Book Review + Giveaway! — The Medallion

24 Jun

About The Book

Book: The Medallion

Author: Cathy Gohlke

Genre: Historical Fiction (World War II)

Release date: June 4, 2019

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 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 stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war — if any of them survive — is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.


Click here to purchase your copy.


About The Author

Cathy GolkeThree-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning and bestselling author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

More from Cathy

Every story begins with a journey. Sharing that journey is twice the joy.

The Medallion was inspired by two true stories — the first was the WWII account of Itzhak Dugin and his Jewish family, persecuted in Lithuania. Their heart-wrenching story made world news when the tunnel from which Itzhak escaped the Nazis was discovered using modern technology.

The second was the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker within Żegota (an underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), who developed a network to rescue children. Despite terrible risks, they smuggled 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and certain death at the hands of the Nazis, then hid them in Polish homes, convents, churches and hospitals until the end of the war. Approximately 2,000 of those children were found after the war. Theories abound regarding the whereabouts of those missing. I couldn’t help but wonder, and imagine: What became of those 400 to 500 missing children? What became of one?

Set in WWII Poland and post-war England, The Medallion is a story of courage, sacrifice, love, forgiveness and redemption.


My Impressions:

Cathy Gohlke is a new-to-me author. I have seen her books all over the web, but hadn’t had a chance to read any until her latest WWII-era novel, The Medallion, was released. I am now a big fan of this talented author and cannot wait to dig into more of her books. The Medallion is a challenging read — it is filled with heartbreak and despair, yet has an underlying message of hope and love in the midst of the cruelest of situations. And though many of its images were hard to take, I just could not put down this riveting novel. Told with sensitivity and grace, The Medallion is one of the best novels I have read all year. It definitely earns a very highly recommended rating.

Set from the time of the Nazi invasion of Poland through the harrowing war years and the rebuilding following the demise of the Nazi regime, The Medallion focuses on the heroism of ordinary people determined to do whatever they can to save lives, especially those of the children of Warsaw’s ghetto. There are two parallel stories — Itzhak and Rosa, a young Jewish couple with an infant who are forced into the ghetto, and Sophie, a British woman married to a Polish pilot who resolves not to play it safe, but to work against the enemy. The two stories intersect and intertwine midway through the book. The abrupt devastation that the invasion brought to both Poles and Jews is vividly described. Even though I have read many books set in this time period, Gohlke communicated it in a way I have never experienced. Sacrifice, danger, daring, and bravery are exhibited throughout the book, even in the midst of circumstances that were truly hopeless. The characters are both ordinary and extraordinary — they faced fears and doubts, yet drew from a deep well of tenacity, perseverance, and faith. I loved how the author drew upon real life events and historical figures to bring a greater depth to the reading experience. The message of God’s sovereignty is powerfully portrayed, yet the book is never preachy. Many lived out their convictions in the face of great danger and often certain death. I especially loved how God’s orchestration of events is shown in spite of man’s attempts to manipulate them.

I could go on and on about this many layered story. But instead I will just say, read this book! The Medallion is one that will stay with you for a very long time. I promise you will want to talk about it, so just go ahead and get your book club or group of friends reading it too. You (and them) will not be sorry!

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for book clubs.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinion expressed are mine alone.)


Blog Stops

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 22

Christian Bookaholic, June 22

Carla Loves To Read, June 22

The Power of Words, June 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

janicesbookreviews, June 23

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 24

By The Book, June 24

For Him and My Family, June 24

A Reader’s Brain, June 24

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Retrospective Spines, June 25

Inklings and notions, June 25

Remembrancy, June 26

Lis Loves Reading , June 26

The Becca Files, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Connect in Fiction, June 27

Bigreadersite, June 28

Maureen’s Musings, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 28

Blossoms and Blessings, June 29

For the Love of Literature, June 29

Spoken from the Heart, June 29

Inspired by fiction, June 30

Have A Wonderful Day, June 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 30

Inspiration Clothesline, July 1

Connie’s History Classroom, July 1

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Just the Write Escape, July 2

Seasons of Opportunities, July 2

Pause for Tales, July 2

As He Leads is Joy, July 3

To Everything A Season, July 3

Hallie Reads, July 3

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 4

For The Love of Books, July 4

Emily Yager, July 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 5

Texas Book-aholic, July 5




To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

11 Responses to “Book Review + Giveaway! — The Medallion”

  1. susiesellnergmailcom June 24, 2019 at 7:08 am #

    I love World War II historical fiction books and am eager to read this one!

    • rbclibrary June 24, 2019 at 7:10 am #

      It is excellent! I know you’ll like it.

  2. Cathy Gohlke June 24, 2019 at 7:18 am #

    Thank you, Beckie, for this outstanding review! I so love it when a reader/reviewer captures the heart of a story–and you’ve done exactly that! Thank you, and God bless you!

    • rbclibrary June 24, 2019 at 8:16 am #


  3. Paula Shreckhise June 24, 2019 at 1:38 pm #

    This one of my favorite times in history to read and learn about. Cathy is a great author. Can’t wait to read this book.

  4. miareadsblog June 24, 2019 at 6:36 pm #

    “It definitely earns a very highly recommended rating” – ain’t that true for all of Cathy’s books? <3 Thanks for the chance!

  5. Pam Kellogg June 24, 2019 at 9:15 pm #

    I always love Cathy Gohlke’s books and learn so much since they are so well researched.

  6. Emma June 24, 2019 at 10:22 pm #

    This sounds like an amazing story!

  7. Andrea Johnson July 7, 2019 at 9:08 pm #

    I am excited for this one! Thanks for the great review!


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