Cover Image: The Rainbow

The Rainbow

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

What a read that was ... so good!

I am not normally a fan of historical fiction but the cover and then the blurb had me interested and I am so pleased I didn't let this pass me by.  Although this is a work of fiction, it is inspired by a true story but it feels like a "real" story and I was totally and utterly absorbed and invested in the lives of all the characters.  

The story starts off in the present when Isla finds a photograph of her grandad in a German uniform, this raised questions and caused confusion as the story always told was how her grandad fought against the German's in World War II.  Unable to find answers from her grandad, who has dementia, she begins a quest to uncover the truth and so begins this brilliantly written story of war, adversity, strength, courage, love, loss and friendship.

I am unable to give this book the review it deserves, I can't find the right words to put across how much I enjoyed it for which I apologise but a massive thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for my copy in return for an honest, unbiased and unedited review.
Was this review helpful?
A photograph and a colourful scarf are two items found in an attic that send Isla into the past. She thinks the scarf is beautiful and shouldn't be left to moulder in the attic and wears it. The photograph elicits the totally opposite reaction. Shocked at what she sees, her grandfather in a Nazi uniform, Isla looks for answers. Her grandmother fobs her off with a vague explanation and her grandfather cannot be approached because of his advanced dementia. Isla is unwilling to let the matter drop. She needs to know that the beloved grandfather, who told her heartwarming stories of his childhood and the country of his birth, who fought with the Allies during the war, is not the person in the photograph. And so begins an emotional story that will transport the reader from pre-World War II Poland to the present.

I'd already guessed how Tomasz came to be in a German uniform as the enforced conscription of Polish youths into the German army was known to me. This fate befell some of my relatives. Like Tomasz, they eventually made it to Scotland and joined the Allied fight against the Nazis. So, I was eager to read The Rainbow but totally unprepared for how emotionally invested I became in Tomasz's story. The lovely dedication brought tears to my eyes even before I'd plunged into the story proper.

This is a beautifully written story that will tug at your heartstrings from the beginning, especially as one of the characters has dementia. As Isla delves into the past she will uncover a tale of love, sacrifice, survival, courage and loss. There is also a touch of magic as the significance of the rainbow coloured scarf is revealed.

The Rainbow is one of the finest World War II novels I've read this year. It is an engrossing and moving experience drawn from the author's family history and one I highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I absolutely adored how unique this story was. Following those Polish men who were assigned to the Wehrmacht is something that more authors should strive to do. I’m glad to say, I learnt a lot about it from this book. It is clear that the passion, research and family history of the author played a huge role in this book. 

What I had an issue with was how quickly the beginning was. To me, the chapters weren’t developed enough at the start. When Isla travels to Poland there’s no build up to it previously and the chapter isn’t developed. The next chapter she is back again without any development. If the beginning had have been developed more and build up, then there would be no doubt that this book would have got a five star review.
Was this review helpful?
I find historical fiction to be one of the most plentiful genres of books. Not only are there multitudes of time periods and eras to choose from, but each one of those also has unlimited stories that can be researched and told. A case in point is this book. The level of detail about what happened to the Polish people after the Germans invaded in WWII was fascinating. The storytelling is unique because it is a mixture of styles – it was never confusing and actually made for a well-rounded story. I liked how the author used the colors of the rainbow to “color” certain memories. I also was struck by the thought that our memories can be demons that make us afraid to remember – but when faced with them later, they can actually show strength and resilience. It’s all a matter of perspective. I highly recommend this book. For a full review, please visit Fireflies and Free Kicks. Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for a digital ARC of the book.
Was this review helpful?
This is the third book I’ve read by Author, Carly Schabowski. All of her books are WWII fiction, which is becoming a favorite genre of mine. What sets this author apart from the rest, is the amount research she does while writing her books. This book in particular is based on true life events of her family. Digging deeper and deeper she uncovered a truth that can be scary and somewhat frightening to learn. However, she turned to writing about her findings which resulted in a fantastic read.

The Rainbow is the story of Isla, who finds an old photograph of her grandad. A photograph of him in a SS uniform holding a Medal of Honor. Questions immediately surface….was her grandad in the SS? Knowing she cannot ask him about it due to his dementia, she seeks answers from distant family. Soon, the puzzle pieces start to come together and it is a history that Isla is not able to take lightly.

