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The War Girls

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Perfect for fans of Kate Quinn, Kristin Harmel, and Pam Jenoff, this new historical fiction novel from an acclaimed author is based on true WWII stories of life in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Occupation and the women who served the Allies as agents and spies. Casting light into one of the darkest periods of World War II, this powerful book tells of two Jewish sisters– Perfect for fans of Kate Quinn, Kristin Harmel, and Pam Jenoff, this new historical fiction novel from an acclaimed author is based on true WWII stories of life in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Occupation and the women who served the Allies as agents and spies. Casting light into one of the darkest periods of World War II, this powerful book tells of two Jewish sisters– one imprisoned in Poland and the other who joins the Special Operations Executive in a daring attempt to free her family from the Nazis. It’s not just a thousand miles that separates Hanna Majewski from her younger sister, Stefa. There is another gulf—between the traditional Jewish ways that Hanna chose to leave behind in Warsaw, and her new, independent life in London. But as autumn of 1940 draws near, Germany begins a savage aerial bombing campaign in England, killing and displacing tens of thousands. Hanna, who narrowly escapes death, is recruited as a spy in an undercover operation that sends her back to her war-torn homeland. In Hanna’s absence, her parents, sister, and brother have been driven from their comfortable apartment into the Warsaw Ghetto. Sealed off from the rest of the city, the Ghetto becomes a prison for nearly half a million Jews, struggling to survive amid starvation, disease, and the constant threat of deportation to Treblinka. Once a pretty and level-headed teenager, Stefa is now committed to the Jewish resistance. Together, she, Hanna, and Janka, a family friend living on the Aryan side of the city, form a trio called The War Girls. Against overwhelming odds and through heartbreak they will fight to rescue their loved ones, finding courage through sisterhood to keep hope alive . . .


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Perfect for fans of Kate Quinn, Kristin Harmel, and Pam Jenoff, this new historical fiction novel from an acclaimed author is based on true WWII stories of life in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Occupation and the women who served the Allies as agents and spies. Casting light into one of the darkest periods of World War II, this powerful book tells of two Jewish sisters– Perfect for fans of Kate Quinn, Kristin Harmel, and Pam Jenoff, this new historical fiction novel from an acclaimed author is based on true WWII stories of life in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Occupation and the women who served the Allies as agents and spies. Casting light into one of the darkest periods of World War II, this powerful book tells of two Jewish sisters– one imprisoned in Poland and the other who joins the Special Operations Executive in a daring attempt to free her family from the Nazis. It’s not just a thousand miles that separates Hanna Majewski from her younger sister, Stefa. There is another gulf—between the traditional Jewish ways that Hanna chose to leave behind in Warsaw, and her new, independent life in London. But as autumn of 1940 draws near, Germany begins a savage aerial bombing campaign in England, killing and displacing tens of thousands. Hanna, who narrowly escapes death, is recruited as a spy in an undercover operation that sends her back to her war-torn homeland. In Hanna’s absence, her parents, sister, and brother have been driven from their comfortable apartment into the Warsaw Ghetto. Sealed off from the rest of the city, the Ghetto becomes a prison for nearly half a million Jews, struggling to survive amid starvation, disease, and the constant threat of deportation to Treblinka. Once a pretty and level-headed teenager, Stefa is now committed to the Jewish resistance. Together, she, Hanna, and Janka, a family friend living on the Aryan side of the city, form a trio called The War Girls. Against overwhelming odds and through heartbreak they will fight to rescue their loved ones, finding courage through sisterhood to keep hope alive . . .

