Member Reviews

What a great story! Loved the book, it was hard to put down. It includes the perfect combination of romance and history!

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I love historical fiction especially set WW2 and this was no different. I really enjoyed it, it was well written with a compellingstoryline that hooked me straight away and well developed characters,

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Title: The Polish Girl (The Secret Resistance Series)
Author: Gosia Nealon
Publisher: Bookouture
Original Publication Date: February 24th, 2023
Source: NetGalley – Ebook
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Romance/ Suspense

Wanda is living with her family in Poland in 1944, during the height of World War II. She is unable to fight on the battlefield, but she is doing everything she can do her part to help the resistance to fight and for Poland to be free from the clutches of Nazi Germany and for life to be able to go back to normal. But it all comes crashing down when a Captain named Stefan storms her house with her, her parents, and Kubus, a young boy from the streets she has rescued and cared for inside, comes looking for her brother, who is suspected of Resistance activity. Her father, affectionately known to her as Tata, defends his family, and is killed for his insubordination. After her Tata’s death, Wanda throws herself into the Resistance, resolving to fight even harder to help Poland gain its freedom.

In the United States, a young man named Finn is being given a great but dangerous opportunity to help fight World War II on the good side. His identical twin brother Stefan is causing great turmoil and havoc in Poland, and is bringing great shame to Finn, and is making his mother more miserable as time goes on. Therefore the Resistance has the idea to capture Stefan and have Finn take his place, being able to pass vital information and make different decisions. However, his mission goals change when he comes across a woman named Wanda, who is very beautiful in his eyes, but he can’t help but sense this hatred from her, and he has no idea why. How can he convince her that he is a good man? Also, even if he succeeds, how would they ever make it through this war alive?

Nealon’s writing for characters, their emotions, decisions, and consequences is the factor that really stands out in this novel. She flawlessly writes about their turmoil in the choices they make, how they feel when something happens to them, and how they try to cope with the aftermath. You get the sensation that you are falling in love with these characters such as they are going through it too. The only reason for my lesser rating was the ending, which seemed dragged out and abrupt at the same time. However, I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series, which I will read in due time, since I already have the second book available to me.

Rating: 4/5

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1944, Poland. Wanda's life changes forever when her father is shot by a Nazi officer. She vows revenge but discovers a shocking secret about him which enables her to fall in love with him instead...
The Polish Girl is an historical novel set in the 1940s in Poland. The Nazi occupation is devastating the country and Wanda is part of the resistance. This angle on the war is quite unique as I haven't read other books showing the Polish experience.
The book is written mostly from Wanda's viewpoint. Her journey is heartbreaking as she copes with the occupation of her country, constant fear of being caught, and the death of her father. She is then conflicted when she is thrust into the company of the man who killed her father. But she soon discovers that the cold and cruel Stefan has been replaced by his sensitive twin Finn.
There are also some chapters from Finn and Gerda's perspectives. Finn hates his brutal brother and wants to free Poland from the terror of Nazism. He works as a double agent, taking his brother's place, but his safety is compromised. Gerda is a fascinating character. Brainwashed by Nazi ideology, she has betrayed her own mother. She now wants to marry Stefan to comfirm her place in society and fulfil what she sees as her destiny serving the Fuhrer. Yet she remains troubled by her mother's arrest and this shows her vulnerability.
The emotion of the book, the love and hate, is well written and the first person perspective allow us insight into the characters and their actions. There are some episodes of brutality but they are not described in too much detail. I found the ending a little rushed and it stretched my credulity but this did not spoil my enjoyment of the book overall.
The Polish Girl is a dramatic and emotional love story set against the horror of war.

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This book starts near the end.

1944, german tanks, Lapanka.

Wanda, is of course, my favorite person in this book. Sometimes I felt annoyed as the story switched to Finn, he's safe and in Washington DC, but it was okay, Finn is the breath you take before diving down again, he is absolutely necessary to make it through Wanda's terrifying story.

there is so much happening, so much heartbreak and destruction at every turn that it makes Wanda's actions so much more surprising, how resilient she is.

Then there is Gerda, it's hard to read her story. It's hard because she reminds me of what is happening right now and it is terrifying. Gerda is a believer and she is so vile and heartless, it is breaking me.

I can't say much more without giving away too much.

This is a book about people making choices, sometimes when choices were limited and terrible. There is a lot of action and several times I really worried about Wanda and FInn.

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What a compelling story! Another brilliant WWII historical fiction book. Very fast and easy to read.

