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The Medallion

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  791 ratings  ·  223 reviews
Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen--Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city's library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will sta ...more
Hardcover, 412 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Tyndale House Publishers
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Suzanne Duffy One, see the previous question's reply, re if Jewish characters convert to Christianist. Two, don't know what you mean by "clean". Overall, it is a st…moreOne, see the previous question's reply, re if Jewish characters convert to Christianist. Two, don't know what you mean by "clean". Overall, it is a story about the challenging, fear-filled, and horrific moments that is WW2, and in Poland/Warsaw in particular, for the Jewish people, but also for those Christians who did not support the Hitler regime and were compelled to work underground to help and save Jews, and their beloved Poland, as they best could. It is also about the faith and conviction of family bonds and faith. And how normal people, in dire situations, can do extraordinary things(less)
Jill Miclean No, the author does a good job weaving the Jewish story-line and the Christian story-line's together under the premise that they are praying to the sa…moreNo, the author does a good job weaving the Jewish story-line and the Christian story-line's together under the premise that they are praying to the same God. Both faiths are well represented and key to the characters ability to go on under horrific circumstances. I thought this part of the book very well done.(less)

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Average rating 4.53  · 
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 ·  791 ratings  ·  223 reviews

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Carrie Turansky
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Once again Cathy Gohlke takes us back to WW2 and gives us a deep and powerful story that captures the depth of love and the power of forgiveness in a time a great trial. The events are gripping, and the characters are so real you will remember them long after you finish the book. Highly recommended!
Amy Bruno
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is no way I can adequately express how beautiful and tragic this book was! For the past few days, I've been completely absorbed in Cathy Gohlke's The Medallion. Alternating between anger, sadness, and ultimately hope, I was emotionally invested in this book like none other before.

Set in Poland during WWII we follow two couples as they struggle to survive the German invasion. It's a powerful and memorable story of one woman's ultimate sacrifice to save her child and another woman who riske
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We may think this current world situation is tough, but, back in the time of World War II, Jews were being exterminated merely because of their faith. This book shines a light on one of the twentieth century's darkest chapters, and is heartbreaking at times, touching at others. Fair warning: As you might expect, it packs a serious emotional punch. ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The Red Adonai will make a way where there is no way." (p 8)

I read that line early on in this novel and haven't been able to shake the imagery since. It's at the heart of this story -- how God prepares a way even if it's not the way we'd choose.

The Medallion is a tough read. Have tissues and comfort chocolate on hand and be prepared for an emotional roller coaster ride ending in an ugly cry. Cathy Gohlke writes with such passion and reverence...and hope! As hard as this read is, it in
I’ve come to know Cathy Gohlke as an author who provides a deep profound story on a difficult part of history and this was no different.

This story was sad, heartbreaking and sometimes just depressing as you follow all the different Jews in Poland beging targeted and seeing how circumstances worsened as the war prolonged. There was a particular scene with a father and son which was purely devastating.

But even though through Sophia and Rosa’s stories, you experienced heartbreak, you also experienc
Andrea Cox
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from NetGalley. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts.

Heartbreaker is the only word I can think of to truly sum up this one. It’s an exquisite tale of a few families facing the horrors of WWII. How many tears the author poured into this story I cannot possibly know, but, I’ll tell you, I gave her a run for her money! I cried in a vacation rental house, in the car on the way home, and into my pillow once I’d
Maureen Timerman
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
How could a book based on fact and telling about true events have even happened, a world gone mad? Hate so very evil, and then I think, all these years later that hate is still there.
We are putting faces on those that lived in, mostly Poland, during that horrible time in history.
The author does a wonderful job bringing this time alive, and we need not forget. We also get a twist with a survivor child and the emotions of all that has happened come to a head. You will see how broken hearts mend,
Chautona Havig
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
2 Simple Reasons This Complex Book Is a New Favorite
I knew, the moment I read the synopsis, that I had to request a review copy of The Medallion. Anything inspired by Irene Sandler’s heroic attempts to save the children in Poland belongs on my shelf.

When the publisher sent me a free review copy, it took every bit of self-control not to set aside what I was already reading and open the pages of what is a beautiful book. However, the day came. Time to read.

