Within These Walls of Sorrow

Posted February 4, 2023 by thebeccafiles in / 8 Comments

Within These Walls of SorrowWithin These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barratt
Published by Kregel Publications on January 17, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Christian / Historical, Fiction / Historical / World War II
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Rating: five-stars

"As superbly written as it is haunting in its truth." --Kate Breslin, best-selling author of For Such a Time

Zosia Lewandowska knows the brutal realities of war all too well. Within weeks of Germany's invasion of her Polish homeland, she lost the man she loves. As ghetto walls rise and the occupiers tighten their grip on the city of Krakow, Zosia joins pharmacist Tadeusz Pankiewicz and his staff in the heart of the Krakow ghetto as they risk their lives to aid the Jewish people trapped by Nazi oppression.

Hania Silverman's carefree girlhood is shattered as her family is forced into the ghetto. Struggling to survive in a world hemmed in by walls and rife with cruelty and despair, she encounters Zosia, her former neighbor, at the pharmacy. As deportation winnow the ghetto's population and snatch those she holds dear, Hania's natural resiliency is exhausted by reality.

Zodia and Hania's lives intertwine as they face the griefs and fears thrust upon them by war, until one day, they are forced to make a desperate choice . . . one that will inexorably bind them together, even as they are torn apart.

Amanda Barratt's meticulous research and lush, award-winning writing shine once again in this moving look at a group of unsung heroes who fought for hope and humanity in the most harrowing of times.

"An unflinching tale that implores readers to stop and see, not a massive crowd of people, but individual hearts and souls. This book will linger in your heart and mind long after you've read the final page." --Amanda Cox, Christy Award-winning author of The Edge of Belonging

Baker Book House|Amazon|ChristianBook

My Review:

I have spent a few days pondering exactly how to write this review and at the end of the day I still feel like there are no words I could say that would give it justice. History in its rawest form often holds truths we wish never would have happened, but that doesn’t erase their reality. And if we don’t remember and learn from the events of the past, then we are doomed to repeat them. Amanda Barratt reads are not for the feint of heart. An incredible amount of research goes into her writing to recreate the closest setting to reality as possible.  While some characters are entirely fictional while others are based on real people, the author weaves research and prose into a gut-wrenching journey that will leave you in a book fog for days.

‘Who among us knows what we are capable of doing to survive until the choice is before us?’

It’s so easy for us to look at a situation and say “I would never do that!” But in reality, one never knows until they’re face to face with evil and forced to decide between the impossible. And there was much that was hidden from the people as well, in order to keep them as compliant. They knew there was evil al around them–they just weren’t necessarily aware how MUCH evil. Or how long it would last. It was a dark time to live, and it took very brave people to stand out and risk their lives to help whatever few they could.

Although I’ve read a large number of WWII fiction novels, I believe this is the first time I’ve heard of the Apteka Pod Orlem pharmacy. I was surprised by it’s functioning, but it warmed my heart how it did. But one thing you always see in these stories of people who helped rescue others during the war, is no matter how many they can help, there are still those they can’t. Following Zosia and Hania’s journey put a magnifier to this. There was one moment where Zosia stepped back and saw the others around her as she was desperately trying to help her friend, knowing she couldn’t help them all. And the thing is, it’s the same for us as readers. We connect and attach to the characters and fight for them… but then do we see the others beside them? We feel relief when a life lost is not our favorite character–but yet it’s still a life lost.

There’s a difference between reading about facts and numbers in a textbook and immersing yourself in the worlds of those who lived through it all. Novels like this bring history to life in an experience that will stay with you for sure. Because you see inside the hearts and lives of the people and not merely the events and numbers. It personalizes and allows us to see a glimpse of the depth of reality. Because we can learn far more through story than we can through a number.

I still don’t feel like I have done this book justice, but I couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s not a light and fluffy read, but it’s a masterfully powerful one that demands to be told. Have tissues handy. But read it.

*I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publishers. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

8 responses to “Within These Walls of Sorrow

Leave a Reply