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In VICTORIA’S WAR, Hamilton gives voice to the courageous Polish women who were kidnapped into the real-life Nazi slave labor operation during WWII. Inspired by true stories, this lost chapter of history won’t soon be forgotten. POLAND, 1939: Nineteen-year-old Victoria Darski is eager to move away to college: her bags are packed and her train ticket is in hand. But instead In VICTORIA’S WAR, Hamilton gives voice to the courageous Polish women who were kidnapped into the real-life Nazi slave labor operation during WWII. Inspired by true stories, this lost chapter of history won’t soon be forgotten. POLAND, 1939: Nineteen-year-old Victoria Darski is eager to move away to college: her bags are packed and her train ticket is in hand. But instead of boarding a train to the University of Warsaw, she finds her world turned upside down when World War II breaks out. Victoria’s father is sent to a raging battlefront, and the Darski women face the cruelty of the invaders alone. After the unthinkable happens, Victoria is ordered to work in a Nazi sewing factory. When she decides to go to a resistance meeting with her best friend, Sylvia, they are captured by human traffickers targeting Polish teenagers. Sylvia is singled out and sent to work in the brothels, and Victoria is transported in a cattle car to Berlin, where she is auctioned off as a slave. GERMANY, 1941: Twenty-year-old Etta Tod is at Mercy Hospital, where she’s about to undergo involuntary sterilization because of the Fuhrer’s mandate to eliminate hereditary deafness. Etta, an artist, silently critiques the propaganda poster on the waiting room wall while her mother tries to convince her she should be glad to get rid of her monthlies. Etta is the daughter of the German shopkeepers who buy Victoria at auction in Berlin. The stories of Victoria and Etta intertwine in the bakery’s attic where Victoria is held—the same place where Etta has hidden her anti-Nazi paintings. The two women form a quick and enduring bond. But when they’re caught stealing bread from the bakery and smuggling it to a nearby work camp, everything changes.


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In VICTORIA’S WAR, Hamilton gives voice to the courageous Polish women who were kidnapped into the real-life Nazi slave labor operation during WWII. Inspired by true stories, this lost chapter of history won’t soon be forgotten. POLAND, 1939: Nineteen-year-old Victoria Darski is eager to move away to college: her bags are packed and her train ticket is in hand. But instead In VICTORIA’S WAR, Hamilton gives voice to the courageous Polish women who were kidnapped into the real-life Nazi slave labor operation during WWII. Inspired by true stories, this lost chapter of history won’t soon be forgotten. POLAND, 1939: Nineteen-year-old Victoria Darski is eager to move away to college: her bags are packed and her train ticket is in hand. But instead of boarding a train to the University of Warsaw, she finds her world turned upside down when World War II breaks out. Victoria’s father is sent to a raging battlefront, and the Darski women face the cruelty of the invaders alone. After the unthinkable happens, Victoria is ordered to work in a Nazi sewing factory. When she decides to go to a resistance meeting with her best friend, Sylvia, they are captured by human traffickers targeting Polish teenagers. Sylvia is singled out and sent to work in the brothels, and Victoria is transported in a cattle car to Berlin, where she is auctioned off as a slave. GERMANY, 1941: Twenty-year-old Etta Tod is at Mercy Hospital, where she’s about to undergo involuntary sterilization because of the Fuhrer’s mandate to eliminate hereditary deafness. Etta, an artist, silently critiques the propaganda poster on the waiting room wall while her mother tries to convince her she should be glad to get rid of her monthlies. Etta is the daughter of the German shopkeepers who buy Victoria at auction in Berlin. The stories of Victoria and Etta intertwine in the bakery’s attic where Victoria is held—the same place where Etta has hidden her anti-Nazi paintings. The two women form a quick and enduring bond. But when they’re caught stealing bread from the bakery and smuggling it to a nearby work camp, everything changes.

