Official Review: Victoria's War by Catherine A. Hamilton

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kdstrack
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Official Review: Victoria's War by Catherine A. Hamilton

Post by kdstrack »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Victoria's War" by Catherine A. Hamilton.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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“Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows” (The Tempest, Act 2, Scene 2.) Often, these words from Shakespeare find fulfillment during times of chaos, tragedy, or war. That’s how it played out for Victoria and Etta. Victoria was a Pole, captured by SS soldiers and purchased by a German family to work as a slave in the family bakery. Etta, the daughter of the family, was a German deaf-mute girl. Her nationality did not exempt her from being considered defective and subhuman. The misery of both of their situations drew them together. They developed a close friendship while the war raged around them.

Herr and Frau Tod locked Victoria in the attic after she finished her work and frequently beat her. She ate watery soup and slept on the floor. Her Catholic faith faltered, and the harsh living conditions brought her to the brink of despair. Still, her life was luxurious compared to what the other Polish women experienced in the camps. With Etta’s help, Victoria conspired to defy German law and help these women and their children. How long could they keep their actions secret from Etta’s SS brother?

Victoria’s War by Catherine A. Hamilton presented the situation of captured Polish women during the Second World War. It is a historical fiction novel based on facts. The Germans captured 1.7 million Poles who worked in forced labor camps, became the slaves of German families, or were forced to work as prostitutes. These numbers amazed and saddened me. The women showed bravery and courage while being humiliated and dehumanized because of their nationality. I liked reading about their audacious and daring acts.

Victoria portrayed the women’s lives inside the camps where they worked to furnish supplies for the Germans. She worked in a clothing factory, sewing shirts and coats for German soldiers until the Tod family purchased her. The author did a fantastic job of developing Victoria’s character. It was easy to relate to Victoria’s disappointment over lost dreams and her spiritual struggles to comprehend what was happening. Her determination to survive and her desire to help others motivate readers not to give up when they experience difficult situations.

The story contains violent scenes. Victoria received physical beatings when she did not perform her duties. Etta’s mother belittled her daughter due to her handicap and destroyed her paintings. Some women were raped. The story talks about what happened to their babies. It was heartbreaking to read about the Polish women who became pregnant. These scenes were what I disliked about the book. We may be tempted to turn our eyes away from the ugly events of history. Hiding from the past does not erase it. It only makes us ignorant of what happened.

I am pleased to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The author’s passion for her fellow countrymen made the characters and the dialogues come to life. The relative lack of errors allowed me to read the 286 pages of this book without any obstacles. I recommend this story to all who want to learn more about World War II, especially the treatment of Polish Catholic Women. Victoria’s War is a story about friendship, survival, and courage in the face of persecution. Readers who dislike violence should be aware that the author included historically accurate descriptions of the Nazi's treatment of their prisoners.

******
Victoria's War
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Tjbarn86
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Post by Tjbarn86 »

Comes off to me as a splendid touching read. The review already sets me on a feel of acquaintance to this book and it is a read I could definitely read down the road. Sure adding it to my to be read. A great way to dive into perspective of that time period indeed. Victoria's war.
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Post by Shadow_Mundane13 »

In Victoria's War we follow the life of one Polish woman caught in the machinations of a war that has no pity. Inspired by the life of a real woman subjected to Hitler s forced labor program, Victoria's War reveals the hatred and fanaticism against Poles in Nazi Germany and the specific vulnerabilities of women that made their lives a living hell. Hamilton's story about a largely ignored aspect of women s history is emotionally evocative and rich in detail.
Some stories that need to be told are never told. They languish in a limbo of forgotten stories that should never have been forgotten. Hamilton's Victoria's War resurrects one of these stories. In language intimate and natural and yet touched by the poetry of truth, Hamilton tells the story of a young girl who is the victim of war. Too often, we think only of the men who go to war and do heroic things. We forget the other victims and heroes of war, the women like Victoria in this brilliant novel.
Last edited by Shadow_Mundane13 on 27 Nov 2020, 02:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Maria Esposito »

Wow, this sounds like a vibrant, and yet sad, story. I agree with you that we would like to look away from these things, but we must keep reading about them. Thank you for a well-written and heartfelt review.
The strongest impetus a man will ever have, in an individual sense, will come from a woman he admires.

