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The Girl with the Silver Star

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  853 ratings  ·  100 reviews
For the readers of The Nightingale and Lilac Girls, inspired by the true story of the author’s great-grandmother’s journey during World War II, The Girl with the Silver Star is the extraordinary story of a mother’s love and will to survive during one of history’s darkest time periods.

As a hailstorm of bombs begins to shatter the city of Minsk in Belarus, Raisa and her fami
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Average rating 4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  853 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Girl with the Silver Star is an excellent WWII era novel. But knowing that it is based on the story of author Rachel Zolotov’s family makes it even more meaningful. The book has an intimacy that movingly brings the reader into the world of Raisa, the author’s great grandmother, and her family.

Living in Belarus with her adoring husband Abraham with their two lovely daughters, this close knit family is torn apart when the Nazi’s invade Minsk. Abraham is required to serve in the Russian army a
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
You read LOTS of books about World War II when you grow up in Germany so it's safe to say that I already know some non-fiction and fiction WWII themed books.
Nevertheless, I was still impressed by this book as it casted a different light on the WWII events, especially showing the effects and life in a lesser known WWII territory. The life as a Jew is pictured from a perspective of a mom with two girls who escapes into safer places where her family can live in peace and normalcy. You see, it is s
Ellie Midwood
“The Girl with the Silver Star” is a poignant true story of a Jewish family struggling to survive the war. Separated at the very beginning of the Soviet-German conflict, Raisa and Abraham remain fiercely loyal to each other and do anything possible and impossible to keep their spirits up. While Abraham is fighting on the front, Raisa sets on a perilous journey through the Soviet Union, ending up in the southern republic of Uzbekistan. As I was reading Raisa’s story, I couldn’t help but admire he ...more
Kathryn Gauci
Apr 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary story of courage and survival based on the author's great-grandparents' life in Russia during WWII. I loved the writing style - poignant and with great attention to detail, both visually and emotionally. From the moment Raisa and Abraham are forced to flee their home in Minsk, Belarus, with their two children, their lives changed forever. Their harrowing journey was as eventful as it was heartbreaking. I learnt much from this novel. For one, I had no idea how far Russian women a ...more
Apurva Nair
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
I received this book as an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Time: World War II
Main Characters: Abraham, Raisa (Wife), Luba and Sofia (Daughters)

Must read and recommend to all Historical fiction, memoir, love story readers.

A story of an ordinary couple Raisa and Abraham, who were to be separated from each other during WWII for the safety and well-being of their family. The best part of this book is the letters that Raisa and Abraham wrote to each other, how
An educational historical fiction that taught me much about the plight of Russian Jews during WWII.

The story commences in Minsk, Belarus where there is bombing and the destruction of the narrator's (Raisa, the mother's) home. The family needs to vacate the city. The trains out are jam packed full of many other refugees. At the train station, Abraham (the father) is given orders to report for the war. Now the family is homeless and separated too.

The rest of the story describes the walk and train
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Oh my goodness, what a STUNNING novel 😍
I felt emotional the entire way through reading this and found it so hard to put down.
This gorgeous book recounts the story of Raisa who is forced to flee toward safety with her two daughters, sisters and parents in tow after her husband and soulmate Abraham has been ordered to fight on the front lines.
This stunning story tells of the struggles, heartache and loss that they experienced throughout the years of World War II. It broke my heart, it made me feel
Aastha Anand
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
For the first time I was reading a historical fiction and I didn't know what to expect from it. But as I started reading the book the story started flowing differently hooking me to it. The writing style was really good. I could imagine everything through the writing style- the love, the pain, the fear, the happiness, little moments of joy and relief in between the struggles of life and hope for things to get back to normal. I really appreciate the authors efforts being put here to reach this st ...more
Amy Cunningham
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“The Girl with the Silver Star” is a heartfelt, tense, and moving story of one family’s journey through Russia during WWII. It recounts the author’s great-grandmother‘s struggle to keep her children and parents safe while her husband is fighting on the front lines.

The author’s admiration for her great-grandmother comes through on every page, as well as the power of family ties and the strength that carries through generations.

While I’ve certainly never gone through anything like them, I could c
Bec Randall
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Jayyn
Nov 18, 2020 rated it liked it

I was given a free advanced reader copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
🎄🎄🎄 (three stars, as rated in Christmas trees because the flashbacks to Christmas were my favorite part of this book.)
Initially I gave this book 2 stars, but I have since revisited my rating because I think I was actually being a bit unfair. The story itself is really beautiful and the writing is easy to read. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely devastating, but beautiful all the same. Resilience
Marina Osipova
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A marvelous story despite the heartbreaking subject!
I don’t remember reading a book about war that is so filled to the brim with love, light, and optimism. There is something magnetic about this novel based on real events. Is it the story itself or the people who are in the center of the events? Is it the author’s voice? Or something ephemeral this reader cannot describe? All along the way, I had that warm feeling as though the people (the author’s relatives) populating the novel were my good fr
Orna Isaacson
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was an honor and a pleasure to be introduced to Mrs. Zolotov’s loving, courageous and determined family through her beautifully written book, “The Girl with the Silver Star.” It is both a heartbreaking and beautiful story of her family’s forced journey from their home in Minsk to avoid murder during WWII. Mrs. Zolotov’s writing style allows the reader to imagine the love, despair, fear, loneliness, bravery, grace and gratitude that members of her multigenerational family experienced without b ...more
Madison McKnight
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was just. Wow. I felt so attached emotionally to the book the main character the entire time. The way the book was written was in a way I never had imagined. It was romantic and heartbreaking all at the same time. She was able to stay strong and I almost felt like i was right there with Raisa the whole time.
The way she carried herself for her children and carried on each day was amazing. Reading about how in love she was with her husband almost makes you grateful for you own (if you h
Sukaina Majeed
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Rachel Zolotov for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I have never read such beautiful historical story ever in my life. Inspired by her own family, this book tells us of the struggle of the Jewish Community in World War Two in Soviet Union.
The Girl With The Silver Star is the story of Raisa and her story of her family in the early 1940s when they had to fled from their homes to save themselves from the attack of the Nazis.
This book is not only an account of what h
I wasn't able to connect with the writing style. I will try to pick it up again soon, but it just wasn't holding my attention. ...more
Melissa B
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A new perspective