30 review for The War Girls

  1. 4 out of 5

    MarilynW

    The War Girls by V.S Alexander Narrated by Kelli Tager Taking place between Sept 1939 and May 1946, we follow the Jewish Majewski family and their neighbor, Janka, a Catholic woman. At the beginning of the story, eighteen year old Hanna has left her traditional family home, in Warsaw, to live with her aunt and uncle in London. She refused to follow the traditional Jewish ways, especially when it came to an arranged marriage. Her estranged family thinks she is safe in London but it's being bombed b The War Girls by V.S Alexander Narrated by Kelli Tager Taking place between Sept 1939 and May 1946, we follow the Jewish Majewski family and their neighbor, Janka, a Catholic woman. At the beginning of the story, eighteen year old Hanna has left her traditional family home, in Warsaw, to live with her aunt and uncle in London. She refused to follow the traditional Jewish ways, especially when it came to an arranged marriage. Her estranged family thinks she is safe in London but it's being bombed by German planes and she is in as much danger as her family in Warsaw. I've read other books and done research about the Warsaw Ghetto and the stories are devastating. The Majewkski family, father, mother, Hanna's sister, Stefa (two years younger than Hanna) and their younger brother, are driven from their home to be crowded into one room in the ghetto. They are fortunate because Stefa's boyfriend, Daniel, is able to get a job that allows his family and hers the privilege of all living in two tiny rooms. Half a million Jews are crowded in the ghetto and it becomes clear that few will get out alive. Disease, starvation, deportation to work/death camps, and slaughter by their captives, on the streets or in their rooms, are constant threats. Janka, whose cruel husband is all for the extermination of Jews and others he doesn't like, has no one to rely on but she wants to help the Majewski family. Janka sees what the Germans, and even some Polish people, are doing do her Jewish friends. In London, circumstances have put Hanna in a situation where she is being asked to spy for England and when she accepts, she is sent back to her homeland where she might be able to learn her family's fate. In the ghetto, Daniel, Stefa, and her younger brother see that just staying alive isn't enough. They must fight against their oppressors. It seems they will all die no matter what they do and they will not go down without a fight. Kelli Tager does a lovely job of narrating this story. It is long, there are numerous characters, but I never had any trouble keeping up with them. I was invested in this story despite the fact that it hurt to hear it, especially knowing this really happened, the number of people killed is impossible to comprehend, the cruelty is impossible to get my mind around, and knowing that these kinds of things go on even now. The courage of so many people who had lost everything but their lives, who would lose their lives, who had no hope of survival, is inspirational and heartbreaking. Publication: July 26, 2022 Thank you to HighBridge Audio and NetGalley for this ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    The War Girls by V. S. Alexander was a very emotional and sobering novel about life in Warsaw, Poland just before the Nazi invasion and during it. It took place between September 1939 and May 1946. It portrayed three very brave, strong and courageous women that became known as The War Girls. In a very traditional family unit in Warsaw, one daughter chose to take another path. The Majewski family lived quite comfortably in a nice apartment in Warsaw. There were two daughters and a son who lived w The War Girls by V. S. Alexander was a very emotional and sobering novel about life in Warsaw, Poland just before the Nazi invasion and during it. It took place between September 1939 and May 1946. It portrayed three very brave, strong and courageous women that became known as The War Girls. In a very traditional family unit in Warsaw, one daughter chose to take another path. The Majewski family lived quite comfortably in a nice apartment in Warsaw. There were two daughters and a son who lived with their loving mother and father. The oldest daughter, Hanna, chose to break away from her family’s traditional Jewish ways when she was eighteen years old. She refused to abide with the tradition of an arranged marriage. Hanna contacted her mother’s sister, her aunt, who had also broken away from her family years ago. Her aunt now lived in London with her husband and agreed to take Hanna in. This decision left the Majewski family heartbroken,. Her father, though, refused to mention Hanna’s name or inquire about her well being. Hanna was dead to him. Hanna missed her family but not their ways. She slowly got used to living in London and made friends. Then the Germans began to bomb London. In a bombing raid, Hanna lost both her aunt and uncle even though they had taken shelter in a bomb shelter her uncle had purchased. By some miracle, Hanna survived. Shortly after her devastating loss, Hanna was recruited and trained by the SOE to become a spy. Hanna was to be sent back to her homeland, to Warsaw, to try and learn what the Nazis were planning. She also had another mission. Hanna was determined to find out how her family was and try and get them out of the ghetto before it was too late. Stefa was Hanna’s younger sister. She was bright, independent and caring. Stefa chose to follow the traditional Jewish life and ways her parents had instilled in her. A boy had caught Stefa’s attention, though. Stefa and Daniel had forged an easy and comfortable relationship without the knowledge of their parents. At timely opportunities, Stefa made it her business to meet up with Daniel and spend as much time with him as she could. When the Nazis invaded Warsaw, Stefa’s life changed drastically. Restrictions were implicated and rules enforced. Then her family was driven from their comfortable apartment to two rooms that they shared with Daniel’s family. Daniel had had the hindsight to apply to become a member of the Jewish Police. This role afforded him and Stefa’s family a nicer place to live compared to other families. Conditions in the ghetto were awful, though. Everywhere Stefa looked she saw disease, starvation, filth, unsanitary conditions and almost a half million Jewish men, women and children imprisoned behind its walls. Stefa would eventually join Daniel and become part of the Jewish Resistance. Janke was a Polish Catholic woman who resided in an apartment on the same street that the Majewski family had lived on before they were relocated to the Warsaw Ghetto. On several occasions, Janke had come to the rescue of Stefa’s younger brother and saved him from the dreaded Nazi soldiers. Janke slowly became a friend to the Majewski family. She suffered at the hands of an abusive and alcoholic husband. Janke’s husband was all in favor of helping the Nazis eliminate the Jews of Warsaw. He was a Nazi supporter. Janke became the third War Girl. She tried to help the Majewski family anyway she could. The War Girls by V.S. Alexander was the second book I had read by this author. V.s. Alexander proved again to be a masterful storyteller and his research was impeccable. The audiobook was long and there were many characters but I was instantly hooked. I enjoyed Kelli Taker’s performance of this audiobook. There were several strong female protagonists and I enjoyed the roles they played. There were many themes presented in The War Girls that included courage, sisterhood, hope, bravery, family, love, tragedy, strength, promise, loss, fear and pain. I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of The War Girls by V.S. Alexander and highly recommend it. Thank you to HighBridge/Recorded Books for allowing me to listen to this audiobook through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a War World II Historical Fiction book. I ended up DNFing this book after trying several times to get into this book. I just could not get into this book. The book moved really slow for me, and I just did not care about any of the characters. I received an ARC of this book. This review is my own honest opinion about the book like all my reviews are.