I loved The Rainbow. The story is told in past and present times (from Isla in the present to her grandad in the past). I loved that the author used this writing style, as it made it easy to transport back to the WWII times. This story is so unique in that it focuses on Poland in WWII. Most stories about that era leave out the happenings in Poland. I loved that she brought Poland to the forefront, in particular because it gave a different perspective of the war.

This book is very well written and is filled with emotion, though not forced. With the memories being told by alternating characters, they provided different perspectives normally not given. I applaud the author for digging deep, discovering facts that may have been overwhelming and difficult, and then having the courage to tell the much needed story. Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
As soon as I read the synopsis I knew it was a book I would enjoy reading. I enjoy historical fiction, especially when the characters are so well written as the case is with ‘The Rainbow’.

Isla’s grandad is suffering from dementia and it is becoming increasingly difficult for him to relate his stories of pre war life in Poland that she loved so much. He would often tell her how as a young soldier, he helped fight the Germans to protect his people. So when she is collecting photos for his 95th birthday celebration she is shocked and heartbroken to find a picture of her dear grandfather wearing a Nazi uniform. Is everything she thought she knew about him a lie?

Due to his advancing dementia Isla is unable to question him and wraps herself in her rainbow-coloured scarf, a memento of his from the war, and begins to hunt for the truth behind the photograph. This is the start of her search for the truth that will prove shocking and emotional, a tale of childhood sweethearts torn apart by family duty, and how one young man risked his life, his love and the respect of his own people, to secretly fight for justice from inside the heart of the enemy itself.

This is an absorbing, emotional read that gripped me from the very start. Carly Schabowski is an author I have never come across before but shortly after I started it I was already ordering one of her earlier books. Great characters, beautifully written and an emotional ride. The book effortlessly goes from past to present in the narrative that is based on a true story.

I would like to thank both Net Galley and Bookouture for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Isla grew up hearing pre-war stories about her grandfather and how he fought the Germans to protect his people as a young soldier.  But while staying at her grandparents house, she is in the attic rummaging through old photos to collect for his 95th birthday celebration.  Isla finds a photo of her grandfather wearing a Nazi uniform.  Because her grandfather has dementia, he is unable to answer Isla’s questions about the photo.  So, Isla sets out tho find the truth behind the photograph.  I found this book to be so intriguing, the plot twists and turns of this story make it a rapid page turner.  I absolutely could not wait to discover the truth in the story. This book is filled with love, betrayal and family, but when I found out that this was based on a true story, it surpassed extraordinary.  Phenomenal doesn’t describe it enough, it is truly a must read.  I enjoyed this book from beginning to end, it is an amazing, unputdownable must read. I wish I could give it more than five stars.

Thank you Carly Schabowski for such a wonderfully well written story.  This heartbreaking historical fiction is both engaging and entertaining.  It hits all the emotions and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters were relatable and I highly recommend this book.  I look forward to reading more books from this author.
Was this review helpful?
I’ve often said whilst ending my review of a debut novel that ‘this is only the tip of what the author can do and I think there will be much more to come from this author in the future’. Well, this is definitely the case with Carly Schabowski. I enjoyed her debut The Ringmasters Daughter and her subsequent book, The Watchmaker of Dachau, but now having read her third book The Rainbow I really feel she has come a long way and is really getting into her stride. I definitely think this is the best book she has written and as it is based on a true story and it is a story she has always wanted to write that this element added even more to the book. Yes, there is a small element of ‘magic/suspend your disbelief that something could happen’ here as was present in her previous books but it didn’t play a dominant role in the overall plot and I felt it worked well here. It aided one character in connecting with another and said character used this experience in the toughest of times.

The Rainbow moves back and forth between the past and the present with the past sections being more prevalent and I enjoyed them much more. That’s not to say the parts featuring Isla and her search for answers in the present day were not good they definitely were but I found them to be mere tools to link the major plots of the story together. I found myself deeply invested in the story of unlocking the secrets of the past and it’s certainly a story that gives plenty of food for thought. Can you still love the man you always loved even if he was not who he said he was? What happens when the man you know as your grandfather turns out to have a past that will shock and anger you? Can you reconcile the man you know so well with what a photo seemingly says about him? 

Isla goes to see her grandparents in the country. Her grandfather Tomasz who is Polish is now 95 and suffering from dementia has not spoken to his brother Andrzej in years. Whilst Isla is looking for something in the attic she stumbles across a rainbow scarf and a newspaper article with a photo of two German soldiers. The article details how a man earned the golden German cross for acts of bravery killing partisans in the Ukraine. She recognises one of the men as being her grandfather but didn’t he fight for the British during the war? The photo says different and Isla wants to know the truth. Her grandmother is evasive when questioned and also doesn’t want any extra upset placed on Tomasz considering his state of mind. Isla determines she must discover the answers for herself. Just who was Tomasz and why was he a German soldier in the war?