30 review for Victoria's War

  1. 4 out of 5

    marilyn

    Publication date is June 2, 2020 The historical fiction, Victoria's War, by Catherine A Hamilton, gives us faces and names for just a few of the 1.7 million Poles that were forced into slave labor by Nazi, Germany. This number excluded POWs and half of this number were women. The character of Victoria, represents just one of these women and her story is horrid despite the fact that she has things better than other slaves, during some of her time. Victoria is bought at auction, for the price of th Publication date is June 2, 2020 The historical fiction, Victoria's War, by Catherine A Hamilton, gives us faces and names for just a few of the 1.7 million Poles that were forced into slave labor by Nazi, Germany. This number excluded POWs and half of this number were women. The character of Victoria, represents just one of these women and her story is horrid despite the fact that she has things better than other slaves, during some of her time. Victoria is bought at auction, for the price of three loaves of bread, to be the slave of a German baker and his wife. Her cruel owners have no worries for the time she might be worked or starved to death because there are always more slaves available. Victoria works 14 hours a day for her one very meager "meal" and is beaten regularly by the couple who owns her. She lives in a closed attic, that freezes in the winter and swelters in the summer, but she knows that her plight is so much better than the women living in the work camps, where women die daily, due to starvation and disease.  But Victoria has an ally in the couple's artistic, deaf/mute daughter, Etta, who loves Victoria as a sister and who protects Victoria and other Nazi victims, behind the backs of her parents, SS brother, and other Nazis. Etta's mother hates her and has always threatened Etta that she will send her to an institution for the insane. Victoria and Etta work together to help prisoners, slaves, victims of the Nazis, risking their own lives to do what they can to keep others alive long enough to hopefully see the end of the war. The story is heartbreaking but inspiring, as we meet so many people who are willing to die in order to provide one more piece of bread, one more blanket, to the thousands of prisoners of the Nazis.  Behind the story of Victoria, Etta, and the others that they work with, in order to save lives, the author does a fantastic job of allowing us to be very aware of the multitudes of people suffering under the Nazi regime. Even Etta, as a girl born to a loyal German family, suffers because she is not perfect, which means she is worthless in the eyes of the Nazis. The afterword of the book details information that shows how widespread the Nazi net was thrown, to enslave, imprison, and kill, so many people that did not meet the Nazi standards. If possible, obtain the print version of this book because there are photos and captions included in the book, that enhance this story. Even with the digital version of the book, I could see these pictures and they add to the reality of what happened during the Holocaust.  Thank you to Plain View Press and NetGalley for this ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    Bravery, Strength, courage, and valor ........things that often seem to be missing in the world we now live in. Every time I think I know all of the heinous facets of the Nazis during the war, another one comes along. In the story, Victoria's War, we meet a group of women, brave women and some men who try their best to fight against the tyranny , the crimes against humanity, and the horrid acts of death and perversion that the Nazis carried out. This story dealt with the treatment of the Catholic Bravery, Strength, courage, and valor ........things that often seem to be missing in the world we now live in. Every time I think I know all of the heinous facets of the Nazis during the war, another one comes along. In the story, Victoria's War, we meet a group of women, brave women and some men who try their best to fight against the tyranny , the crimes against humanity, and the horrid acts of death and perversion that the Nazis carried out. This story dealt with the treatment of the Catholic Polish people, many of which were sent to camps and annihilated while some were sold as slaves to Germans, who treated them like chattel, subjected them to inhuman treatment, and thought of them as human filth. Victoria, the main protagonist in this book, is subjected to harsh treatment after she was sold into slavery to a German couple who owned a bakery. Their treasured son was a SS officer, their pride and joy, while his sister, Etta, a deaf mute, was treated abhorrently by her mother who followed the Nazi code that a human who was handicapped even if they were German, was a defective being. Victoria and Etta form a friendship over time, a secret one that was ultimately dedicated to helping those trapped in the world of hellish proportions. Some were sent to prison camps, some were worked until they perished without adequate food and clothing, and some were placed into houses where they were forced to become prostitutes. It is the latter, that Victoria, after Etta is taken away to an institution, desires to help, thus placing her life on the line. This was a sad story and one that opened my eyes once again to the dangers of a totalitarian state, one that manipulates its people to get what they desire, total control of all. It also made me realize that people are often sheep like, they fall into line and it is the brave ones who step out of that line and come forward to protect what is right and just. This was an interesting story and a first effort by a new author who did a nice job relating incidents that actually occurred. I do recommend it as a glimpse at some of the shocking and hideous acts that were performed by the Nazis under Hitler's leadership. I think, as we lament where we are today, reading a book such as this makes one realize that what we are going through now is not even close to the destruction that meet so many during the war. Thank you to Catherine A. Hamilton, Plain View Press, and NetGalley for a copy of this book due to be published on June 2, 2020.

  3. 5 out of 5

    "Avonna

    Check out all of my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com VICTORIA’S WAR by Catherine A. Hamilton is a historical fiction novel that depicts the horrific lives of Polish women kidnapped by the Nazi’s for slavery in Germany during the Second World War. Ms. Hamilton’s writing paints a picture that is emotionally disturbing and heartrending with an unforgettable protagonist. Victoria Darski is packed and ready to leave for college as the Nazis come sweeping into Poland and her whole world is Check out all of my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com VICTORIA’S WAR by Catherine A. Hamilton is a historical fiction novel that depicts the horrific lives of Polish women kidnapped by the Nazi’s for slavery in Germany during the Second World War. Ms. Hamilton’s writing paints a picture that is emotionally disturbing and heartrending with an unforgettable protagonist. Victoria Darski is packed and ready to leave for college as the Nazis come sweeping into Poland and her whole world is changed. Her father leaves to fight with the Polish army, her younger sister is shot to death right in front of her and she must now work at the sewing factory with her mother. After two years of occupation, one night she is persuaded by her best friend, Sylvia to attend a resistance meeting and they are captured. They are sent to Germany and Sylvia is selected to work as a prostitute in a brothel while Victoria is auctioned off as slave to a German baker in Berlin. Simultaneously, Etta Tod a deaf/mute, amateur artist is taken to the hospital by her mother for involuntary sterilization. Etta’s family are Nazi party members and believers in the cause. Her father and brother love her, but her mother only sees her deafness as a defect and hates her for it. When her brother brings the swangsarbeit (Polish slave) home to work at the bakery, Etta believes she has found a friend to confide in. Victoria and Etta form an ever-increasing bond. They conspire with friends in the White Rose resistance to smuggle extra bread to the nearby work camp and brothel. When their conspiracy is discovered, everything changes. I was completely engrossed in Victoria’s story the minute I started reading. Sometimes we are so focused on the Jewish Holocaust, that we forget that the German Aryans believed they were superior to and hated everyone who was not of their race. This story portrays the atrocities perpetrated against Polish women and German’s with disabilities in a fictional history novel that brought the places and time to life and left me distressed, thoughtful and emotionally drained. All the characters were realistically written and I felt completely engaged in their life and death struggles over the six year time period of the book. I highly recommend Victoria’s War. It is a beautiful story that is a tribute to all the women the characters represent.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette Lewis

