The Keeper of Hidden Books by Madeline Martin is a highly recommended historical fiction novel inspired by the true story of the underground library in WWII Warsaw.
Zofia and her best friend, Janina, who is Jewish, both love books. When bombs begin
to fall and Warsaw is occupied by Hitler's forces, looting of the
city begins, Jews are being locked up, and books are being banned. Zofia knows both her
friend and all books need saving. She begins to salvage books from
the wreckage, hiding them away, and even starts a book club. The
one thing that continues to sustain Zofia and Janina is their love
of reading. The struggle is to preserve the books along with the
Polish culture and community.
The Keeper of Hidden Books is a very well-written historical fiction novel. The narrative is set in Poland from 1939 to 1944 and follows the campaign to eliminate Jews and the Polish population. The author's notes that follow the novel are must reading as they provide information about Martin's research into the story. The events she covers are based on the real life efforts to preserve the underground Warsaw Library during WWII. Real historical figures are woven seamlessly into the plot.
It is a story of struggling, loss, and
grief, but is also an ode to the determination and bravery of
those individuals who were courageous enough to risk their lives
in a common goal. Those who love reading historical fiction,
especially novels set in WWII will want to read this novel. 4.5