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This book was interesting, especially in the beginning as the story unfolds. I am Polish and wanted to love this book. However, I found it a little elementary. It's more of a romance than I thought it would be, and a pretty unrealistic one at that.

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In the latest The Secret Resistance book, Gosia Nealon introduces the reader to Wanda, a Polish girl living under Nazi occupation during World War II, and Finn, an American who is impersonating his Nazi brother for the Polish Resistance. Wanda and Finn’s stories become intrinsically intertwined when they meet in Warsaw, and their lives continue to overlap in the years after the war as Finn’s brother and fiancé continue to try and thwart the two. Nealon captures Wanda and Finn’s struggles as they both try to reclaim their lives from the war and the Nazis, and she brings these two characters to life in The Polish Girl. Nealon also highlights familial relationships throughout the text, and these strong kinship networks are both wonderful to read and crucial to Wanda and Finn’s story. Nealon’s clear familiarity with the Polish Resistance adds another level to the novel, and this key plot point (a focus on the Polish Resistance as compared to other resistance groups) sets this book apart from similar books. Her story is compelling, the characters fascinating, and the text immersive, all of which combine to create a strong historical fiction novel for a reader interested in or familiar with the many roles for women during World War II.

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The novel Polish girl surrounds the characters Wanda Odwaga and Finn Keller, happening in 1944 war-torn Poland where the country is attacked by the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, led by Adolf Hitler and Stalin. The original book of the Polish Girl is called THE LAST SKETCH. The armed soldiers were everywhere with their German tarpaulin-covered lorries, and the streets were crowded with women crying and men cursing.

Wanda Odwaga: She rescues a smart child named Kubus from the Nazi soldiers in the crowd and brings him home to her mom giving him shelter. One day Gestapo attacks their house looking for Wanda's brother Mateusz Odwaga then one of the Gestapo officers fires Gunshot into Wanda's father Tata's heart and kills him leaving Wanda and her mother shocked with hysterically angry. Twenty-three-year-old Wanda vows to herself that she will kill the cruel soldier who was the monster behind the reason for her father's death. Wanda joins the Polish resistance.

I enjoyed the character Wanda who is brave and determined where she is ready to take risks for her country denying herself.

Finn Keller: Finn lives in New York where his grandparents lived. Finn is disgusted by his brother Stephan's disgraceful actions in the war. In Poland, Finn's twin brother Stefan was a significant figure in the Gestapo headquarters in Warsaw. He works directly under SS - Arthur Veicht in a department that concentrates on tracking and eliminating the Polish resistance. Stephan hunts down polish jews and murders them massively therefore he was called by the polish people "Ruthless Stephan." This made Stephan's identical brother Finn very angry and when realizing the awful truth of Stephan's evil acts. Finn promises his captain to replace Stephan on the condition that Stephan's life is spared and is imprisoned.

How is it possible that identical twins are different, one is a Nazi Killer, while the other helps the resistance? What happens when Wanda's and Finn's paths cross? This book was very emotionally moving historical fiction and beautifully written by Gosia Nelson.

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture publishers for an advance copy for my honest review.

Pls find Book review of the Polish Girl by Gosia Nealon

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The Polish Girl is a renamed republishing of the first book in Gosia Nealon’s Secret Resistance Series: ‘The Last Sketch’. The story follows the characters of Wanda and Finn and their fight for survival, and fight for each other, amongst the events of the final year of the Second World War.
The book is perfectly paced; starting off with a slow pace to world-build, establish the characters and build relationships between them and then progressing onto something which is fast-paced with lots of tension. I was hooked from the first page and finished the book in a single sitting as I simply couldn’t put it down. Despite being a work of fiction, there’s a lot of historical accuracy in the book.
All of the characters in The Polish Girl were beautifully complex. We have a really strong female protagonist in Wanda who is a real force to be reckoned with. My track record of instantly falling in love with the love interests in historical romances only continued with the character of Finn, who had me truly captivated from his first entrance into the story. I found the concept of Finn and Stefan following two completely different paths in life, with one joining the Nazi party and one fighting against them, despite being twin brothers really interesting and it’s something which was brilliantly explored. I also thought that the character of Gerda was really well written and perfectly captured the generation brainwashed by Nazi ideology.
My one gripe with the character of Finn was that he began to believe that Wanda had betrayed him. This was a complete 360 from his original intense trust in the woman he loves and suddenly moved away from his initial (correct) assumption about the reality of Wanda’s disappearance, leading to events which seemed completely out of character from the Finn we’d seen for the rest of the novel.
I also did find it slightly unbelievable that Finn could ever capture the mannerisms, speech patterns and behaviours of Stefan (someone he’d not seen for many years) without detection. I definitely would have liked for us to have had a chapter which focused on Finn assuming Stefan’s identity, as I think that was a particularly crucial part of his mission. Seeing how Finn recovered from the potential little slip ups he is likely to have made whilst adjusting to his new persona could have supported the realism of the plotline.
Although most historical fiction novels end somewhere around the end of the war, The Polish Girl rather uniquely takes us up to 1950. As someone who often finishes novels set in this era craving an insight into how the characters’ lives played out in the aftermath of the war as Europe started to rebuild and recover, I absolutely loved that Gosia Nealon made the choice to do this. Covering the five years post-war period allowed us to not only explore the post-war lives of the main characters, it also allowed us to get a little update on each of the supporting characters we’d met throughout the narrative.
Overall, The Polish Girl is an incredible historical fiction work which is as heart-warming as it is heart-breaking. It’s fantastically paced and contains gripping moments of real tension which will have readers on the edge of their seats. I am eagerly awaiting the publication of the next book in The Secret Resistance series ‘The Polish Wife’ as it will give us an opportunity to return to some of the much-loved characters we met within The Polish Girl.
I have posted an extended review on my blog and the post is linked.

