Three months in Brittany: the perfect summer holiday, or a secret plan by their parents to keep them safe from the war?

42 Days
42 Days
(42 Jours)

Silène EDGAR

Summary


Twelve-year-old Sacha and his little brother Jacob are surprised and delighted to go on holiday earlier than planned, even before the school year is finished. The two young Parisians are even more delighted to be staying in their uncle’s boarding house, a manor by the sea in Brittany.

Their stay there, however, does not quite turn out to be the holiday camp they had expected. The boarders are a strange bunch of adults who take themselves for Victor Hugo or King Louis XIV, and at night their uncle appears to be involved in suspect activities with individuals who speak a foreign language.

As the days go by, Sacha realises that France is at war. It is the summer of 1942 and it is because his mother is Jewish that they had to take refuge in Brittany, far from the Nazi roundups of Jews in Paris.

Sacha and Jacob are forced to flee again, this time for the South, as even Brittany is no longer safe as the Germans advance. The children set off on their latest adventure, hoping to soon be reunited with their parents…

Key points


  • A poignant historical novel about the lives of children in occupied France
  • The young readers are not made aware at the start that it is set in 1942, which helps them identify with the characters
  • The theme of the end of childhood through exposure to danger: innocent mischief can prove fatal, both for the children and for those who protect them
55 000 WORDS


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