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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Warsaw Orphan

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Elzbieta Rabinek is a teenager, she lives in Warsaw with her adopted parents Truda and Mateusz, they want to protect her from the war, the German army and the unrest in the city. They keep Elzbieta close to home, she’s a curious teenager and she starts secretly visiting her neighbors Sara's apartment. Sara’s a nurse and social worker and she works for the Department of Health and Sanitation. Sara visits the Warsaw ghetto, smuggling in much needed medical supplies and tries to help the plight of Elzbieta Rabinek is a teenager, she lives in Warsaw with her adopted parents Truda and Mateusz, they want to protect her from the war, the German army and the unrest in the city. They keep Elzbieta close to home, she’s a curious teenager and she starts secretly visiting her neighbors Sara's apartment. Sara’s a nurse and social worker and she works for the Department of Health and Sanitation. Sara visits the Warsaw ghetto, smuggling in much needed medical supplies and tries to help the plight of the starving Jewish children living behind the wall. Roman Gorka is a Jewish teenager, he lives in the Warsaw ghetto with his mother Maya, stepfather Samuel, little brother Dawidek and his baby sister Eleonora. The Gorka family made the choice to stay in their apartment, the family didn’t want to be separated, and are now stuck behind the high wall. It’s extremely crowded in the ghetto, the conditions are deplorable, to survive you need to be useful and work. His mother had a baby six weeks ago, both his mother and baby sister Eleonora are not doing well and he’s worried about their health. When his mother contacts Sara, she desperately wants to get her baby out of the ghetto, Roman is angry and then he understands why. Roman and Elzbieta meet, develop feelings towards each other and it's dangerous for both of them. Slowly the ghetto starts to be emptied, as the time goes on the situation in the ghetto becomes dire, Roman constantly worries about his family being deported and he dreads returning home to find the apartment empty and the injustice of his situation makes him an extremely volatile young man. The Warsaw Orphan is a story about two teenagers, growing up, living and trying to survive in a city consumed by war, hardship, suffering and injustice. Kelly Rimmer has written another epic historical novel about the power of human spirit, it makes you feel all kinds of emotions, it’s moving and it takes on a journey. I received a copy of this book from Hachette Australia and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, I couldn’t stop reading it and five big stars from me. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    The Warsaw Orphan absolutely broke me. What an amazing story of survival, of friendship and love. I was in floods of tears after reading the very first chapter and I knew that I was reading something very special indeed. It was the first of many scenes that had me crying. It is a beautifully written, well researched story, inspired by true events from WW2 Poland. The writing had me feeling that I was there, I could see the struggles, I could feel the hunger and the despair of these characters. I The Warsaw Orphan absolutely broke me. What an amazing story of survival, of friendship and love. I was in floods of tears after reading the very first chapter and I knew that I was reading something very special indeed. It was the first of many scenes that had me crying. It is a beautifully written, well researched story, inspired by true events from WW2 Poland. The writing had me feeling that I was there, I could see the struggles, I could feel the hunger and the despair of these characters. It made me feel lucky to be living today and not in these times of war. The things that these people had to endure, the unthinkable decisions that that had to make and losing those that they love so often and so brutally. 2 teenagers growing up in this time, having to understand the world and try to make sense of what was happening to them and their families. Seeing and hearing things that no child should ever have to go through. Elzbieta and Roman had their beliefs as different as they were. They both wanted more and they wanted to help those who could not help themselves. The Warsaw Orphan will make you cry, It will make you think. It will make you appreciate your life. The strength of humanity and the power of family is amazing. This is in no way an easy book to read. It is one you need to savour, to take your time with and appreciate. Kelly, I just loved it. Thank you to Hachette Books Australia for my advanced copy of this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Arthur

    ⭐️4.5 Stars⭐️ An emotionally compelling World War II story The Warsaw Orphan is Kelly Rimmer’s latest historical fiction release, it’s an inspiring story of courage, love and strength set in Poland 1942 in the Warsaw Ghetto under German occupation until the end of the war in 1945 and the subsequent Soviet occupation. Kelly places the reader into the dark era of the Holocaust and holds you glued until the very last page. Emilia (Elzbieta Rabinek )is our heroine whose courage shines through at a young ⭐️4.5 Stars⭐️ An emotionally compelling World War II story The Warsaw Orphan is Kelly Rimmer’s latest historical fiction release, it’s an inspiring story of courage, love and strength set in Poland 1942 in the Warsaw Ghetto under German occupation until the end of the war in 1945 and the subsequent Soviet occupation. Kelly places the reader into the dark era of the Holocaust and holds you glued until the very last page. Emilia (Elzbieta Rabinek )is our heroine whose courage shines through at a young age, she lives not far from the walls of the Ghetto living a comfortable existence at home with her parents. Elzbieta befriends Sara a nurse who shares the same apartment floor which lead to a discovery that throws her into a world of deception and bravery. Roman Gorka is a teenager who lives in the horror of the ghetto in inhuman conditions. There’s crowding, starvation, sickness and death in the precinct. His newborn sister is dying and their mother’s malnutrition is also making her weak and limiting her supply of milk to feed the baby. Their family gets by on scraps of vegetable peels and the occasional piece of bread. Money and food are in short supply and Roman’s young brother Dawidek who is only nine has been recruited by the Kapo to collect corpses (hideous unpaid work). The main theme of the story is the smuggling of Jewish children out of the ghetto and those who risked everything to help them escape. Excellent pacing and scenes that will tear at your heart, stories like these must be read and remembered, it’s inspired by true events. I believe this story will appeal to many readers, I’d highly recommend. Publication Date June 1st 2021 Thank you to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for an ARC to review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Early edition book club read. Awesome story based on a true story of a heroine who saved thousands of orphans during WWII; along with what happened to a couple of close families, how they connected during this tumultuous time. I haven't read a WWII story from this area. Well done. I loved the characters, well developed and all open issues were resolved. Early edition book club read. Awesome story based on a true story of a heroine who saved thousands of orphans during WWII; along with what happened to a couple of close families, how they connected during this tumultuous time. I haven't read a WWII story from this area. Well done. I loved the characters, well developed and all open issues were resolved.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    Traumatizing - heartbreaking & wonderful ! 4 stars for The Warsaw Orphan This book follows emila a polish girl who can no longer sit idilly by as innocent children are murdered and Roman a Jewish boy who lives and breathes, and fights for everything he believes in through childhood and adulthood as the Germans and then soviets invade Poland. Their story is filled with bravery and struggles of war from two different perspectives, which intertwine perfectly. Initially I found the beginning of the Traumatizing - heartbreaking & wonderful ! 4 stars for The Warsaw Orphan This book follows emila a polish girl who can no longer sit idilly by as innocent children are murdered and Roman a Jewish boy who lives and breathes, and fights for everything he believes in through childhood and adulthood as the Germans and then soviets invade Poland. Their story is filled with bravery and struggles of war from two different perspectives, which intertwine perfectly. Initially I found the beginning of the novel very wordy almost to much detail I felt myself wanting to wander through the pages to find something to connect with well by the end of chapter 5 I found that , that first time my heart was ripped out of my chest while reading the Warsaw orphan, however it certainly wasn't the last. By chapter 9 I was in full fledge page turning consumed with the story. I had to know what happen to each and everyone of the characters I came to love. I absolutely LOVE the ending of this novel it closed all loose ends and questions. "The war had been so destructive in emilias life , but it never dampened the goodness of her spirit " resinates with me so much even when the unthinkable happens to her time and time again , she is forced to make impossible decisions she always rises above and does her best to keep on spreading even a shred is goodness to those around her. The way Kelly Rimmer switches from hope to great sadness and glimpses of happiness is unlike anything I have ever read before. It tears my heart apart to know the decisions that so many families had to make , for themselves, for humanity , for their children. As a mother myself it shakes me to my very core that so many people had to suffer this way. I have read many stories and memoirs of WWII, however the way in which this story is told opens your eyes to the traumatizing despair, and heartbreak that was suffered through, the tough decisions that had to be made.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I have read other books about the extermination of the Warsaw ghetto by the Nazis during WWII but this novel gives a different view of it from two teenagers - one inside the ghetto and one outside who both fight against what is happening to the Jewish people. The main character is inspired by a real person who saved thousands of children from certain death. Even though I knew the basic story, this book was still a real page turner as I followed the lives of these two young people and hoped for a I have read other books about the extermination of the Warsaw ghetto by the Nazis during WWII but this novel gives a different view of it from two teenagers - one inside the ghetto and one outside who both fight against what is happening to the Jewish people. The main character is inspired by a real person who saved thousands of children from certain death. Even though I knew the basic story, this book was still a real page turner as I followed the lives of these two young people and hoped for a good outcome for both of them. In the spring of 1942, fourteen year old Elzbieta is becoming aware of what is going on behind the walls of the ghetto. Up until then her main concerns were the city curfew and the Germans who patrolled the streets. When she becomes friends with Sara, a nurse who lives upstairs, she becomes part of a network of people who work with the children in the ghetto and try to help them escape. On one of her trips, she meets Roman. He lives with his parents, younger brother and a new baby. He and his brother are constantly trying to get food for his mother so that she can nurse the baby. When tragedy strikes his family and all is lost, Roman becomes part of the resistance group in the ghetto who plan to fight to take control from the Germans. Elzbieta and Roman become friends and there is a real possibility of love but his fervor for the rebellion in the ghetto puts Elzbieta and her family in danger and they need to flee. Will they be able to find each other again during the war or will the war and the fighting after the war with the Russian troops keep them apart forever? This was a well written and well researched novel that was set during turbulent years in Warsaw. The two main characters were we written and I was cheering them both on throughout the story. Yes, there were tears as I read this novel but there was also a strong hope for peace and love for these two. If you enjoy WWII fiction, you definitely don't want to miss The Warsaw Orphan. Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah | coffeereadrepeat

