Sunday, January 29, 2023

WITHIN THESE WALLS OF SORROW by Amanda Barratt, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

“There is evil and there is good and there is the space between. We are given free will to choose where we stand. Evil thrives when good men choose the space between.”

Talented author Amanda Barratt has penned a heart-wrenching and riveting tale of courage, endurance, and hope in her book Within These Walls of Sorrow. Based on actual happenings in Poland during World War II, this is not an easy book to read, and I’ll admit I had to break it into smaller segments so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the evidence of man’s inhumanity to others. Barratt’s superb writing brings to life the horrors of the Jewish plight during the war as she tells the story of two women whose lives intertwine in Krakow. Zosia is a young widow who finds work in a pharmacy within the Krakow ghetto, and Hania is a Jewish neighbor whose family is forced into the ghetto.

“Even as I tell myself I would not stand by, one does not know until the moment comes. Courage is strong until it is tested.”
This compelling story makes the reader question if they would have the courage to help those who are oppressed at the peril of their own lives. The staff of the pharmacy, which actually existed, were so courageous amidst the extreme danger. The horrors of the Krakow ghetto, work camps, and concentration camps were not glossed over by the author. Her deep and careful research is evident as she describes what these people went through. I admire her courage in telling this story, as I’m sure it was hard to do the research required, as well as to build the story around it the atrocities that were committed.

“Strength is not to live without fear but to live in spite of it.”

“There is no darkness strong enough to snatch us from the hand of the One who created us.”

“Fear can be endured, but nothing is harder to bear than the loss of hope.”

This book is a book of heartache, grief, and loss, but the overall message is of courage, faith, and hope. It’s also a book of remembering the dark times of the past and working to assure history doesn’t repeat itself.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Kregel Publications on behalf of the author. All opinions are my own.


BackCover Blurb:

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. 

Kregel Publishing, January, 2023
Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy WITHIN THESE WALLS OF SORROW at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House



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