Book Review: The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

the medallion cathy gohlke review

the medallion cathy gohlke blog tour


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.

  • Publication Date: June 4, 2019

  • Tyndale House Publishers

  • Hardcover, Paperback, eBook; 432 Pages

  • Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Christian

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.70

Heidi’s Rating:

5 Stars

Suggested Drink Parings:


Honey and Lavender Tea


Mocha Latte

I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.
— Anne Frank

Why I Chose This Book

When I first heard about this book I knew I had to sign up for the blog tour. I always enjoy reading WWII stories- despite some of them being very hard to read!

First Initial Thoughts

Rosa and Itzhak are newly married when WWII begins and the German’s start occupying Poland. They are both Jewish and head to Warsaw to take care of Rosa’s mother. They were only going to be there for a short time but as well know from history, Jews were soon prevented from traveling anywhere without proper papers/permission from the Germans. Rosa is a headstrong and determined lady. She kept everything together for her mother and Husband despite the difficulties they were facing.

Rosa then becomes pregnant and shortly after the baby is born - she has to make a decision that will forever alter their lives.

Sophia is a young English woman who is living in Poland and is also recently married to a man named Janek. Janek is a Polish man and is away fighting the war. She soon makes friends with a woman named Terri and one day gets swept away into the world of the underground; where individuals save Jews and Jewish children from the Ghetto and eventually the concentration camps.


Cathy brought Poland to life and the hardship the country went through during the German occupation. She had such a talent in describing the details of the Ghetto, city, and surrounding areas that it felt like you were there along with the story. I think this helps make the reader feel more emotional when reading it.

Yet a part of you still believes you can fight and survive no matter what your mind knows. It’s not so strange. Where there’s still life, there’s still hope. What happens is up to God
— Louis Zamperini

Final Thoughts

Basically my whole feeling reading the book:

This was one epic read. I won’t give anything away but it was a one big tragic story. We all know WWII in Europe was devastating, however, this story really connected you with the characters and it was hard to read some of the circumstances they had to go through.

I found that Sophia and Rosa were very similar in character. They both experienced infertility issues and loss of loved ones. I won’t say how their paths crossed but I would do what Sophia chose to do in a heartbeat.

What I found interesting is that this book is based on true events (well duh..) but what I didn’t know is that the Germans forced the Jews into Ghetto’s in the middle of the city - blocking them off from the rest of the city. They would only give them little food to live on, barely any medical care, and families would be forced to live together in the same apartment. Often 2-3 families (10-20 or so) would be living in the same small apartment. They also didn’t have running water, electricity, and no heat. This led to Typhus and other diseases.

This was BEFORE they took them to the concentration camps. It was also a time when many families outside the wall or Ghetto that would take Jewish children into their care and pretend that they were their own. Many families would risk their lives to save children (and adults) during this time. One of the characters in the book - Irena was a real person. So I thought that it was interesting for Cathy to include that.

I couldn’t imagine what these people went through. It is one period of our history that many try to forget. I also think that without these stories, we don’t have messages of hope. Hope that one day things will get better. I often hear stories of Jews in concentration camps that held onto that thread of hope - hope of freedom - those were the one’s that survived. The one’s who lost all faith, died sooner (at least the one’s that made it that far).

Would I Recommend?

Yes! However, if you are sensitive to this type of material, you may want to second think about reading this book. It is very hard to read, emotional wise.

About The Author

Cathy Gohlke

Cathy Gohlke is the three-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels The Medallion, Until We Find Home, Secrets She Kept (winner of the 2016 Carol and INSPY Awards), Saving Amelie (winner of the 2015 INSPY Award), Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), William Henry Is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008), which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award.

Cathy writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith.
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 on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

Giveaway Time!!

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away 5 paperback copies of The Medallion! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Purchase links:


the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I am participating in the HFVBT blog tour for this book. I was sent an ARC copy of this book to review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.