A story of courage, fear, and defiance based on the author's own personal experience. "A Pack Horse Called Rachel" is the remarkable tale of a young woman, half Jewish, caught in the extraordinarily brutal world of 1944 France. Rachel moves through the pages of the book with her faithful dog Nourse, touching lives as her work with the Maquis based in the Auvergne takes her perilously close to danger on a day to day basis.
The story is based on personal experience. The description of historical events is as true as memory will allow. It is an elegantly written story capturing first hand Kellermann’s painful and lonely life as a resistance fighter within the "Maquis", amidst the harsh beauty of the Auvergne. Beset by the freezing cold climate prevailing in winter, the Vichy traitors amongst the normal French Population and the hostility of ordinary people afraid for their own lives.
Rachel overcomes the initial animosity and mistrust of the lecherous and alcoholic farmer Raboullet on whom she comes to rely; the wrath of the Gestapo, the betrayal of St Pré, a full and passionate love affair, tragic loss and yet she survives.
Marcel Kellermann notes, with descriptive talent, and intricate detail that only someone especially observant could recall. From the opening raid to the closing trial, the book gives an incisive view, as we understand the mind and soul of the resistance better with each page. This is the story of a young woman paralleled with the struggle of a nation as it regains its courage to fight back.
Marcelle Kellermann was a French author and teacher who joined the French Resistance during World War II, where she met her husband, a German Jew. She later lived and taught in the U.K. and wrote “A Packhorse Called Rachel,” “The Interpreter,” and “The Forgotten Third Skill: Reading a Foreign Language”.