a journal, attempting to remember who he is and what he misses about home.
The only joy Henry finds at the convent is when a local mime visits, performing for the children and taking Henry under his wing.
But when the Nazis come into the convent, searching for hidden Jewish people, Henry and Helen are forced to flee again and “a not-yet famous Marcel Marceau risks everything to save them.”
This is the second book in the Kacer’s Heroes Quartet series about Second World War rescues. You do not need to read the first book in order to understand the second.
The book was interesting. I am always interested to read stories from the Holocaust and I love the idea of books that showcase the bravery of people who put their own lives on the line for others. The book did start off slow, but picked up quite quickly. I liked the information at the end of the book, which told us more about Marcel Marceau, who was the son of a Jewish butcher, who was murdered at Auschwitz. Marceau himself died in 2007.
I interviewed Kathy Kacer about her book Stones on a Grave. You can read it here.
A copy of this book was provided by Annick Press for an honest review.
The opinions are my own.