The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

MY MOTHER'S SECRET: Novel Based on a True Holocaust Story By J. L. Witterick

Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  2013
Pages:  208
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Format:  Paperback
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ About the Book:  A novel based on a true story, a mother and daughter risk their lives to provide shelter to two families and a German soldier--all unbeknownst to each other--in a tiny two-room house in Sokal, Poland, during the Nazi invasion.

Based on a true story, MY MOTHER'S SECRET is a profound, captivating, and ultimately uplifting tale intertwining the lives of two Jewish families in hiding from the Nazis, a fleeing German soldier, and the clever and "righteous" mother and daughter who teamed up to save them.

Franciszka and her daughter, Helena, are unlikely heroines. They are simple people who mind their own business and don't stand out from the crowd. Until 1939, when crisis strikes. The Nazis have invaded Poland and they are starting to persecute the Jews. Providing shelter to a Jew has become a death sentence. And yet, Franciszka and Helena decide to do just that. In their tiny, two-bedroom home in Sokal, Poland, they cleverly hide a Jewish family of two brothers and their wives in their pigsty out back, a Jewish doctor with his wife and son in a makeshift cellar under the kitchen floorboards, and a defecting German soldier in the attic--each group completely unbeknownst to the others. For everyone to survive, Franciszka will have to outsmart her neighbors and the German commanders standing guard right outside her yard.

Told simply and succinctly from four different perspectives, MY MOTHER'S SECRET is a reminder that there are, in fact, no profiles of courage and each individual's character is a personal choice.

This book was inspired by the true story of Franciszka Halamajowa, who, with her daughter, saved the lives of fifteen Jews in Poland during the Second World War. She also hid a young German soldier in her attic at the same time. Before the war, there were six thousand Jews in Sokal, Poland. Only thirty survived the war and half of those did so because of Franciszka.

Wanda's Thoughts: 
A story of hope and survival, My Mother’s Secret is a remarkable book inspired by true events that took place during the Holocaust in Sokal, Poland.

Germany invades Poland in 1939. Hitler’s popularity is growing and he seems to have a hypnotic power over the people. In 1941 things go from bad to worse when Jews lose their freedom and are treated horribly with brutal acts committed daily. The unbelievable sounds of screaming coming from the ghetto filled them with terror. Jewish families are living in constant fear each day, not knowing if it will be their last.

Franciszka is an incredible woman who displays motivation, cleverness and courage. She is a warm and loving mother to Helena, but is willing to risk their lives to save others. She hides two Jewish families and a German soldier in a small house and shed, and she never asks for anything in return. A touching story, indeed! This story is told in the simplest way and is a book quite appropriate for YA’s. 5 stars.

About the Author:  J. L WITTERICK - MY MOTHER’S SECRET, which is based on a true story, is J. L. Witterick’s debut novel.   It is a bestseller in Canada and has been published in a number of countries around the world.