First Line Friday — Within These Walls of Sorrow

16 Dec

Happy Friday! Last week I was lamenting my lack of Christmas preparedness. Well, I have almost all my shopping done — just need a few more stocking stuffers — and my Christmas tree has ornaments on it. 😉 I am going to forgo baking since my husband and I will be solo for Christmas. But come New Year’s all bets are off since the whole gang will be back together to ring in 2023. So I guess I have a little reading breathing room!

One of the books calling my name is Within These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barratt. It is set in Krakow during WWII. I am excited for this book for a number of reasons, one of which is that my husband and I visited this magical city a few years ago. We toured the Jewish sector and Schindler’s factory while we were there. I was not acquainted with the story told in Barratt’s novel — can’t wait to find out more. Here’s the first line:

The sun shone the day I married Ryszard Lewandowski.

Zosia Lewandowska knows the brutal realities of war all too well. Within weeks of Germany’s invasion of her Polish homeland, she lost the man she loves. As ghetto walls rise and the occupiers tighten their grip on the city of Krakow, Zosia joins pharmacist Tadeusz Pankiewicz and his staff in the heart of the Krakow ghetto as they risk their lives to aid the Jewish people trapped by Nazi oppression. 

Hania Silverman’s carefree girlhood is shattered as her family is forced into the ghetto. Struggling to survive in a world hemmed in by walls and rife with cruelty and despair, she encounters Zosia, her former neighbor, at the pharmacy. As deportations winnow the ghetto’s population and snatch those she holds dear, Hania’s natural resiliency is exhausted by reality. 

Zosia and Hania’s lives intertwine as they face the griefs and fears thrust upon them by war, until one day, they are forced to make a desperate choice . . . one that will inexorably bind them together, even as they are torn apart. 

Amanda Barratt’s meticulous research and lush, award-winning writing shine once again in this moving look at a group of unsung heroes who fought for hope and humanity in the most harrowing of times. 

ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story—a spin-off of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical fiction, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. She’s the author of over a dozen novels and novellas including The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler and My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love.

Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.

Connect with her on Facebook and visit her online at

5 Responses to “First Line Friday — Within These Walls of Sorrow”

  1. Paula Shreckhise December 16, 2022 at 10:33 am #

    Amanda’s book is waiting on my shelf!
    Here is another Amanda:
    My first line comes from All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes, which I just finished.
    Once upon the dawn of time, there was water. Before there were stars, before the Maker set life into earth, breath into lungs, beast ir man to roam…there was water. Dark and reaching, stirred not by wind but by the spirit of the Almighty himself.

  2. Mareli Thalwitzer December 16, 2022 at 12:41 pm #

    This does sound right up my alley. My husband has been to Poland and he really wants us to go there again for a trip.

    Lovely excerpts from an intriguing read!

    Have a good weekend!

    Elza Reads

  3. Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeysh December 16, 2022 at 1:11 pm #

    This book sounds really good – I think I burned out a little on WWII strong women books this year, but will add it to my list when I’m in the mood again.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  4. Cindy Davis December 16, 2022 at 6:38 pm #

    I hope you enjoy this one!! I still need to buy a few stocking stuffers as well, and I need to send my mom something (I keep forgetting!)

  5. Danielle Grandinetti December 18, 2022 at 12:14 pm #

    This is such a cool cover. I’m reading The Veteran’s Holiday Home by Lee Tobin McClain. The first line is: Principal Ashley Green looked at the redheaded, freckle-faced eleven-year-old in front of her and tried to maintain a stern expression.” Have a great weekend!

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