When Isla makes contact with Andrzej in Poland she knows if she wants answers she must go there to talk to him but Andrzej is grumpy, dark and moody. Tomasz made a mistake and it cost lives and he can never be forgiven for that. Isla is presented with Tomasz's diaries and through reading them she hopes to find out the truth. The scenes set in the present day were enough to get the story going and when we reverted back to them throughout the novel they strongly tied together questions that arose as we read about the past. 

We are introduced to Tomasz in 1930 who resides in the Polish countryside on a farm with his family. An old caravan in a field leads to him meeting Kapaldi, who is like a magician of sorts. To me he was like an advisor to Tomasz and he goes on to play such a crucial role that was wonderfully but very subtly developed and I appreciated what a character he was. The years pass by and Tomasz falls in love with Zofia. They plan to spend their lives together but Hitler has other plans and if you do not have papers to prove you have German blood rather than Polish than the worst will befall you. German blood was believed to be superior, homes were taken from Poles for being Jewish or resisting German occupation and boys were rounded up to fight in the army. The peace and tranquillity of Tomasz's life was shattered.

Through one thing and another Tomasz is given a choice - his family will be moved to Germany to god knows what fate or else he must join the army and fight on the German side. This is where we see the beginnings of the turmoil that Tomasz faces throughout the remainder of the book. Of course, family must come first and he makes what he feels is the right decision but how can you live with yourself fighting on a side which promotes such hatred, abuse and brutality? Tomasz wrestles with his conscience time and time again and becomes increasingly angry at the madness surrounding him that he has no control over. The situation Tomasz finds himself in really makes you stop and think. If you saw a photo like Isla did and everything you knew about someone was a lie would your opinion of them instantly change or would you with hold judgement until if you have time to dig that little bit deeper?

Our views and opinions on the what the Germans did during the war are very strong and rightly so but this book makes you look beyond the bare details. That perhaps all is not as it seems at first glance in every case and regarding Tomasz, Isla is best to keep ploughing on until the real truth emerges. What could have Tomasz done during that time that made him so ashamed and his brother refused to speak to him ever again? You wonder had he no other choice? Do what your superiors asked of you or face being killed yourself not to mention the reprisals your family back home would receive if not. Yes, it brought shame on the family fighting on the German side and Tomasz was viewed as a traitor and it was like he had sold out his family but his love for Zofia always shone through and he had her at the forefront of his mind in everything he did.

The story dragged ever so slightly in the middle when Tomasz details where he is based and what he is doing but then the pace picked up again and I was completely riveted with all the various twists and turns. The author deftly highlighted the plight of Polish men forced to fight on a side inflicting so much horror and showed what pressure Tomasz was under. It was like he was a pawn in a game with someone turning the screw of control ever tighter. He really was faced with no choice but to keep going hoping he would emerge out the other side to his love and his family. You feel every bit of his fear and confusion as he grapples with knowing what the right thing is to do but then the hand that controls him wishes him to do the opposite. Another strand of the story begins to emerge towards the end which only served to increase the tension and unease which pervaded throughout the book and at one point you are left open mouthed in shock at what is unfolding before your eyes.

The ending perhaps was a little rushed but on reflection it was perfect as it made things come full circle and everything was fully explained to the reader. The Rainbow is an excellent read, packed full of emotions and you can tell the author has put so much time and effort into her research and thought carefully how she wished to convey her families story. It’s a story of courage, bravery and the sacrifices people will go to for love.I would definitely recommend The Rainbow and can’t wait to see what Carly Schabowksi brings us next.
Was this review helpful?
The Rainbow is a heartbreaking story that follows Isla after she discovers a picture of her grandfather in a Nazi uniform. Unable to find answers at home Isla travels to Poland in search of the truth. What she finds is a story of betrayal, sacrifice, love and friendship. The Rainbow paints a vivid image of the horrors that happened during the war and the length that people had to go to in order to survive. This is definitely a book that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Was this review helpful?
I’m really into reading novels based around World War II at the moment and The Rainbow does not disappoint. It doesn’t have the horrors of World War II like The Watchmaker of Dachau, but it has grit and strong family relationships.