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I have read a lot of World War II fiction but nothing I've read has made me feel the despair of the characters who lived through the Blitz in London and the Warsaw Ghetto like this book. It was so well written that I felt like I was part of history instead of just reading about it. I cried with the characters and felt their fear as bombs were dropped in London and the Nazis worked toward their final solution in Warsaw. The year is 1940 and the Majewski family in Warsaw believe that they will be s I have read a lot of World War II fiction but nothing I've read has made me feel the despair of the characters who lived through the Blitz in London and the Warsaw Ghetto like this book. It was so well written that I felt like I was part of history instead of just reading about it. I cried with the characters and felt their fear as bombs were dropped in London and the Nazis worked toward their final solution in Warsaw. The year is 1940 and the Majewski family in Warsaw believe that they will be safe even though they are Jewish because the father has a needed job of inspecting meat in a large hotel to make sure that it's safe and kosher. Stefa, her parent and younger brother all live in a nice house in a rich neighborhood. Hannah's older sister was living in London with her aunt and uncle. She left the family because she felt restrained by her life in a Jewish family especially since her parents were starting to look for a husband for her. Hannah didn't totally understand why her sister left but she knew that she missed the closeness that she and Hannah had always had and wonders about her new life in London. Hannah's life in London is wonderful until the fall of 1940 when the Germans started bombing London continuously. For eight months the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on London and other strategic cities across Britain. After a tragic night of bombing, her aunt and uncle are killed and she ends up in the hospital where she is approached by a woman who asks her to join the OAS. They believed she would be an excellent spy since she knew so many languages and she used to live in Warsaw. After her training is completed, she gets dropped into Poland with the objective of finding out more about the Germans plans and radioing that information back to London. She's been told not to try to rescue her family but she knows that once she's in Warsaw, she will try to find them. In Warsaw, all of the Jewish families are removed from their homes. Some of them are immediately sent to the camps and others are forced to live in a small walled off area called the Warsaw ghetto. Life is horrible - there isn't enough room or food and the half a million Jews in the Ghetto are faced with starvation and disease and the constant threat of deportation to the concentration camps. The Nazis cruelty to the Jewish families is continuous and it seems as if they make their lives difficult just for the fun of it. Stefa joins the resistance group in the ghetto and does what she can to ruin the German's plans. She, her sister and a friend from the Aryan part of Warsaw call themselves the War Girls and fight to rescue their family and friends against the overwhelming odds that exist. Will the courage and the love between the two sisters be enough to save their family and loved ones from being sent to the camps or will the German hatred of the Jewish people overwhelm their lives and love for their family? The characters in this book are extremely well written. The two sisters, Hannah and Stefa are brave beyond words and their love for each other and their family is strong. The author did very deep research into life in the Warsaw ghetto and described it in such detail that I sometimes felt as if I was there. Have tissues close because there will be some tears but the overwhelming feeling at the end of the book is that despite the sadness and loss of the war, love can overcome all the hatred that exists. Thanks to Edelweiss for a copy of this book to read and review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    “History is important to me. We need a record - to tell the truth about what’s happening to the Jews in Poland. This record will let us live long past our years on earth.” Have you ever finished a book and immediately wanted to climb up on the roof and tell everyone who’ll listen what a fantastic read it is?! This book is THAT good. It’s historical fiction ‘done right.’ Every once in a while a fantastic historical fiction book comes across my desk and I just know that it’ll be right up there with “History is important to me. We need a record - to tell the truth about what’s happening to the Jews in Poland. This record will let us live long past our years on earth.” Have you ever finished a book and immediately wanted to climb up on the roof and tell everyone who’ll listen what a fantastic read it is?! This book is THAT good. It’s historical fiction ‘done right.’ Every once in a while a fantastic historical fiction book comes across my desk and I just know that it’ll be right up there with my favourite reads of the year. This one begs to be read, shared, and re-read so that we don’t lose the memory of this terrible time in history. I’m passing this one along to my niece so that V.S. Alexander’s message is not lost to time. I want everyone, decades from now, to know about Emanuel Ringelblum and his role in spreading the word. The War Girls is a masterpiece - a lovingly woven tapestry featuring the girls from Krochmalna Street who stood against the Nazis and fought for freedom. This tapestry highlights the threads of Judaism, the Blitz, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Special Operations Executive in England. One of the things I loved about this book is that it is centered around a street - Krochmalna Street - in Warsaw. As the seasons come and go and as the German tanks rumble down it, the Majewski, Krakowski and Danek families who live on this street witness the changes as the Germans’ grip tightens on this city. Alexander has delved deeply into the Judaic culture and has revealed so much of this 5000-year-old religion. Many wartime historical fiction books claim to have Jewish characters and I accepted the religious label. However, once you read this book, you realize that the majority of other authors just scraped the surface and relied on telling readers not showing them. Alexander SHOWS readers and steeps them deeply into the traditions and teachings of Judaism. I knew about the religious identity of the characters because of the way they honoured the laws and traditions; lighting the candles at sunset on Rosh Hashanah Eve, reciting the blessing and shehecheyanu benediction, performing kaporos, days of prayer and fasting, touching the mezuzah. I may not remember each of these traditions in months to come, but I’ll remember that the families in the ghetto were dedicated to their faith despite the restrictions and lack of freedoms. I’ll also remember the enclosing of the Warsaw Ghetto because Alexander SHOWS readers the characters building the wall and the families relocating. Those visuals will stay with me longer than an author telling me that a family was relocated or that a wall was built. Likewise, I won’t forget about the woman with the loaf of bread outside the ghetto. That memory is etched in my brain. I'll remember the courage families had to live another day despite the atrocities levied upon them by the Nazi regime. The author is to be commended for teaching us about little-known aspects of WW2; the secrets of Station 14: Briggens House, the term ‘Roman candle’, and Operation Himmler, to name a few. Thank you for not simply entertaining me, V.S. Alexander. Your meticulously researched and heartfelt novel has impressed an image on my heart and inspired a mission: I’ll boldly ensure that as many historical fiction lovers read this one as I can possibly manage. I was gifted this advance copy by V.S. Alexander, Kensington Books and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    1.5 / 5 This is a book for anyone who has not read anything about WWII before. It would serve as a good introduction about WWII, Poland and the Jewish ghetto created by the Nazis. It didn’t offer me anything new and it certainly did not need to be 400+ pages long. Page 29 – All in the same paragraph Hanna’s uncle-in-law is named Lawrence and then Richard. It starts slow and fizzles out at the end leaving you wondering what happened to some of the main characters. (???)