    My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for this advanced copy to read and review this e-book. To the thousands of women who died in Nazi slave labour camps and to those Germans with a physical or mental disability murdered by their own countrymen this story is written in parallel to each of the two of the main female characters but from different scenarios and events colliding together at a point and then separating only for one to understand her destination of death with the other to grow in My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for this advanced copy to read and review this e-book. To the thousands of women who died in Nazi slave labour camps and to those Germans with a physical or mental disability murdered by their own countrymen this story is written in parallel to each of the two of the main female characters but from different scenarios and events colliding together at a point and then separating only for one to understand her destination of death with the other to grow in bravery beyond her own imagination. To the disbelief of Victoria Darski with just two hours to go before she is due to catch her train to start university, bags packed, an announcement is made over the radio that the Nazis have invaded their country, Poland. A full scale invasion of armed soldiers and tanks. At the same time there is a further announcement that the university has been closed. Believing that the Allies will come to Poland's aid, Victoria holds onto the hope that she will still start university. However, German orders are that no one is to leave their homes until their identifications are issued. This puts a strain on the family with Victoria and her sister Elizabeth quarrelling and their mother trying to make the best of things. Elizabeth is fourteen and it seems left to do many of the household chores while Victoria a little recalcitrant still fantasises about her university dream. It's not until the first visit by the Nazis that the realisation of what fate is about to deal to them becomes clear. Elizabeth is killed by the soldiers in their home. It's this event that haunts Victoria as the story unfolds. Etta is a deaf German girl whose parents run a Bakery. They are true Nazi believers with their son Wolfgang an SS officer. Etta's mother has one thorn in her side that in her delusional mind she has an imperfect daughter, so, not in tune with the Fuhrer's idealism for his superior race. Etta suffers torment from her mother with the constant threat of being sent to an institution. This unkind behaviour is not shared by Etta's father or brother who show her love, sign to her in conversation and for Etta along with her love of art helps her to endure her mother's scourge. Her studio is in an attic room where she can escape to and wonders, if she will ever, at some time be able attend art school. After initially being sent as a machinist in a clothing factory through being at the wrong place at the wrong time Victoria finds herself a prisoner from a round up by German soldiers of Resistors. Sharing her fate is her childhood foreign language teacher who embarks on dragging from Victoria's memory the German taught to her at that time. Mrs Koser is the force by which Victoria's bravery begins to grow within her. She is assigned as a worker for the bakery and even though she is badly treated by Etta's parents for the first time in Etta's life she finds Victoria an agreeable companion, a pretend sister, someone to share her dreams with. Eventually through developing circumstances they form a team whereby they are able to help those in the prison camps until Etta finds herself sent away to the place she has always feared. Victoria is deeply affected by Etta's forced removal which makes her more determined to continue with the routine that they had started and she embarks on adding more life saving deliveries for the prisoners until she is discovered.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Bannister

    I Enjoyed everything about this book there was nothing I didn't like about the book. I would gladly reread it again. I Would recommend this book to anyone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    R

    Victoria’s War was a very intriguing debut novel. This historical fiction was set during WWII and highlighted two very different women: Victoria, a Polish Catholic who was all set to start at a university when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, and Etta, a 20 year old German deaf artist. They met when Victoria, kidnapped and forced into the Nazi slave labor operation, was bought by Etta’s father to work in their bakery. Etta tried to protect Victoria as much as possible, but the brutality of Hitler’ Victoria’s War was a very intriguing debut novel. This historical fiction was set during WWII and highlighted two very different women: Victoria, a Polish Catholic who was all set to start at a university when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, and Etta, a 20 year old German deaf artist. They met when Victoria, kidnapped and forced into the Nazi slave labor operation, was bought by Etta’s father to work in their bakery. Etta tried to protect Victoria as much as possible, but the brutality of Hitler’s war left no one unscathed. This historical fiction was inspired by real people and events- the kidnapping of 1.5 million Polish Catholics. The author’s extensive research resulted in a very emotional read and gave voice to all those that survived and died during this horrific time period. An ARC was given for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Victoria's War is a fantastic debut from author Catherine A. Hamilton. A historical fiction written about 2 characters that experience WWII and in a way become 'sisters'. Victoria is just 2 hours away from leaving for college when Hitler invades Poland in 1939. She is soon sent to Berlin as Slave Labor. There she meets Etta, who is deaf and an artist. They become friends and try to help the slave labor camps. Each will take different paths, one betrayed and the other barely surviving the war. The Victoria's War is a fantastic debut from author Catherine A. Hamilton. A historical fiction written about 2 characters that experience WWII and in a way become 'sisters'. Victoria is just 2 hours away from leaving for college when Hitler invades Poland in 1939. She is soon sent to Berlin as Slave Labor. There she meets Etta, who is deaf and an artist. They become friends and try to help the slave labor camps. Each will take different paths, one betrayed and the other barely surviving the war. The Todt Organization was the largest and most secretive wartime slave operation in modern history. This operation would be considered human trafficking today. The Nazis captured 1.5 million Polish Catholics, more than half a million women, to work as slaves. This book is a tribute to those Polish Women who died under the Nazi Slave Labor program and to those who suffered through the humiliation of slavery, but survived to tell their story. If you like historical fiction, don't pass this book up. It will be published on June 2, 2020. I highly recommend. Thanks to Netgalley, Hamilton and the publisher for the Kindle version of this book, for my honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christina Hutt

    First I want to thank Net Galley and Plain View Press for allowing me to read this book and give an honest opinion of my thoughts on the book. This subject interested me because I never knew about Polish women slaves during World War 2. This book starts off prior to Germany invading Poland and as 19 year old girl is getting ready to start college. Victoria, the aforementioned 19 year old, whole life changed when war broke out and her father is drafted to the front. Victoria's little sister is ki First I want to thank Net Galley and Plain View Press for allowing me to read this book and give an honest opinion of my thoughts on the book. This subject interested me because I never knew about Polish women slaves during World War 2. This book starts off prior to Germany invading Poland and as 19 year old girl is getting ready to start college. Victoria, the aforementioned 19 year old, whole life changed when war broke out and her father is drafted to the front. Victoria's little sister is killed by SS and she and her mom are forced into slave labor at a factory, sewing shirts for the SS. Victoria joins her best friend Sylvia at a resistance meeting and is picked up and placed into slave labor. She spends days on trains and ends up at a place where they split the girls up into different categories (Victoria for slave labor sale and Sylvia off to be a forced prostitute for SS soldiers. Victoria is bought by a Captain whose parents own a bakery. The baker and his wife are true believes of the Reich and have a deaf and mute daughter Etta who befriends Victoria. The book spans years and each character evolves. I enjoyed this book, though at times it did drag and seem repetitive. If you want to learn more (I truly enjoyed the afterward which talks more about the Polish slaves) I highly recommend this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lili Marcus