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Absolutely brilliant book, couldn't put it down, started the second one in the series straight away.

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An historical novel set in Poland, Wanda a young 23-year-old, plays her part as a brave resistance courier until an unforgettable scene takes place and she throws herself into the dangers of a resistance fighter and seeks revenge. When Wanda meets a solider her world is thrown upside down confused with feelings she struggles to understand. A Polish Girl is well written, page turning novel by Gosia Nealon it had me falling in love with the characters as I followed their heartbreaking, heart-warming fight for survival and love, that had me hooked from the first page, an incredible read.
I would like to thank Bookouture, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read this complimentary copy for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#ThePolishGirl #NetGalley

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Wanda Odwaga begs the German soldier to not kill her father, but it was too late. He’s gone and she will never forget that horrible experience in her life. Wanda witnessed the murder of her father and she decides she must do something to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Wanda joins the Polish resistance and she comes face to face with the Nazi that murdered her father. She will never forget that fateful day and she wants revenge for her father’s death. Her work for the resistance is important but her mission is personal…to take the life of the man that took her father’s life. Meanwhile, Finn leaves America to impersonate his twin brother Stephen. Stephen has killed many Jewish people at the command of the Nazi’s. Finn’s mission, by the order of the British government, is to bring down Hitler and his army.

I enjoyed this story very much. The Polish Girl was a very emotional read and I found myself reaching for the Kleenex box a few times. This story was both a heart-breaking and inspiring read, that had me on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next. Author Gosia Nealon is a new author for me. I really enjoyed her writing style, and she definitely pulled me into the pages at the very beginning. I will absolutely, and with a doubt read more of her books. This is the first installment in what I am sure will be a wonderful series and I highly recommend it.

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This book is excellent. I could not put it down once I started it and read it past my bedtime, finishing it in one day.
Twin brothers, identical twins, raised together by the same parents. Vastly different, one is gentle and compassionate taking after the mother. The other, like the father is a brutal killer, a German soldier.
Wanda Odwaga feels safe in her home with her mother and her father, a retired surgeon. One evening her, Tata, (father) is killed before her eyes there. Looking into the eyes of this killer she vows she will get her revenge. As she then starts to see this murderer everywhere she goes, she is sickened and confused. He whispers to her, "I am not who you think I am."
An orphaned little boy is adopted into her family, and he is a wonderful addition to the story, he is so smart too.
Poland, 1944, it was such a turbulent time, rationing was in full force, there was a curfew, the Germans had invaded. No one was safe on the streets, especially a woman alone. Some risked their lives to be in the Polish resistance using code words to pass messages.
We see the characters going through such turmoil in this unputdownable book but yet they persevere and show such strength in the darkest of days because they know strength and courage brings the light. Heartwarming will not be soon forgotten.

Pub Date 24 Feb 2023
I was given a complimentary copy of this book.
All opinions expressed are my own.