  7. 4 out of 5

    linda hole

    This book Tore my heart to pieces

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    Warsaw Resistance A story of the resistance in Poland especially the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto. One young girl named Hannah that becomes a resistance agent for the SOE and strives to help her Jewish family escape the persecution of the Nazi's. Hannah left her home in Poland to escape the marriage rules of the Jewish faith. Now the Polish Jews are being persecuted, held imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto and murdered at will by the Nazi's. Hannah knows that she must do something to help save th Warsaw Resistance A story of the resistance in Poland especially the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto. One young girl named Hannah that becomes a resistance agent for the SOE and strives to help her Jewish family escape the persecution of the Nazi's. Hannah left her home in Poland to escape the marriage rules of the Jewish faith. Now the Polish Jews are being persecuted, held imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto and murdered at will by the Nazi's. Hannah knows that she must do something to help save them. Sometimes not everyone can be saved even through the most heroic methods. This is a sad story of one family and at the same time of every Jewish family in the clutches of the Nazi's in WWII. It is a story of the efforts of the Jewish in the Warsaw Ghetto to stay alive to keep from starving , freezing and being murdered by the Nazi's. How they lived and how they felt, their hopes and their despairs. This was a book filled with those few courageous souls that were brave enough to resist the Nazi's and some paid with their lives. I would recommend this book. Thanks to V.S. Alexander for writing another great WWII story, to Kensington Books for publishing it and to NetGalley for making it available to me to read and review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    An excellent novel. It’s also a heavy read. It does begin very slowly, but then the action picks up about halfway through. It depicts the lives of an SOE operative, Jewish life in the Warsaw ghetto, and a Polish Catholic. The author captures the grueling ordeals so effectively it’s as if it’s happening in real time. A definite must read. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the early read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Star Gater

    Another WW-II historical fiction book, however, it strayed from camps to the Ghetto. In addition to knowing there is a war, and Jews are being persecuted, food and the lack of is a focus in this story. The author has taken a part of history and inserted unknown people i.e. The War Girls into recruitments. Help is needed in the Ghettos. The story does slow in spots. The need for food and the loss of strength and energy that comes from not having the nutrients is shown. There are more implied abuse Another WW-II historical fiction book, however, it strayed from camps to the Ghetto. In addition to knowing there is a war, and Jews are being persecuted, food and the lack of is a focus in this story. The author has taken a part of history and inserted unknown people i.e. The War Girls into recruitments. Help is needed in the Ghettos. The story does slow in spots. The need for food and the loss of strength and energy that comes from not having the nutrients is shown. There are more implied abuses than graphic physical visuals painted The narrator was a good choice for me. This was a good change from traditional concentration camp books. There were people who tried to help before that point, and this is one of those stories. I would rate this 3.5 stars, there are some really slow moving pages. I am rounding up, I think the pacing is important to digest the information being given. Thank you NetGalley and HighBridge Audio for accepting my request to read and review The War Girls.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Maxwell

