The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

He Makes A Way

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke is a powerful Christian historical novel set in Nazi occupied Warsaw during WWII. Cathy Gohlke has woven a fictional tale around factual events. Real figures such as Dr Korczak and Irena Sendler put in an appearance in this heart wrenching tale. The fact that we know that these events happens really affects the emotional response to the novel.

As the Nazis marched into Poland, the world seemed silent. “Where was the world?” Poland felt abandoned to its fate and it remained abandoned.

Cathy Gohlke has penned a traumatic tale following two women throughout the war. The novel alternates between their voices as we follow their fates. We witness the bravery – ordinary women who did extraordinary acts of courage to help their fellow man.

Nazi persecution of both Jewish and Polish people was the way of life. There were always those who would report their neighbours. Trust was in short supply. There were those who would put their life on the line. When asked why, the response was: “My husband risks his life each day to save others- because that is what Jesus did, and what He wants us to do.”

War changes people. They do things they would not normally do. We must never judge others if we have not walked in their shoes. Who knows what choices we would make in times of war? One character finds themselves living a lie. It began with the best of intensions but as peace time descends, the lie spirals out of control, threatening the inner peace of a character and those all around.

The final part of the novel is set in London. I was horrified to see that the Polish Jews still received prejudice there.

The Medallion is not an escapist read but it is a necessary one. It is powerful, heart wrenching and realistic. There were some harrowing scenes (based on fact, the historian in me recognised them). Cathy Gohlke has captured the horrors of war for civilians – ordinary Polish people who lived and loved before the Nazis moved in and persecuted them. The two main characters focus the reader’s attention to the microcosm of war. The macrocosm being played out all over Nazi occupied Europe.

Cathy Gohlke is a splendid author. She presents powerful fictional stories grounded in fact. We witness a God who is faithful but we see the realistic struggle of people trying to find God in the midst of all that suffering and horror.

The Medallion must be read in memory of the six million innocents and the brave souls who helped them.

I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


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