The Rainbow is also told in a dual timeline format. Isla is in the present day and her grandad is back in the 1930s and the 1940s. Although he is suffering from advanced dementia in the present and unable to share his side of the story, Isla reads through a diary and asks elderly relatives about what happened. Her journey takes her to Poland – the childhood home of her grandfather.

As I was reading through it kept giving me more and more questions and very few answers until the very end. It’s brilliant!

A very involving story that crosses many decades of family and friends relationships. Cleverly written, well-developed characters, and sensitive in parts. I won’t spoil why the book is called The Rainbow but it’s truly magical. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!
Was this review helpful?
A dual timeline story based in England and Poland during World War II and 2015. Isla is in search of her grandfather's story after she sees a picture of him dressed in German army uniform and a bravery medal. In the process of this search she meets relatives and friends of her granddad who help her to fill in the blanks.
The Rainbow is a very emotionally poignant story where truth is worth knowing about but at the same time bittersweet. This novel is not only story of Thomasz but all those soldiers who were forced to fight for something they didn't believe in. This novel is about what extent you will sacrifice yourself for your family and love. Unforgettable and emotional read!
Was this review helpful?
The Rainbow by Carly Schabowski is Dual Time Historical Fiction World War II and in the present a granddaughter researching family secrets. Interesting storyline of soldiers conscripted by the Nazis and the effects of socialism on the people. The love of family, friends and enduring first love with heart wrenching details. I look forward to reading more books by this author.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book. 4 Stars
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyed reading this historical fiction novel, which was heartbreaking in places . Full review to follow on the book tour on 1st August. Interesting to see it was based on a family member who was Polish and called up into the German Army
Was this review helpful?
The Rainbow is a moving and heartbreaking story of Isla learning the truth about her grandfather during the war.
I was very excited for this book, but was disappointed. I do not know why. But it just did not break my heart and it was not very exciting for me. It might be because I’ve read several other ww2 books this month. But the writing was very good and it is obvious that the author knows what she is doing.
Was this review helpful?
The Rainbow is a wonderfully laid out novel which will take the reader on a journey of love, pain, heartbreak and sadness.  The novel is about a granddaughter who truly loves her grandfather and finds a scarf and photo of her grandfather that makes her wonder if he is the person she thought he was.  The grandfather suffering from severe dementia so she can't just ask for fear of upsetting him.  So she goes on a quest to find the truth about her grandfather's youth and what she finds moves her to make more of her life.  She rediscovers family she never knew she had and an uncle that she did not knew existed.  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 conscripted 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 colorful scarf. Unable to question her grandfather due to his dementia She travels to Poland to try to discover the truth.  The book is moving and educational.  This book is something that people need to read and remember how you did not have a choice in life and when things are dictated freedom is taken away.  The characters in the book will have the reader entranced in their journey flipping pages as they make a difference.  Highly recommend.

Thank you to  Netgalley, the author and Bookouture for the ARC in exchange for a review..
Was this review helpful?
When Isla finds a picture of her beloved grandfather in a Nazi uniform….she instantly begins to question the man that she grew up knowing. Was he really who he said he was, what is he hiding? She has so many questions but she can’t ask them because her grandfather has dementia and it’s accelerating rapidly. So she goes on a journey to his hometown in Poland to ask her questions to her great uncle. She’s given boxes of diaries and letters her grandfather wrote during the war and they paint a heartbreaking picture of the man she loves so much.

This story is very good. The characters are very dynamic and they instantly draw you in. It feels like you’re going on the quest with Isla and you want answers as much as he does. I highly recommend this capturing and riveting WWII story.

Thank you NetGalley, Bookouture and Carly Schabowski for early access to this story. It’s a page turner waiting to find out what happens next!
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars

Can you ever forgive or the fact that what you thought you knew was just not so? Coming across a photo of two men in Nazi uniforms, Isla, preparing for her grandfather's nine-fifth birthday, is shocked, for one of the men in the photo is her beloved grandfather. How could this possibly be?

She is prohibited from asking her grandfather because of his advanced case of dementia. She grabs onto two things, one is a desire to know the truth, the other a rainbow colored scarf that belonged to her grandfather. As Isla delves into the past, she comes across a tale of lost love, of survival in order to protect one's family, and the ability of some to face danger when others might fear to go. She also learns of a seemingly magical connection between her grandfather an a gypsy, the original owner of the rainbow scarf. 