    In 1942 Poland we meet Elzbieta, a 14 year old girl living in a crowded home just outside the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto. When Elzbieta befriends Sara, a nurse living in the apartment upstairs, she uncovers the truth of what lies inside the Ghetto and unable to turn a blind eye, she makes the brave decision to venture inside the Ghetto with Sara to help. It is there that she meets 16 year old Roman, rebellious by nature and intent on fighting the Nazis until his dying breath. His need tor vengea In 1942 Poland we meet Elzbieta, a 14 year old girl living in a crowded home just outside the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto. When Elzbieta befriends Sara, a nurse living in the apartment upstairs, she uncovers the truth of what lies inside the Ghetto and unable to turn a blind eye, she makes the brave decision to venture inside the Ghetto with Sara to help. It is there that she meets 16 year old Roman, rebellious by nature and intent on fighting the Nazis until his dying breath. His need tor vengeance endangers everyone in his life, but Elzbieta can’t bring herself to turn her back on him. This book is a parallel story to the one told in The Things We Cannot Say and if you have not read that yet, please do yourself a favor and order it right now. It is one of my favorite books of all time and I can’t say enough good things. You don’t need to read that one in order to read this one, but on a scale of 1-10 it’s a 27, so you should. Five heart wrenching stars to this one. If you love historical fiction, read this. If you need a good cry, read this. If you just love good books in general, read this. I haven’t had a good cry from a book in a while so I was definitely due for one and this book had me wrecked. I felt everything - sad, mad, happy, you name it. Please just read it, and have the tissues nearby.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bev Walkling