    4.5 stars Victoria’s War, as indicated, is set in World War II and centers on a journey of the young woman, Victoria Darski. There’s a commentary in the beginning of the book by another author, John Guzlowski, that says too often we only remember the men who fight the war and forget the other victims and heroes, the women like Victoria Darski. And right then, even before I started reading the story, I know this novel will stay with me long after reading it. And I also think that I read this at th 4.5 stars Victoria’s War, as indicated, is set in World War II and centers on a journey of the young woman, Victoria Darski. There’s a commentary in the beginning of the book by another author, John Guzlowski, that says too often we only remember the men who fight the war and forget the other victims and heroes, the women like Victoria Darski. And right then, even before I started reading the story, I know this novel will stay with me long after reading it. And I also think that I read this at the right time considering what’s happening in the world right now. By the way, the author clarified that all the characters are fictional but only inspired by real people and actual events. But fictional or not, Victoria is a character that I won’t ever forget. Not just because of everything she’s gone through but most importantly how her character evolved throughout the book. From a teenager who cares for nothing but her dream to go to a University, Victoria turned into a courageous, selfless young woman that I admire. It’s amazing. Of course, what she’s gone through helped molding her character but I also believe that not everyone who went through fire comes out as diamond. Victoria comes out as a diamond. The story didn’t focus solely on Victoria though. Sure, all the events that took place in the entirety of the story has something to do with Victoria’s journey, but the author did a good job at showing the whole picture of the war. Which makes the readers care for not Victoria only but for everyone who suffers in the war. Not only that, though the book is about the suffering of the Polish under the Nazi, the book didn’t make all the Germans the villains. Because aside from the events, each person Victoria met has influenced her in some way. And not every person she met along the way is Polish. Etta is a German, for example. Victoria and Etta, for me, both symbolize something. Victoria, the women who died in Nazi labor camps and Etta, the disabled Germans who were wronged by their own country. I love how this aspect is shown. In fact, I like how the war is shown in the story. Lastly, I want to point out that there are times, the story dragged or even become repetitive. But never did I found myself bored because I already cared so much for the characters. Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this book. Like I said, Victoria’s War is the kind of book that will stay with me long after reading it, with its admirable and unforgettable characters.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Donna Urbikas

    Though I am not a fan of most fiction, this engaging historical novel brings a horrific phase of WWII history vividly into compelling detail through the eyes of one young woman who survives and valiantly thrives. Based on the author's true life family, she brings the human story of how women survived their forced circumstances of war. Lovers of historical fiction and students of WWII will find this a must-read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Hodorowicz

    This book reveals much about a little known aspect of World War II when the women of Poland were made to work for the Third Reich against their will under threats of being sent to a concentration camp. The faced hunger, starvation and death as well as lonliness and despair while toiling month after month, year after year. It reveals the complexities of war where enemies become friends and where small kindnesses can save a life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    And On She Reads

    Many thanks to Mindbuck Media for getting in touch with me to read and review “Victoria’s War”, I’m so very glad to have had the opportunity. Telling the story of just some of the situations women faced in occupied Poland and Germany during the second World War, this hard hitting and at times out right harrowing book really doesn’t hold back. The language used is somewhat simplistic, and while in some situations that would be a criticism, in this case it actually works in the book’s favour; it gi Many thanks to Mindbuck Media for getting in touch with me to read and review “Victoria’s War”, I’m so very glad to have had the opportunity. Telling the story of just some of the situations women faced in occupied Poland and Germany during the second World War, this hard hitting and at times out right harrowing book really doesn’t hold back. The language used is somewhat simplistic, and while in some situations that would be a criticism, in this case it actually works in the book’s favour; it gives more power and responsibility to the actions discussed rather than the words. Victoria is getting ready to start university on the day that war is declared in Poland. Life changes in an instant, as it does for the other women we meet throughout the course of the novel. There are some situations that can be read about as pure facts without absorption, but when applied to characters you feel a connection to, the impact of what you know changes. What is particularly clever as a writing technique about this novel is the use of German as a tactic to get across just how overwhelming the language barrier would be. To not only be treated in the way these women are, but to be shouted at in another tongue, where you know only the bare minimum. Catherine A. Hamilton touchingly includes the family inspiration for this novel at the beginning, and this stayed with me as I read the book; people I’ve never met, but real people, undergoing the situations and treatment I was reading about. This book manages to tread the delicate line of high impact and easy reading, which is a difficult balance to achieve. I read this book in a day, because I simply couldn’t put it down, and needed to know what happened to everyone involved. As always with stories of war and terror, it isn’t a pleasant read as such, yet manages to be enjoyable whilst breaking your heart. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a war fiction novel, or a story of how women have been mistreated. We so often feel the brute force of war without being on the front line, and this is just one story of how. It was intriguing, painful, and beautiful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Marusiak

    This book is set during WWii in Poland. It about Victoria, a young woman about to go to college, and her family and friends. It's a fictional depiction of actual events. It's a very emotional read. I would suggest this for anyone interested in human history.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Saswati Saha Mitra

