Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Dollmaker of Krakow

34079578Romero, R.M. The Dollmaker of Krakow
September 12th 2017 by Delacorte Press
Copy provided by the publisher

Karolina is a doll that was made by WWI vet Cyryl Brzezick, whose family was German. She was modeled on a doll owned by the Dollmaker's mother, and he starts taking her around Krakow when he does his shopping. When he delivers a dollhouse to the Trzmiel family for daughter Rena's birthday, Karolina mistakenly lets the family know she is a sentient doll. Jozef, the father, is a musician who is not bothered by this, and soon the Dollmaker is spending a lot of time with the family, which also includes son Dawid. When the Germans invade, the Dollmaker gets more food because of his heritage, and he shares it with the family. Eventually, it is clear that many of the Jewish children will need to be saved, and along with Father Karol in the local church, Karolina and the Dollmaker come up with a plan. While the children can be saved, Jozef and the Dollmaker perish.
Strengths: This is definitely a different sort of Holocaust book. I did find the details about what happened in Poland during WWII to be interesting, and this might be a good choice for readers who can't handle graphic descriptions of the events of the time, or readers who love fantasy and don't want to have to read a historical fiction book for a Holocaust unit. The cover is lovely.
Weaknesses: For me, the fantasy elements (descriptions of a war the dolls had with rats) slowed down the story and took away from the historical value.
What I really think: I'm a HUGE Rumer Godden fan, so I love books where the dolls are sentient. I also find Holocaust books oddly compelling. Even so, this was a book that was very difficult for me to get into. It was well written, fairly interesting, and unique, but just wasn't my favorite.
Ms. Yingling

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