TRIGGER WARNING: war crimes and anti-Semitism
Julia’s father has gone to fight the Nazis and now she wants to help save her country. She is reunited with two boys from her childhood, now grown men, but on opposing sides of the fight…
The Polish Daughter is the third book in the WW2 Polish resistance series and I have previously reviewed the first two books, The Polish Girl and The Polish Wife.
Julia’s Jewish mother died giving birth to her and now her father has left to join the fight. Julia begins to work for the resistance and meets Alek who she has a negative history with. She also sees her former sweetheart Nikolaj and their relationship seems ready to start up again. But Julia is shocked by the secrets she uncovers and her heart reels from the sad truth.
Most of the book is written from the viewpoints of Julia and Alek but there are also some chilling diary entries from Nikolaj. The author includes characters and events from the previous books but it is not necessary to have read the books in order. We don’t find out about the incident of antagonism between Julia and Alek until halfway through the book and I was starting to wonder why she was so keen to think badly of him.
The brutality of the soldiers and Nikolaj’s twisted opinions were difficult to read at times. Julia is almost emotionally broken by her experiences but she decides to stay strong to honour those who have died. The softening of the relationship between Julia and Alek gives the book a lighter and more hopeful angle. There is a powerful message about the strength of human spirit even in the darkest days.
The Polish Daughter is an emotional historical novel.
The Polish Daughter: A completely heartbreaking and addictive World War Two historical fiction novel (The Secret Resistance Series)
Poland, 1944: Armed men line the streets and herd us forward as they pull people from the crowd. My heart pounds as I hear a familiar cry. They have my best friend. I desperately push through to her, to save her. But we are too densely packed in. I can’t hold back my sobs as she disappears from sight. I am too late…
When war broke out, Julia’s father, a high-ranking Polish officer, took her from Warsaw to keep her safe. Now her father is missing in action, Julia has returned home to find him and fight for the resistance—but the city is more dangerous than she ever thought it could be.
When she is trapped in the ghetto, Nazis shoving people into the streets all around her, Julia can only watch in horror as her dearest friend is dragged away. It seems she is about to suffer the same awful fate, until her childhood sweetheart, Nikolaj, appears in enemy uniform and stops the guards with one word.
Surely the boy Julia remembers would never side with the Germans? In the safety of his private room, he explains he is a resistance spy within the ranks of Nazi officers. But the longer he keeps her in the barracks, surrounded by his soldiers, the more Julia grows uneasy about the man she once knew…
Half-Jewish and with her father a wanted man, how safe can she be behind enemy lines? And, not knowing who to trust, will she ever be able to reunite with her captured friend, and her beloved father—or will the war tear them apart forever?
This utterly heartbreaking, unputdownable and inspiring historical fiction novel will have you reaching for the tissues. Perfect for fans of Orphan Train, The Nightingale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
Buy link: https://geni.us/B0BZPR6NLWsocial
About Gosia Nealon
While Gosia Nealon is a proud New Yorker, she was born and raised in Poland. Her journey to the Big Apple revealed a wealth of cultural differences, but also the values that connect us all. Like the fierce desire to protect family, find love, and ultimately, discover who we are and why we’re here.
Gosia’s award-winning short stories have always delved into life’s biggest questions, but it was the drama, sacrifice, and tragedy of WWII that led her to pen her debut novel, which won a gold medal in the 2022 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY).
Growing up in Poland, Gosia heard many firsthand accounts of the war, told from a perspective rarely captured in mainstream literature. She was compelled to breathe life into two young people falling in love in the midst of the most terrifying conflict of our time.
When Gosia isn’t tapping away at her laptop, she’s often walking the streets of New York. With her husband and two young sons in tow, they search for the most succulent pierogi, transporting them back to the cobbled streets of her childhood.
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