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Within These Walls of Sorrow

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Member Reviews

This book will make you cry. The author did a wonderful job of telling a story that will pull on the heartstrings. I thought she did a great job of showing us what life would have been like at this time and what the people were experiencing. Defiantly one to make sure you have a box of tissues next to you.

I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.
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Within These Walls of Sorrow
by Amanda Barratt
Pub Date 17 Jan 2023 
Independent Publishers Group,Kregel Publications
Christian| Historical Fiction

Kregel Publications and Netgalley provided me with a copy of Within These Walls of Sorrow for review:

In a short period of time worlds are turned upside down.  The brutal realities of war are well known to Zosia Lewandowska. She lost her beloved within weeks of Germany's invasion. Zosia joins pharmacist Tadeusz Pankiewicz and his staff in the heart of the Krakow ghetto as they risk their lives to aid the Jewish people trapped by Nazi oppression as ghetto walls rise. 

Silverman's carefree girlhood is shattered when her family is forced into the ghetto. As she struggles to survive in a world filled with cruelty and despair, she meets Zosia, her former neighbor. Deportation whittles down the ghetto's population and snatches those she holds dear. 

What they witness intertwines Zosia and Hania's lives as they face the griefs and fears thrust upon them by war, until one day, they are forced to make a desperate choice one that will inexorably bind them together, even as they are torn apart. 

Within These Walls of Sorrow is half heartbreak, half hope.  It's a powerful story of love and loss during the Holocaust.

I give Within these Walls of Sorrow five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. This was a remarkable historical fiction book, well researched, beautifully written, a book that will stay with the reader for a long time.  This story based on the true story of the pharmacy in the Jewish occupied Polish ghetto is a very moving, gut wrenching story about the Christians trying to help the Jewish people , and also the story of the Jews who ended up in the concentration camps.  I have read many World War II historical fiction books , each one leaving me with an emotional, thought provoking feeling..  we must never forget this part of world history and it’s consequences.  The story ‘s main characters are Zosia ( the Poilsh pharmacist) and Hania ( the young Jewish woman who ends up in the camp), the story alternates between the two women and offers a good perspective.  I would highly recommend this book it is one of the best historical fiction books that I have read.
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Wow. This book is one you will need tissues for. It is so well written and researched. It is sad that it is history and that it happened. It makes you think and it also inspires you that your actions do matter, however small you think they are. It’s definitely must read, a hard read, a reminder, a remembrance, a wake up to never be that again. I listened to the audio version of this book and the narrator did an excellent job in my opinion. It was good to hear the names pronounced correctly for me. Which ever way you choose yo read it will be the right way.
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I’ve read a few of Amanda Barratt’s books about WW2, but this has to be one of the most difficult and yet the most important yet. Within the Walls of Sorrow tells the story of the Holocaust in Poland thought the eyes of two women who lived through it: Zazia, a Polish pharmacist who risks everything to save help her Jewish friends and neighbours by working in a pharmacy in the Warsaw Ghetto…and Hania, the daughter of a Jewish doctor and Zania’s former boss.

It is a harrowing, horrific and often brutal account of life in the Warsaw Ghetto and the atrocities committed there: as well as the struggles to survive of those who had to face evil head on. The story is about real, flawed humans who aren’t angels or Saints and sometimes have to do whatever they must: but that even the smallest action can change someone’s future.

    “There is good and there is evil and there is the space in between. We are given the free will to choose where we stand. Evil thrives when good men choose the space in between. We cannot”.

This sentence provides Zazia’s motivation and much of the backdrop of the story: yet the author does not condescend to the reader, by providing a twee story about good always prevailing or a heroically saving everyone.

It is a book about this period that everyone should read: I would easily place it alongside Schindler’s List or the Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler as something most needful for all to know. It would be easy to judge these characters (although fictional they are based on real examples) because their deeds were not so famous or prominent. Doing good when faced with the ultimate evil may mean paying the highest cost, and not everyone can or will be saved. Perhaps nobody will: but even the smallest action by an individual doing what they can is sometimes enough.

