Life, Death & Hope
The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan is a powerful, heart-breaking and inspiring historical tale that completely consumed me for a few hours.
The story is set during World War II in Poland as we move from the Warsaw ghetto to Auschwitz. It is told in alternating points of view in the first person. We witness the horrors of the camp. “The monsters live on the outside, not in the dark, and not hidden in any way.” Auschwitz was hell on earth. “I’m not old enough to say Hell, but I’m living at its gates.”
We join an eighteen year old brother and his fourteen year old sister in this awful place. They hold on to hope – hope helps to keep them alive. They fear being told the truth in case hope dies, and so would they.
Strength, hope and luck were needed to survive. Shari J Ryan has captured the fear with her powerful descriptions and her ability to place us inside her characters heads.
War is horrific. War in Nazi-occupied countries was more than just blood-shed. It was brain washing and unbelievable cruelty. “This war isn’t about who has more muscles… it’s about hatred and the repercussions of such a feeling are more powerful than any weapon in this world.” Being a focus of such hatred was a chance of birth. “I’ve done nothing wrong… other than being born into the Jewish faith.”
We see the helplessness of situations. “A prayer is the only way to ask for help.” But even God seemed to have deserted them in the camps. They had to believe that God did hear them despite the silence. They had to hope because to despair was to give in.
For some, they almost wished they could join the line to the gas chambers because then their suffering would be over.
There were those who saw the suffering and who cared and who helped. There were instants of sacrificial bravery. The reader hopes that if we had been there, we would have spoken out. So many kept quiet and for evil to flourish, it just needed good men to do nothing (Edmund Burke).
Shari J Ryan has produced another powerful tale that must be read in memory of the six million innocents.
Within the pages of The Doctor’s Daughter we find life and death and hope.