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Gaëlle de Barbet is sixteen years old in 1940 when the German army occupies France and frightening changes begin. She is shocked and powerless when French gendarmes take away her closest friend, Rebekah Feldmann, and her family, and send them to a detention camp for deportation to an unknown, ominous fate.
The local German military commandant makes Gaëlle's family estate outside Lyon into his headquarters. Her father and brother are killed by the Germans; her mother fades away into madness and ill health. Trusted friends and employees become traitors. And by accident, Gaëlle begins a perilous journey with the French Resistance, hoping to save lives to make up for the beloved friend she could do nothing to help.
Taking terrifying risks, Gaëlle becomes a valuable member of the Resistance, fearlessly delivering Jewish children to safety underneath the eyes of the Gestapo and their French collaborators. Then she is suddenly approached by the German commandant with an astonishing and dangerous plan to save part of France's artistic heritage as the Germans withdraw. And once again, her life is on the line. Conducted in secret, flawlessly carried out, her missions for the Resistance change her life and mark her for years. She is falsely accused of collaboration at the end of the war, and flees Lyon in disgrace, orphaned and alone. She goes to Paris to put the war behind her and begin a new life, with the ghosts of the past always close at hand.
Gaëlle's life will take her from Paris to New York, from a career as a Dior model to marriage and motherhood, unbearable loss, and mature, lasting love. She returns to Paris to run a small museum, honoring victims of the Holocaust. She has never sought recognition for her courage during the war years she can never forget. Her label as a collaborator remains, until her granddaughter, a respected political journalist, is determined that past wrongs finally be made right, and her grandmother's brave acts be recognized. Now a grateful nation will finally acknowledge this remarkable woman. At last, she is absolved and honored as the war hero she was.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Erma Matteson on 02-11-17
The story was exceptional, but I was continuously distracted by the narrator's poor presentation. I could read that material more effectively without having ever seen it -- and I just turned eighty-eight!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 01-03-17
I loved this book, the story and characters felt real, and spent the the few chapters in tears, a really good read didn't want it to end
By Petra 🤗📚📓🖋📮 on 01-03-17
bravery ... has so many meanings..
Where does The Award rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I would say The Award is in my top 10 of favourite audiobooks as we not only seen a brief glimpse into the life of the main character but the author took us on a journey throughout her life .. we were able to see her at her happiest but yet it was the hardest of times which made her the person she turned out to be..
What did you like best about this story?
Gaëlle de Barbet was a character who was so brave throughout the war.. rescuing the Jewish children from the death camps bringing them to safety while living under the Nazi rule yet her personal life after the war she let her daughter rule her life as she still held the shame of the accusations from the time of her youth.
Have you listened to any of Adam Verner’s other performances? How does this one compare?
This is the first I have listened by this narrrator as sometimes I find the American accent annoying yet I could have listened to his dulcet tones forever as he was able to bring emotion through his narration and simple defeatism by changing the tone of his voice..
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
When Gaëlle de Barbet was finally acknowledged for her bravery through the war.. not by those who give her the award but her family especially her oldest daughter.
Any additional comments?
This is a fascinating book which showed not only the poverty of the main character's early years but as she progressed through life and her riches grew in different ways.. the simple pleasures of life were the ones she took so much happiness from.