Book talk: The Warsaw Orphan


This week, Michael Popple reviews an outstanding historical read that looks at the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto, The Warsaw Orphan. You can find more of Michael’s book reviews on his blog:

The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

Hachette, $32.99

The Warsaw Orphan

Prepare for tragedy and despair with The Warsaw Orphan, a dramatic tale from Australian author Kelly Rimmer.

Warsaw, 1942. The Nazis are firmly in control, moving all the Jewish citizens into the infamous Warsaw Ghetto. Life there is harsh and cruel, and all young Jewish man Roman Gorka can do is to try to survive and keep his family safe. But, when the Germans starting transporting inhabitants out of the Ghetto to an uncertain fate in the concentration camps, Roman looks for a way to save his younger siblings.

His fate soon becomes tied to Elzbieta Rabinek, formerly Emilia, a Polish teen recently arrived in Warsaw after her own terrible encounter with the Nazis. Emilia is horrified to discover what is happening and quickly becomes involved with an underground group working to smuggle children out of the Ghetto. However, when supreme tragedy strikes, Roman and Emilia must endure amidst the subsequent righteous anger and desire for revenge.

This is an incredible and haunting historical drama from Rimmer, who provides an exceptional look at the horrors of World War II. The Warsaw Orphan serves as a sequel to her previous novel, The Things We Cannot Say, which featured Emilia as a supporting character. Partially based on the exploits of a real-life historical figure, it chronicles the tragedies of Warsaw, and the brave actions of some extraordinary people. Featuring harrowing and unvarnished depictions of the Ghetto, Rimmer has created an exceptionally powerful story, which is perfectly told through the eyes of two damaged teenagers living very different lives.

The Warsaw Orphan is a moving and memorable piece of fiction. Readers will be quickly drawn in by the intensity of this story, which will stick with them well after they have finished, thanks to its inherent darkness and powerful message. A highly recommended read.

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