    Victoria’s War is a novel about slave labour that 1.5 Million Polish people were forced into during World War II. In Victoria Darski, you have a protagonist who bears loss after loss, of her sister, her guardian angel, Etta Tod, and her mentor, Mrs. Kosa. She lives through survivor’s guilt to find peace at the end. Hamilton’s book is well researched and the narrative feels authentic. She sensitively excavates several incidents of history whether it is in the history of the potato farming slaves i Victoria’s War is a novel about slave labour that 1.5 Million Polish people were forced into during World War II. In Victoria Darski, you have a protagonist who bears loss after loss, of her sister, her guardian angel, Etta Tod, and her mentor, Mrs. Kosa. She lives through survivor’s guilt to find peace at the end. Hamilton’s book is well researched and the narrative feels authentic. She sensitively excavates several incidents of history whether it is in the history of the potato farming slaves in the Magdeburg area or the death by guillotine of German and Polish protestors, neither of which I was familiar with. These narratives diversify the master narrative of the Holocaust and WWII. It’s a good read, sensitive and easy, complimentary to Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. Read it if you like historical fiction. My only regret about the book is the cover design. It feels dated but hopefully readers will look beyond it. Thanks to NetGalley for sharing the ARC in exchange of a fair review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I don't know if my review can do this story justice. Victoria's War takes the reader along on the journey of a young Polish woman who experiences personal loss, degradation, and physical abuse as a slave laborer in Nazi Germany. An additional point of view is that of Etta, the deaf-mute daughter of Victoria's owners, and it makes the story all-the-more special. In the midst of the real and raw situations (although handled as delicately as possible) in which Victoria and the other main characters I don't know if my review can do this story justice. Victoria's War takes the reader along on the journey of a young Polish woman who experiences personal loss, degradation, and physical abuse as a slave laborer in Nazi Germany. An additional point of view is that of Etta, the deaf-mute daughter of Victoria's owners, and it makes the story all-the-more special. In the midst of the real and raw situations (although handled as delicately as possible) in which Victoria and the other main characters exist and with which they must cope or die, the author manages to inject episodes of beauty and human kindness as well as moments of comic relief. Because of those, I did not feel overwhelmed by the horrors depicted in the story but was able to reflect on several of them and their parallels with events or conditions in today's world. Victoria's stamina and emotional and spiritual growth give the reader hope that she will triumph in some way before the story's end, and I was not disappointed. Other characters, especially Etta and Mrs. Kosa, are equally impressive and well developed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews

    What an intriguing read!  In the past, I did not delve into history and what happened during various wars or what influenced people and countries.  This book focuses on the Polish women that were enslaved by Germany and forced to work in camps, factories, or as prostitutes for the Germans.  We know a lot about what happened to the Jewish population, but not much is made known about others that were enslaved and killed just because one man did not like them. The book focuses primarily on two young What an intriguing read!  In the past, I did not delve into history and what happened during various wars or what influenced people and countries.  This book focuses on the Polish women that were enslaved by Germany and forced to work in camps, factories, or as prostitutes for the Germans.  We know a lot about what happened to the Jewish population, but not much is made known about others that were enslaved and killed just because one man did not like them. The book focuses primarily on two young women and their relationship with each other.  Victoria was all set to attend college when her plans were dashed by the war and German soldiers.  Etta is a deaf-mute in Germany that is a talented artist but is scorned by her mother because of her disabilities.  These two women come together when Victoria is purchased by an SS officer for his parent's bakery to assist in cleaning and whatever else they want her to do in order to stay alive. Leading up to her life in the bakery, we follow Victoria and other women through a train ride to Berlin in cramped quarters, living in a shed at the mercy of the German officers, and other events that shape their hopes and dreams for the future.  All of this because they were Catholic, Polish, Gypsies, or Serbian.  Men took what they wanted and did not care about these women or their lives. Once at the bakery, Etta seems something in Victoria and reaches out to her in friendship, but in secret.  Had either of Etta's parents known what she was doing they would have probably beaten Etta and killed Victoria.  Etta's mother, Frau Tod, is fully brainwashed by the Nazi party and believes that her daughter is less because she cannot hear or speak.  Her father and brother are not the same way, but they have their own issues.  Despite everything, Etta feels a kinship with Victoria especially since Etta does not hold the same beliefs as the Nazi Party.  In fact, I think you could call her a sympathizer.  They work together to assist those being held in camps to hopefully survive. This story, while fiction, is based on facts and I challenge anyone reading this book to walk away from it without heartache for what these people endured during the war.  Their will to survive and do whatever they had to do to stay alive and perhaps even work against the Germans to regain their freedom.  There are several heart-stopping moments and this book tore at my beliefs and my soul.  There is so much I could tell you about this book but do not want to spoil it for any reader. We give this book 5 paws up.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: The radio changed Victoria Darski's world. It brought swing jazz and blues into her living room. And on the first of September, when she sat on the high-backed sofa and reached for the brass knob on the cabinet radio, it brought news of war. Premise/plot: Victoria's War is a fictionalized account based on the author's researching real women's experiences in Poland during the Second World War. The novel might be called Victoria's War, but it isn't just Victoria's war--it is everyon First sentence: The radio changed Victoria Darski's world. It brought swing jazz and blues into her living room. And on the first of September, when she sat on the high-backed sofa and reached for the brass knob on the cabinet radio, it brought news of war. Premise/plot: Victoria's War is a fictionalized account based on the author's researching real women's experiences in Poland during the Second World War. The novel might be called Victoria's War, but it isn't just Victoria's war--it is everyone's war. And readers get multiple perspectives on the war from a woman's point of view. The first few chapters give readers a taste of what to expect: war brings cruelty, brutality, horrors, hardships, pain, shame, regret, guilt. If these first few chapters are too much, too intense, too painful...the rest of the novel will definitely prove overwhelming. My thoughts: I love, love, love, love, love reading war stories. Not because I love war--I don't. But because I believe that every voice is worth hearing, every story worth telling. Especially when stories are researched, realistic, true to life. (I do read both fiction and nonfiction.) Just because it's painful and uncomfortable to witness doesn't mean I should turn away and dismiss. That being said, I am an adult. I would not by any means suggest handing intense, not-quite-age-appropriate war books to young readers and forcing them to bear witness to atrocities of the past. One's own mental health and mental state will also play a role in what you yourself seek to read. But I don't shy away from the darkness, the sorrow, the pain. I see you. I hear you. Victoria's War has its darkness. I won't lie. But it's got a resilient, compassionate, empathetic, heroine who has gumption, courage, and strength. I loved, loved, loved, loved, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the ending. It was WORTH IT.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kent Davis

