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December 3, 2023

The Warsaw Sisters by Amanda Barratt ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

On a golden August morning in 1939, sisters Antonina and Helena DÄ…browska send their father off to defend Poland against the looming threat of German invasion. The next day, the first bombs fall on Warsaw, decimating their beloved city and shattering the world of their youth.

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book cover of historical fiction novel The Warsaw Sisters by Amanda Barratt
November 2023; Revell; 978-0800745011
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); historical fiction

The Warsaw Sisters
is an in-depth and well-researched novel about Poland during World War II as seen through the eyes of two sisters.  Antonina and Helena are twins who lived with their father, an attorney, in relative comfort in Warsaw.  As the novel begins in 1939, their father is leaving them to become part of the Polish Army that is trying to defend their country against the looming threat of German invasion. The day after he leaves, the Germans start dropping bombs on Warsaw. The destruction of the city was terrible and the German troops entered the city a month later, easily defeating the citizens who had seen their city and their lives decimated.

Antonina is in love with Marek, a popular Jewish musician.  When he and his family are moved to the Jewish ghetto with no way out, she visits him despite the danger.  When he tells her not to return, she begins to work with other women who risked their lives to shelter Jewish children.  Helena is the secretary to a German businessman and decides to join the Polish resistance army to do what she can to help save her beloved country.  Both sisters worry about the other's safety and they begin to keep secrets from each other to try to keep each other safe.  Keeping secrets leads to their estrangement and for the first time in their lives, they don't have each other to depend on.

The war was brutal for the people of Warsaw.  They were living under cruel German rules and there was a lack of foodm heat and housing.  Antonina and Helena both worked hard to help save their city -- but what would happen when the war was over.  Would they be able to find each other again?  And would they be able to forgive each other for the secrets that they kept?

This book is an emotional look at Warsaw during the war and is told from the two sisters' points of view.  At first, I was a bit confused as the story switched back and forth from each sister but it very quickly became evident which sister was speaking due to their differences.  The sisters in this book were not based on a real person but were based on many people who worked against the Germans in Warsaw during World War II. This is my first book by this author and I plan to look at some of her earlier books.

Buy The Warsaw Sisters at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.   

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