    Even the hardest heart could hardly fail to be moved by Kelly Rimmer’s The Warsaw Orphan. It is the kind of book that can grab you from the very beginning and keep you reading as quickly as you can until it is done and even then, it leaves you with lots of food for thought. I had the pleasure of reading it recently in advance of its publication. Many novels have been written about the rebellion which took place in the Warsaw Ghetto starting April 19th, 1943. The first one that comes to mind for m Even the hardest heart could hardly fail to be moved by Kelly Rimmer’s The Warsaw Orphan. It is the kind of book that can grab you from the very beginning and keep you reading as quickly as you can until it is done and even then, it leaves you with lots of food for thought. I had the pleasure of reading it recently in advance of its publication. Many novels have been written about the rebellion which took place in the Warsaw Ghetto starting April 19th, 1943. The first one that comes to mind for me is Mila 18 by Leon Uris. I most recently re-read it while touring Warsaw and was able to see the places in modern day Warsaw that Uris was describing. It is a powerhouse of a novel, and Rimmer's book moves me in a similar way. Her novel, however, covers a broader time period. It begins in the Warsaw Ghetto and the reader learns what life is like from the voice of Roman, a young boy in his mid-teens who lives with his mother, step-father, younger brother, and infant sister in the ghetto. Roman was baptized Catholic at the wish of his Catholic father and was not circumcised. He could have passed quite easily as “Aryan” and stayed out of the ghetto, but his family meant everything to him and so he stayed and did his best to help provide for them. Throughout this novel we follow Roman and his participation not just in the rebellion of April 19th to May 16th 1943, but also in the later Warsaw Uprising in the summer of 1944 which was led by the Polish Underground Resistance Army, but on through the end of the War and the arrival of the Russians. One can take walking tours of the Old Warsaw area even today (It underwent massive reconstruction in the post war to make it as close in appearance as it could to what the Germans had destroyed.) and see the sewer covers where resistance members were able to escape using the sewers as a means of transit away from the Germans. As I am writing, people globally are becoming increasingly angry and upset about the many ways in which the pandemic is affecting our lives. What we are facing now is nothing compared to what Roman, his family and so many others faced while living in the ghetto, where even a tiny scrap of bread could make the difference between life and death. Life for one, and death for another. As Roman described it: “If my time in the ghetto had taught me anything, it was that life might deliver blessings, but each one would have a sting in its tail. God might deliver us fortune, but never without a cost.” Outside the ghetto, life moves on in its own fashion with both the good and the bad happening. It was still under Nazi control, but the ghetto was walled off and for your average Polish resident it was possible to look the other way and pretend that life really wasn’t so awful. Rimmer next introduces us to “Emilia”, a young adolescent living in Warsaw with her foster parents Truda and Mateuz, far from the tiny village where she was raised by loving parents. She was exposed to the horrors of war far too young and was forced to change her name and move to Warsaw in the hopes that her family history would not follow her and cause her to lose her life. Emilia is a curious girl, but wartime conditions mean that she has to stay pretty much confined to their apartment and as with young teens even today, this is a very hard thing to do. Emilia rebels in many different ways – not with any intent to harm, but out of frustration. Mateuz realizes “It is one thing to keep her safe, but surely our goal should be to keep her safe and sane.” (Oh, this could so easily be written for today!) And so Emilia is given the freedom to visit the courtyard for a brief time each evening. Unbeknownst to Truda and Mateuz, she has made one friend, Sara, a nurse and social worker whose apartment is on their floor. Instead of going to the courtyard, Emilia goes to see Sara. It gave Emilia one small thing that she felt she could control. Ultimately, her visits were discovered. Over time, Emilia’s relationship with Sara leads her into the ghetto – almost as a student doing a co-op work experience, but not your typical work experience at all. It is horrifying and leads Emilia to connect with Roman and with many other children in the ghetto but there is something about Roman that seems to speak to her and they somehow forge a bond that will connect them throughout the rest of the war. As a reader, I felt completely drawn into everything the author exposed me to through the eyes and voices of Roman and Emilia. I felt as if I was right there watching things happen. Their lives became more and more difficult as time passes and yet they went on. At the beginning of the book Roman is quoted as saying, “The Human spirit is a miraculous thing. It is the strongest part of us – crushed under pressure, but rarely broken. Trapped within our weak and fallible bodies, but never contained.” This was a huge take-away for me with this book. Roman and Emilia face horrible things, torture for one and rape for the other and Rimmer captures the essence of what so many women through the centuries have sadly experienced as they live with the aftereffects of such horrors. I could go on and on, but one needs to read the book and discover it for themselves. There is so much deep content here and the book would be a wonderful one for book club discussion. As advance reader, I typically have access to the author’s note and some historical reference. This was not present in the ARC which I read but I gather that it will be there in the published novel. I look forward to reading it as I feel it adds an extra level to my enjoyment and understanding. Many thanks to #NetGalley, Harlequin Trade Publishing, Graydon House and the author for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    B

    I just reviewed The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer. #TheWarsawOrphan #NetGalley Fantastic book! I learned so much about Warsaw and its history.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erin (Drink.Read.Repeat)

    *View my reviews at www.drinkreadrepeat.com* In the past couple of months, I have passively reflected on the things we take for granted. Honestly, I have never really had… hardship… in my life. Sure, there were things that weren’t ideal. People on the periphery of my life who weren’t nice. Experiences I would have liked to have but didn’t. Things I would have enjoyed owning but couldn’t afford. But I have never really wanted . I have absolutely been privileged. And a journey I have been on in this *View my reviews at www.drinkreadrepeat.com* In the past couple of months, I have passively reflected on the things we take for granted. Honestly, I have never really had… hardship… in my life. Sure, there were things that weren’t ideal. People on the periphery of my life who weren’t nice. Experiences I would have liked to have but didn’t. Things I would have enjoyed owning but couldn’t afford. But I have never really wanted . I have absolutely been privileged. And a journey I have been on in this past year – one on which many of my peers have joined me – is recognizing and acknowledging this privilege. When I learned about the Holocaust in school, I was duly upset by the stories contained in the history textbook — even though these accounts of this genocide were largely sanitized, made easier to digest for a younger audience and easier to explain for a nervous teacher. It wasn’t until much later, when I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a teenager, that I really realized just how incredibly horrible this atrocity was. Until then, I had allowed myself to believe a watered-down version of history. I had believed a version that textbook publishers and history teachers knew wasn’t the full, unvarnished truth, but I suppose assumed would suffice. We cannot traumatize the students, they probably thought as they edited out the most horrifying details of the Nazi reign of terror. But maybe being traumatized is what we really needed. Because I was traumatized when, standing amongst the crowd in that museum, I looked down on that pit of abandoned shoes, each once belonging to a child who was murdered by the Nazis. And my trauma continued as I walked through the museum, floor by circular floor. Only one way in. Only one way out. Designed to make it impossible for you to shield yourself from the full reality of the situation. At the time I was moved. I thought how awful it was that people of the past were able to do these things to other people. Perhaps for my own sanity, I divorced myself from the events entirely. The people who did these things were in the past. Dead and gone and buried. Now, I am less moved and more infuriated. Because I now realize that these events, these prejudices, aren’t a relic of our past. Just a few weeks ago, I watched on TV as an angry mob forced its way into the US Capitol building. Way too many of these rioters expressed not their dissatisfaction with governmental procedure, but instead their prejudice. They marched through the halls of the Capitol waving their Confederate flags while unapologetically wearing shirts emblazoned with symbols and words reflecting their hatred. A “Camp Auschwitz” shirt. A shirt reading 6MWE – which I later came to learn meant “six million wasn’t enough,” in reference to the horrifying number of people who lost their lives at the bloodied hands of the Nazi regime. Now more than ever, I truly understand the importance of presenting a realistically abrasive recounting of what occurred during this horrible era of hate. We, all of us, need to confront what happened. Because it’s only by confronting it that we can truly understand the depths of evil to which people sunk in the past and truly realize the potential impact of not striking back against prejudices of all kinds today. This recent reflection on hatred in our society and my role in that system makes this the perfect time to read The Warsaw Orphan, Kelly Rimmer’s newest historical fiction novel which plunges readers into the icy cold waters of the Holocaust and keeps them there, submerged and gasping for breath, until the very last page. As this novel opens, we meet two teenagers: Roman and Emilia. Both live in Warsaw and both are trying to navigate a society made horrifically complex and dangerous by the now-in-power Nazis. The son of a catholic father and a Jewish mother, Roman was raised in the church, even after his father’s death. But, when the Nazi’s invaded, continuing to assert his Catholicism would have meant being separated from his family. So he joined them in the Jewish ghetto. They live in inhumane conditions, surviving on vegetable peels and living in impossibly cramped quarters. But they are surviving. Until the Nazi’s decide to start deporting Jews from the ghetto. Though the residents of the ghetto are told that they are being relocated to work camps, they soon discover that the truth is even more stark. Roman knows that the only way for his younger sister and brother to survive is for them to somehow escape the walls of the ghetto, so he explores every opportunity to secure them an exit, no matter how unlawful these avenues may be. Though not trapped inside the walls of the ghetto herself, Emilia is also far from free. In fact, she’s not even free to go by her real name. To those in Warsaw, she is Elzbieta. She lives with a man and woman she calls father and mother, though, only a few years ago, they were mere acquaintances. Emilia didn’t leave her former life behind by choice, but instead by necessity. First, the Nazis murdered her father. Then, when her brother was found to be helping Jews, they murdered him as well, but not before vowing to wipe out any remaining members of his family as well. Desperate not to lose the little girl who had filled the hole in their previously childless family, the man and woman who had raised Emilia since her father’s death fled to Warsaw, hoping to keep Emilia's connection to her fugitive brother a secret and, in doing so, keep her safe. Though Emilia values her safety, she cannot turn a blind eye to what the Nazis are doing. Set on justice and driven by a compulsion to help, she works to position herself as a member of the rebellion. She knows that, should her involvement be discovered, there will be consequences. But, if she doesn’t participate, she can’t help but believe there will be consequences for her soul. As I have come to expect from Kelly Rimmer’s historical fiction work, this novel was absolutely stunning. Beautifully paced and packed with scenes that hurt your heart, it is honestly flawless. This book was, inarguably, a difficult read. With page after page, scene after scene, of absolute devastation, it will almost certainly rock your foundation. But, as I have come to learn recently, there is danger in avoiding things that hurt. And, while this novel hurts, the story it contains is an important one. Because it’s a story about humans, the good and the bad. It’s a story about what has happened. And it’s a story about what could happen if people turn a blind eye. The Warsaw Orphan is an absolute must-read. It earns an easy 5 out of 5 cocktails.

