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The Medallion

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  494 ratings  ·  165 reviews
For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah's Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler's mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.

Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters t
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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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
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!
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.
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,
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
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
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
Cathy Daniel
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Carla Johnson-Hicks
This book takes many events that happened in Poland and Lithuania and ties them all together in this well-written, emotional, heart-grabbing story. Even as I try to put into words how The Medallion made me feel, I find it difficult. Author Cathy Gohlke, has created unforgettable characters in unthinkable circumstances that broke my heart many times over. I can not imagine living in those circumstances, but so many had to, and that to me says more about humanity, both good and evil, than anything ...more
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
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
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
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
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
Denise Hershberger
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gohlke has done it again. Another WWII story that is both heartbreaking and also full of hope.

I deeply appreciate how much research she does to make sure her stories are realistic. I also love how she incorporates actual events and people. Irena Sendler was quite the hero in WWII and her fictional character was well written.

I cannot imagine living through the horrors of WWII or the concentration camps. I also cannot imagine giving up my child to save his or her life. The desperation during tha
Marguerite Gray
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rooted in history, The Medallion presents a horrendous tale of the citizens of Warsaw, Poland, both Jewish and Polish, confronted with the Nazi invasion during the occupation years beginning in 1939. No one could have predicted the days of murder, starvation, punishment, separation, hatred, fear, and cruelty. Yet, in this novel we have the opportunity to view heroes and heroines at their best, those willing to sacrifice all in order to save a few—children, families, Jews, humans. Soul-wrenching ...more
“The Germans do their best to make us forget who we are, Whose we are. Not just today, but for all time. We must work that much harder so that we don’t forget. How can we hope that the world will not forget us if we forget ourselves?”

Such powerfully moving words. This is the first book by Cathy Gohlke that I have read and I’m still reeling from its impact. Beautifully written, heart-achingly soulful, and hopeful even in the midst of unspeakable atrocities and devastation, The Medallion will stea
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a very good, touching story which is hard to read, knowing that people actually lived through the terror these characters did. The writing is so clear, it is hard to read of the people living through the difficult times and wanting it all to end. The story is based on real people who lived in the Warsaw Ghetto and the struggles and terror they lived through. There are several messages in this story that stand out for me. The story shows how great the need was for the people to help other ...more
I feel as if there are no words to use in this review. How can there be when a novel such as The Medallion renders a reader almost speechless? I wish I could just leave it at “Read this”. End of review.

Cathy Gohlke has a special gift with weaving history and fiction into reading material that is not only impactful, but beautiful. In The Medallion, that gift was tangible. Because of the time period the story was set in and the vivid descriptions the author painted, it was very hard for me to read
The Book Junkie Reads . . .
This was heartrendingly emotional. The courage of a mother, the sacrifices she made to make sure that her child survived was so real. The details of it all the determination of them all. Each had something that needed to be done and was determined to make sure that it was. You have to read this one for yourself to understands the intricacies of the time, the decision, the resolution.

There were sections you needed to have a box of tissues. There were times when I had to take a break. The sadness.
Janice Sisemore
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
The Medallion

A wonderful book about a young girl. Set during the war when the Jews were treated very bad. Very sad time. Charlotte had several different names due to all the changes in life. She is found by Sophia who loved her so much.

Even though the book is sad in parts it is a very inspiring story. I really enjoyed it.

It is a long book that is fast reading. Definitely kept my attention. I don’t normally read books that are big as this one. But I am so glad I did. Definitely could tell the au
Heidi Chiavaroli
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 sure will be a very long time.
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Cathy Gohlke is the three-time Christy Award–winning author of the best selling and critically acclaimed novels The Medallion, Until We Find Home, Secrets She Kept (Christy 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 (Christy Award, American Christian Fiction Write ...more

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