Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Book Review - The Warsaw Sisters, by Amanda Barratt

"How's the book you're reading?" 

"Absolutely devastating. But really beautiful, too."

Today, I'm honoured to review
The Warsaw Sisters,
by Amanda Barratt.

Here's the publisher's blurb:

On a golden August morning in 1939, sisters Antonina and Helena DÄ…browska send their father off to defend Poland against the looming threat of German invasion. The next day, the first bombs fall on Warsaw, decimating their beloved city and shattering the world of their youth.

When Antonina's beloved Marek is forced behind ghetto walls along with the rest of Warsaw's Jewish population, Antonina turns her worry into action and becomes a key figure in a daring network of women risking their lives to shelter Jewish children. Helena finds herself drawn into the ranks of Poland's secret army, joining the fight to free her homeland from occupation. But the secrets both are forced to keep threaten to tear the sisters apart--and the cost of resistance proves greater than either ever imagined.

Shining a light on the oft-forgotten history of Poland during WWII and inspired by true stories of ordinary individuals who fought to preserve freedom and humanity in the darkest of times, The Warsaw Sisters is a richly rendered portrait of courage, sacrifice, and the resilience of our deepest ties.

There were times I wanted to close the cover and not read another page, but at the same time, I just couldn't put this book down.

Amanda takes us from the absolute start of the war until just past its ending. Month by month, season by season, we relentlessly follow the journey of our two heroines. No pain is hidden from us, their witnesses. 

Even more gut-wrenching is the realization that these fictionalized stories are rooted in real history. The narrative is made up, but the truth of the war in Poland is not. For many families, these stories are their family history. I have no doubt the echos still resonate.

And at the same time, this is a book of family, hope, and redemption.

This is my first Amanda Barratt novel, but it won't be my last. I truly loved every page - her writing, her characters, her storytelling, and her historical details were riveting, compelling, and even in the darkest moments, breathtaking. 

The Warsaw Sisters isn't an easy read, but it is a worthy read.
I highly recommend it!

Amanda's site has lots of resources, including FREE kits for book clubs!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Book Review - The Lost Boys of Barlow Theater by Jaime Jo Wright

Since I started reviewing books, I've become a super-fan of a few select authors, and Jaime Jo Wright is definitely one of them!

Thankfully, she's uber-prolific!

Jaime Jo is a Christian writer with a deep love of ghost stories, gothic settings, and all kinds of creepy historical settings. I'm definitely not a horror fan, but I loooove her spooky, suspenseful storytelling!

Today, I'm excited to share her latest creation:

The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater

Here's the publisher's blurb:

It promises beauty but steals life instead. Will the ghosts of Barlowe Theater entomb them all?

Barlowe Theater stole the life of Greta Mercy's eldest brother during its construction. Now in 1915, the completed theater appears every bit as deadly. When Greta's younger brother goes missing after breaking into the building, Greta engages the assistance of a local police officer to help her unveil the already ghostly secrets of the theater. But when help comes from an unlikely source, Greta decides that to save her family she must uncover the evil that haunts the theater and put its threat to rest.

Decades later, Kit Boyd's best friend vanishes during a ghost walk at the Barlowe Theater, and old stories of mysterious disappearances and ghoulish happenings are revived. Then television ghost-hunting host and skeptic Evan Fisher joins Kit in the quest to identify the truth behind the theater's history. Kit reluctantly agrees to work with him in hopes of finding her missing friend. As the theater's curse unravels Kit's life, she is determined to put an end to the evil that has marked the theater and their hometown for the last century.

The fictional Barlowe Theater is inspired by the real life Al. Ringling Theatre (see photo below). On Jaime Jo's social media, she took time to explore the real theatre and share some of its beauty and legends.

I spent the first decade of my career as an actor-singer, so the theatre setting caught me right away. Who hasn't gotten lost in the depths of an old theatre and wondered if you might ever find your way out again?

This story completely sucked me in! I loved the mood, the story, the intrigue, the setting, and the characters. 

Jaime Jo has a gift for creating twisty stories
with deeply satisfying endings,
and this tale is no exception!

I highly recommend The Lost Boys of Barlow Theater.

Jaime Jo Wright has a great newsletter and lots of social media content!

You can connect with her at


Photo from https://www.facebook.com/alringlingtheater

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.