    The War Girls follows the lives of three women during WWII. Two of them are living in Poland, one Jewish, the other Catholic, during the Nazi invasion of Poland and the establishment of the Warsaw ghetto. The third is also Jewish, the sister of the first woman, but having left Poland and even Judaism behind in favor of a more modern life in England. That life is destroyed during the London Blitz, and she is subsequently enlisted by British intelligence and sent back into Poland as a spy. The liv The War Girls follows the lives of three women during WWII. Two of them are living in Poland, one Jewish, the other Catholic, during the Nazi invasion of Poland and the establishment of the Warsaw ghetto. The third is also Jewish, the sister of the first woman, but having left Poland and even Judaism behind in favor of a more modern life in England. That life is destroyed during the London Blitz, and she is subsequently enlisted by British intelligence and sent back into Poland as a spy. The lives, experiences, and outlook of each woman is unique, yet all are interconnected through their courage and determination to do what is right and their sense of duty to each other, no matter the cost. Each character is deeply sympathetic and relatable. While the details of the Warsaw ghetto are at times realistically horrific, the writing is beautiful, the research outstanding, and the story ultimately one of hope and perseverance.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Another novel set in WWII, why read this one, one can wonder. Well, easy answer: because V.S. Alexander wrote it. One of my favourite authors whose books I buy without needing to read the blurb! Indeed, one can expect a meticulous historical research, a great psychological insight, a powerful plot and a believable and vivid storyline! These proved true with his new novel as well. Hanna (18) and Stefa (16) are Jewish sisters. Hanna left Warsaw a few months before WWII broke out: she wanted freedom Another novel set in WWII, why read this one, one can wonder. Well, easy answer: because V.S. Alexander wrote it. One of my favourite authors whose books I buy without needing to read the blurb! Indeed, one can expect a meticulous historical research, a great psychological insight, a powerful plot and a believable and vivid storyline! These proved true with his new novel as well. Hanna (18) and Stefa (16) are Jewish sisters. Hanna left Warsaw a few months before WWII broke out: she wanted freedom from some of the Jewish traditions (arranged marriage, for instance). She went to London to stay with her aunt who had left her family for the same reasons. Stefa is still with her family in Warsaw with her family. Hanna is content with her London life experiences. However, when the war started, her thoughts turned to her family even though she believed she had left them all behind with her past... I found Hanna's train of thought very interesting and realistic. All that she learned from her family while growing up: how much ingrained is our education in the heart, in the soul? Can one really put all and everything behind? What will be her reactions to the war? How is she going to act on them? All characters' developments show the author's convincing psychological sensitivity to the human psyche. Full of suspense from page 1 till the very end, this novel and its characters will remain with me. Highly recommended. I received a digital ARC of this novel from NetGalley, for which I am very grateful, in exchange for my honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    HornFan2

