Monday, June 24, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

About the Book

Book: The Medallion  
Author: Cathy Gohlke  
Genre: Historical Fiction (World War II)  
Release date: June 4, 2019

For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl. 

Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen—Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger. 

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war—if any of them survive—is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck. 

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.  

Click here to purchase your copy.  

My Thoughts

In the world of fiction, a novel by Cathy Gohlke is pure gold. Whether it’s set during the Civil War times like the most excellent William Henry Is a Fine Name, or during World War II as in her later novels, Gohlke’s characters envelop you into another era and help you see things in a unique and fresh way. When it comes to what Christian fiction strives to be, Cathy Gohlke is simply one of the very best of authors.

There’s no way any words of mine can do justice to The Medallion in a review, so I’ll just express some of my feelings. First of all, the basics … Gohlke’s writing is exquisite; historical detail is beyond impressive; characters are multilayered and complex; the story flows steadily and is hard impossible to put down. The Holocaust setting in Warsaw doesn’t make for an easy read, but it is compelling. Nothing is predictable and there are some fascinating twists. The Medallion earns top scores on an entertainment level alone.

Now for some subjective thoughts. The Medallion is basically the story of two couples – Sophie and Janek, Rosa and Itzhak – trying to survive during the Nazi occupation of Poland, but a lot of stories have been written with a similar theme. What elevates and sets this one apart? There’s rich historical detail, but it’s not primarily a historical novel. There’s tons of suspense, but it isn’t really a suspense novel. The Medallion doesn’t fit into any box that I can think of. Rather, it’s a story of everyday people – their courage, motivations, willingness to risk everything, and faith during one of the darkest times in history. In other words, ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

“Fear is an ungainly enemy. Give it a foothold
and it will control your life.”
– Pan Gadomski

I confess to not buying into society’s concept of “celebrity.” If things like Hollywood magazines and talk shows depended on people like me, they would disappear due to lack of interest. Rather, the true celebrities and stars are people like the characters in this story – people with the strength and grit to make impossibly heart-wrenching decisions and sacrifice regarding the safety of a child; people with a courage they never dreamed they possessed and a willingness to risk their very lives in order to help the helpless; people of faith who never lost sight of God’s presence during the darkest and most hopeless times of Hitler’s reign. The Medallion may be fiction, but it is inspired by factual accounts and we know the characters are drawn from real heroes during this devastating time.

No one can read The Medallion without being changed for the better. It will challenge you, make you look deep inside yourself. God's hand is clearly seen in this moving story of faith and hope. This a story that everyone should read. I’ll end with quote from Pan Bukowski that should minister to all of us:

“Remember the Red Sea …
Adonai makes a way when there is no way.”

Very highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and Tyndale Publishing. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

      Three-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning and bestselling author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. 
      Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. 
      Visit her website at and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

More from Cathy

Every story begins with a journey. Sharing that journey is twice the joy. 

The Medallion was inspired by two true stories—the first was the WWII account of Itzhak Dugin and his Jewish family, persecuted in Lithuania. Their heart-wrenching story made world news when the tunnel from which Itzhak escaped the Nazis was discovered using modern technology. 

The second was the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker within ┼╗egota (an underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), who developed a network to rescue children. Despite terrible risks, they smuggled 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and certain death at the hands of the Nazis, then hid them in Polish homes, convents, churches and hospitals until the end of the war. Approximately 2,000 of those children were found after the war. Theories abound regarding the whereabouts of those missing. I couldn’t help but wonder, and imagine: What became of those 400 to 500 missing children? What became of one? 

Set in WWII Poland and post-war England, The Medallion is a story of courage, sacrifice, love, forgiveness and redemption.  


To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below enter.

Blog Stops

Mary Hake, June 23
By The Book, June 24
Remembrancy, June 26
The Becca Files, June 26
Genesis 5020, June 27
Bigreadersite, June 28
Simple Harvest Reads, July 1 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Hallie Reads, July 3
Emily Yager, July 5


  1. I appreciate you taking the time to give us a great book description and giveaway as well. Thank you so much!

  2. I so need to read this one. Thank you for sharing your wonderful review.

  3. I have read other books by Cathy Gohlke and loved them! I am eagerly waiting to read The Medallion.

  4. I've read most of Cathy Gohlke's books and know they are of very high quality. I'm looking forward to reading The Medallion.

  5. Thank you, Carole, for capturing so much of the heart of this story in your review of The Medallion. Thank you, too, for so enthusiastically sharing it with your readers! God bless!

  6. Congratulations on this wonderful review. This book sounds like an amazing read.