This story shows how deep the wounds of war go, how far a lost love will be held onto, and the courage of those who put their lives on the line for freedom. As Isla travels back to her grandfather's native Poland, she learn much about her grandfather's life and that of his family. It is an interesting tale of hope in the face of the cruelty of war.

Thank you to Carly Schabowski, Bookouture, and NetGalley for a copy of this book due out July 28, 2021.
Was this review helpful?
💫 The Rainbow 💫 
By Carly Schabowski

Second book by this author; the first The Watchmaker of Dachau, was one I loved last year so when I saw this pop up on NG, I instantly requested it.

What would you do if you stumbled upon photos of your beloved grandfather in a nazi uniform?! How would you begin to untangle the past in a way that allows you to understand the position he was in and at the same time hope that it wasn’t true. 

I got scooped up into this novel from page 1. I have a soft spot for the older generation POV and their flashbacks of memories. I think this may be my favourite of the authors. 

If you enjoyed Tattooist of Auschwitz, then you will love this. 

Thank you bookouvture  for always supporting me by gifting me the arc. I am a big fan of this pub house and it’s authors. 

This book comes out July 28,2021 
It is a goodie that anyone who loves HF.
Was this review helpful?
Carly Schabowski has quickly become one of my go to authors. 
The Rainbow is another brilliantly written, sensitively told dual timeline story about Isla and her grandfather. Based on true events from the authors’s family, this story is a stark reminder of the many atrocities faced for those in WWII. 
The writing is so emotional and beautiful and I loved getting to know Isla and the history of her family. Heartbreaking at times, it is told with love and the magic of the rainbow is just wonderful.
Was this review helpful?
Having loved the author's previous book "The Watchmaker of Dachau" , I was eager to delve into THE RAINBOW and while it is a heartbreaking story both in the past and present, for me it didn't quite reach that same height. But then, it was a pretty high bar to compete with, in my view. Having said that, THE RAINBOW is still an unforgettable tale that will have you reaching for the tissues and numb your senses.

The story begins with in Isla in 2015 England on a visit with her grandparents when she comes across a rainbow coloured silk scarf and an old newspaper clipping of two men, one of whom is her grandfather Tomasz Jasienski dressed in a German Nazi uniform. But this can't be right! Her granddad is Polish. He fought in the Polish army, not the Nazis. Maybe it is another Tomasz Jasienski. But the photo is clearly her granddad, of that Isla is certain. She cannot ask him as he is in the late-mid stages of dementia and while some days are lucid, many are not, and the last thing she wants to do is upset him by stirring up old memories. Then when her grandmother deflects any questions she asks, it merely arouses her curiosity.

And so begins Isla's quest for answers, for information about her grandfather's past and what really happened in that photo. All she has is the name and an address of her granddad's brother whom he has not seen or spoken to in seventy years and while they may have been estranged, Andrezj sent his brother a yearly Christmas card up until five years ago. Is he still alive? There was only one way to find out. Isla travels to Poland in search of Andrezj and the answers for which she seeks. She finds the gruff 99 year old living in a sheltered retirement home where he gives her some diaries that had been her grandfather's during the war.

Returning to England, Isla has the diaries translated from her grandfather's native Polish and through them she journeys back with Tomasz as a young boy in 1930 through to WW2, when he was forced into the German army.

The perspective then changes as we meet Tomasz in the summer of 1930 as a ten year old boy who meets a gypsy named Kapaldi living in a colourful caravan on a neighbouring farmer's land. To Tomasz, Kapaldi was a magical man who could make it rain and create rainbows. The first time Tomasz ever saw Kapaldi, he was dancing naked with nothing but a rainbow scarf around his neck. The same rainbow scarf Isla found in her grandfather's attic. She remembers the tales she was told as a girl about a magical man and rainbows that she thought were just fairy tales. When one day, Tomasz comes to see Kapaldi he finds some of the local lads beating him and taunting him so he jumps on the farmer Kowalski's tractor and makes way towards the young thugs hurting his friend. The lads scarpered in fear and Kapaldi thanked young Tomasz for saving his life. He promised him that he now owes him a debt and that one day he will save Tomasz's life too.

