Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

 Release Date - June 2, 2021

Elzbieta Rabinek has seen firsthand the atrocities that the Germans are willing to commit. She saw her father and brother murdered, but she hides that in order to stay safe. It's that knowledge that leads to her helping her uncle's tenant, a nurse named Sara.

Sara is part of a group doing everything possible to help young children help escape the ghettos. When Elzbieta finds Sara hiding children in her apartment, Elzbieta demands to help out. That leads to the teen becoming Sara's apprentice. And, that's how Elzbieta meets a Jewish teen, Roman Gorka. 

Roman's mom had a baby and is struggling to keep the infant fed. Sara and Elzbieta can save the infant, but Roman is furious with the war and treatment from the German's. He decides to join a group that is fighting back, even if it means separating from Elzbieta at a time when the teens are started to fall for each other. It also puts Sara's mission to save the children at risk.

I struggled a little with this book. I wasn't sure where things were going. It's told from both Elzbieta's and Roman's points of view, so you get a comprehensive look into what Elzbieta is hiding and Roman's outrage with the situation surrounding his family. 

That said, I found the story moved slowly. It seemed to be two teens sharing their experiences as the German's rounded up Jews to send them to concentration camps. Eventually, the plot became clear. I wonder had I read The Things We Cannot Say if I'd feel more connected to those in the story.
Some of The Warsaw Orphan covered details I'd just read last month in another Jewish historical fiction novel. Because of that story's focus on using the sewers to escape, placing infants with other families to save their lives, etc., this story didn't come off as different and unique as it would to readers who missed the other novel. My suspicion is that that book impacted my views of this one.

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