    A brilliant novel! In Victoria’s War Catherine Hamilton tells the parallel stories of two women—Victoria, a Polish Catholic sold into forced labor at a German bakery during World War II and Etta, the baker’s daughter, who is deaf and therefore despised by her own mother, a devoted Nazi, who considers her inferior because of her disability. But Etta is far from inferior. She is brilliant and brave and defiant. When Victoria is housed in the attic room that Etta uses as her secret studio, where sh A brilliant novel! In Victoria’s War Catherine Hamilton tells the parallel stories of two women—Victoria, a Polish Catholic sold into forced labor at a German bakery during World War II and Etta, the baker’s daughter, who is deaf and therefore despised by her own mother, a devoted Nazi, who considers her inferior because of her disability. But Etta is far from inferior. She is brilliant and brave and defiant. When Victoria is housed in the attic room that Etta uses as her secret studio, where she paints the very paintings forbidden by the Third Reich, the two women form a deep and lasting bond. Facing the gruesome trials that women often face during war, they both learn that they are far braver than they ever could have imagined. This stunning novel, written in a clear and beautiful prose that highlights the stark and tragic truths of war, tells a forgotten story of World War II that has long needed to be told. A story of tragedy and of the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. Kent O. Davis

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Ludwigsen

    Victoria's War brings a seldom told story to life in this breathtaking historical fiction novel. Beautifully-written, excellently-paced, with great character development, I really enjoyed reading about Victoria and Etta and the many struggles they faced. The scenes of them in the attic were brilliant in showing how a place can be both a safe haven and a place of fear and anxiety. I highly recommend reading this book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    War hurts. It hurts the fighting soldiers, and it hurts those left behind. It splits apart families, some of which are never reunited. It hurts emotionally, and it hurts physically. No one escapes. War gobbles up its victims one by one. Victoria Darski is a Polish woman, living in Lagodny during the Nazi takeover in 1939. She lives with her mother, and her sister Elizabeth. One day, without warning, the front door is kicked in and Nazi soldiers enter their home. Elizabeth is shot and killed becau War hurts. It hurts the fighting soldiers, and it hurts those left behind. It splits apart families, some of which are never reunited. It hurts emotionally, and it hurts physically. No one escapes. War gobbles up its victims one by one. Victoria Darski is a Polish woman, living in Lagodny during the Nazi takeover in 1939. She lives with her mother, and her sister Elizabeth. One day, without warning, the front door is kicked in and Nazi soldiers enter their home. Elizabeth is shot and killed because she was crying. Victoria and her mother are rounded up with more than twenty-five other women and taken to a sewing factory to make uniforms for the German army. She and her friend Sylvia attend a secret resistance meeting, which is subsequently raided and Victoria becomes a slave laborer, Zwangsarbeiter [what today would be called human trafficking]. In the Tod family, there is Jarman, the father, Krimhilda, the mother, and their two children: Wolfgang in the SS and Etta, who is deaf. The family owns a bakery. The mother is vicious! Constantly berating Etta, calling her names, ["stupid child"] treating her like a freak of nature. Totally against her will, Etta is subjected to a sterilizing operation. Sweet, considerate Etta is also an artist of some talent, and this, too, the mother quashes. Victoria is sent to live with this family, as help in the kitchen of the bakery. The mother adds Victoria to the list of people who are "less" than human and whom she can hit and scream at without notice. Frau Tod calls her "dummer hund" [dumb dog]. "She was the dumb dog locked in the baker's attic, the dog standing at a very small window that overlooked the sidewalk in front of the bakery, the dog who smelled fresh-baked bread through the drafty floor, coming from the bakery ovens." I invite you to walk in Victoria's shoes and experience another kind of war, another face of terror. I read this EARC courtesy of Plainview Press and NetGalley. pub date 06/02/20

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gracie Dix

    Do you enjoy historical fiction? If so, consider this book featuring an previously untold story, set during World War II. If you appreciate meticulous research and strong female characters set in Europe during WWII, you won’t want to miss Victoria’s War from the exceptional Catherine A. Hamilton.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dona Bee

    Thanks to Net Galley for allowing me to review this incredible book! This well written novel grabbed me by the collar and pushed me into the turbulent life of Victoria as she experienced the horrendous life of WWII Poland. This book is well written, well organized and filled with details of Polish women being forced into Nazi slave labor experiencing brutality like one could never imagine. Highly recommended for those who enjoy both nonfiction and historical fiction.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jacinda Literature Babe

    Another Historical Fiction story? YES! Author @Catherinedvxhgcb Takes the reader into the heart of a die-hard nazi family; where the family bible is MEIN KAMPF...and we witness a mother's unabashed hatred for her daughter. "Etta Tod", born deaf, is a disgrace to her Arian family. Yet despite her Mother's abhorrence, Etta dreams of an artistic life...where her paintings can be heard. But for now, she paints secretly in the Attic, hiding her anti Nazi paintings. 🎨 "Victoria Darski", a young Polish gi Another Historical Fiction story? YES! Author @Catherinedvxhgcb Takes the reader into the heart of a die-hard nazi family; where the family bible is MEIN KAMPF...and we witness a mother's unabashed hatred for her daughter. "Etta Tod", born deaf, is a disgrace to her Arian family. Yet despite her Mother's abhorrence, Etta dreams of an artistic life...where her paintings can be heard. But for now, she paints secretly in the Attic, hiding her anti Nazi paintings. 🎨 "Victoria Darski", a young Polish girl, is"collected" by the Nazis...then sold as a slave for the Tod household. 📚 This is their story. 📚 This is also the little known story of Nazi Slavery, and dark family desire for Arian perfection as mandated by the Fuhrer. Heartwrenching, intimately harrowing and based on true events, this book needs to be on your absolute must read list. 5⭐ Thank you to NetGalley, Plain View Publishing and the author, Ms. Catherine A. Hamilton, for the opportunity to read this Advanced Readers Copy of "Victoria's War". The opinions expressed in this review are mine alone.

