This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound
In the land of dolls, there is magic.In the land of humans, there is war.Everywhere there is pain.But together there is hope.
Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Krakow, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked past.
The Dollmaker has learned to keep to himself, but Karolina's courageous and compassionate manner lead him to smile and to even befriend a violin-playing father and his daughter--that is, once the Dollmaker gets over the shock of realizing a doll is speaking to him.
But their newfound happiness is dashed when Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland. Karolina and the Dollmaker quickly realize that their Jewish friends are in grave danger, and they are determined to help save them, no matter what the risks.
The Dollmaker of Krakow is a beautiful story that parallels a country called The Land of Dolls with 1940’s Kraków, Poland. Karolina was living in the world where dolls come to rest after their doll bodies perish here on Earth. In that world, she was a seamstress who would sew wishes into each article of clothing that she made for her doll customers. At the start of the story she is not in that world for very long before she awakens to find herself in the home of the Dollmaker.
I thoroughly enjoyed the characters of both the Dollmaker and Karolina. The Dollmaker is a man who has seen the ugly of war and bears a constant reminder. He has for the most part completely withdrawn from the world and keeps his own company. Karolina is a little spitfire of a doll. She has lots of opinions about things and is not afraid to say her piece. She does not know why she was brought to the Dollmaker but she intends that he should have more out of life.
Due to Karolina’s influence the Dollmaker starts to come out of his shell. He also makes some friends and life starts to get a little brighter for him. That is until the Nazi’s invade and slowly start to destroy this once quaint town. This story is told over a period of years and there is a slow up build with the Dollmaker’s relationships as well as a slow deterioration of his world. I really fell in love with the characters in this story and I found that it was heartbreaking to see how the Nazi’s slowly destroyed them.
The story is written in the third person narrative but the story follow’s Karolina’s character. As life moves in this world she also relates her story from her previous life in The Land of the Dolls. I felt that there was a parallel between these two worlds and the destruction that encroached upon each. I felt that the writing style was poetic and handled a tragic time in history with finesse. It explains the Nazi rise to power but still shows that with great evil there also can be grace and empathy.
There were also drawings included within the story that were just adorable. I loved the fact that this story can have whimsy, endearing friendships and hope right along with tragedy, destruction and cruelty. There is so much to love about The Dollmaker of Krakow! I absolutely recommend this story as a book club read. I can just imagine all the discussions that could take place over the subject matter covered in this novel. This story is such a winner for me and I absolutely loved it. I highly recommend this book!
*Thank you to NetGalley & Random House Children’s for this eARC of The Dollmaker of Krakow*