    Thanks to netgalley.com and Kensington Publishing for the advance ARC for my honest review. I owe my new found interest into WW2 to my mom, who grew up during the War in Germany, whose gone to heaven, miss her stories and every WW2 book I read is to honor her. This was my first read by the author V.S. Alexander, did enjoy it, like the mix of fictional characters, with real people, he puts the reader into the pages, your in the flawed shelter during the Blitz, in the Warsaw Ghetto and although it Thanks to netgalley.com and Kensington Publishing for the advance ARC for my honest review. I owe my new found interest into WW2 to my mom, who grew up during the War in Germany, whose gone to heaven, miss her stories and every WW2 book I read is to honor her. This was my first read by the author V.S. Alexander, did enjoy it, like the mix of fictional characters, with real people, he puts the reader into the pages, your in the flawed shelter during the Blitz, in the Warsaw Ghetto and although it doesn't hurt the over all story, the ending could have been better. Did like the three War Girls, being two Jewish sisters Hanna, Stefa , along with Janka, a married Aryan woman, they are neighbors, live across the street from each other, they have chemistry, come from different backgrounds and even the two sisters. are opposites. What makes it so good is that you have Hanna who goes to London too live with an Aunt and Uncle, longing for an unfettered life, yet never forgets her family and her sister Stefa embraces Judaism, does what her parents want. Then you have Janka who been abused by her drunk husband, lacks confidence, yet due to what she see's due to the German invasion, gains confidence and helps the Majewski family. Her husband Karol ,adds an element to the story, shows what people would do, so they could survive and even if they knew it was wrong. Definitely would recommend this one, will have too see what else the author has written and will continue reading in the WW2 themed books.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    The War Girls is set in Poland from September 1939 until May 1946. We meet the Majewski family, a Jewish family that is in danger now that the Nazis are moving into Poland. We also meet their neighbour, Janke, a Catholic woman who hates what is happening to friends and neighbours because of their religion. Hannah Majewski left Poland and her family when she refused to marry the man her father picked out for her. She moved to London to live with her aunt and uncle. The rest of the family: her mot The War Girls is set in Poland from September 1939 until May 1946. We meet the Majewski family, a Jewish family that is in danger now that the Nazis are moving into Poland. We also meet their neighbour, Janke, a Catholic woman who hates what is happening to friends and neighbours because of their religion. Hannah Majewski left Poland and her family when she refused to marry the man her father picked out for her. She moved to London to live with her aunt and uncle. The rest of the family: her mother, father, sister Stefa and younger brother, have been moved into the Warsaw Ghetto, where you either work or are sent away. Stefa's boyfriend, Daniel, gets a job with the Jewish Police and her father works in a gentile restaurant so they are better off than others, but still starving and constantly dangerous. Janke tries to help them when she can delivering mail and messages, but is constantly at risk as her husband is a Nazi and an abusive man. Meanwhile in London, the blitz has destroyed homes and businesses and killed Hanna's aunt and uncle. She is recruited by the SOE and trained to become a spy, where she hopes to return to Poland and see if her family is still alive. The War Girls is the story of both of these courageous women. This is a long story, that does bog down at times, but it still held my interest. The characters were sympathetic and my heart broke many times during this story. Hanna is a great character. She is smart, a quick learner, loves her family, and wants to make Hitler and the Nazis pay. Her training was extremely interesting and if it really happened that way, I am amazed that she made it at all. The storyline set in Poland was difficult to read. I had not read anything from the viewpoint of a Jewish Police Officer. They are normally vilified, but The War Girls gives another perspective. I have read other books by V.S. Alexander and find the author to be an great storyteller, with a lot of detail and well developed characters. Many themes are touched upon such as courage, hatred, propaganda, friendship, family, grief, faith, hope, and sacrifice. As I said earlier, this is a longer book at almost 500 pages and the audiobook was over 16 hours, but this is a well told story that I do recommend. I did a read/listen with The War Girls and enjoyed both formats. Kelli Tager narrates the audiobook and does a great job. The majority of the characters are women, and she is able to give them great voice with expression and emotion that made them feel real to me. I recommend this book in either format.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    While this is NOT a nonfiction, it is so thoroughly researched and felt personally by the writer that it is easily rings of truth. Not these particular characters and their families, but other nameless people who went through this particular hel. I have read several autobiographies/biographies/memoirs this year, and this one moved me every bit as much as the nonfiction. My family left Poland before The War To End All Wars. I requested and received a free e-book from Kensington Books via NetGalley While this is NOT a nonfiction, it is so thoroughly researched and felt personally by the writer that it is easily rings of truth. Not these particular characters and their families, but other nameless people who went through this particular hel. I have read several autobiographies/biographies/memoirs this year, and this one moved me every bit as much as the nonfiction. My family left Poland before The War To End All Wars. I requested and received a free e-book from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This WWII novel focuses on the Jewish people who were forced to move to the Warsaw Ghetto. There were brave individuals on the outside trying to help many escape before being killed, victims inside the ghetto struggling to survive, revolutionaries inside ready to fight for freedom, and the guards doing all in their power to demean, and kill each one of them. This was a long, slow, simmering read. While I know of the outcome of the Warsaw ghetto from history, my biggest disappointment of the nove This WWII novel focuses on the Jewish people who were forced to move to the Warsaw Ghetto. There were brave individuals on the outside trying to help many escape before being killed, victims inside the ghetto struggling to survive, revolutionaries inside ready to fight for freedom, and the guards doing all in their power to demean, and kill each one of them. This was a long, slow, simmering read. While I know of the outcome of the Warsaw ghetto from history, my biggest disappointment of the novel was the unanswered resolution and what V.S Alexander wanted us to believe happened in the ghetto to all the key individuals. Despite that, I still enjoyed this novel. I’d like to thank NetGalley and Kensington Books for this wonderful ARC and in return I offer my unbiased opinion and review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The War Girls by V.S. Alexander is a great WWII-era historical fiction that kept me interested from beginning to end. I have read several books from this author and enjoyed each one, so I knew I would like this one as well. I was definitely drawn in by the passion, emotion, suspense, high-stakes, and character-driven moments between and individually in regards to the two sisters. Hanna and Stefa may be sisters, but their individual experiences guve us different views on events and the atrocities The War Girls by V.S. Alexander is a great WWII-era historical fiction that kept me interested from beginning to end. I have read several books from this author and enjoyed each one, so I knew I would like this one as well. I was definitely drawn in by the passion, emotion, suspense, high-stakes, and character-driven moments between and individually in regards to the two sisters. Hanna and Stefa may be sisters, but their individual experiences guve us different views on events and the atrocities that occur during the war. Their respective stories also give us images of love, hope, strength, and promise amongst the loss, fear, hurt, and pain. I enjoyed reading this most recent addition to the Author’s impressive portfolio. 4/5 stars Thank you NG and Kensington Books for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 7/26/22.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The War Girls by V.S. Alexander is a great WWII-era historical fiction that kept me interested from beginning to end. I have read several books from this author and enjoyed each one, so I knew I would like this one as well. I was definitely drawn in by the passion, emotion, suspense, high-stakes, and character-driven moments between and individually in regards to the two sisters. Hanna and Stefa may be sisters, but their individual experiences guve us different views on events and the atrocities The War Girls by V.S. Alexander is a great WWII-era historical fiction that kept me interested from beginning to end. I have read several books from this author and enjoyed each one, so I knew I would like this one as well. I was definitely drawn in by the passion, emotion, suspense, high-stakes, and character-driven moments between and individually in regards to the two sisters. Hanna and Stefa may be sisters, but their individual experiences guve us different views on events and the atrocities that occur during the war. Their respective stories also give us images of love, hope, strength, and promise amongst the loss, fear, hurt, and pain. I enjoyed reading this most recent addition to the Author’s impressive portfolio. 4/5 stars Thank you NG and Kensington Books for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 7/26/22.

  19. 4 out of 5

    JaNelle

    I don't know how to fairly rate this book. On its ability to keep people's stories alive its a 5. On my ability to keep reading it a 1. I found this book to be physically painful to read. I am grateful it was written. I don't know how to fairly rate this book. On its ability to keep people's stories alive its a 5. On my ability to keep reading it a 1. I found this book to be physically painful to read. I am grateful it was written.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Orlopp

    A poignant historical novel set in World War II and the various choices people make regarding their survival, family, friends and whether to help others or not. Prior to the war, one daughter, Hanna, had left for London to have more independence for her future. Her family remained in Warsaw. Hanna was recruited as a spy and became a War Girl in an undercover operation in Warsaw. Hanna's sister, Stefa, and a Catholic neighbor, Janka, became the trio of War Girls in an effort to help save Hanna's a A poignant historical novel set in World War II and the various choices people make regarding their survival, family, friends and whether to help others or not. Prior to the war, one daughter, Hanna, had left for London to have more independence for her future. Her family remained in Warsaw. Hanna was recruited as a spy and became a War Girl in an undercover operation in Warsaw. Hanna's sister, Stefa, and a Catholic neighbor, Janka, became the trio of War Girls in an effort to help save Hanna's and Stefa's family from persecution.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caroline arrow_reads

