About the Book
Book: The Medallion
Author: Cathy Gohlke
Genre: Historical Fiction (World War II)
Release date: June 4, 2019
For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.
Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen—Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.
Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war—if any of them survive—is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.
Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.
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About the Author
Three-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning and bestselling author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.
The Medallion is one of the most poignant, memorable masterpieces of WWII historical fiction that I have ever read! Not only did it instantly grip my attention, but it held my heart captive from cover to cover. Cathy’s respect for the reality of the times is clearly visible as she weaves heartbreak and hope into a novel that will stay with you forever.
The majority of the story is told through the eyes of Sophie and Rosa, however later on there are a few chapters that switch over to their husbands. How their journeys unfolded allowed the author to weave in the lives of several real-life heroes from the times. As someone who reads a lot of historical fiction and nonfiction about WWII, the seamless combination of the two had my heart in tatters. When an author can blur the lines between fiction and nonfiction while maintaining respect and appreciation for the reality—a masterpiece is truly created.
A question I found myself asking repeatedly while reading was “what would I have done?” Considering the events, today we know everything turned out. We know how people were tricked and manipulated into horrible things–on all sides of the fight. Just like you would shout at a character from a scary movie “don’t open the door!” knowing what was sure to happen next, we could look at characters and say “don’t get on the train!” or “don’t go with the guards!” or even simply “it’s a trap!” but the truth of the matter is that we already know how events would unfold. What if we were facing similar circumstances without having any idea what the outcome would be? What if we were facing almost certain death no matter which direction we turned? What if we were responsible for choosing between those same paths for our loved ones? Or even perfect strangers? Then when it came to personal conflict between people–when no one was free from suffering–I couldn’t help but wonder who my heart sided with more. One of the Nazi goals in WWII was to dehumanize Jews so that it would lessen the blow of what they were truly doing. Whether they were the actual people or not, when you see events through the eyes of someone who was present at the time–it changes and affects you irreversibly.
This novel is an absolute MUST-READ. It’s instantly being placed on my favorites pile and it’s one that I know will stay with me. I cannot recommend this one enough!
*I received a copy of this book from the author and CelebrateLit. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
More from Cathy
Every story begins with a journey. Sharing that journey is twice the joy.
The Medallion was inspired by two true stories—the first was the WWII account of Itzhak Dugin and his Jewish family, persecuted in Lithuania. Their heart-wrenching story made world news when the tunnel from which Itzhak escaped the Nazis was discovered using modern technology.
The second was the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker within Żegota (an underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), who developed a network to rescue children. Despite terrible risks, they smuggled 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and certain death at the hands of the Nazis, then hid them in Polish homes, convents, churches and hospitals until the end of the war. Approximately 2,000 of those children were found after the war. Theories abound regarding the whereabouts of those missing. I couldn’t help but wonder, and imagine: What became of those 400 to 500 missing children? What became of one?
Set in WWII Poland and post-war England, The Medallion is a story of courage, sacrifice, love, forgiveness and redemption.
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To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Thank you, Becca, for this exciting and affirming review of The Medallion. You’ve raised so many of the questions I hope readers will ask as they make their own journey through this book–question I also ask myself. Many thanks, and God’s blessings for you!
You’re very welcome this is one that I’m sure will stay with me forever ❤️
It sounds like a must read.
Yes! It really is!
This is a wonderful book and you wrote an amazing review Becca. Well done.
Thank you! I don’t even have words how incredible this book was but I tried! lol
This book sounds like a really interesting and a really great read.
It is! Hope you get the chance to read it!
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