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I am so lucky to be part of Books on Tour! Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this opportunity to read and review this book. The Polish Girl, book one of The Secret Resistance Series is by Gosia Nealon. This is my first book by her, but it won’t be my last!
This story is told from three different perspectives.
Wanda lives in Poland during WWII. She is torn because she is attracted to a Nazi officer, her father’s killer! She soon learns the truth and is trying to navigate her life.
Finn - Is the identical twin of the man who killed Wanda’s father. He falls for Wanda, even though they come from different worlds. He is betrothed to Gerda, the daughter of a high ranking Nazi official.
Gerda is the girl you love to hate. She sells her mother out to the Nazi’s, is dating a cold blooded Nazi Officer and is just a plain old mean girl!!
I loved how all of the characters interacted with each other. I devoured this book in two days! This story really makes you think about the true character of a person. I was drawn in by the complex characters. I can’t wait to read the next book, The Polish Wife! It follows the story of Wanda’s friend, Anna. Many thanks to the author, Bookouture and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of the book. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Like historical fiction
Enjoy a strong female character
Like to keep guessing until the end

Happy Reading!

#ThePolishGirl #NetGalley #Bookouture #BooksOnTour #BookLove #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalFictionLove #Bookstagram #NewBook #ILoveBooks

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Wanda Odwaga witnesses her father killed by a German soldier. Eventually she begins working with the resistance and will never forget the face of that soldier. Meanwhile, Finn travels from the USA to impersonate his twin brother Stephan. Stephan brutally and unrepentantly killed countless Jews and has been captured and is now imprisoned. Finn’s job has been assigned by the British government in order to expose and bring Hitler and his minions down.

Finn and Stephan could not have been more different. When their parents split up, Finn went to the USA with their mother, and Stephan stayed in Warsaw with their father, a staunch Nazi supporter, and Stephan followed right in his father’s footsteps. As Stephan is now engaged, Finn must not only fool the other German soldiers who worked alongside Stephan, but also his fiancée.

Imagine Wanda’s anger, frustration and then confusion when she is certain that she spotted the solder that killed her father. Determined to kill him is her plan, but when she looks into his eyes, she finds that she is strangely drawn to him. Her work with the resistance is very important and she knows she can’t let these suddenly overwhelming feelings confuse her.

Meanwhile, Finn has a job to do. Will he ever get the beautiful woman he recently met out of his mind, and will he be able to trust her enough to reveal his identity? Danger follows both Finn and Wanda as their separate paths eventually converge. Now it becomes a matter of trust. This exciting story is the first book in the Secret Resistance trilogy, to be followed by The Polish Wife in April. This was a story well told with secrets, revenge, tension and romance.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

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The Polish Girl by Gosia Nealon is the first book in The Secret Resistance series and what a great start it proved to be. The themes of revenge, secrets, trust and mistaken identity all occurring at a time of war were carefully explored with good pacing for the majority of the story. I thought this was a bit different from the usual World War Two historical fiction books in that the main character really gets deeply involved in things and given the initial premise and how she comes to meet the person she believes to have committed the worst fate to have befallen her family it’s unusual for a character to apparently venture over to the other side so to speak. It provided some alternative drama from the norm and I felt the characters were treading on eggshells throughout. The story as a whole was well written although I thought around the mid-way point things did become a bit too rushed when things seemed to be occurring with every turn of the page. A little more detail was necessary which would also allow the reader time to process everything that was unfolding but this issue resolved itself and on reflection perhaps it was necessary to allow the story to move beyond the conclusion of the war.

The story is split into three parts with the first introducing us to Wanda in 1944 and although there is a lot of information presented in the first few chapters it is all very relevant to the story and set things up well for what was to come. It was great to read a story set in Warsaw that wasn’t specifically focused on the ghetto as we got so see how the residents outside of that awful area lived and existed during the war years. Wanda lives in the city with her parents and does secret work for the resistance movement delivering books, pamphlets, ammunition etc all which must be kept hidden from the Germans. The rounding up of Jews and the so called undesirables is a daily occurrence and any member of the resistance that is discovered is included in that category. The whereabouts of her brother Mateusz remain unknown. Whether he is dead or alive thanks to his undercover work but Wanda clings to the hope that he is still out there somewhere. She has forged papers which says she works in a German sewing factory. Working for the Germans makes things easier for those that wish to carry out certain things unobserved. Yet, the constant fear of being caught hounds her on a daily basis and she give thanks for every night that she returns home safely.

