Cover Image: The Rainbow

The Rainbow

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Isla is at her grandparents when her grandmother asks her to get some items from the attic. While up there, Isla finds a rainbow scarf and a photo of two men. The men are Nazis, and one of them men looks like her grandfather.

Isla questions her grandmother who says that her grandfather fought for Poland, not the Nazis. This begins Isla’s search for information about her grandfather, his past, and what really happened on the photo.

Isla takes a trip to Poland and meets her grandfather’s brother and through talking and reading diaries she journeys back to WWII, when her grandfather was forced into the German army. 

The rest of the story is one of love, sacrifice, protecting others at any cost, and as with most stories set during this time, great loss. 

I did not know that Polish citizens were forced into serving in the German army, often after their family was threatened and in some cases killed. 

I could not stop reading this story. I was hooked from the beginning and could not wait to find out the whole story of what Isla’s grandfather and his family endured during WWII. This book made me think about the lengths people will go to when love is what motivates them. I will be thinking about this story for a long time and look forward to reading more by this author.

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Carly Schabowski for the copy of this book on exchange for a review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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This is a dual timeline book. In 2015, Isla chances upon an old newspaper article that makes her question everything she knows about her grandfather. Seeing her grandfather in a Nazi uniform shocks her. It sets her on a quest to find the truth behind it all. While looking for her grandfather's life story, she ends up finding a heart-rending love story at its heart. 

Being set in Poland and told from the viewpoint of a Polish man forcibly conscripted in the German army was a unique and appealing premise. It was difficult to find fault with Tomasz even when he betrays his compatriots. Instead, you end up feeling his helplessness, his love for Zofia and his pain. The fact that the author Carly Schabowski took her grandfather's story as an inspiration for the book proves the fact that more such tales need to be told. The Rainbow by Carly Schabowski is one such book that would remain with you long after it ends.
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Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for a copy of "The Rainbow" in exchange for my honest review.

Ms. Schabowski has once again written a moving story that will keep the reader turning pages to find out what happened to these characters.

The story starts with Isla in 2015 England finding an old newspaper clipping of her grandad Tomasz Jasienski in a German uniform during the war but her grandad is Polish. This starts her off on a quest to learn more about him. He is in the later stages of dementia and has good days and bad days. He has a brother Andrzej whom Isla has never met. She finds his address on an old envelope and goes to visit him in Poland. He gives her some old diaries which Isla has translated into English.

The story then is told from Tomasz's perspective in the summer of 1930 in Poland. He meets a gypsy named Kapaldi who has a rainbow scarf. He can make it rain and produce a rainbow. He befriends the young Tomasz. 

Isla finds this rainbow scarf in her grandparents attic. She remembers being told stories when she was young about a magical man, a colourful caravan, magic tricks and rainbows. Now she wonders who her grandfather really was.

Tomasz meets Zofia in Poland at a carnival in 1930, where he wins her a wooden heart. During the winter of 1939 he tells her that he plans to ask permission to marry her. Only Tomasz is taken by the German army. In the summer of 1941 he is forced to work as a translator. Kapaldi promised him that he would look out for him and he sees him over the years just when he needs his help. 

We learn that Kapaldi and Kowalski - the farmer who owns the land on which Kapaldi has his caravan are half brothers. 

The winter of 1942 finds Tomasz in the Ukraine working for Major Liebenez. Tomasz has always felt that he was playing games with him. Zofia is also caught up in one of the Major's games. 

Isla returns to Poland and meets her grandad's first love Zofia and she learns a lot of the truths behind the family secrets. 

This book is a beautiful story of family, love and also great heartbreaks.
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*The review contains spoilers* 

