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Description - The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

Inspired by the real-life heroine who smuggled thousands of Jewish children to safety during WWII, the powerful new novel by the New York Times bestselling author

In the spring of 1942, young Elzbieta Rabinek is aware of the swiftly growing discord just beyond the courtyard of her comfortable Warsaw home. But she has no idea what goes on behind the walls of the Jewish Ghetto nearby until she makes a discovery that propels her into a dangerous world of deception and heroism.

Elzbieta comes face to face with the plight of the Gorka family who must give up their newborn daughter - or watch her starve. For Roman Gorka, this final injustice stirs in him a rebellion not even his newfound love for Elzbieta can suppress. His recklessness puts their families in harm's way until one violent act threatens to destroy their chance at freedom forever.

Kelly Rimmer, bestselling Australian author of Truths I Never Told You and The Things We Cannot Say, has penned her most meticulously researched and emotionally compelling novel to date.

'Will bring tears to your eyes with its authentically woven complications, moral dilemmas and unavoidable truths. A thoughtful, beautiful novel ... of the tremendous power of love against the odds' KRISTIN HARMEL

'Kelly has a special gift of capturing the essence of what it is to be human in her novels. This book, a reminder of what it means to find hope, strength and generosity of spirit in the midst of tragedy and heartbreak, is one that I will never forget' VANESSA CARNEVALE

'A truly beautiful book' KATE FORSYTH

'Heartbreaking, intensely moving, this is also a wonderful, ultimately life-affirming love story. I'm going to be recommending this book to everyone I know' KAREN ROBARDS

'Fans of Jodi Picoult now have a new go-to author' SALLY HEPWORTH

Buy The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9780733645839
Format: Paperback / softback
(234mm x 159mm x 30mm)
Pages: 416
Imprint: Hachette Australia
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publish Date: 28-Apr-2021
Country of Publication: Australia

Book Reviews - The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

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Book Review: The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer - Reviewed by (24 Apr 2021)

4 stars 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.


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