Book Review: The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

Posted July 18, 2021 by meezcarrie in Cathy Gohlke, Christian, giveaway, historical / 26 Comments

GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: June 4, 2019
PAGES: 432

Christy Award Winner!
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.

“Remember the Red Sea . . . Adonai makes a way when there is no way. . . . . It is His specialty.”

I was woefully behind in reading this gorgeous novel by Cathy Gohlke, one of my favorite authors, because sometimes life just gets in the way of reading what you want to read. Then once I read it – a couple of months ago – I had to process it before I could possibly begin to review it. And now here I am, fingers to keyboard, still unsure how I can ever do justice to this beautiful story.

I’m not even going to go too much into the characters and the plot in The Medallion because these are better left for you, the reader, to discover on your own. They will be all the more meaningful to you if you meet each one naturally on the pages, as the story unfolds. Gohlke’s writing voice is pitch perfect, and she brings the people and places to life in vivid & emotion-tugging detail. She writes of a season in which the righteous laws we hold to so tightly (never do that. always do this.) blur a bit in the face of loving God with all we have and loving our neighbor as ourselves, reminiscent of the faith questions this rule follower (me) wrestled with while reading one of my fave non-fiction books, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. It was a time when the worst of humanity met the best of humanity in a battle for the lives of people beloved by God.

Bottom Line: Based on true events, The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke spotlights a handful of characters that will grip your heart for months to come. People just like us who must make unimaginable decisions to survive, and people who step into that sacred space of rescue, sacrificing more than our safe, comfy modern lives can imagine to put others’ lives ahead of their own. Embracing the entire story is an underlying reminder that God is in the business of making a way where there is no way, that trusting Him when the next step is unclear is always better than trusting ourselves, and that there is no pit so deep that His love is not deeper still. Beautifully written with hope and grace despite the horror of the events it covers, The Medallion will keep you captivated until the very end. A great next read for fans of Pam Jenoff’s The Woman with the Blue Star and Melanie Dobson’s Hidden Among the Stars.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received via the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / powerful story!

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Four-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 and her husband, Dan, 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 and Bookbub (@CathyGohlke).

More Books by Cathy Gohlke


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What about you? What makes you want to read The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke?

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26 responses to “Book Review: The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

  1. Thank you so much, Carrie, for this stellar review of The Medallion! You’ve captured not only the theme but the heart of the story–and of course, I’m never surprised when you do that, but always grateful. God’s blessings for you!

  2. Perrianne Askew

    I have read this book and it has all of the emotions. It gives you a very good idea of what people went through during the war. She did such an incredible job with this novel!

  3. Megan

    I’ve never read this book but it sounds wonderful. I’ll have to add it to my list to read.

  4. Winnie Thomas

    I read this book when it released a couple of years ago, and it’s one of the most powerful and thought-provoking books I’ve ever read! I still find myself thinking about it often, and I’ve recommended it to many people.

    Thanks for your lovely review, Carrie, and thanks to the talented Cathy Gohlke for her fantastic book!

  5. Trixi

    I’ve not ready anything by Cathy yet, this one sounds like I need to add it to my want-to-read list ASAP!

    Thanks for your lovely review as always Carrie. Between you & Kav at Best Reads blog, you’ve added hundreds more books (and authors) to my TBR pile 🙂

  6. Caryl Kane

    Cathy is an amazing author. I’ve read Saving Amelie and Promise Me This. I’ve been wanting to read The Medallion for a while. Your review has moved it near the top of my TBR.

  7. Debra J Pruss

    I enjoy reading stories aout WWII. My six uncles fought in the war. It gives me a better understanding of the time as well as the issues that were faced. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

  8. Jessica Baker

    I, too, am woefully behind in reading this story. I need to read it soon. Like in 2021. No excuses!!

  9. Venetia B.

    Oh, everybody’s right…this does sound wonderful! I’ve yet to read a book by this author, but I know now that this will be the first one I read!! How can you argue with those that have come before you who have read it and when it comes with such a promising review as well as an intriguing excerpt? Answer: you can’t!

  10. Patty

    I just recently read Night Bird Calling by Cathy. I’m pretty sure it was my first by her, and it was great, excellent writing! I’m going to have to search out some more of her books.

  11. Paula Shreckhise

    This one is sitting in my kindle. I really need to get to it! One of my favorite time periods to read about.

  12. Phyllis

    I have this book in my TBR and soooo want to get to it!! I know that it will be an amazing read!

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