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RHD
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Post by RHD »

It's true a lot of humanity is busy being ignorant of the past events. Ironically, these same 'forgotten' happenings are very much shaping our present and future situations. Thank you for such a detailed and insightful review 👌
kdstrack
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Post by kdstrack »

Tjbarn86 wrote: 27 Nov 2020, 01:49 Comes off to me as a splendid touching read. The review already sets me on a feel of acquaintance to this book and it is a read I could definitely read down the road. Sure adding it to my to be read. A great way to dive into perspective of that time period indeed. Victoria's war.
The details that the author included in the book impressed me and opened my mind to a different aspect of the war. I hope you have a chance to read it, too! Thanks for leaving a comment.
kdstrack
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Post by kdstrack »

Shadow_Mundane13 wrote: 27 Nov 2020, 02:44 In Victoria's War we follow the life of one Polish woman caught in the machinations of a war that has no pity. Inspired by the life of a real woman subjected to Hitler s forced labor program, Victoria's War reveals the hatred and fanaticism against Poles in Nazi Germany and the specific vulnerabilities of women that made their lives a living hell. Hamilton's story about a largely ignored aspect of women s history is emotionally evocative and rich in detail.
Some stories that need to be told are never told. They languish in a limbo of forgotten stories that should never have been forgotten. Hamilton's Victoria's War resurrects one of these stories. In language intimate and natural and yet touched by the poetry of truth, Hamilton tells the story of a young girl who is the victim of war. Too often, we think only of the men who go to war and do heroic things. We forget the other victims and heroes of war, the women like Victoria in this brilliant novel.
Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate your thoughtful and insightful comments. Victoria's War is unique in the story it tells and the information that the author shares. I hope you will have an opportunity to read about Victoria.
kdstrack
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Post by kdstrack »

Maria Esposito wrote: 27 Nov 2020, 05:22 Wow, this sounds like a vibrant, and yet sad, story. I agree with you that we would like to look away from these things, but we must keep reading about them. Thank you for a well-written and heartfelt review.
The author did an amazing job of portraying Victoria and the Polish women. The courage and resilience of these women overwhelms and inspires at the same time. I appreciated all the historical information the author incorporated into the fictional story. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
kdstrack
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Post by kdstrack »

RHD wrote: 27 Nov 2020, 12:33 It's true a lot of humanity is busy being ignorant of the past events. Ironically, these same 'forgotten' happenings are very much shaping our present and future situations. Thank you for such a detailed and insightful review 👌
So true! Forgetting or avoiding the truth of history does not mean these events do not affect our present and future. Thanks for your insightful comments!
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Post by Dominik_G »

I'm not generally drawn to historical fiction, but Victoria's War might be an exception. I'm tempted to pick it up after reading your excellent review. Thank you!
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Post by Ellylion »

Not quite my cup of tea, but those interested in historical fiction and WWII period of time would like this one for sure! Thanks for a great review :)
kdstrack
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Post by kdstrack »

Dominik_G wrote: 29 Nov 2020, 05:46 I'm not generally drawn to historical fiction, but Victoria's War might be an exception. I'm tempted to pick it up after reading your excellent review. Thank you!
I hope you will read it. The author has done a good job of blending historical information with fiction. You will be engrossed by Victoria's story. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments!
kdstrack
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Post by kdstrack »

Ellylion wrote: 29 Nov 2020, 10:51 Not quite my cup of tea, but those interested in historical fiction and WWII period of time would like this one for sure! Thanks for a great review :)
Thanks for stopping and leaving a comment. I appreciate your feedback! :-)
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Post by Prisallen »

It is difficult to believe that human beings can treat each other that way, but unfortunately, it is based on the truth. This sounds like an intriguing historical fiction book. Thanks for your well-written review!
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Post by anua24060 »

Seems like an intense and interesting read. It shows how wars cannot differentiate human beings and bonds can be formed even in despair. Great review!
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