Isla grew up listening to her grandfather’s stories from his childhood. Whether it is the magic man who could summon rainbows or the hardships he faced as a Polish soldier during WWII, Isla knew her grandfather as a caring, loving, and brave man who fought against the Nazis. 
A chance trip to the attic in his home challenges all that Isla ever knew about him. What is his picture in a German uniform doing in the attic? Why did her grandfather fight for the Nazis? And who does that lovely rainbow scarf belong to? 
Isla knows her grandpa is in no position to answer her questions. His dementia is worsening. Her Gran insists that the picture doesn’t belong to grandpa. Unable to resist her doubts and uncertainties, Isla starts her quest for truth.
Was her grandpa really a part of the German army? Why did he join their side? What happened in his life that no one wants to talk about it? Why is grandpa's elder brother distant from them and doesn’t want to meet his own brother? 
As Isla digs more, she understands how life can tear apart families, break lovers, and crush a man while still giving him hope for a new dawn.
Based on a true story, The Rainbow shows us the past of the grandfather, Thomasz, an ordinary child who was forced to grow up at gunpoint and make a choice that changed his life forever. But could that choice have been avoided? No one knows the answer. 
After reading the author’s previous book, The Watchmaker of Dachau, I knew I had to pick this one as soon as possible. The Rainbow is better when it comes to narration and execution of the delicate plot. The pace is decent, even if the author could have done without a certain track. 
Despite so many characters and people involved, the story seamlessly flows between the past and present. We get to read the POV of more than one character (but only when necessary), and that adds depth to the narration. 
We don’t know much about Isla, but we do know her important her grandpa is to her. She doesn’t jump to conclusions or worry about what it would do to her life and career. Her focus is on emotions. Such heroines are rather pleasing to read. However, for me, the heroine of the book would be Zofia. My, she’s just so good even if limited presence. 
Thomasz is not your regular hero. In fact, he doesn’t even consider himself a hero. He’s an ordinary man with flaws. A man who is afraid; someone who has to make a choice and knows he could be wrong. There isn’t any remarkable about him, but everything he has lived through is beyond imaginable. 
The plight of the Polish boys forced into the German army is hardly documented, and the author writes about such boys, drawing references and details from a true story (that belongs to her family). The author said she worked on the story for 7 years, and her dedication shows. 
The emotions have still been artfully balanced, and finally, leave the reader with a bittersweet experience. The book was almost a 5-star until the author introduced a new track I could do without. 
If only the author left out the supposed love track between Isla and Stefan. I couldn’t connect with it in the least. In fact, I thought Stefan would in some way be related to Kapaldi and was disappointed a little. They could have been friends, and the book would have worked better for me. Or maybe if Stefan had more role to play, I’d have seen the connection between him and Isla grow stronger. 
To sum up, The Rainbow is a heartwarming story of life, choices, love, betrayal, and a faint hope to keep going in search of a better life. 
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bookouture
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Such a great book. Hooks you right away and makes you wonder what is going to happen next. Pulls at your heart strings in all the right ways.
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“It’s an important story, and we should tell before we are all forgotten” – how true!! What a great book! And a reminder that we need to ask questions about our heritage before it is too late.
Isla finds a picture of her grandfather in a uniform that is not what she was always told, but her grandfather has dementia, clear days and not so clear, and do you really want to ask questions when you don’t where their minds are at? She goes to Poland to ask her grandfather’s brother questions, and ends up with diaries, and more questions, and more connections made. 
Emotions are on a constant up and down, my mind kept turning things over, even when I put the book down in between reading. 
Thank you to Carly Shabowski for writing this book, NetGalley and Bookouture for the chance to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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The Rainbow by Carly Schabowski  A different WWII historical fiction novel set in 1930s Poland during the Nazi takeover.  Young Polish men were conscripted into the German Army and forced to fight against their own.  Isla finds a photograph of her grandfather as a German soldier and sets out to find more of her grandfather, Thomasz's past.  Things are not always as they seem on the surface.  

Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
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This read pulled me in, and made me think. How many others were there must have been put in this horrible situation? The author lets us meet these characters up close, and see the decisions that were made. What a horrible blight on history and so much evil prevailed, but we also meet the ones that were trying to help their country and risking their lives.
I really loved how the author wrapped this book up, what a gift!
A story not to be missed, and history not repeated!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bookoutour, and was not required to give a positive review.
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With grateful  thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest opinion. 
What an outstandingly  beautiful book, touching  on the horrific situation  that so many found  themselves  in  a tale of love and loss I can highly recommend  this beautifully  told tale❤
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What a wonderfully written book about a horrific time period in history.  This particular story, a search for the history of a grandfather, is much different than your typical story. You will find yourself wondering about Tomasz and his life... you will wonder... who is this Kapaldi... and how does their story end.  There is a bit of mischief, a lot of love, and a great story to be told.
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Wow! This book was absolutely amazing. I could not quit reading it. I highly recommend every pick this book up. It is one of the BEST I’ve read this year. I can not thank the author for writing this enough. Thank you to the publisher for giving me the chance to read this ARC!
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Ahh so many emotions. This is a tale of perseverance and finding out the truth. A Heart wrenching tale of war, families and love.  Over the years I’ve started to appreciate these stories and find the setting full of sadness but also full of love and personal triumphs. The hopeful tones kept me.emotionally invested and immersed fully.  

Thank you NetGalley for this arc
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“Sometimes finding the truth can be painful. But then, it can be liberating too.”