The author doesn’t attempt to deliver moral or religious platitudes either: only to say that there is something greater than the evils of men and that by holding to it, we can in some small way stand against the evil schemes of those men. This has to have been a very difficult book to write, but I commend Mrs Barrat for giving it to us.

I was given a PDF of this title by the Publisher Kregel to review. This did not influence my opinions all of which are freely given and entirely my own.
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Within These Walls of Sorrow has become my favorite book I have read by Amanda Barratt. It will be getting a very well deserved five plus stars. I highly recommend it for readers who love to read clean historical fiction, particularly during the World War II.
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This is a realistic, heartbreaking read of how the Jewish Polish people lost everything except maybe their lives if they were lucky.  
It’s amazing the Nazis allowed a pharmacy to continue inside the Jewish ghetto.  
Each person plays a part in doing just a little to save a few.  
It’s hard to imagine how these people were so stone in times of such danger.  
Read this story and weep.  Each person has value.  We must remember that in every time in history.
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What an extremely powerful book!  The pharmacy in the Jewish ghetto is something that I had not learned about before, so there was a great deal of new historical knowledge to be gained.  The horrors faced by the Jewish people are difficult to read about, knowing that they are not made up, but based on real events that happened to real people.  Barratt does an incredible job of telling of the tragedies and horrors people faced, but also offers hope for the future for those who made it through.
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Within These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barratt 


Amanda Barratt vividly brings to life the story of the Jews in Poland during the Nazi occupation.  She focuses on two women, Zosia Lewandowski, a gentile, and Hania Silberman, a young Jewish girl.  

This book is meticulously researched and realistically portrayed the horrors of the suffering of the Jewish people and their supporters during the time of Hitler. 

Despite the nightmare of the occupation and their incarceration, the characters’ will to survive and to live will astound the reader.  The German’s cruelty will abhor the reader.   

I read this book to learn more about the suffering of the Jewish people and came away with an appreciation of their tenacity. It also made me appreciate the blessings of my life. 

Hania and Zosia gave me much to aspire to as they persevered during what had to have been an impossibly challenging time in which to live.  Their characters were so sensitively and skillfully rendered that I found myself thinking about them after I read the last page. 

Readers who enjoy realistic WW2 fiction and historical women’s fiction will come away with much from this novel.  I am grateful to the publisher for a complimentary copy in exchange for this, my honest review.
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Within These Walls of Sorrow 
by Amanda Barratt 
Publisher: Independent Publishers Group, Kregel Publicaions 
Series: None 
Rated: 5 
Obtain: Borrow or Buy 
Back of the Book: “Zosia Lewandowska knows the brutal realities of war all too well. Within weeks of Germany's invasion of her Polish homeland, she lost the man she loves. As ghetto walls rise and the occupiers tighten their grip on the city of Krakow, Zosia joins pharmacist Tadeusz Pankiewicz and his staff in the heart of the Krakow ghetto as they risk their lives to aid the Jewish people trapped by Nazi oppression. 
Hania Silverman's carefree girlhood is shattered as her family is forced into the ghetto. Struggling to survive in a world hemmed in by walls and rife with cruelty and despair, she encounters Zosia, her former neighbor, at the pharmacy. As deportation winnow the ghetto's population and snatch those she holds dear, Hania's natural resiliency is exhausted by reality. 
Zodia and Hania's lives intertwine as they face the griefs and fears thrust upon them by war, until one day, they are forced to make a desperate choice . . . one that will inexorably bind them together, even as they are torn apart. 
Amanda Barratt's meticulous research and lush, award-winning writing shine once again in this moving look at a group of unsung heroes who fought for hope and humanity in the most harrowing of times.” 

Impressions: This was a thorough story of humanity during WW2. It was full of emotion and morality. The theme of good verse evil was easy to see but it was so encouraging to read of the bravery of those who chose goodness despite the consequences. I think this was an amazing historical fiction story of resilience and love. 

