Author Antoinette Constable, who was a young girl in WWII France, has written a compelling coming-of-age novel for young adult readers, Natalie in the Shadow of the Swastika. Set in 1940 occupied Paris, eight-year-old Natalie and her family—a Jewish mother, gentile father, and two sisters—cope with the harsh facts of war and Hitler’s occupying army. When her ailing father suddenly disappears, Natalie’s safe surroundings are forever changed. Her struggles with the painful family separation and the dangerous threats against her Jewish mother reveal a growing maturity in the face of confusing loss. Natalie’s fierce resolve to hold onto hope and her love of family leads her from innocence to understanding and resilience, despite the violence of war.
Born and raised in France, Antoinette Constable was a career nurse holding British and American degrees, and is also retired from her own catering business. She has lived in the United States for many years, where she raised her four children as a single mother. Her work has won the PEN First Prize for Poetry, as well as the Ann Stanford Award from the University of Southern California, and has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Barnabe Mountain Review, Bay Area Poets Coalition, California Quarterly (CQ), Denver Metropolitan State Magazine, The Healing Muse, Louisville Review, and POEM. Her chapbook of war-related poems, The Lasting War, was published in December 2014.