  24. 4 out of 5

    ReadingInPyjamas

    A brilliant debut novel from author Catherine A. Hamilton. Victoria's War is a work of fiction but it's inspired by the lives of Polish women who were taken as slaves by the Germans during WWII. This is a book that grips you and won't let go. I found myself glued to the pages wanting to know more. The story follows two women, Victoria, a polish girl who is kidnapped by the Germans during World War II and sold into slavery, and Etta, the deaf-mute daughter of Victoria's new owners. Despite being p A brilliant debut novel from author Catherine A. Hamilton. Victoria's War is a work of fiction but it's inspired by the lives of Polish women who were taken as slaves by the Germans during WWII. This is a book that grips you and won't let go. I found myself glued to the pages wanting to know more. The story follows two women, Victoria, a polish girl who is kidnapped by the Germans during World War II and sold into slavery, and Etta, the deaf-mute daughter of Victoria's new owners. Despite being prohibited for germans and polish people to have close interactions, the two young women establish an emotional connection from the start. They become like sisters, their friendship being the only good thing that helps Victoria survive the cruel treatments she gets from Etta's family. Etta is also mistreated by her mother, who is a devoted Nazi, and hates the fact that her daughter has a disability. Etta is a brilliant young woman, intelligent, caring, and a talented painter, but she has the misfortune to live in a country were people like her are considered freaks of nature that need to be eliminated from society. That's why when the opportunity to rebel against the nazi regimen arises, Etta and Victoria take the chance to revolt in their own little way and help the poor unfortunate people kept as slaves in factories and brothels. The story is deeply emotional. The description of the way Nazi soldiers treated war prisoners, the disarming cruelty towards not only the polish women but the Scandinavians in general and the tragic experiences these women go through are haunting. The prose is clear and concise and depicts a vivid image of the cruelty of the Third Reich and the horrors of war. But more than that, this is a story about friendship, compassion, loss, and survival. It not only provides a historically significant first-hand account of the German invasion of Poland but it's also a beautiful story of what it is to survive on nothing more than knowing that there is hope for something better. I highly recommend reading it! *Many thanks to the author and publisher for sending me a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    A Polish Catholic teenager struggles to survive, keep her faith, and help others during World War II. Captured by Nazis, Victoria was sold as a slave to work in a German bakery, where the deaf daughter of the proprietors has already faced abuse due to the Nazi eugenics policy and regularly finds ways to assist pregnant women in labor camps and women captured as sex slaves. An intense novel filled with strong female characters. (Netgalley review)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Love and Literature

    Disclaimer: I was given a free advanced review copy (e-ARC) of Catherine Hamilton's book 'Victoria's War' in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Kristen at Mindbuck Media and the author Catherine for this opportunity. Wow, what a book. The story begins with Victoria, a Catholic Polish girl, hearing on the radio that Poland has just been invaded by the Germans. Shortly after, she finds her life is turned upside down. The SS arrive and murder her sister, leaving Victoria guilt-stricken and l Disclaimer: I was given a free advanced review copy (e-ARC) of Catherine Hamilton's book 'Victoria's War' in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Kristen at Mindbuck Media and the author Catherine for this opportunity. Wow, what a book. The story begins with Victoria, a Catholic Polish girl, hearing on the radio that Poland has just been invaded by the Germans. Shortly after, she finds her life is turned upside down. The SS arrive and murder her sister, leaving Victoria guilt-stricken and left alone with her mother. She's forced to work in a sewing factory and do as the SS ask, or risk being killed. Victoria reluctantly agrees to attend a resistant meeting with her friend, Sylvia, yet here she is captured and forced into slavery. Meanwhile, Etta Tod is forced into sterilisation because of her deafness, as the Nazis considered her inferior in comparison to other people. Etta and Victoria meet once Victoria is sent to be a Polish slave at Etta's family bakery. The two quickly become friends, with Etta sneaking bread and extra rations to Victoria, and they soon begin a secret mission to help more Polish slaves. That's not to say Victoria had it easy - not at all. In the bakery, she's forced to work 14 hours a day and only given one small meal each evening. The baker and his wife and son, beat her regularly and leave her freezing in the attic. The cruel family know that she may die as a result of her actions, but it's of no worry to them, as they know they could easily replace her for another slave. The horrific situations that people had to live through was terrible. The writing was incredible, an incredible debut novel. It's so well-written and I immediately connected with the characters and their journeys. It felt incredibly realistic and Catherine has clearly researched into WWII and the experiences of Polish slaves. A beautiful story of friendship and love in very difficult times. I immediately fell in love with Etta's character - she's so bold, daring and eager to do what is right. Yet all the characters offered something new, and each carried a message with them. This quickly became one of my favourite historical fiction books, and it really does make you thankful for what you have. After reading so many WWII books from a Jewish perspective, it was interesting to read about the experiences of Polish slaves, as I admit, I didn't have much knowledge about their history. A must-read. My only criticism would be that the ending felt rushed and wasn't entirely clear. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for Catherine's future works! As a trigger warning, as it's set during the war, there is obviously elements of violence, shooting, death, etc. and also abuse, slavery and mentions of rape and suicide. I give this book five out of five stars, as it's incredibly emotional, well-written and beautifully told. Thank you again to the author Catherine Hamilton, and Kristen at Mindbuck Media for this opportunity. If you'd like to read more of my book reviews, you can find them on my blog here: Love and Literature