Quotes: “The months since the autumn of 1939 have taught us the best way to adapt is to accept, and the sooner one accepts, the sooner one can begin to adapt.” 

“Courage is strong until it is tested.” 

“There is a line between trusting someone for a moment and giving them your trust.” 

“Grief is not a thing to be measured. Only lived.” 

I received an ARC of this book via the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review shared here. For more book reviews go to:
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Good insight story with many true-to-life (historically documented!) elements.  Graphic descriptions of the war but placed in appropriate context.   I was able to follow the characters well.  Thank you!
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“Strength is not to live without fear but to live in spite of it.” As fear and terror close in around the Jewish people of Poland, the strength to live will be tested beyond what they could ever imagine. Zosia Lewandowska, a Polish woman living in Poland, grieving the loss of her husband, will make a choice that will change her life forever. Working at the Apteka Pod Ortem pharmacy in what would soon become part of the Krakow ghetto, she does not realize the horrors she is about to face. She must decide, help her fellow man or stand on the sidelines and stay silent while her friends and neighbors disappear. Hania Silverman, a young Jewish woman has seen the worst of mankind and is determined to live. Forced to move into the ghetto with her family, she will risk everything to stay alive and help those she loves. When the lives of Zosia and Hania intertwine, will they be able to survive the incomprehensible evil and brutality that surrounds them?
In this tremendously moving and vivid portrayal of life for the Jewish people in Poland, Amanda Barratt has penned a novel that depicts the horrors of the ghetto and concentration camps, set during one of the darkest times in human history. Haunting in its description, “Within These Walls of Sorrow” is a novel that will stay with the reader long after the last page has been read. I thank NetGalley and Kregel Publications for the ARC of this book. I am not required to give a positive review. All opinions within this review are my own.
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This powerful tale is a beautiful and poignant story. I adored meeting this incredible cast and reading their story as told as if written in a diary.

I enjoy historical fiction, but this one absolutely blew me away! Such a lovely testimony of faith and strength, and a beautiful reminder that God is always near, even when we doubt His presence. I loved the tone in this one as well! Very atmospheric and that wonderful thread of hope, right when all hope seemed lost.

Amanda Barratt brings this story to life from the perspectives of Zosia and Hania. I loved both women, and adored the chance to see the events play our from both a polish perspective and that of a Jewess. The research and attention to detail is incredible and only further reinforces my admiration for this book!
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This heartbreaking story set in Poland during the Holocaust is based on true events. Told by Hania, a Polish Jew and Zosia, a Polish Christian, readers will be transported back into this horrendous time of death and suffering. Masterfully told! Highly recommended!
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As the Nazis close in, Zosia loses the man she loves and turns to trying to save the Jewish people from the Krakow ghetto. Meeting Hania Silverman, Zosia must try to save her neighbor from cruelty and deportation to a death camp. Well written historical fiction.
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This book is a hard read. Powerful, and unfortunately necessary, and hard.

I've read a lot of WWII books over the years (and particularly over the last 12-18 months--a lot of good ones have been released!). This one is unique among them, in that it documents many of the atrocities leveled against Jews, in harrowing detail. That made it really hard to read at times, and I'll admit I had to skim for my own mental sanity. I can only imagine how it must have been for the author to write, let alone for those who lived these things. _Within These Walls of Sorrow_ may be a fiction book, but it was based on all-too-real and -documented events.

I really appreciated the author's note at the end, detailing her research, books and interviews used, and more info on some of the historical characters that make an appearance in the book. It is truly a read that illustrates why we must "Never Forget" (and "Never Again") the events of WWII. As time marches on and we are increasingly removed from that generation and part of history, it's even more important ... as hard as it is to remember, the alternative is worse.

By the end of the read, I felt so very emotionally invested in the characters and their journeys. It was gut-wrenching, and yet, the hope and strength found--and how God used people at every level throughout--was incredible.

I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Within These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barratt is an absolutely wonderful pull at your heartstrings inspirational historical fiction story based on a dark period in our history that shouldn't be missed if you love stories based on truth.
I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more by this author in the future.