  11. 5 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    Kelly Rimmer’s eagerly anticipated novel, “The Warsaw Orphan,” is inspired by Irena Sendler (Kryzyzanowski), a real-life Polish nurse and heroine, who smuggled thousands of Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. Meticulously researched and stuffed with heart-rendering emotion, this is more than a story about survival during Nazi-occupied Poland. It’s a call to arms. Not by taking up guns and ammunition, but to dig deep and find love, generosity, and kindness then openly and lavishly share it Kelly Rimmer’s eagerly anticipated novel, “The Warsaw Orphan,” is inspired by Irena Sendler (Kryzyzanowski), a real-life Polish nurse and heroine, who smuggled thousands of Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. Meticulously researched and stuffed with heart-rendering emotion, this is more than a story about survival during Nazi-occupied Poland. It’s a call to arms. Not by taking up guns and ammunition, but to dig deep and find love, generosity, and kindness then openly and lavishly share it with others. We see how 14-year-old Elzbieta Rabinek, despite losing everyone dear to her, knew that courage was in her blood. She had inherited it at birth. She had learned it from the legacy of those she’d lost. Armed with that knowledge, she reached deep within and accessed it. Under disguise as a social worker’s aid, she gained access to the Warsaw Ghetto, saw the horror behind the walls and was impelled to give over 2000 children a chance at a better life. An orphan herself and searching for her place in this world, she helped give defenseless young people a second chance. We may not have the chance to be an inspiring humanitarian and save thousands of lives, but we have option of using the 86,400 seconds we are blessed with every day to share a smile, pay it forward with a coffee, offer a stressed mother a hand, or help an elderly person. Instead of fingering someone who carelessly cut us off, budged in line, or failed to be a decent human being, we could fight it with kindness. “I need to believe that there is some hidden depth of grace within these men who torture us, because if there isn’t, then all hope is lost. And it’s not just lost for us, Roman, but for humanity, because even once all this is over, this evil could emerge from the souls of men again and again and again.” Like Elzbieta, let’s fight against this evil in human nature so that hope for humanity isn’t lost. It has and will emerge, but if enough of us are fighting it, we can give hope and love room to blossom. Rimmer’s book reminds us to choose kindness. I think the two things that I’ll remember most about this book, besides Rimmer’s message between the pages, are firstly, Rimmer’s juxtaposition of events throughout. For example, the Spring flowers and Elzbieta’s elation at riding the Ferris wheel in the square with the gunshot and silence and then bookended with the man working the ride audaciously uttering “Have a lovely day.” How? Secondly, I won’t forget the difference a timely hand up would have meant to the little girl in the alley and to Sarah’s child. Rimmer’s rich characters and haunting setting take backseat to her ability to immerse the reader into the plot. The use of first person and alternating points of view added to this superb story. Rimmer wrote to my five senses: I smelled the sewer clothing on the steps, I heard the baby in the handbag, I saw the gaunt people, I fingered the soil under the apple tree and I tasted the state, stodgy birthday cake. I strongly urge you to purchase Rimmer’s historical fiction masterpiece come June 1, 2021. Extreme gratitude to Kelly Rimmer, Graydon House, and NetGalley for the gift of my advance reading copy. I received it for free and was under no obligation to provide a review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    The Warsaw Orphan is the sixth novel by Australian author, Kelly Rimmer. The Warsaw Ghetto in 1942 is the scene of much desperation, despair and heartbreak. There are disturbing rumours about mass deportations to Treblinka, although sixteen-year-old Roman Gorka’s stepfather Samuel maintains an unlikely positivity about it all, wishfully believing the German propaganda about a clean work camp with better conditions and more food. It takes a while, but eventually Roman accepts that the truth is rad The Warsaw Orphan is the sixth novel by Australian author, Kelly Rimmer. The Warsaw Ghetto in 1942 is the scene of much desperation, despair and heartbreak. There are disturbing rumours about mass deportations to Treblinka, although sixteen-year-old Roman Gorka’s stepfather Samuel maintains an unlikely positivity about it all, wishfully believing the German propaganda about a clean work camp with better conditions and more food. It takes a while, but eventually Roman accepts that the truth is radically different, and that reports of extermination might be more accurate than what they are being told by the Kapo and xx. Ultimately, it’s a large group of orphans being marched to a railway platform that moves him to convince his parents to let the social workers smuggle his younger brother, Dawidek and his baby sister Eleanora out of the Ghetto, to safety. Emilia Slaska has been living under another name, Elzbieta Rabinek, and posing as the daughter of Truda and Mateusz, since her brother Tomasz was executed for assisting Jews. Mateusz’s brother, the ever resourceful Uncle Piotr has moved them out of their town, Trzebinia, into a Warsaw apartment, and manages to acquire plenty of hard-to-find luxuries for them. Restricted to the apartment and its courtyard, Emilia’s boredom sees her making friends with their neighbour, Sara Wieczorek, a nurse and social worker with the city council’s Department of Health and Social Services. On the eve of her fourteenth birthday, Emilia accidentally learns what Sara does behind the scenes, and promptly insists on becoming part of it: helping the Jews imprisoned in the Ghetto, and smuggling the children out to loving homes and better care, seems like the most worthwhile thing she can do with her life. Emilia learns just how challenging this work can be, but also discovers a level of personal courage of which she was unaware. Their initial meeting is a lot less than ideal, but soon enough, Roman and Emilia are enjoying each others company. Two years on, Roman has narrowly escaped deportation and death, and is channelling his righteous anger against their occupying force into resistance activities, becoming a fervent participant in the Warsaw Uprising. As Roman dismisses injuries to return to the fight, they realise they are in love and Emilia is begging Roman care for his life, and heart, as if it were her own. Eventually, Roman “learned how to suppress the instinct to throw myself unthinkingly into every battle. I had learned to pause and to ask myself, how can I be smart here? How can I guard my life as I would guard hers, just as I promised her I would?” And if Roman survives, and Emilia survives, will their ending be a happy one? Rimmer easily conveys her setting, the horrific ordeal that Poles in their occupied land suffered, and the agonising decisions that had to be made on a daily basis. Her characters suffer great loss but manage to endure, to adapt, to rebuild. Rimmer knows how to tug on the heart-strings: this is a moving read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Hachette Australia.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: February 23, 2021 Publication date: June 1, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, AND it is a loverly minus 26 degrees, snowy and icy where I am currently stuck living, so superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader C Date reviewed/posted: February 23, 2021 Publication date: June 1, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, AND it is a loverly minus 26 degrees, snowy and icy where I am currently stuck living, so superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. 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 neighbours. 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. This book is one of the reasons I love historical fiction - amazing research, compelling characters and a zippy storyline. I can see recommending this book to friends, family, patrons, book clubs and complete strangers on mass transit as it was an amazing read, as are all her other books. Take this book to the beach (or your back yard, porch or balcony) and enjoy it - just wear a tonne of SPF110 as you will lose track of time as you read this. - If we are in the 3rd or 4th wave/mutation of COVID19 by then, stay inside: no tan is worth dying for. Pick it up/pre-order it and read it! As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 📚📚📚📚📚