This is a complex and heart-rending book.
5 + stars

It is very difficult to write a review for a book that has pulled so many different and intense emotions from me as I read it. To read of the atrocities suffered during WWII is not new, but the masterful pen of Ms. Gohlke is like no other. Yet even as I was horrified by all of the suffering in Poland during the German occupancy, I was amazed at the courage that many displayed. While this is a fictional account, it is evident that the author's research incorporated the thread of overwhel
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm wrung out and I have a headache from crying lol. It's hard to do this beautiful book justice. I know other reviews explain this plot and I don't need to rehash that. Nobody has mentioned Sophie's actions once she was back in England, I don't want to give any spoilers so I'll just say she acted very selfishly for a while (and towards a man who been through far more!) that really made me angry especially since up until now she was brave and sacrificial and compassionate. She does comes around, ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
Heartbreaking story set in WWII Poland. Some of the events in the novel are based upon historical facts. Two married couples, one Polish/Lithuanian Jews and one British/Polish Christians, are the primary characters. A young girl bridges the two families.
If you’re looking for a sweet beach read, or a mild romance, this probably isn’t the one for you. But would I lower the star-rating because it was a hard book to read? Absolutely not! This was an amazing story.

Warsaw 1939 - London 1946

Characters too numerous to mention, but the main two couples were:
Sophie Kumiega : an English foreigner and professional academic in Warsaw, married to Janek, a Polish fighter-pilot separated from her throughout the war.
Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich: German Jews suf
Jocelyn Green
What an amazing read. This book is beautiful and bold, and tells a story laced with hardship (to put it mildly)--but with such tender care. This novel reminds me why I love historical fiction so much.
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
“Remember the Red Sea . . . Adonai makes a way when there is no way. . . . . It is His specialty.”

I was woefully behind in reading this gorgeous novel by Cathy Gohlke, one of my favorite authors, because sometimes life just gets in the way of reading what you want to read. Then once I read it – a couple of months ago – I had to process it before I could possibly begin to review it. And now here I am, fingers to keyboard, still unsure how I can ever do justice to this beautiful story.

I’m not even
Carrie Turansky
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cathy Gohlke is one of my favorite authors, and I always look forward to reading her next book. This one is a powerful story that really grabbed my heart. You'll be carried away to WW1 Poland and experience what it was like for those living there at that time. Memorable characters and very moving conclusion. Well written and highly recommended. ...more
Karen R
An epic story expertly crafted, based on real people and events. Set mainly during World War 2 in Nazi occupied Poland, the tragic events and experiences of two families show the power of sacrificial love--mother for a child in particular. The sacrifice for even a stranger is shown and challenged me to think about what I might do in a similar situation. The author does a good job of conveying a bit of hope in the midst of the horrors of war, and mans inhumanity to man. A thread of hope and faith ...more
This was a book on survival, maternal love, and life in Warsaw during the early days of World War II. From the beginning of the bombings and Sophie Kumeiga trying to save her unborn child and the library she so loved. To Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich beginning with their marriage, and the medallion Itzhak gives to Rosa to symbolize their union and the life they hoped to have. About Itzhak and Rosa's families and the demise they know is coming. But when the ghettos start going up and the underground ...more
Susan Snodgrass
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I see a book by Cathy Gohlke, I know that I will be totally immersed in said book for however long it takes to read it. Her books are so impeccably researched and the depth is amazing. In this one, she takes us into 1939 Poland when the German blitzkrieg has turned the streets and homes into a war zone, and the citizens are completely in chaos. We meet Sophie Kumiega, a British woman working in the city library, whose husband, Janek, is with the Polish Air Force, deployed, and she has no id ...more
Filled with courage, sacrifice and survival, The Medallion is the story of two couples who are caught in the midst of Hitler's war against Jews and Poland. Yet they are bound together by one little girl. Itzhak and Rosa Dunovich are Jewish. Itzhak goes off to fight for the Allies to protect Poland leaving Rosa pregnant. Sophie Kumlega is an American working in a large library in Warsaw. Her husband is German and has left to fight for the Germans. The loss of one baby and the birth of another wil ...more
Cheri Swalwell
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a hard book to read. It was a wonderful, thought provoking, incredibly sad yet tinged with hope book. I have never read a book that painted such a vivid picture of the starvation, torture, and resilience of the human spirit as this book. This is a book that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.
I wanted to read this book because I wanted to know more about this time in history and the author did not disappoint. I felt as though I was living the war with the vario
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book while reading others. I needed time to ponder what was happening in the book. To know that events and circumstances were very much like this years ago. The story is written so well, with a nearly impossible to believe storyline of the events of WWII. The tenderness and care of the author is evident. I highly recommend this book.
Carole Jarvis
Reviewed at The Power of Words:

In the world of fiction, a novel by Cathy Gohlke is pure gold. Whether it’s set during the Civil War times like the most excellent William Henry Is a Fine Name, or during World War II as in her later novels, Gohlke’s characters envelop you into another era and help you see things in a different and fresh way. When it comes to what Christian fiction strives to be, Cathy Gohlke is simply one of the very best of authors.

