Book Review: The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

The Warsaw Orphan…

About the Book:

Inspired by the real-life heroine who smuggled thousands of Jewish children to safety during WWII, the powerful new novel by the New York Times bestselling author.

In the spring of 1942, young Elzbieta Rabinek is aware of the swiftly growing discord just beyond the courtyard of her comfortable Warsaw home. But she has no idea what goes on behind the walls of the Jewish Ghetto nearby until she makes a discovery that propels her into a dangerous world of deception and heroism.

Elzbieta comes face to face with the plight of the Gorka family who must give up their newborn daughter – or watch her starve. For Roman Gorka, this final injustice stirs in him a rebellion not even his newfound love for Elzbieta can suppress. His recklessness puts their families in harm’s way until one violent act threatens to destroy their chance at freedom forever.

Kelly Rimmer, bestselling Australian author of Truths I Never Told You and The Things We Cannot Say, has penned her most meticulously researched and emotionally compelling novel to date.

My Thoughts:

‘In my mother’s face, I saw courage and a selflessness I could barely fathom. I wanted to record the image of her like that in my memory forever. She had never seemed more beautiful to me.’

Occasionally I will read a novel that is so devastating in its authenticity and so sensitively written that I am pretty much left speechless. Kelly Rimmer has written a brilliant work of fiction based upon the occupation of Warsaw throughout WWII and beyond. For Poland, freedom did not come with the end of WWII. They just moved into a different form of occupation. The post-war Eastern Bloc countries have long been of reading interest to me, so I appreciated the way in which Kelly did not end her story there, but rather, took her readers beyond, into that period of transition from one occupation into another, demonstrating the toll this took on a population already ground down and defeated. This is not romanticised holocaust porn with a sprinkle of suffering and a saturation of hope. Rather, it is a gritty and realistic historical account that is grounded in truth and respectfully recounted. At times, it was not an easy read, but it was a deeply affecting one that will stay with me.

‘Bystanders have allowed themselves to be convinced that the Jews are not like us, and as soon as you convince someone that a group of people is not human, they will allow you to treat them as badly as you wish.’

The Warsaw Orphan is a follow-up to The Things We Cannot Say, but not a sequel. You don’t need to read one to appreciate the other. This is a stand-out novel, one that will be appreciated by many and recommended widely. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. A firm favourite for the year so far.


Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of The Warsaw Orphan for review.

About the Author:

Kelly Rimmer is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of ten novels, including The Secret Daughter and The Things We Cannot Say. She’s sold more than one million books, and her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages. Kelly lives in rural Australia with her family and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil.

The Warsaw Orphan
Published by Hachette Australia
Released 28th April 2021

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

  1. Pingback: Historical Fiction Round Up: May 2021 | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

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