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review 2019-06-29 10:00
The Medallion Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book


Book: The Medallion
Author: Cathy Gohlke
Genre: Historical Fiction (World War II)
Release date: June 4, 2019

For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.
Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen—Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.
Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war—if any of them survive—is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.
Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.  

Click HERE to purchase your copy.

About the Author


Three-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning and bestselling author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

More from Cathy


Every story begins with a journey. Sharing that journey is twice the joy.
The Medallion was inspired by two true stories—the first was the WWII account of Itzhak Dugin and his Jewish family, persecuted in Lithuania. Their heart-wrenching story made world news when the tunnel from which Itzhak escaped the Nazis was discovered using modern technology.
The second was the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker within Żegota (an underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), who developed a network to rescue children. Despite terrible risks, they smuggled 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and certain death at the hands of the Nazis, then hid them in Polish homes, convents, churches and hospitals until the end of the war. Approximately 2,000 of those children were found after the war. Theories abound regarding the whereabouts of those missing. I couldn’t help but wonder, and imagine: What became of those 400 to 500 missing children? What became of one?
Set in WWII Poland and post-war England, The Medallion is a story of courage, sacrifice, love, forgiveness and redemption.

My Review


This is one of the most difficult books that I have ever read. In all honesty, were it not for the fact that I was reading it for review, I would have set it aside or at least read it in small portions. I took English classes focused on the Holocaust during college and have read a fair amount of literature from and about that time period. However, Cathy Gohlke’s “The Medallion” really struck a nerve. It took me a while to adjust to the alternating viewpoints of the chapters, which eventually converge, because from the very beginning I fell headlong into the harrowing world Gohlke describes and had to reset my mind when the characters changed with the next chapter so that I did not confuse one storyline with the other. Several of the characters in the story are real historical figures, and some of the plotline is inspired by true events. That, coupled with the focus on relationships and hardships both during and after WWII, truly tore at my heartstrings.

Be forewarned: this is not a light, happily-ever-after read. The devastation and horror are compounded by the realization that they are historically accurate. This story raises many tough questions, some of which are addressed in the discussion questions provided at the end of the book. “The Medallion” takes readers from the early days of the war to its aftermath, and the journey is heartbreaking. Sophie Kumiega is not Jewish but encounters the dangers and desolation wrought by the German occupation of Poland, leading her to work for the underground and to take over care of a Jewish toddler, Ania. Through Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich, Ania’s parents, readers witness life in the Warsaw ghetto and what comes after.

Unlike many Holocaust narratives, “The Medallion” does not take place in a concentration camp, save for a brief scene. Learning about the work of the underground and those working within that network to save lives sheds light on the heroics of those who challenged the Nazi agenda. Just as compelling is part two, which takes place after the war ends. It is an important reminder of how unsettled and dangerous the world still was for the refugees. Post-traumatic stress plays a role as well, and I was glad that the author included this because it was doubtless a struggle for all of the survivors, including those who were not Jewish, and obviously the struggle did not end when peace was declared. The fate of the children aided through the underground network and what it meant for their future becomes a key element in the second section.

Although “The Medallion” is heartrending and sobering, I would still recommend it, especially for anyone who is not familiar with the impact of the German occupation of Poland during WWII. The faith element offers both a refuge in the midst of the tragedy and the hope of redemption. One thing that opened my eyes was that the Jewish aversion to Jesus resulted in part because the German oppressors claimed to be Christians. Still, faith in God guides the characters, Jewish and Gentile alike, throughout the trials of war and its reverberations, and it is the same faith that is available to each and every one of us today. This is one of the main messages of the story, that true faith means taking action and putting others before oneself, hopefully causing onlookers to question their unbelief.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.


Blog Stops


Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 22

Christian Bookaholic, June 22

Carla Loves To Read, June 22

The Power of Words, June 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

janicesbookreviews, June 23

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 24

By The Book, June 24

For Him and My Family, June 24

A Reader’s Brain, June 24

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Retrospective Spines, June 25

Inklings and notionsJune 25

Remembrancy, June 26

Lis Loves Reading , June 26

The Becca Files, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Connect in Fiction, June 27

Bigreadersite, June 28

Maureen’s Musings, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 28

Blossoms and Blessings, June 29

For the Love of Literature, June 29

Spoken from the Heart, June 29

Inspired by fiction, June 30

Have A Wonderful Day, June 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 30

Inspiration Clothesline, July 1

Connie’s History Classroom, July 1

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Just the Write Escape, July 2