    After enjoying V.S. Alexander’s The Taster, I wanted to read his newest. Thank you to @kensingtonbooks for kindly sending me a copy! The War Girls follows three brave women based on true life stories of the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland during WWII. The countless stories of cruelty and inhumanity is absolutely devastating, yet the stories must be told. The courage to fight for survival and the protect the ones you love is so inspirational! The book keeps a steady pace throughout till the end. I do wis After enjoying V.S. Alexander’s The Taster, I wanted to read his newest. Thank you to @kensingtonbooks for kindly sending me a copy! The War Girls follows three brave women based on true life stories of the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland during WWII. The countless stories of cruelty and inhumanity is absolutely devastating, yet the stories must be told. The courage to fight for survival and the protect the ones you love is so inspirational! The book keeps a steady pace throughout till the end. I do wish there was a bit more of a conclusion to all that was built. The War Girls is a must read for WWII readers! ⁣

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cristy

    I’m not usually a Historical Fiction reader, but this book was everything. In just the first pages of the book, you’re thrown into the war. It’s intense, and emotional. It hurts to hear everything that went on, knowing that it really happened and that so many people were put in these horrible conditions and killed. It was a lot to take in. I loved the focus of these strong women and their role in fighting in the war.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    4.25 The most awful atrocities depicted on individuals that I have ever read. Painful to read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gwen Kubberness

    This book was an awesome read. I loved it, the characters the bravery and the sadness. Very well written, I will keep this book in my home library.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather Thorup

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the ARC. The opinions expressed are my own. This WWII novel follows several different characters. The Majewski family, living in Poland, are practicing Jews when Moscow is overrun. We watch the family as the Occupation is underway and the Ghetto is being built. They are transferred from their home to the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940, where 1/3 of the population has been placed. The conditions are appalling. Things continue to get worse over the years. Who Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the ARC. The opinions expressed are my own. This WWII novel follows several different characters. The Majewski family, living in Poland, are practicing Jews when Moscow is overrun. We watch the family as the Occupation is underway and the Ghetto is being built. They are transferred from their home to the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940, where 1/3 of the population has been placed. The conditions are appalling. Things continue to get worse over the years. Who will survive and how? Janka Danek is an Aryan woman, unhappily married to a man who is considered an essential worker. He becomes close to some of the top Nazi officials, even rejoicing and participating in the death and relocation of the Jews. Janka meets and helps the Majewski family in small ways. Whether or not she succeeds with a dangerous husband is to be read. Daniel is Stefa Majewski's boyfriend. His parents are relocated to the same apartment as the Majewski family in the Warsaw Ghetto. He joins the Judenrat Police Force, hoping to have options of keeping the families safer. The Judenrat Police Force operates in the Ghetto, supervising the activities of people going in and out of the Ghetto, overseeing relocation and transportation to the death camps. Daniel eventually resigns because of the things he's being asked to do, against his own people. The brutality and inhumanity is unspeakable. Hannah Majewski left her family before the War started. She moves to London to escape her family, its strict religion and customs. She lives with her mother's sister and her husband. The Blitz begins, with air raids and bombings. Her uncle buys a shelter for them, where they go when they hear nearby bombings. Unfortunately the shelter wasn't built to withstand nuclear bombs. Her aunt and uncle were killed in such a bombing, leaving Hannah far from home and injured. As she learns more about the War going on in her hometown, she longs to be useful. She joins the of Special Executive Objective in London. Hannah throws herself into training and is eventually accepted into service and assigned a new identity and look. She's dropped from a plane near Poland where she's to send communication via a radio transmitter on the movings of the Nazis. She can't keep away from her family and soon becomes involved in a plan for their escape. But will it work? Will it be too late? A heartrending, descriptive, captivating and touching read. I was moved in so many ways. The book evokes such emotion. A remarkable and highly recommended novel.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mystic Forest Crafts

    I’m struggling to decide between giving this book a four or a five star because it was both great and greatly horrible as it should be on the subject of the holocaust. I’m going with a four only because The Diary of Anne Frank is a solid five and I think this may be more of a 4.5-4.75. I listened to this book on audio and found the narrator to do a nice job of not overacting and making the book a drama due to performance rather than what happened. It isn’t easy for all narrators to let the story I’m struggling to decide between giving this book a four or a five star because it was both great and greatly horrible as it should be on the subject of the holocaust. I’m going with a four only because The Diary of Anne Frank is a solid five and I think this may be more of a 4.5-4.75. I listened to this book on audio and found the narrator to do a nice job of not overacting and making the book a drama due to performance rather than what happened. It isn’t easy for all narrators to let the story be the star and this one did that beautifully. Pros: One of the most powerful aspects of this novel is something I normally dislike, switching between character perspectives. Usually I find it jarring, sometimes even confusing but here it gives insight into what is happening to different people in different locations. It’s a way to allow a person to see the horrors which happened not only to the poorest or those caught early but to Catholics in Poland, to Jews who got to keep their jobs, to Jews who weren’t in areas taken over. It shows that things happened early on in England which usually doesn’t get mentioned in detail because those horror weren’t as great as the concentration camps. I appreciate that the book tells you where you are in the timeline of the war. You can see how things didn’t just happen over night, they progressively worsened as people became numb to the horrors. I feel because of this it could have the potential to become a classic read in schools. People need to remember their history so that it isn’t repeated and to remember that every action has a rippling effect you won’t know the full effect of until much later. Cons: Because of the nature of what happened historically there are horrors shared in this book that will break your heart. They should do that, however people who are easily triggered by their own dark pasts could struggle with the story bringing things up they don’t want to think about. I believe the author did an excellent job not sensationalizing the horror to draw in people for the wrong reasons but they got to the heart of things enough that it hurts to know that real people had to suffer these atrocities.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anne-Marie

