Attorney, diplomat, and author. Has worked as a special assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Army; U.S. State Department, U.S. Consulate, Krakow, Poland, diplomat and government official, 1994-98; currently attorney in private practice, Philadelphia, PA. Former member of board, Jewish Community Relations Council of Southern New Jersey; fellow, Salzburg Seminar.
Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America.
U.S. Commission for the Preservations of America's Heritage Abroad honors; Quill Award nomination, best romance category, for The Kommandant's Girl.
The Kommandant's Girl (novel), Mira (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2007.
The seeds of author Pam Jenoff's interest in fiction writing were planted during her childhood, but it was through her adult career as a government official and diplomat that she found the motivation and material for her first novel. After college, Jenoff was appointed as a special assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Army. In this position, she had the "unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government," according to her Web site. Next, Jenoff was assigned to diplomatic duties at the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. There, she "developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust," while working on issues such as the "preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland." "I was profoundly affected by my experiences in Poland, and by the many close relationships I developed with both Jewish and Gentile Poles," Jenoff also commented on the M.J. Rose Web log.
"For several years after my return to the United States, I wanted to write a novel that reflected these experiences," Jenoff continued on her Web site. Guided by an image of a "young woman nervously guiding a child across Krakow's market square during the Nazi occupation," Jenoff's interest in writing the novel was cemented by a chance meeting with an elderly couple during a train ride from Washington, DC, to Philadelphia. They were both Holocaust survivors who were thoroughly familiar with the Polish resistance during the war. Their story, coupled with a sense of reassessment of priorities following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks spurred Jenoff to enroll in a writing class. This led to her debut novel.
The Kommandant's Girl tells the story of Emma Bau, a young Polish Jew living in Krakow. Recently married to Jacob, her life changes dramatically after the Nazi invasion of Poland. Jacob immediately leaves to join the Jewish underground. He provides a set of false papers for Emma, allowing her to change her identity to Anna Lipowski, a Catholic. She moves in with Jacob's Catholic aunt Krysia and poses as her niece. During a dinner party, Emma attracts the attention of a high-ranking Nazi official, Kommandant Georg Richwalder. He asks her to become his personal assistant, and though Emma is repulsed by the idea of working for the Nazis, she accepts, hoping to be able to uncover useful information for the underground. What Emma does not count on, however, is the intense and growing attraction between herself and her Nazi boss. Soon, her emotions and loyalties face a serious test as love enters into the German equation. Booklist critic Patty Engelmann observed that Jenoff "succeeds in humanizing the unfathomable as well as the heroic." A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the novel "historical romance at its finest."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2007, Patty Engelmann, review of The Kommandant's Girl, p. 42.
City Paper (Philadelphia, PA), March 21, 2007, Sarah Weinman, review of The Kommandant's Girl.
CNW Group, June 8, 2007, "Pam Jenoff's The Kommandant's Girl Is a 2007 Quill Award Nominee."
Publishers Weekly, August 7, 2006, review of The Kommandant's Girl, p. 30.
Bestsellersworld,http://www.bestsellersworld.com/ (August 27, 2007), Nancy Eaton, review of The Kommandant's Girl.
Book Place,http://www.thebookplace.com/ (August 29, 2007), biography of Pam Jenoff.
eHarlequin.com,http://www.eharlequin.com/ (August 29, 2007), biography of Pam Jenoff.
Heartstrings Reviews,http://www.heartstringsreviews.com/ (June 18, 2007), Cheryl Jeffries, review of The Kommandant's Girl.
Historical Romance Writers,http://www.historicalromancewriters.com/ (August 29, 2007), review of The Kommandant's Girl.
IndieLondon,http://www.indielondon.co.uk/ (August 29, 2007), review of The Kommandant's Girl.
M.J. Rose Web log,http://mjroseblog.typepad.com/ (March 8, 2007), biography of Pam Jenoff.
Once upon a Romance,http://www.onceuponromance.net/ (August 29, 2007), Lori Graham, review of The Kommandant's Girl.
Pam Jenoff Home Page,http://www.pamjenoff.com (August 29, 2007).
Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (August 29, 2007), Catharine Witmer, review of The Kommandant's Girl.
Round Table Reviews,http://www.roundtablereviews.com/ (August 29, 2007), Tracy Farnsworth, review of The Kommandant's Girl.