  14. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    Kelly Rimmer takes her readers back to an occupied Poland, it is 1942 where we meet a young teenager, Elzbieta Rabinek things are heart-wrenching in Warsaw but nowhere near as bad as behind the wall of the ghetto. Elzbieta has seen things that no one should ever see and keeps a secret but she shows courage and strength as she befriends her neighbour a nurse Sara, together they do what they can to help in a dangerous situation. Elzbieta becomes Sara’s apprentice so she can get behind the wall and Kelly Rimmer takes her readers back to an occupied Poland, it is 1942 where we meet a young teenager, Elzbieta Rabinek things are heart-wrenching in Warsaw but nowhere near as bad as behind the wall of the ghetto. Elzbieta has seen things that no one should ever see and keeps a secret but she shows courage and strength as she befriends her neighbour a nurse Sara, together they do what they can to help in a dangerous situation. Elzbieta becomes Sara’s apprentice so she can get behind the wall and help with placing Jewish children into new homes and orphanages, during this time she meets a young man Roman Gorka while trying to help out his family, she clicks with Roman instantly she can see the strength and the will to fight for a better life for his family and friends and soon they are friends as well but war and rebellion get in the way. Life is not easy for Elzbieta and her family and the rebellion behind the wall sees them fleeing to Lodz and trying to do what they can to survive, there is danger everywhere not only from the Germans but the Russian army as well. Elzbieta’s life changes so much and they move back to Warsaw to find Sara and Roman but will Roman’s anger and frustration cause more danger? This is a compelling, poignant and very emotional story, so beautifully written it takes in the plight of the Polish people who went through so much and it shows the strength and resilience of Elzbieta, her parents Roman and Sara the heart-breaking things they saw and the thing they had to do to survive. There were many tears from me and cheering as well I wanted them to achieve so much and they did well through some very dangerous and desperate situations Out of the cruelty of war and the heart-break it causes can hope and a future of love and happiness be found, when there is love and friendship and support there is always hope. I loved this story so much, Kelly Rimmer you have done it again another awesome story one that is not to be missed, and this one will stay with me for a long time to come, thank you. My thanks to Hachette AUS for my copy to read and review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    5 stars. Kelly Rimmer has written another great historical fiction set in WW2 Poland about the unbreakable spirit of humans under extraordinary circumstances. The Warsaw Orphan is a heart wrenching story about two teenagers growing up in Warsaw, Poland in the 1940s, trying desperately to survive the severity of the Nazi occupation. Fourteen year old Elzbieta is a girl living just outside the ghetto. She meets Sara, a nurse living in her apartment building. Soon she learns from Sara about what's 5 stars. Kelly Rimmer has written another great historical fiction set in WW2 Poland about the unbreakable spirit of humans under extraordinary circumstances. The Warsaw Orphan is a heart wrenching story about two teenagers growing up in Warsaw, Poland in the 1940s, trying desperately to survive the severity of the Nazi occupation. Fourteen year old Elzbieta is a girl living just outside the ghetto. She meets Sara, a nurse living in her apartment building. Soon she learns from Sara about what's happening inside the ghetto and is compelled to help. That's where she meets 16 year old Roman. They instantly bond. Inspired by the real life Polish nurse, Irena Sendler (Kryzyzanowska) who smuggled thousands of Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto, this story is filled with love and hope. I've read many WW2 books but this one has a different bent as we see what life is like through the eyes of young people. In short, life becomes more and more fragile as the war drags on especially inside the walled off ghetto. I won't reveal all the horrors but living in cramped quarters, starving and foraging for foodscraps become everyday realities. If you ever get the chance to visit Old Town in Warsaw you will see it has been restored but the sewer covers are still there - where resistance fighters crawled to make their escape. The hardships endured there should never be forgotten. As the world currently confronts a global pandemic that forces us all to remain isolated and masked I think about those that lived through WW2, like these characters, and my own relatives.. It's really not that difficult to mask up and stay your distance! There's no comparison to what Roman and his family, and others in the ghetto had to face daily. Have your tissues at the ready. This one is not an easy read but it's worth it. Many thanks to Kelly Rimmer for another winner and to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. #NetGalley #TheWarsawOrphan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bec

    𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒎𝒂𝒏𝒚 𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒇𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕. 𝑺𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒋𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒍𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆. In one of this year's most anticipated novels, we are transported to Warsaw, Poland: in a time of German Occupation and a city divided by a wall. Told by the perspective of two teens, we read about the hardship, the injustice and the sheer horrors that the Poles face during this uncertain time. Familes are starving, living in overcrowded conditions, and day after day, they are being ripped apart. Roman Gorka is a sixte 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒎𝒂𝒏𝒚 𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒇𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕. 𝑺𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒋𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒍𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆. In one of this year's most anticipated novels, we are transported to Warsaw, Poland: in a time of German Occupation and a city divided by a wall. Told by the perspective of two teens, we read about the hardship, the injustice and the sheer horrors that the Poles face during this uncertain time. Familes are starving, living in overcrowded conditions, and day after day, they are being ripped apart. Roman Gorka is a sixteen year old who knows about these battles first hand. He lives in the Jewish Grotto with his stepfather, mother, younger brother and sister. Roman is also committed to fight for his country, even if it means that he may die doing so. One day, he meets fourteen year old Elzbieta Rabinek. Elzbieta lives on the other side of the wall, in the safer Aryan community. Elzbieta also knows what it's like to lose her family: her father and brother were both exucuted and her sister in law has fled to England. She now has adoptive parents, and is safe in an apartment with a courtyard that overlooks the buildings of the Grotto. Constantly bored, Elzbieta becomes friends with her neighbour, Sara. Sara is working undercover to smuggle the Jewish children out to safety, placing them with new families.. and she's determined to help. Her first time seeing what's really hiding behind the wall terrifies Elzbieta, but she quickly learns to adapt with her new surroundings. Together, Roman and Elzbieta unite to fight for their family, friends and their country- and especially to make a new life for themselves. 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕎𝕒𝕣𝕤𝕒𝕨 𝕆𝕣𝕡𝕙𝕒𝕟 by Kelly Rimmer is sensational, harrowing, romantic and will break your heart several times over. I feel that this review doesn't give this book the justice it deserves: you'll have to read it for yourselves to see how amazing it truly is. It's also Kelly's finest novel to date. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 (like it would be anything else)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    From the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto, to the uprising, to the communist regime, The Warsaw Orphan delves into a horrific period of history to bring us a well-researched, well-written novel. The book is a roller coaster of highs and lows as we read about some of the bravest acts, but also some of the most despicable. The story does not hold back when describing what some people did to help free children from the ghetto. Elzbieta, a fourteen-year-old who has already seen too much pain and sufferi From the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto, to the uprising, to the communist regime, The Warsaw Orphan delves into a horrific period of history to bring us a well-researched, well-written novel. The book is a roller coaster of highs and lows as we read about some of the bravest acts, but also some of the most despicable. The story does not hold back when describing what some people did to help free children from the ghetto. Elzbieta, a fourteen-year-old who has already seen too much pain and suffering, is unwavering in her determination to help the Jews caught behind the wall however she can. Her neighbor, Sara, works as a social worker, entering the ghetto day in, day out. Elzbieta will join her on these daily nightmares, doing what she can to help the children. It is in one of these ghetto homes that she will meet Roman as Sara try to convince his parents to let them help save his brother and baby sister. With an effort to transport the people in the ghetto to work camps, it is closed to outsiders, leaving Sara and Elzbieta unable to help. However, the Jewish resistance is alive and well. The descriptions of the Uprising and its 28-day battle is unsettling. Poorly equipped and starving, Roman and his friends will face off against the highly trained Germans. Throughout this novel, we will read of the pains, heartaches, suffering, despair and hope of Elzbieta and Roman. Even when the war finally ends and the Nazi occupation is over, the suffering does not as now Poland is in the hands of the Red army. There will be difficult decisions to be made. Kelly Rimmer has brought us a traumatizing, heart-wrenching novel. I received a copy of this book for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Craig / Phil

    Thank you Kelly, Rebecca and Hachette for sending us a copy to read and review. A historical fiction tale set in Warsaw during World War Two about a courageous young girl who becomes entangled in a mission to save Jewish children. 1942, Warsaw and the Germans are raiding the Jewish ghettos. A girl, Elzbieta may be young but knows of all the drama and devastation going on beyond the walls of her home. One day she makes a decision that will take her into danger. Meeting the Gorka family she helps with Thank you Kelly, Rebecca and Hachette for sending us a copy to read and review. A historical fiction tale set in Warsaw during World War Two about a courageous young girl who becomes entangled in a mission to save Jewish children. 1942, Warsaw and the Germans are raiding the Jewish ghettos. A girl, Elzbieta may be young but knows of all the drama and devastation going on beyond the walls of her home. One day she makes a decision that will take her into danger. Meeting the Gorka family she helps with an risky escapade that changes her life forever. She catches the eye of Roman but the incident sparks the rebel in him, making his actions affect those around him. Will their decisions decide their fate? An excellent written and thoroughly researched plot that will take your breathe away. Kelly is a articulate storyteller, one that doesn’t leave anything untouched to make it the best it can be. Captivating, powerful and definitely unforgettable with an emotional ending. Grief, loss, bravery, friendship, resilience, cruelty, kindness, are just some of the issues explored in an unimaginable period in time. Something that makes this read also heartbreaking, raw and authentic is that it’s inspired by true events, a story that will remain long after finishing. Kelly always inhabits her storyline’s with very convincing characters, fascinating dialogue and gives the reader a satisfying and memorable experience. Fans of The Things We Cannot Say may remember some familiar faces as this story has a connection to Kelly’s previous masterpiece. Relax and get ready for the adventure of being transported back in time as your arm chair travel encounter is about to begin and be wowed.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    Captivating is the only way to describe Kelly Rimmer’s new novel, The Warsaw Orphan. Inspired by the real-life heroine who smuggled thousands of Jewish children to safety during WWII, this is a story of bravery, suffering and survival that will have you enthralled and heartbroken until the very end. Elzbieta Rabinek is a young teenager living under Nazi occupation in Warsaw. In the spring of 1942, grappling with the reality of her own wartime tragedy, she learns of the terrible plight of the fam Captivating is the only way to describe Kelly Rimmer’s new novel, The Warsaw Orphan. Inspired by the real-life heroine who smuggled thousands of Jewish children to safety during WWII, this is a story of bravery, suffering and survival that will have you enthralled and heartbroken until the very end. Elzbieta Rabinek is a young teenager living under Nazi occupation in Warsaw. In the spring of 1942, grappling with the reality of her own wartime tragedy, she learns of the terrible plight of the families within the walls of the Jewish Ghetto. She decides that she must act. Roman Gorka is a teenager living within the walls of the ghetto, his family is starving, the stench of death and disease permeate the streets and rumours abound around the plight of the many Jews who are being forcibly shipped out of the ghetto to work for the Germans. Roman becomes involved in the resistance, and the lives of the two teenagers become inextricably intertwined. The deep suffering and inhumane treatment of the Polish people during the war years is certainly hard to disregard, Kelly Rimmer has managed to humanise these atrocities though her skillful storytelling in The Warsaw Orphan. I was drawn into the worlds of the people on each side of the wall, and the cruel conditions that they endured under German occupation. Rimmer manages to take the reader there, into the thick of the lived experience. Through the eyes of the characters, I gained a new understanding of the reality of living through this period of history and cried many tears. A beautiful, thoughtful and well researched book that will touch the reader in a profound way. Rimmer has immortalised these stories of bravery and resilience for future generations, we must never forget the atrocities that were endured throughout this period in history. The Warsaw Orphan will remind you that even at the darkest times, humanity and love can triumph. Kelly Rimmer has swiftly become one of my must-read authors. Thank you to NetGalley, Hachette Australia and also to Kelly Rimmer - for the opportunity to read and review the advanced reader copy of this amazing book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen S

