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May 25, 2021

Victoria's War by Catherine A. Hamilton ~ an #Audiobook Review

by Donna Huber

Victoria's War by Catherine A. Hamilton, read by Emily Behr, tells the story of two women who appear powerless in the face of the Third Reicht yet their bravery is the story of countless, nameless women who did what they could to stop pure evil.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free audiobook was provided for an honest review.

Victoria's War
April 2021; Listen Up Audiobooks; 978-1632100689 
audio (9h36m), ebook, print (278 pages); historical fiction
When I traveled to Eastern Europe several years ago I tried really hard to fit a trip to Poland into our itinerary, but timewise it just didn't work. After reading The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman and watching World on Fire, I'm more determined to one day visit Poland. For someone who loves reading about WWII, there is so much history there - a history that I only knew on a surface level before these works. So when I saw Victoria's War available at Netgalley, I knew I needed to listen to it.

Victoria is about to embark on her college adventure when war breaks out. Instead of the carefree world of academia she first works in the sewing factory in her town and then she is sent to Germany where she is sold as a slave to work in a bakery. There she meets the baker's daughter who is a deaf-mute. So while Etta is German and her family are proud members of the Nazi Party she is not the ideal German. First, she is sterilized on the Fuhrer's orders - and her mother is more than happy to comply, But this is not her only sacrifice. Nor is her "defect" the only problem. She doesn't buy the party line. These two "helpless" women risk everything to fight the evil that is spreading through their countries.

I don't know anything about Emily Behr so I'm not sure if the accent is hers or if it is one she took on for this book. The accent gives the characters an international feel keeping with the fact that the characters are either German or Poland. The story follows Victoria, though not in the first person, it is the character we see most of the story through. There are also portions focused on Etta's story. It was easy enough to keep these two characters straight in my head as I listened to the audiobook. I felt there was less distinction in character voices between characters of the same nationality and I had to pay a bit closer attention during those interactions to keep the characters straight.

Overall, though the story was easy enough to follow even with a moderate amount of distractions. I listened to it while working on blog posts without losing the plot.

In Victoria's War, we see how Polish nationals were treated by the Germans. Having read Gerta by Kateřina Tučková, I wasn't shocked that Poles were categorized by ethnicity: of German descent, ethnic Poles, and Jews as the same had happened in Czechoslovakia. I knew there were labor camps and forced labor for anyone that wasn't German. But I guess I didn't really think about them being shipped to Germany to serve as prostitutes as well as slave labor for essential businesses. It was only a passing plot point, but I don't think I knew that the Third Reicht also sent children who could pass as German (who had typical Arayan features) to Germany to be adopted. I wondered if the women were just told that or if that is really what happened. If it is true it would make an interesting story. But I digress...

I found the story interesting. There was enough "untold" story that it didn't feel like every other WWII novel I've read. I particularly liked that one of the main characters was a deaf-mute. It is definitely not a character you see often in a novel and especially not in a story set during WWII.

If you enjoy WWII novels and are looking for the less told stories, then you should add this book to your reading list. If you are needing an audiobook to keep you entertained while doing chores or on a summer road trip, then this is one you will want to pick up.

Buy Victoria's War at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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  1. Dearest Donna,

    What a joy to read your heartfelt review of the NetGalley ARC audiobook of Victoria’s War!

    It is an honor to have you as a listener/reader of my WWII story! Your review writing is awesome and I’m especially moved by your comments!

    And thanks for your honest review and the feature on your Instagram and your website!

    Gratefully yours,