  27. 5 out of 5

    Grace Jagger

    ‘Victoria’s War’ is a fantastic debut novel by Catherine Hamilton that follows two very different young women throughout World War Two. We start in 1939 with Victoria, a Catholic Pole, learning that Poland has been invaded by the Germans just two hours before she’s supposed to go to the University of Warsaw. Immediately, her father is sent off to war and then her 14 year old sister Elizabeth is brutally shot dead in their home by SS officers. We then jump to 1941 where Victoria and her mother ar ‘Victoria’s War’ is a fantastic debut novel by Catherine Hamilton that follows two very different young women throughout World War Two. We start in 1939 with Victoria, a Catholic Pole, learning that Poland has been invaded by the Germans just two hours before she’s supposed to go to the University of Warsaw. Immediately, her father is sent off to war and then her 14 year old sister Elizabeth is brutally shot dead in their home by SS officers. We then jump to 1941 where Victoria and her mother are working in a sewing factory making German uniforms. Victoria is talked into attending a resistance meeting at a church by her friend Sylvia where they’re captured and sent to Berlin to be Polish slaves. On their way, Victoria is reunited with her old schoolteacher Mrs Kosa and the pair begin their journey. Our second character is Etta, living in Germany in 1941. She is 20 and spends most of her time in the attic painting and hoping to study fine arts. Unfortunately for Etta, she is deaf. When we first meet her she is being forcibly sterilised because she is considered ‘inferior’, confused and angry she resents her family’s dedication to the Nazi regime. When her father decides to go to war they look for a Polish slave to help keep their bakery running and so Victoria ends up living in their attic. The writing in this book had no frills, it was blunt and simple but that made the story so much more realistic and believable. The variety of characters in this novel allowed us to see the many ways in which people cope with the war, Victoria is confused by Mrs Kosa’s calm and tough approach to their situation but the older woman is teaching her a strength that will help Victoria through many impossible challenges. Etta is overlooked and underestimated by those around her because she’s deaf but she’s clever and daring with a fierce sense of what is right. The main message I took from this novel was that we are braver than we know. Regardless of their race, religion or political beliefs each of the characters were tested and it was up to them whether they dug deep or gave in. I couldn’t put this down, I became so attached to these characters and had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. Typically, WW2 historical fiction I read is from a Jewish perspective so it was a new experience to read a story about Polish women and a German girl living under the regime being classed as ‘inferior’. The last 10% of the book was resolved so quickly, mainly because it was the climax of the action but I felt I needed more time to process what was happening. Regardless, this was a heart wrenching story that I thought offered an alternative perspective compared to the many other WW2 novels published in the last few years. An incredible debut novel, I can’t wait to see what this author bring out in the future! ✨Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the eARC ✨

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carly-Rae London

    I have to say this novel is a true gem in the historical fiction genre. The way author Catherine Hamilton captured the horror of that time and mixed it with the unfailing hope people had within them during WWII was beautiful. Not only was the storyline spot on, the characters were too, especially Victoria and Etta. Hamilton wrote with brilliance in this novel because she truly knew her characters and was able to teleport the reader back to that horrific time. I have to say well done, and if you I have to say this novel is a true gem in the historical fiction genre. The way author Catherine Hamilton captured the horror of that time and mixed it with the unfailing hope people had within them during WWII was beautiful. Not only was the storyline spot on, the characters were too, especially Victoria and Etta. Hamilton wrote with brilliance in this novel because she truly knew her characters and was able to teleport the reader back to that horrific time. I have to say well done, and if you don’t have your copy of this book, you need to get it now! Many of you know, my new love is historical fiction and I am in awe of authors who can write beautiful works that break your heart while also giving you hope. Authors like Heather Morris, Jane Healey, and Noelle Salazar are my top favorite historical authors, but now so is Catherine A. Hamilton! See more on my book club: www.heyitscarlyrae.com

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    "The oral history that brought Victoria Darski to life was given to me by someone close, my cousin was kidnapped from her village in Poland and survive slavery in Germany. Her only request was that I one day write it down." - Afterwords from Victoria's War. This is my second historical fiction novels that I've read taken place in Poland during WW2. It was educating, touching and needed to be read. Poland was the first country in Europe to be overpowered by German military and as a results those "The oral history that brought Victoria Darski to life was given to me by someone close, my cousin was kidnapped from her village in Poland and survive slavery in Germany. Her only request was that I one day write it down." - Afterwords from Victoria's War. This is my second historical fiction novels that I've read taken place in Poland during WW2. It was educating, touching and needed to be read. Poland was the first country in Europe to be overpowered by German military and as a results those people endured the longest most treacherous 6 years of their lives. Crafting a realistic and emotionally vivid story, Catherine gives a voice to the millions of Polish women forced and degraded to slave labour. She captures commonly hushed events and actions conducted by Nazis, which to this day many may not know about. Also, expressing the power of friendship, the rewards of courage and faith while proving love bears all things. Victoria's War is a novel that must be read to give an ear to those who weren't deserved to be silenced.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Robyn Steinbrueck

    I was captivated by this great work of historical fiction. I often feel that the story of the Polish people during World War II is over looked and forgotten. Victoria and the other characters helped to bring to life what it must have been like for them and so many others. I was particularly interested in reading this book because my family came from the same region of Poland. I would recommend this book to expand your understanding of the plight of many Poles during this time in history.

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