TITLE: Victoria’s War
BY: Catherine A. Hamilton
GENRE: Historical Fiction
PUBLICATION: June 2nd 2020 by Plain View Press
NOTES: I received a copy from the publicity team of this book. This didn’t affect my review in any way.
Poland, 1939: Victoria Darski is 19 years old when World War II breaks out, turning her life upside down. The war ruined her plan to go to the University of Warsaw, forced her father to fight in the battlefront and broke her family. Victoria, then, found herself working in a Nazi sewing factory. But when she decides to attend a resistance meeting, Victoria was captured by human traffickers targeting Polish teenagers, and ended up auctioned off as a slave for a German couple. There she met Etta Tod, the German couple’s daughter, deaf artist. Etta found a sister in Victoria and Victoria found an ally in Etta. And together, they tried everything they can do to help those in need, despite knowing that what they’re doing can cost them everything.
I’m sorry if the above section looks like it’s filled with spoilers. Everything I shared is actually in the blurb on Goodreads so they can’t be considered as spoilers.
Victoria’s War, as indicated, is set in World War II and centers on a journey of the young woman, Victoria Darski. There’s a commentary in the beginning of the book by another author, John Guzlowski, that says too often we only remember the men who fight the war and forget the other victims and heroes, the women like Victoria Darski. And right then, even before I started reading the story, I know this novel will stay with me long after reading it. And I also think that I read this at the right time considering what’s happening in the world right now. By the way, the author clarified that all the characters are fictional but only inspired by real people and actual events.
But fictional or not, Victoria is a character that I won’t ever forget. Not just because of everything she’s gone through but most importantly how her character evolved throughout the book. From a teenager who cares for nothing but her dream to go to a University, Victoria turned into a courageous, selfless young woman that I admire. It’s amazing. Of course, what she’s gone through helped molding her character but I also believe that not everyone who went through fire comes out as diamond. Victoria comes out as a diamond.
The story didn’t focus solely on Victoria though. Sure, all the events that took place in the entirety of the story has something to do with Victoria’s journey, but the author did a good job at showing the whole picture of the war. Which makes the readers care for not Victoria only but for everyone who suffers in the war.
Not only that, though the book is about the suffering of the Polish under the Nazi, the book didn’t make all the Germans the villains. Because aside from the events, each person Victoria met has influenced her in some way. And not every person she met along the way is Polish. Etta is a German, for example. Victoria and Etta, for me, both symbolize something. Victoria, the women who died in Nazi labor camps and Etta, the disabled Germans who were wronged by their own country. I love how this aspect is shown. In fact, I like how the war is shown in the story.
Lastly, I want to point out that there are times, the story dragged or even become repetitive. But never did I found myself bored because I already cared so much for the characters.
RATING: 4 blissful pages with lilies
Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this book. Like I said, Victoria’s War is the kind of book that will stay with me long after reading it, with its admirable and unforgettable characters.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CATHERINE A. HAMILTON is a freelance writer of Polish descent whose articles and poems have appeared in magazines and newspapers including the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, The Oregonian, the Catholic Sentinel, the Dziennik Związkowy (the oldest Polish newspaper in America), and the Polish American Journal. She is the author of the chapter about Katherine Graczyk in Forgotten
Survivors: Polish Christians Remember the Nazi Occupation, edited by Richard C. Lukas. Victoria’s War, her first novel, will be published in 2020 by Plain View Press. She actively publishes and blogs at http://www.catherineahamilton.com. Hamilton lives in the Northwest with her husband.
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