The Rainbow – ARC Book Review

The Rainbow: Absolutely heartbreaking World War 2 historical fiction based on a true story by [Carly Schabowski]

There, on the dusty floorboards, was a piece of paper, folded neatly. A newspaper article from 1941, written in German, alongside a faded picture of two men in Nazi uniforms staring at the camera. I was about to place it back in the box of forgotten things when something in the text jumped out at me. My breath caught in my chest. I know that name.

London, present day. Isla has grown up hearing her beloved grandad’s stories about his life as a child in pre-war Poland and as a young soldier bravely fighting the Germans to protect his people. So she is shocked and heartbroken to find, while collecting photos for his 95th birthday celebration, a picture of her dear grandfather wearing a Nazi uniform. Is everything she thought she knew about him a lie?

Unable to question him due to his advanced dementia, Isla wraps herself in her rainbow-coloured scarf, a memento of his from the war, and begins to hunt for the truth behind the photograph. What she uncovers is more shocking than she could have ever anticipated – a tale of childhood sweethearts torn apart by family duty, and how one young man risked his life, his love and the respect of his own people, to secretly fight for justice from inside the heart of the enemy itself…

An heartbreaking novel of love, betrayal and a secret passed down through a familyInspired by an incredible true story. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of AuschwitzWe Were the Lucky Ones and The Alice Network.

No. of pages:- 294 pages

Date published:- will be published on 28th July 2021

Publisher:- Bookouture

Genre:- Historical Fiction


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I am a sucker for historical fiction based on Holocaust and WWII!!! Since I have read a book written by the same author, I was excited to read more books from her.

Just like the Watchmaker at Dachau, this story is also based on Holocaust but in a different way. The book divides between the Present Day England with Isla’s point of view and the past based on Isla’s grandfather, Tomasz’s view. In the Present Day England, Isla comes across a photograph with the back written in German. It was a photograph of two German soldiers with their Nazi uniforms, posing in front of the camera. One of them was Isla’s grandfather, Tomasz. Confused about the photograph, Isla sets on a journey to Poland, where her grandfather was from to discover the story of love, courage, betrayal and friendship.

Though the story is fictional, nonetheless, this story felt realistic. I have heard stories of how Polish men were forced to join Wehrmacht during the war and also the Soviet troops and this story is such a story. Many Polish men had no choice but to join the Wehrmacht and at the same time secretly involved in the resistance movement. The author has done tremendous research into the story, making it realistic and I do like the romantic relationship between Tomasz and Zofia. There were some parts in the book that was a bit emotional and heartbreaking — the Germans’ treatment towards Jews and Gypsies were so heartbreaking that I cried in some parts for the brutal treatments, particularly the part where Tomasz’s gypsy friend gets killed. The book is unputdownable that you will be so hooked into the story, taking back to you those hard brutal times!

Overall, this is a tear-jerking, emotional and heartbreaking tale of courage, love and friendship that will keep you up all night–worth five stars!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.

Carly Schabowski

Carly lives in a tiny cottage in Oxfordshire,  with barely enough room to swing a cat. Yet, she has managed to dwell in such a hobbit-type abode for some years with her two dogs, who keep her company as she reads, writes, eats chips, and drinks the occasional gin.

An occasional runner, gym goer, and walker, Carly is also an habitual binge-watcher of box sets and reader of anything she can get her hands on, including the back of cereal boxes.

Her interest in WWII history spans from a familial connection, and inspired her to complete a PhD regarding the author’s responsibility to historical fiction. Whilst an achievement, she gained 20 lbs, and became a hermit

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