I was given an ARC from the author/publisher. All conclusions are mine and mine alone.
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Absolutely heartbreaking historical fiction set in Poland during the Holocaust. The two heroines of this novel are Zosia, a Polish pharmacist, and Hania, a young Jewish girl. At the start of the novel, they are living in the same building, shortly before Hania and her family are forced to move into the newly formed Jewish ghetto. The story follows Zosia as she uses her position at the pharmacy to help those she can, and Hania as she and her family are forced to face worse and worse atrocities as the war continues. 
The many, many heartbreaking events depicted in this novel are no easy read. However they are written so carefully and with clear devotion from the author. Through these fictional characters, we see the strength, resilience, and kindness that true survivors espoused. I loved every main character we met. This novel will make you cry, but the ending is beautifully hopeful.
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It’s been two and a half years since Amanda Barratt’s The White Rose Resists released and it’s a book that I still talk about today. Now, with a new release from Barratt. I have found another book I will be telling people about for years because Within These Walls of Sorrow is unforgettable—both in the absolute despair and tragedy of what an entire nation suffered during World War II and in the hope they clung to despite the atrocities they experienced.

If you haven’t figured it out from the title, this book was not an easy read. My emotions were so wrought throughout this story that I had to put it down and walk away on a few occasions. Yet the story never left me, and I had to come back to it. But let me give you five reasons you should read Within These Walls of Sorrow.

1. The research is impeccable. The author has stated that she read over 50 books, spoke with someone at the historical society in Krakow, Poland, and listened to interviews from those who lived in the ghetto and in the pharmacy within the ghetto’s walls.

2. Amanda Barratt honors the people of Krakow by telling their story in this way. She gives readers two heroines with different experiences in the ghetto whose courage in the midst of all they see and learn of the evil other humans can carryout on one another. The author has chosen to leave some extremely difficult details in the book but also lets her characters remember bits and pieces of others so we, as readers, get a reprieve from the despair.

3. This story reminds us that there were courageous people—some friends, some strangers, some considered enemies—who took both big and small risks for these people. But there were also people who, even after the war, treated the Jews as poorly as the Germans did.

4. By writing this story in fiction form and giving readers points of view from a Polish woman and a Jewish woman, Barratt doesn’t recite history at the reader, she puts us in the middle of it as we live it with these characters. The author reminds us of how in the depths of the darkness, we cling to hope. No matter how fragile or fleeting that hope, we grasp on with all our might and with it in our hearts and heads, we fight to survive.

5. Finally, this book challenges you. It made me ask some hard questions. Would I be willing to risk my life for others? Zosia knew Hania and her family, yet she helped more than those few. When faced with evil and hatred so deep it strips others of their humanity, would I stand as a beacon of hope for those in the face of it or would I turn my back? The truth of the matter is, there is plenty of evil and hate in today’s world.

I can guarantee that this book, read at the beginning of 2023, will be on my list of top reads at the end of the year because I won’t forget. I won’t forget this story or the history behind it. I won’t forget the lives that were lost or the hope that shone from a pharmacy that God kept open in the Krakow ghetto.

Disclosure statement: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive or negative review. All opinions are my own.
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Opening a book penned by Amanda Barratt is like stepping through the walls of history and seeing firsthand what happened, and you better be prepared for all the emotion she will invoke. 

Ms. Barratt doesn't shy away from the atrocities of the invasion of Poland by the Nazi's but doesn't linger there. She allows the events to speak for themselves. Which also gives way to her amazing research and the overall pacing of the book. In this book lover's opinion was flawless. The ending was perfect and satisfying. I tried hard not to cry but found myself in tears more times than not.

My absolute favorite quote from the book is found on page 254 . . .

"There is no darkness strong enough to snatch us from the hand of the One that created us."

If you have not had the absolute pleasure of reading a book penned by Amanda Barratt I highly recommend you start. You won't be sorry!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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