Title: The Warsaw Orphan
Author: Kelly Rimmer
Publication: June 1, 2021
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Historical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
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.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
The Warsaw Orphan was a book I instantly wanted to read. I am a lover of historical fiction and lean towards stories of World War II. This story follows Elzbieta and her family as she tries to survive in Warsaw covered in German’s. She makes friends with her neighbor who comes to put her in harms way as he goes into the ghetto with the Jews and tries to help smuggle children out to safety. We also follow Roman as his family fights to survive inside the ghetto and how his story and Elzbieta’s cross.
This story was very dark. I want to lead with that because a lot of historical fictions in the time of World War II are dark, but also have some light of hope. The Warsaw Orphan was a dark story because these people lived in a very dark time. Kelly Rimmer really brought that through her writing. I felt the desperation that these families feel as they try to not be noticed by the wrong people, to find food to feed everyone, and the stresses of the jobs they are doing. Like, really felt it. My stomach hurt thinking about their hunger. My scalp itched thinking about not being able to shower. My nose wrinkled thinking about the smells from the sewer.
I love Elzbieta. She is very young for what she has to do, but her strength is so potent that even when she doesn’t realize her strength, I did as a reader. I wasn’t a huge fan of Roman. Sara was also one of my favorite characters. I’d call her a side character but she was also a very important person in this story. A lot of the supporting characters played very huge parts in this story and I think that really helped shape the story and how important it was for community and family to stick together in these times. Rimmer really drew that out.
The story itself flowed well. Most stories stick to the end time of the war, but this story stretched from 1942 to 1946 with large chunks of time explained. We got to see the struggles of the people, the uprising, the last stand, and even some of the recovery. I felt I got to watch the characters grow and learn from their surroundings and their mistakes. I’ve read a lot of historical fictions and The Warsaw Orphan just seemed different. A bit darker. A bit more gut wrenching, which is hard to do. But then you have the little story of hope and love that does twist its way into the story and really keeps you going.
I would definitely recommend The Warsaw Orphan to anyone who is a historical fiction fan. It’s not for the faint of heart, but worth every single minute spent reading. The ending will leave you feeling some hope in humanity. I’ll be checking out more from Kelly Rimmer very soon.
Pick up your copy of The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Also check out more from author Kelly Rimmer on her website HERE.