How enlightening and heartbreaking it must have been for the author to uncover and then put into words to share with the world the story of her earlier generations. This is the first I have read about the Russian Jewish experience during WWII.
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Girl with the Silver Star by Rachel Zolotov is an absolute must read based on a true love story that takes you on a journey exposing humanity's atrocious tendencies during war times. Set in WWII, the story follows a family of Belarussians from Minsk, as they navigate through the tough terrains of a war torn country, risking everything in hopes of finding a safe home. Many of us have heard stories of Polish and German Jews during this era, but this novel gives insight on the sufferings of Rus ...more
Jenny Q
Nov 17, 2020 marked it as to-check-out
Author Guest Post @ Let Them Read Books! ...more
Stacy Berman Lynn
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow!!! This is a must read for those who enjoy the World War 2 Era subject and want to feel a connection to possibly their own history.

What makes this story different is that it focuses on the refugees of Minsk and their struggles during the war. I have read several books about War World 2 set in Paris, in Germany and America but not about the Russian aspect. I had no idea so many men were drafted into the Red Army while their wives and children had to escape and survive by themselves.

Ms. Zolo
Shannon Dowd
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Terrific book. I am a big fan of historical fiction, especially WWII themed, and this one didn't disappoint. ...more
Kareen Samuels
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A story of love, loss, family and lasting friendships. This story is beautifully written and it will make you laugh, cry, get angry and want to love and be loved; hallmarks of a great story. The main character Raisa and her necklace are symbols of purity and reflect the themes of: good vs. evil, love and heroism. This story is more endearing because of its simple narrative; yet, depicts the complexities of war (WWII to be precise). Raisa's journey, while fleeing the ravishes of war, demonstrates ...more
Caroline David
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a perspective on WWII that I had never really seen put into fiction (though the story is based on the author's great-grandmother). I really enjoyed reading about this and it was written in such a way that was easy to understand which can sometimes be difficult when it comes to Eastern European and Russian names. I want more people to read this story for both informative reasons and for a great story. ...more
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing

Absolutely the best story that I've read regarding Jewish refugees and survivors. Raisa and her story just came alive for me on the pages of the story.
Didn't want it to end and am so thankful for the Epilogue that completed the story and life if Raisa.
Linda McCutcheon
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"I prayed that I would find you... even at my lowest point, I still had hope."

The Girl With The Silver Star by Rachel Zolotov is one of the most emotionally honest novels I have ever read. It is written with so much love and sincerity and takes us on a rarely seen journey of Russian Jews trapped during Hitler's invasion of Russia.

Based on the true story of her Great Grandmother Raisa the author has us live through the horrors of war but also graces us with the resilience of a mother's love and s
Trudy Dowling
Sep 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My eyes have been opened once again. In school, they only touched on the highlights of WW2. Even at university they didn't go much deeper until I took a British History class. That is when I realized that if I want to know, learn and understand I had to search for points of views from other countries.

The Girl with the Silver Star allowed me to experience the devastation, the loneliness experienced by the citizens of Russia. I gained a beginning of understanding (yes only a beginning because I k
Christine Goodnough
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this story intriguing! It's basically the memoir of Raisa, a Russian Jewish mother, and her two daughters, going through the terrors and heartbreak of World War II. I enjoyed the various joyful "before the war" scenes and customs sandwiched between her day-to-day events as a refugee.

The story starts as Abraham and Raisa and their two daughters survive the initial bombing of Minsk. They attempt to escape by train from the approaching German army – along with thousands of others. As they w
Elena Parker
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful, heartwarming story this is! It is a story of true love and perseverance of a Jewish family, which takes place in Soviet Russia during World War II. Growing up in Russia, I was surrounded by war stories since childhood. Countless Russian books and movies about the war always extolled the heroism of the Russian soldiers. Little, however, was said about the plight of Russian Jews and other families who were trying to escape Nazi occupation. What sets the Girl with the Silver Star ...more
Jennifer Anton
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just finished The Girl with the Silver Star. What a beautiful novel and a fresh perspective I had never read before on WWII in Russia. Recently, I saw information showing how many Russian lives were lost in WWII and I was shocked. It was new information for me. But looking at information only gives numbers, it doesn't go into the lives that were lived and the loves that were lost. Numbers don't tell of the women who bonded together while their men were off at war to save families and try to su ...more
Carolyn Scarcella
Sep 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading this book called “The Girl with the Silver Star” by Rachel Zolotov’s great-grandmother during the ww2 in Russia, within a day. The story sets earlier and present in Russia. A heartfelt, tense, deeply moving and touching, and beautiful written with so much love. It is based on a true love story between Raisa and Abraham. I have read many stories of Polish and German Jews, but not the Russian Jews. Rachel has a writing style that is very captivating, unbearable and it was v ...more
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Rachel Zolotov's writing journey began after a conversation with her mother about her family history. It didn't take long for her to realize that she had a story that was worth sharing, and after years of research and writing, The Girl with the Silver Star was born.

Rachel has a background in Jewelry and User Experience Design and enjoys being creative. In her free time, you can find her snuggl

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