    Wow one of the best historical fiction books I have read. I read a fair amount of historical fiction books but this one gutted me. I was pulled into the story and couldn't put it down. Yes I know it is historical fiction meaning it's not true...but the author did her research. I had a hard time putting this one down to sleep...everything about it was gut wrenching. The invasion of Poland and what Hitler did to the Jews. Honestly I used to stay away from books like this just because I am so sensi Wow one of the best historical fiction books I have read. I read a fair amount of historical fiction books but this one gutted me. I was pulled into the story and couldn't put it down. Yes I know it is historical fiction meaning it's not true...but the author did her research. I had a hard time putting this one down to sleep...everything about it was gut wrenching. The invasion of Poland and what Hitler did to the Jews. Honestly I used to stay away from books like this just because I am so sensitive but the concept of "The War Girls" is brilliant. I found myself on the edge of my seat reading and cheering the girls on... I cried throughout the book and the ending was so hard....I realize it is about WWII and not everyone lives but oh the ending. This is my first book by V.S. Alexander and it won't be my last. I really enjoyed the writing and when someone writes a book that stays with me for days even weeks then I know they are a good author. The characters are well wonderful...well except for the Germans and one Polish Catholic that I really wanted to hit him with a frying pan. I think my favourite characters were Hanna, Stefa, and Janka. Each struggling in their own ways but 3 women full of courage and bravery. I'm not one to give away stories so you can read the synopsis of the book and other reviews, who are more eloquent than me, and decided for yourself if you want to read this book or not. But I really hope that you do read it....I highly recommend it to everyone. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advanced digital copy of this book for an honest review. These words are mine and mine alone....

  28. 4 out of 5

    Latesha

    The War Girls by V.S. Alexander is a heart-breaking novel of family, love, friendship and determination during a horrific time in history. Your emotions are engaged throughout the story. I felt as if I were part of the story experiencing the trials of those depicted. I wanted to change the course that fate had laid before all those innocent people and felt helpless as I read about the injustices laid upon them. I had to take mini-breaks while reading this as my emotions were overwhelmed. It's sh The War Girls by V.S. Alexander is a heart-breaking novel of family, love, friendship and determination during a horrific time in history. Your emotions are engaged throughout the story. I felt as if I were part of the story experiencing the trials of those depicted. I wanted to change the course that fate had laid before all those innocent people and felt helpless as I read about the injustices laid upon them. I had to take mini-breaks while reading this as my emotions were overwhelmed. It's shocking how people can be so cruel intentionally or not. I wish more could have been done to prevent the atrocities of this time. This novel is powerful and thought-provoking and I hope that it awakens in people the desire to do what is right for the good of all and not for the chosen few. People need to learn how to live and work together for the benefit of all. I would highly recommend this story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sonja

    Thank you to NetGalley for the audio version of this book. With all books surrounding WWII it is very hard content when you think that what the author is writing about is something that probably most likely happened to some capacity. This was a war story a love story a survival story a story about family and new begings. I enjoyed the aspect the author took on yes this was Nazi occupied Warsaw but she took the angle of the familyhaving more means than those of others yet there was still problems Thank you to NetGalley for the audio version of this book. With all books surrounding WWII it is very hard content when you think that what the author is writing about is something that probably most likely happened to some capacity. This was a war story a love story a survival story a story about family and new begings. I enjoyed the aspect the author took on yes this was Nazi occupied Warsaw but she took the angle of the familyhaving more means than those of others yet there was still problems. How you make friends and keep friends when you dont realise it is happening. You find a way to survive when it is not meant to be. This is a great book to read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie P (Because My Mother Read)

    The War Girls is a heartbreaking WWII story of a Jewish family in Poland. It specifically focuses on three women and I loved seeing their strength and the ways they all found to be brave in their own ways. The story reminded me a little of Fiddler on the Roof (for the family struggles of how much to follow tradition) and The Nightingale (for the depiction of sisters in playing out different roles in the war) while being its own story. I thought it was a well done and powerful story, but not on t The War Girls is a heartbreaking WWII story of a Jewish family in Poland. It specifically focuses on three women and I loved seeing their strength and the ways they all found to be brave in their own ways. The story reminded me a little of Fiddler on the Roof (for the family struggles of how much to follow tradition) and The Nightingale (for the depiction of sisters in playing out different roles in the war) while being its own story. I thought it was a well done and powerful story, but not on the same level as some other books I’ve read in this category. Trigger warnings for war related death and torture, anti-Semitism, a case of sexual exploitation, alcoholism, and domestic abuse.

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