    There definitely is an over abundance of historical fiction books out there that are written about World War II and the holocaust. This is one of the best ones I’ve read and should be on everyone’s TBR list! Special thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for a free electronic ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. The author of this book, Kelly Rimmer, does a magnificent job of researching and writing this masterpiece. The story centers on two Polish teenagers - Elzbieta There definitely is an over abundance of historical fiction books out there that are written about World War II and the holocaust. This is one of the best ones I’ve read and should be on everyone’s TBR list! Special thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for a free electronic ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. The author of this book, Kelly Rimmer, does a magnificent job of researching and writing this masterpiece. The story centers on two Polish teenagers - Elzbieta and Roman. Roman is Jewish and forced to live in the Warsaw ghetto with his family while Elzbieta is Christian and lives outside the ghetto with her adoptive parents. The hardships and injustices forced on the Jews spur Elzbieta to take action and she starts working with a group who is dedicated to rescuing as many Jewish children as they can. It is on one of her trips into the ghetto that she meets Roman and his family and develops a lasting bond with him. When tragedy strikes, Roman joins a resistance group and becomes involved in the ghetto uprising. The lives of these two teens takes very different paths during and after the war but it’s their lasting bond that perseveres. The author of this book is an amazing storyteller and I was captivated from the very first page! Just when I would think things couldn’t get any worse for the main characters, the author would throw in a new dilemma for them to face. From start to finish this story is one of hope in the face of overwhelming devastation and a true testimony to the strength of the human spirit.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    It was 1942 and Elzbieta Rabinek was fourteen, living outside the Ghetto walls in Warsaw and unaware of the horrors that those walls contained. Sara, a nurse who was working in the city, lived in the apartment above Elzbieta and her parents and when one night she heard a commotion coming from above, Elzbieta investigated. What she found and later heard from Sara, changed her thinking and set her on a dangerous and incredibly courageous journey. Thousands of Jews with little food, clothing or com It was 1942 and Elzbieta Rabinek was fourteen, living outside the Ghetto walls in Warsaw and unaware of the horrors that those walls contained. Sara, a nurse who was working in the city, lived in the apartment above Elzbieta and her parents and when one night she heard a commotion coming from above, Elzbieta investigated. What she found and later heard from Sara, changed her thinking and set her on a dangerous and incredibly courageous journey. Thousands of Jews with little food, clothing or comfort were trying to survive in the Jewish Ghetto and Roman Gorka and his family were among them. But when his baby sister needed assistance to survive, Roman was angry. The Germans were a cruel and harsh people – even the plight of a baby didn’t stir them to have compassion. But Roman’s anger and fury would see him put many people in danger, including Elzbieta, whom he grew to love. Would the war ever end? Would the Polish people know peace in Warsaw? And what would happen to Roman and his family – to Elzbieta and her family? The Warsaw Orphan is another spectacular historical fiction novel from Aussie author Kelly Rimmer which I loved. Emotional, poignant, heartbreaking and hopeful – life was harsh in the war years with first the Germans, then the Soviets taking the independence from the Polish people. They suffered terribly – The Warsaw Orphan shows the reader all the emotions of the time – and with a filling of hope along the way. Highly recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    'The Warsaw Orphan' is a rousing, unflinching novel set during the occupation of Poland that asks readers to feel their way through one of history's darkest nights. Through the eyes of young Emilia and Roman, we see what happens when the spirit of youth meets with the spirit of resistance. There are horrors in this book I won't soon forget - but what right does any of us have to forget the evils committed within living memory? I don't know if I'll ever be able to comprehend how the Holocaust hap 'The Warsaw Orphan' is a rousing, unflinching novel set during the occupation of Poland that asks readers to feel their way through one of history's darkest nights. Through the eyes of young Emilia and Roman, we see what happens when the spirit of youth meets with the spirit of resistance. There are horrors in this book I won't soon forget - but what right does any of us have to forget the evils committed within living memory? I don't know if I'll ever be able to comprehend how the Holocaust happened, how anyone could let it happen, why anyone would want it to happen...but I think it's important to remember that it did. And to carry the voices of the lost and traumatised forward with us. Beneath the atrocity and the tears, is the pulsing heart of this book and its message of resistance and courage. I had no idea about the Boy Scouts and the Grey Ranks - I knew far less of the Jewish Ghetto than I realised - and I was awe-struck by the Polish people's valiant efforts to regain sovereignty over their nation. How people found the resilience to live, love and hope under these conditions is a breath-taking testament to the human spirit. And there is so much spirit in these pages. Whilst there are many ways to suffer, 'The Warsaw Orphan' is ultimately about the many ways there are to resist oppression - the chief of those being love. I was thoroughly moved by this book and I'd like to thank Kelly and Hachette for the advanced copy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pat Trattles

    A survey published in 2020 shows that 63% of young adults in American grossly underestimate the horror and magnitude of the extermination of Jews by the Nazis during WWII. What’s even more shocking is the number of those surveyed who said they believed the Holocaust was a myth. This book will put those doubts to rest. A magnificently researched and well written piece of historical fiction, it should be mandatory reading in all American schools. Set in Warsaw, Poland, this is the story of the War A survey published in 2020 shows that 63% of young adults in American grossly underestimate the horror and magnitude of the extermination of Jews by the Nazis during WWII. What’s even more shocking is the number of those surveyed who said they believed the Holocaust was a myth. This book will put those doubts to rest. A magnificently researched and well written piece of historical fiction, it should be mandatory reading in all American schools. Set in Warsaw, Poland, this is the story of the Warsaw Uprising as told through the eyes of two teenagers, one who lived in the ghetto and took and active part in the ghetto uprising. The other who lived outside the ghetto walls but went inside and was instrumental in secretly escorting children out of the ghetto before they could be “relocated” and face certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Although fictionalized, the author based one of the main characters on an actual historical person who secretly and successfully removed thousands of children from the Warsaw ghetto. A tale of cruelty, sacrifice, uprising, greed, courage, and love, the story pulls no punches. It highlights the worst of humanity during the Nazi occupation, but also offers a glimpse into the best of humanity as it wrestles with everyday survival during the most trying of times. Highly recommended. Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I look forward to reading more from this author.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary McLean

    book twenty-seven. #read - The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer. Thank you to @netgalley for the Advanced Copy. ✨”I would endure to tire and starvation and even death if it meant I could stay with my family. There was nothing more important to me in the world.”✨ Kelly Rimmer has done it again. I thought I was at my emotional tether with The Things We Cannot Say, but no, Kelly has come and once again proven why her stories are so amazing. Her research and in depth emotional journey you go on with the book twenty-seven. #read - The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer. Thank you to @netgalley for the Advanced Copy. ✨”I would endure to tire and starvation and even death if it meant I could stay with my family. There was nothing more important to me in the world.”✨ Kelly Rimmer has done it again. I thought I was at my emotional tether with The Things We Cannot Say, but no, Kelly has come and once again proven why her stories are so amazing. Her research and in depth emotional journey you go on with the characters is eye-opening. In particular this story relates to characters from previous novels (not required to read previous novels) however, I think I was more invested for this reason. These stories of heartache, determination, grit, love, sadness, grief, greed courage and of course sacrifice. These people would give up nothing, in the hope that their families remain safe. These stories continue to encourage the read to understand how the hell these young women and men survived. HOW?! It’s incredible. At the end of the day, Kelly Rimmer has absolutely nailed it. I highly recommend this when it appears on shelves April 28!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vlada