It was the summer of 1930 that Tomasz also met the young Zofia at a carnival where he won her a little wooden heart. Zofia kept the little heart as a reminder of happier times when in 1939 Poland was invaded by the Germans and life became even harder for the Polish. The couple are now 19 and in declaring their love, Tomasz tells Zofia he plans to ask her father permission to marry her and together they plan their future together. But then Tomasz is taken by the Nazis and forced to fight alongside them for the Reich. It is during a harrowing time in which they were to round up a group of partisans working against them that Tomasz tossed a grenade and killed them. The sight of the bodies with their innards spilling out etched into his memory forever. He is whisked away to the office of Captain Liebenez, who had seconded him to the German army in the first place, and awarded Tomasz the Iron Cross for his bravery for which the two men were photographed and immortalised forever in a newspaper clipping found wrapped in a silk scarf some seventy years later.

As a reward for his bravery and loyalty to the Reich, Tomasz was given the easier task of translator away from the frontline of battle, although he was often ridiculed by his peers and those above his rank as well as the public. Why? Because he was Polish. It was often heard said "Stupid Pole" and even the boarding house in which Liebenez installed him, the caretaker landlady said to him "Poles not welcome here" and he had to find somewhere else to eat, which left him wandering the unfamiliar streets in which he often found himself lost. On these occasions he found himself conjuring up the image of Kapaldi who then helped him find his way back. But he had seemed to so real, was it just his imagination or had he truly seen Kapaldi? They hadn't crossed paths in many years but somehow Tomasz always knew Kapaldi was there watching over him.

And then when a tragic even occurs that numbs Tomasz even further from which he feels he will never recover, he feels that Liebenez has been playing games with him all along and doesn't have his best interests at heart at all. Then Liebenez is promoted to Major whilst unbeknownst to Tomasz, his beloved Zofia is unwittingly caught up in the Major's games as well. Tomasz is now a broken man and on the last page of his diaries he writes..."What have I done?"

Intrigued even further by the ambiguity of her grandfather's final words on those pages, Isla travels back to Poland in the hope of uncovering the meaning behind those words. What had happened for her grandfather to have berated himself with those four words? This journey takes her even further into Poland back to where her grandfather grew up and it is there she meets Zofia, her grandfather's first love. And the truth of what really happened beyond those final words is finally are the secrets of the past.

Based on a true story that was seven years in the making, THE RAINBOW is as emotional as it is heartbreaking. The plight in which young Polish boys faced at being forced into the German army is a little known fact that I had no idea about. The Nazis were cruel to almost everyone, even amongst themselves at times, in their quest for a pure Aryan race and their belief that they could do anything they wanted to anyone they chose. And the higher their rank the more entitled they were. This is seen in Major Liebenez and the games he played with Tomasz and Sofia. He seemed to be their friend but to him they were just a means to an end. I loathed him.

Tomasz, whilst the hero of the story, is not your regular hero. And he certainly doesn't consider himself to be one. He is an ordinary man with flaws. He lives in fear, he's made decisions that could put his life in jeopardy, choices that could be wrong and while there is nothing extraordinary about him, what he has been through is unthinkable. And as an old man approaching 95, Isla begins to wonder considering what he has lived his dementia a curse or a blessing?

As for Isla herself. We don't know much about her. We know she is a lawyer but that in itself doesn't define her. What is important is her granddad and the truth behind the photo she found in the attic. Unlike most heroines of a story, particularly those who are lawyers, she doesn't focus on her life or career but on emotions and what it must have felt like to live through all that her grandfather and later Zofia lived through. The war was another time, another era, something that is beyond the realms of today's generation and yet Isla found herself immersed within the past and the emotional journey she took to uncover the secrets that had been lost to time.

THE RAINBOW is a beautiful story and heartbreaking at the same time that the author drew references from a true story that belongs to her own family. It is a bittersweet tale that the reader will find it hard not to shed tears. For me, it was the threat of losing those memories forever locked inside a mind that was slowly disappearing. Dementia is a cruel and unprejudiced disease that steals memories from the living to remain locked in the past unless they are detailed before they are lost forever. I didn't find Tomasz to be in the late stages of dementia as he was still lucid enough to regale Isla with the final chapter of his story and a late stage sufferer would barely able to talk let alone recall sporadic memories. I saw him as late-mid stage as it's the final stages that are the most heartbreaking of all.

There was one aspect I didn't really warm to in the story and one which I felt no connection to. For me, it didn't belong there in the way it was portrayed but would have been better served in another connection to the story. I won't say in what capacity so as not to spoil it.

A poignant read that carries through the generations, THE RAINBOW is a tale of family, love and lost secrets. Perfect for fans of historical WW2 fiction.

I would like to thank #CarlySchabowski, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheRainbow in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?