After reading ‘The Watchmaker of Dachau,’ I didn’t think Carly Schabowski’s newest book would reach the same heights….I was wrong! It’s truly an unforgettable novel about human kindness. She’ll numb your senses with dancing in the rain, mystic readings and rainbow scarves and then you slightly become aware of the crescendo of insidious fear before the atrocity and human suffering take center court. If you loved her second book, you’ll love this one; the same juxtaposition and the same bonds formed due to shared experiences.

Isla is home helping her grandmother prepare for her grandfather’s 95th birthday and finds a saved newspaper article featuring her grandfather in a Nazi uniform. It’s not what she expected to find when gathering photos for the celebration. Why? Well, her grandfather is Polish! This is his story. 

Stories such as this one need to be published to remind us of (1) the atrocities in our world history but also (2) of the endurance and strength displayed in the desperate and uncertain times. I am shocked at the destructive power held in the hands of some at the expense of many. You’ll learn about little-known historical wartime experiences of Polish men and boys who were forcibly conscripted into the Wehrmacht. One-quarter of a million Polish boys like Tomasz, who was simply in town for ice cream, were forced into the German army. 

Seven years in the making and born from her own family history, this tale has an authentic feel and centers around survival, human suffering and finding love within the backdrop of the desperate and uncertain times of 1940s Europe.

July 28, 2021

I was gifted this advance copy by Carly Schabowski, Bookouture and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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"The Rainbow" by Carly Schabowski is not as graphic about the Second World War as "The Watchmaker of Dachau" was.  This is a good thing, as in the Watchmaker, things were pretty grim.  Yes war is not pleasant but this book focuses on a newspaper article about Isla's Granddad which sends her on a trip to Poland to find out about his past, to fill in the gaps as his memory fails from Alzheimer's.  Slightly magical, slightly romantic, this is a good story about family and long-term friendships.
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This book evokes so many emotions. Based loosely on memories the Authors grandfather has growing up in Poland and being forcibly conscripted into the German Army. Many Polish boys were conscipted in this way, this is the first novel i have read about this. 
Isla is preparing for her beloved Grandfathers birthday when she finds an old photograph of him in a German War uniform and a very colourful scarf. Unable to question her grandfather due to his dementia She travels to Poland to try to discover the truth.
I recommend everyone to read this lovely novel
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review
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THE RAINBOW by CARLY SCHABOWSKI is a WW11 story that takes place in Poland and shows the horrors inflicted by the Nazi invaders, particularly as  they forced young Poles to join the German army and fight against their own people. Isla's grandfather, Thomasz, is one such man and she goes to Poland to find out the truth about his past because he has dementia and cannot remember.
It is a story about bravery and remorse on one hand and bullying and hatred on the other.
The book is knit together by a multicoloured scarf and a strange man who it seems can make it rain. The themes of friendship, family and national pride run strongly through the book.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Bookouture. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
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Wow!! Just wow!!… This book is brilliant! More than brilliant, amazing!!!… Absolutely gripping, addictive and captivating… I was absolutely hooked from the first page to the last.  Everybody should put the rainbow 🌈 on their reading list for 2021!!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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The Rainbow was such a beautiful, heartfelt book! 
Its seriously the best book. I've read all month! 
The writing was brilliant. Captivating. Very well done! 
The characters what they went through. Simply heart breaking. 
Overall I loved everything about this book! 
So beautifully done! 

Thank you so much NetGalley, Bookouture my favourite publisher! And the author for this advance ebook!
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Based on a true story this tells of Isla and her grandparents. Alternate chapters take us back to 1930 in Poland. Whilst looking for something in the attic for her grandmother, Isla stumbles across a picture of two men in German army uniform. The name of one is her grandfather, someone she believed had fought for the allies and won medals. When she asks her grandmother she denies who it is and says Isla must never ask her now rather confused grandfather about this. She also finds an old rainbow coloured scarf with the picture and hangs on to it. Her grandfather has a brother still in Poland so she ventures to find out more from him, but he himself is elderly but he does have some diaries of his brothers from the war period and gives them to Isla so that she can find out more for herself. I really enjoy this type of novel- it's not only a story but a wonderful way to learn what life was like and what went on in that time period. A heartwarming and gripping read of tragedy and trauma and of love and determination winning through and being carried through the generations. A brilliant, poignant, highly enjoyable read,
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The Rainbow will rip your heart out as you read. It has heartache, pain, loss, joy, and sorrow. It's  a great WWII historical fiction, featuring a young Polish man who has to make unspeakable choices under duress. Isla, his granddaughter, had to travel mamy miles to find the answers she seeks. When the entire story is stitched together it's compelling, poignant, and heartbreaking. I continue to read a ton of WWII fiction because I think it's one of the most provocative periods in history. What people went through, most of us can only imagine.
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