Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Keeper of Hidden Books - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads: The Keeper of Hidden Books by Madeline Martin

Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  All her life, Zofia has found comfort in two things during times of hardship: books and her best friend, Janina. But no one could have imagined the horrors of the Nazi occupation in Warsaw. As the bombs rain down and Hitler’s forces loot and destroy the city, Zofia finds that now books are also in need of saving.

With the death count rising and persecution intensifying, Zofia jumps to action to save her friend and salvage whatever books she can from the wreckage, hiding them away, and even starting a clandestine book club. She and her dearest friend never surrender their love of reading, even when Janina is forced into the newly formed ghetto.

But the closer Warsaw creeps toward liberation, the more dangerous life becomes for the women and their families – and escape may not be possible for everyone. As the destruction rages around them, Zofia must fight to save her friend and preserve her culture and community using the only weapon they have left - literature.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I have really enjoyed this author's previous two books and the blurb of this one really caught my attention.

My Impression:   Oh this book broke my heart but gave me hope all at the same time.  Set in Poland around Zofia and her closest friend Janina the book starts with the two girls still in school and enjoying being teenagers  Hitler is lurking on the horizons but isn't a threat and the girls and their friends have made a book club that focuses on reading books that Hitler is ordering destroyed.

As the book goes on the world changes for these girls in ways they could never imagine.  They are forced to grow up and face who they really are as well as endure heartbreaking loss and constant fear.  But what keeps this from being too much is the thread of hope that runs through the book.  I loved the focus on books and that they are used for comfort, for hope, and for rebellion.  As well I really appreciated the Polish setting.  I feel like that's not a common World War II setting and it is a story worth exploring.  

The only thing that kept this from being a 5 star book for me was that I found the beginning a bit slow and it took me a few chapters to really connect to the main characters but that was really a minor issue.

This was an emotional read that left me with tears in my eyes but a feeling of hope and a strong impression of strength.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?   Absolutely!  I have loved all three of this author's historical fiction books that I have read and am looking forward to more books from her.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  This is a strong historical fiction with a somewhat unusual setting for a time period we often see.  

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. I've not read anythign by this author, will check her out.

  2. Certainly showed the power of books yet it was so heart breaking. Poland really took a hard hit in WW2.