Seasons of Opportunities, July 2

Pause for Tales, July 2

As He Leads is Joy, July 3

To Everything A Season, July 3

Hallie Reads, July 3

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 4

For The Love of Books, July 4

Emily Yager, July 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 5

Texas Book-aholic, July 5




To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e50c/the-medallion-celebration-tour-giveaway


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review 2019-04-23 01:18
A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy - Thomas Buergenthal,Elie Wiesel

"A LUCKY CHILD: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy" is Thomas Buergenthal's story of survival against incredible odds during the Second World War, first at the Ghetto in Kielce, Poland (which was later wiped out by the Germans), Auschwitz (where he was imprisoned between August 1944 and January 1945, when he with other able bodied survivors were forced to march on foot in the depths of winter into Germany shortly before Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops), and Sachsenhausen, where he was liberated by the Soviets in April 1945. Thomas was by then 10 years old, the only child to have survived the Auschwitz Death March. 

Burgenthal's story is a heart-searing, honest, and powerfully poignant account of the human cost of the Nazi Holocaust, and of the resilience of one of its survivors to endure, persevere, and make a life for himself in the U.S. as one of the world's leading international human rights law experts

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text 2019-02-01 18:50
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir - Patrisse Khan-Cullors,Asha Bandele,Angela Y. Davis
The Cottingley Secret - Joshilyn Jackson;Hazel Gaynor;Mary McNear;Nadia Hashimi;Emmi Itäranta;CJ Hauser;Katherine Harbour;Rebecca Rotert;Holly Brown;M. P. Cooley;Carrie La Seur;Sarah Creech
East - Edith Pattou
Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler
My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel - Kitty Curran,Larissa Zageris
Denial: Holocaust History on Trial - Deborah E. Lipstadt

Above on sale for kindle this month - in US at least.   Also Martin's Wild Card series has a few volumes on sale. Coretta Scott King's Memoir, House of  Cards books, Hair Story, Native Guard (poetry, really good poetry), Chronicles of Kazam, Conversation with Mandela (with Obama) are also on sale.


There are several YA and children's Afro-American history titles as well.


Comixology sale on Transformers, Lumberjanes, Goldie Vance, Star Wars, and Dr. Strange

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review 2018-09-10 01:32
The Butterfly

The Butterfly is fictional account of two young girls, Sevrine and Monique, during the Holocaust whose friendship came out of childhood curiosity and kindness. Monique's mother hid Sevrine and her family from the tall boots, the Nazi's, in order to help them escape the turmoil impacting their village. One night Sevrine and Monique were spotted by a neighbor leading to Sevrine's family immediately fleeing the country. Although Sevrine and Monique were afraid of losing one another, they remained hopeful in the darkest of times.I would use use this book during a Social Studies unit about the Holocaust. It would integrate nicely with an English Language Arts creative writing assignment. Students could write letters from the perspectives of Sevrine and Monique to one another. The LEXILE reading level is 430L.

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review 2018-05-07 16:39
The horror of indifference
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil - Hannah Arendt

When I was in graduate school I read many books that shaped my understanding of historical events, but few did so as profoundly as Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men. By using a battalion of reservists as a case study, Browning showed the process by which men not motivated by ideology or hatred or careerism became participants, even enthusiastic ones, in the execution and deportation of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

Though Browning referenced the experiments undertaken by Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo to explain the psychology of their participation, it's also easy to see the germ of his argument in Hannah Arendt's famous book. For while he was a member of the Nazi Party and a member of its security apparatus, Arendt argues that Adolf Eichmann was less a committed anti-Semite than someone who craved the structure of being part of a larger organization that would give him purpose. Many people have taken this as something of an exoneration of what Eichmann did in his role organizing the deportation of Jewish people, yet this is a misreading of Arendt's analysis, as she makes it clear that Eichmann took pride in his accomplishments and she dismantles his efforts to hide behind the governmental hierarchy. What makes her book so powerful is the sense she conveys of Eichmann, who justified to himself the facilitation of the murder of millions as part of a greater enterprise of which he was proud to serve. Is it this sense of mission devoid of ideology which is at the heart of her assertion of Eichmann's banality.

In the decades since Arendt's book has been published some writers have criticized her for minimizing Eichmann's ideological devotion to Nazism. And while works such as Bettina Stangneth's Eichmann Before Jerusalem do offer important qualifications of Arendt's interpretation of her subject, her book remains essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the motivations of the men and women who carried out the murder of millions of people. For while racism was an undoubted motivation for some, for many others it was a matter of duty, an enjoyment of the power held, or simply a sense of going along with the group. In many ways that was far more horrifying than the anti-Semitism that sparked the Holocaust in the first place: the people who don't just do nothing in the face of evil, but who enable it with their indifferent participation.

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