    This was a well-written book based on real events. However, due to the horrific truth of life in the Warsaw Jewish ghetto during WW2, it was so depressing I could barely make myself pick it up again. A word of warning: you need to be in an emotionally stalwart place to endure this. The whole book is basically a description of one catastrophe after the other. Also, I never truly connected with the characters. Emilia was just an average girl who did the best she could in the circumstances. As for R This was a well-written book based on real events. However, due to the horrific truth of life in the Warsaw Jewish ghetto during WW2, it was so depressing I could barely make myself pick it up again. A word of warning: you need to be in an emotionally stalwart place to endure this. The whole book is basically a description of one catastrophe after the other. Also, I never truly connected with the characters. Emilia was just an average girl who did the best she could in the circumstances. As for Roman, I found him intensely unlikeable. I get that he was grief-stricken and lashing out because he was powerless to change the situation he found himself in. But in my opinion, men of this sort (with their aggression and barely suppressed anger at the whole world) often resort to domestic violence in later life, when they are safely married. Ugh. The ending did address the issue, but I'm not sure if I buy this neat resolution. All in all, this was a good WW2 book, but it was hard work for me to finish it. Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin for giving me a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    This was a book to remind you of the dreadful atrocities committed by both the Nazis and the Russians, against the Polish people - first the Jews, then the others. It covers both the Ghetto and the Warsaw Uprisings, with factual information woven in with the fictional characters. Sara seems to be based on Irena Sendler, and others like her. I wish more had been made of the lack of support from the Allies, particularly Roosevelt, who were afraid to anger Russia and so did not intervene as the cit This was a book to remind you of the dreadful atrocities committed by both the Nazis and the Russians, against the Polish people - first the Jews, then the others. It covers both the Ghetto and the Warsaw Uprisings, with factual information woven in with the fictional characters. Sara seems to be based on Irena Sendler, and others like her. I wish more had been made of the lack of support from the Allies, particularly Roosevelt, who were afraid to anger Russia and so did not intervene as the citizens of Warsaw were murdered by the Germans. The story moves along fairly well, describing the conditions in the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw, and the resistance, where Polish people tried to help. It describes the Jewish police, who also inflicted pain upon the residents, only to be dispatched themselves. I was very glad the little Scouts messengers and couriers were mentioned. What brave little souls! All in all, I was more taken with the descriptions of the suffering and rebellion of the Polish people, Jew and Gentile alike, than the story being told. I did enjoy the chapters going back and forth between Elzbieta/Emilia and Roman.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Beth H

    I received an advanced copy of this book. Elzbieta lives in Warsaw during 1942 and experiences the war in a very tough way. She and her neighbor Sara become friends, and eventually she learns more about the role that Sara is playing in the war and it lights a fire in Elzbieta too. Before long, Elzbieta is joining Sara in entering the ghetto to assist in the smuggling of the Jewish children to safety. She connects with one family, and their older son Roman. That connection deepens quickly but many I received an advanced copy of this book. Elzbieta lives in Warsaw during 1942 and experiences the war in a very tough way. She and her neighbor Sara become friends, and eventually she learns more about the role that Sara is playing in the war and it lights a fire in Elzbieta too. Before long, Elzbieta is joining Sara in entering the ghetto to assist in the smuggling of the Jewish children to safety. She connects with one family, and their older son Roman. That connection deepens quickly but many giant challenges are ahead of them as the war rages on. This book is tough. The war resulted in many horrible conditions and treatment of people, and this story focuses primarily on children which can be very hard to read. I thought it was a very well written and I was easily transported to Warsaw and the tough conditions that the characters lived in.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I will be going back to read All the Things We Cannot Say to see if the character development from the first one gives me a better background in order to get the full effect of this book. There was something lacking. I can’t really say what, it just felt like this one was so much like several others I’ve read about the saving of the children and unfortunately it never took hold enough to draw me in and to get me completely engaged. Maybe reading All the Things will give me the missing pieces. If I will be going back to read All the Things We Cannot Say to see if the character development from the first one gives me a better background in order to get the full effect of this book. There was something lacking. I can’t really say what, it just felt like this one was so much like several others I’ve read about the saving of the children and unfortunately it never took hold enough to draw me in and to get me completely engaged. Maybe reading All the Things will give me the missing pieces. If you enjoy WWII books and have not read about the brave souls that risked their lives for saving the Jewish children, this may be one you will find entertaining. I want to thank Harlequin along with NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read an ARC. This one receives 4 stars

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chel

    I am not usually a fan of historical fiction, but I'm a huge Kelly Rimmer fan, and I've recently been rethinking my stance on historical fiction, anyway. So I picked up The Warsaw Orphan, and loved it from page one. While I often read for escapism, and relating to the characters, this book was different. It was sad, but it was enlightening. It gave me more perspective. It was nice to get into the minds of the characters on something that I can only know from historical accounts. Kelly has done a I am not usually a fan of historical fiction, but I'm a huge Kelly Rimmer fan, and I've recently been rethinking my stance on historical fiction, anyway. So I picked up The Warsaw Orphan, and loved it from page one. While I often read for escapism, and relating to the characters, this book was different. It was sad, but it was enlightening. It gave me more perspective. It was nice to get into the minds of the characters on something that I can only know from historical accounts. Kelly has done an amazing jobs at creating a story which results in empathy and understanding. She's a great story teller, and excellent at character building. Thanks NetGalley and Hachette for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON JUNE 4. A part of history I knew of, but I learned so much more. Ms. Rimmel detailed the horrors of living in the Warsaw Ghetto with no food, no water, or the necessities of life. We follow the characters during and after the war. THE WARSAW ORPHAN is very heart wrenching but very well written, researched, and educational. The political information became a bit much, but the story line still held my interest because I wanted to see how the lives of the characters turned out. If FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON JUNE 4. A part of history I knew of, but I learned so much more. Ms. Rimmel detailed the horrors of living in the Warsaw Ghetto with no food, no water, or the necessities of life. We follow the characters during and after the war. THE WARSAW ORPHAN is very heart wrenching but very well written, researched, and educational. The political information became a bit much, but the story line still held my interest because I wanted to see how the lives of the characters turned out. If you are a fan of historical fiction during this time period, you will be drawn in as well. 4/5 This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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