Hello readers! Welcome to my stop on the Harlequin Trade Publishing Summer 2021 Blog Tour for The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer! Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing and the author for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this tour.
Title: The Warsaw Orphan
Author: Kelly Rimmer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: June 1st, 2021 (Graydon House)
Synopsis: In the spring of 1942, young Elzbieta Rabinek is aware of the swiftly growing discord just beyond the courtyard of her comfortable Warsaw home. She has no fondness for the Germans who patrol her streets and impose their curfews, but has never given much thought to what goes on behind the walls that contain her Jewish neighbors. She knows all too well about German brutality–and that it’s the reason she must conceal her true identity. But in befriending Sara, a nurse who shares her apartment floor, Elzbieta makes a discovery that propels her into a dangerous world of deception and heroism.
Using Sara’s credentials to smuggle children out of the ghetto brings Elzbieta face-to-face with the reality of the war behind its walls, and to the plight of the Gorka family, who must make the impossible decision to give up their newborn daughter or watch her starve. For Roman Gorka, this final injustice stirs him to rebellion with a zeal not even his newfound love for Elzbieta can suppress. But his recklessness brings unwanted attention to Sara’s cause, unwittingly putting Elzbieta and her family in harm’s way until one violent act threatens to destroy their chance at freedom forever.
From Nazi occupation to the threat of a communist regime, The Warsaw Orphan is the unforgettable story of Elzbieta and Roman’s perilous attempt to reclaim the love and life they once knew.
Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The year is 1942 and Elzbieta leads a relatively comfortable life in her family’s Warsaw apartment. While she is aware of the rising tension on the streets, she has never thought much about what the conditions are like for the people in the Jewish ghetto just a short distance away. When she accidentally finds out that her neighbour Sara, a nurse, is part of an underground movement that rescues children from inside the ghetto and finds them new homes, she insists on helping, seeing this as a way she can help. For the Gorka family behind the walls, despite the horrific conditions they have to endure, their sole consolation is that their family is still together. With food and resources running out quickly though, they face the impossible decision of giving away their newborn daughter Eleonora or watch her starve to death. With disturbing rumours of mass deportations in the air, time is quickly running out for them to decide. Roman Gorka’s anger mounts by the day, seeking to fight back against the many injustices perpetrated upon them, and this is the final straw that pushes him to join the rebellion that is building. But Elzbieta and her family have secrets of their own and if Roman’s recklessness draws attention to them and Sara’s operation, everyone will be at risk.
WWII novels have become one of my favourite historical fiction eras to read over the past year or two. Despite the ubiquity of novels in this genre, each one somehow manages to add a new perspective and this book was no exception. In fact, the stories narrated through this book were all entirely new to me, from the children being smuggled out to safety to the uprising inside the Warsaw ghetto. The writing is wonderful and the detail with which these events are described shows the level of research that must have gone into this book.
This was a completely heartbreaking story and a darker read than most I’ve come across, but it had its warmer moments too. The characters in this book were so realistic – complicated and flawed as they struggle to find the strength to overcome some truly terrible circumstances. It was easy at times, to forget they were only 16 and 13, as they felt so much older on page – especially Roman, forced by the war to grow up too soon. Elzbieta, though she hates the Germans, is quite naive as to the true situation for the Jews and has her eyes opened on her first trip behind the walls, and draws upon courage she never knew she had to help the resistance. It was good that the POVs alternated between Elzbieta and Roman, as it allowed the reader to follow both characters as they embarked upon different, but equally dangerous endeavours.
This was my first time reading a book by this author, and I was very impressed with it. Kelly Rimmer has excellently portrayed the struggles of the people in occupied Poland on both sides of the wall. This was quite an emotional and admittedly depressing read at times, but it was nice that it had a semi-happy ending which is something of a rarity in this genre! I’m really looking forward to checking out her other books, particularly The Things We Cannot Say. I would highly recommend this book for fans of WWII novels.
The Warsaw Orphan releases on June 1st, 2021.
About the Author
Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, The Things We Cannot Say, and Truths I Never Told You. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!