Showing posts with label jewish history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jewish history. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Woman With the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff

 Release Date - May 4, 2021

Eighteen-year-old Sadie Gault lives with her parents in the Krakow Ghetto during WWII. When the ghetto is raided and all Jews are removed, Sadie, her pregnant mom, and her dad escape with the help of a local worker. They're forced to live underground in the sewers where they rely on food deliveries from the guy that helped them.

It's there that Sadie "meets" a Polish girl who lives in a wealthier part of town. Ella is shocked to learn of the people living in the sewers and vows to help them. It's hard to keep this up when her stepmother brings home the Germans every night, and people in town question why she keeps heading into the impoverished, dangerous parts of town.

In a dangerous time and in extraordinarily grim situations, the friendship that forms between Sadie and Ella is undeniable but puts them both in extreme danger.

The Woman With the Blue Star is fictional but based on some true accounts. It's hard not to feel so many emotions while you read Sadie's story and see how Ella fits into it. I enjoyed getting to know both characters, but I definitely felt every ounce of Sadie's sadness and frustration.

Plus, there's the mystery that starts in the opening chapter. A woman is in Poland ready to meet the stranger she's been watching for days. When she finally gets up the courage, she realizes the person she's meeting isn't who she thought. Until the end, you won't learn who these women are, and you'll be eager to get to the end to figure it out.

It's an exceptional story that held my attention from start to finish. My heart still breaks that people could be so cruel and that some still haven't learned from the past. Pam Jenoff once again delighted me with her look at the hope and sadness the Jews experienced during that time.

You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith

 Release Date - October 25, 2022 After his dad's death, Adam Stillwater and his mom do everything in their power to keep the family...