There’s no way any words
Carol (Reading Ladies)
4.5 Stars

“When all seems lost, God can make a way forward.”

1939 Warsaw is the setting for this harrowing, heartfelt, and inspirational WW11 tale of survival, courage, loss, hope, risk, and faith. Sophie works in the city library, and her husband, Janek, is deployed with the Polish Air Force. When the Germans invade Warsaw in 1939 and streets become a dangerous war zone, Sophie feels compelled to help friends and strangers. Rosa and Itzhak are pregnant with their first child when they seek shelte
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't tell too much about this book without giving away the story but it is wonderfull. Slow starting but at the end I almost cried my eyes out. The only reason I didn't is because my husband is in the same room and he will laugh at me. But I think if you read the two quotes I'm trying to put in, that you will understand why I think it says everything. Well at least when you read the book. If you have not read the book, please make sure everyone is out of the room when you finish it!

"Come unto
Heidi Chiavaroli
One of the best book I've read this year.

From Endorsement:

Even as I try to put into words how compelling and beautiful The Medallion is, I find myself coming up short for the task, for I am in complete awe of this book. A master storyteller, Cathy has created unforgettable characters in unthinkable circumstances that pulled at my heart and caused many tears. This story completely undid me, then stitched me back together with hope. A novel that has grabbed my heart—and won’t let go—for what I’m s
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke is a powerful Christian historical novel set in Nazi occupied Warsaw during WWII. Cathy Gohlke has woven a fictional tale around factual events. Real figures such as Dr Korczak and Irena Sendler put in an appearance in this heart wrenching tale. The fact that we know that these events happens really affects the emotional response to the novel.
As the Nazis marched into Poland, the world seemed silent. “Where was the world?” Poland felt abandoned to its fate and it re
Andrea Guy
There are so many reasons I can think of for any person with a love for historical fiction to read this book. There are even more reasons for ANYONE to read it.

It isn't a pretty story. No story about WWII that involves the Jewish community should be.

It is a story that will break your heart into pieces many times over.

Its the story of a young English woman who married a polish man who is fighting for Poland. It is also the story of Rosa and Itzhak, a young Jewish couple who are fighting to stay
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Remember the Red Sea . . . Adonai makes a way when there is no way. . . . . It is His specialty."

"The Tree of Life, Itzhak! I vow, my husband, to wear it always." And so she did, wear it always. Rosa Dunovich's treasured medallion, gifted to her on her wedding day was a reminder of the God whose eternal gift of life had blessed her with a loving husband. Sadly, the newlyweds' joy was short -lived; moving to Poland during the ensuing German occupation brought temporary happiness ahead of eterna
Kerry Johnson
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cathy Gohlke remains one of my favorite authors because of her lyrical writing and characters that have stayed and stayed and stayed with me. The Medallion is not a light read, but it's a necessary one, woven with truth and grace.

I appreciate stories that carry me along on a full emotional experience, and The Medallion does this is a heart-wrenching, unforgettable way. Set in Poland in WWII, The Medallion poses an impossible question, one no parent wants to ask. I was curious how this gifted au
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my words to describe this but my emotions ran rampant and the tears flowed. No one should forget the atrocities that people faced in WWII and a big thank you to authors that are willing to tackle this subject and bring it to life. Ms. Gohlke is a master at her craft and perfectly weaves a story amidst actual people with impeccable research. How far would you go to protect a child in horrific circumstances and after hearts bind could you let that child go? I will never wear my tree ...more
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Cathy Gohlke is the four-time Christy Award–winning author of the best selling and critically acclaimed novels Night Bird Calling, The Medallion (Christy Award), Until We Find Home, Secrets She Kept (Christy Award; Carol Award; INSPY Award); Saving Amelie (INSPY AWARD); Band of Sisters; Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2012); I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires ...more

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