Wanda is a clever, resourceful, determined and brave young woman who really does grow on you as she reveals more of herself. She has a great bond with her father, affectionately known as her Tata, who has always taught her to see other people’s struggles and not walk away. She constantly holds this advice close to her heart and she feels she is abiding by it by carrying out her resistance work even though she is in continual danger. When the Gestapo arrive at the family home seeking information regarding Mateusz, the worst happens when Tata is shot when he in fact was only protecting his family. Stefan Keller is the Gestapo member who wielded the gun and Wanda makes a promise to herself that revenge will be sought and she will not rest until she does so and this is where the twist in the tale starts to occur. Stefan is a sadist through and through whose primary aim was to track down and eliminate the Polish resistance and any Jews that he can find in hiding. There are no redeeming characteristics about him and he remains full of hatred and loathing throughout the book.

On the other side of the coin is his identical twin brother Finn, currently living in America and working for the Office of Strategic Services. From his first introduction Finn was the complete opposite to his brother, in terms of how he thought, his actions and his everyday stance and demeanour. Finn takes on a task that will lead him into dark territory and as he arrives in Warsaw he has a new persona so very different from his own. It really felt like he was walking into the lion’s den and I admired his bravery and tenacity in taking on the role. Although, I do think revealing things about who he was and it becoming known to a major character for me it all happened way too early in the book. I was desperate for a bit more guessing and conflict of emotions on behalf of Wanda. It all just came out in the open far too soon and there could have been a whole lot more tension and second guessing before the reveal came. Yes, it did help the romance and emotions to come forth and both Wanda and Finn wrestle with a whole heap of emotions and quandaries and battle with their conscience and how to deal with how society views each of them. Can Wanda trust the man she detests the most? Is she willing to give in to her feelings or will her duty and loyalty to the resistance movement and her fellow Poles win out? Does the heart rule over the head or vice versa?

As for Finn he deals with the same issues and sentiments and when lies, threats and double crossing come to the fore he too must decide on which side his loyalties lie on and whether he should follow what his heart is saying instead of what he perceives to be seeing. I loved Finn as a character. I felt there was this vulnerability about him given the situation he was in and the game he was playing, and I just wanted to give him a big hug and say that things would be ok. He pushed himself out of his comfort zone for the good of his country and to try and help in some small way to bring down the evil spreading throughout the world. I think he believed he could go to Poland, get the job done and return to America instead he found himself in a very tangled web which he became deeply stuck into and which would ultimately change the course of his life forever. For the positive or negative you’ll have to read this engaging book to discover the answer.

Gosia Nealon was a new author for me and she proved to be a very good writer with a great sense of time and place and the ability to get inside her characters heads and portray the terrors of war. The emotional turmoil they all go through and the individual conflicts they find themselves in were fascinating and intriguing. The story demonstrates how war is cruel and has no mercy on anyone but that love is strong and will do its utmost best to win no matter the obstacles put in its path. Book two in the series, The Polish Wife, is published at the end of March and I am interested to discover Anna’s story as from the glimpses we got of her throughout book number one it seems apparent to me that she has an awful lot to tell and has been through so much even more so than Wanda perhaps. All in all, this was a good read and enjoyable for its twists and turns but I get the feeling the series will really warm up and fully find its feet the more it develops.

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I enjoyed this book. The flow was good, and the word building painted the picture for what was happening.
The characters didn't seem as well written, and the two main characters just didn't have chemistry any the relationship came off as forced. The ending was rushed and unbelievable.
Overall, enjoyed but I do not see me reading this again.

Thank you NetGalley for sending this book. This review is entirely my own.

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I was over the moon to be asked to be part of this Blog Tour, read my review below.

The first thing I’d like to say about this book is how descriptive it is and how vivid the author made Warsaw in Poland, she really brings the war in 1944 to life. I really felt like I was running through the alleyways and hiding with Wanda.

Wanda is such a brave woman, after seeing her father murdered in front of her she throws herself even more into the underground resistance world and will take even more dangerous risks to avenge her father and being down the Nazis and the officer who killed him.

Finn is an undercover agent living in Washington, DC he is summoned to his superiors office and he is reminded about his traitor father joining Hitler and the Nazi cause and then he finds out his twin brother who he hasn’t heard from in 11 years is about to be assassinated by the Polish Resistance. Will he do what his country asks and take his brothers place and pass vital information back?.

I went through so many emotions reading this story, it’s heartbreaking and also filled with little pockets of joy!. If you love this genre this book is one of the best I’ve read.

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Historical Fiction is one of my favourite genres and this book was no exception.

Wanda and Finn are written well together and.through all the hardships that they go through they still come out of it on the otherwise.

It depicts the trials and hardtimes that Poland went through on the Uprising in World War II.

The romance between the two characters doesn't sway away from main story but that's a bad thing. It creates some light in a world that's so dark.

It's a quick read and you won't regret reading this.

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