An emotionally tough read that tells a story which must not be forgotten. Based on the lives of two of the central characters, Sophia and Misha, it centres on an orphanage in the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War and of the work of Dr Janusz Korezak, the Good Doctor of the title. The story begins in 1937 when Poland is independent. The anti-Jewish bigotry festering in fascist Germany is slowly spreading throughout Central Europe but life is still pleasant in Warsaw. Misha and Sophia are in love. There is a charming chapter when, in July 1939, the children from Korezak’s orphanage are taken to the country for a month of games and fresh air; an idyllic time and a poignant contrast to the horror to come. I do not need to tell you what happens, just to mention the word Treblinka is enough. Getting there in August 1942 is harrowing yet compulsive reading as we follow the adventures of Misha and Sophia and indeed the wonderful Dr Korezak. There is a postscript about the site today where a large stone monolith commemorates the awful events carried out there. It is surrounded by smaller stones each representing a village, town or city from which the Jews and Romanies were taken. Only one stone has the one word, Korezak.
'You do not leave a sick child alone to face the dark and you do not leave a child at a time like this.'
Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha's mentor, Dr Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls.
As the noose tightens around the ghetto Misha and Sophia are torn from one another, forcing them to face their worst fears alone. They can only hope to find each other again one day...Meanwhile, refusing to leave the children unprotected, Korczak must confront a terrible darkness.
Half a million people lived in the Warsaw ghetto. Less than one percent survived to tell their story. This novel is based on the true accounts of Misha and Sophia, and on the life of one of Poland's greatest men, Dr Janusz Korczak.
Powerful, harrowing and ultimately uplifting. Elisabeth Gifford has achieved an extraordinary blend of fact and fiction. Andrew Taylor
With powerful themes of loss, hope and what it means to be human, The Good Doctor of Warsaw is a brave, moving and important book with a message we need now as much as ever. Katherine Clements
Enjoyment is something of a nebulous term applied to a book of this nature but for want of a better word I did enjoy this book and I'm humbled to be educated about Dr. Korczak from a book written in such an easy, accessible style. Nudge.com
Praise for Return to Fourwinds:
Beautifully written, brilliantly observed... a wonderful and intriguing book. -- Barbara Erskine
A moving novel of great sweep and depth. -- Tim Pears
Praise for Secrets of the Sea House:
an arresting tale of the things that haunt us. But the real pleasure in this debut novel is Elisabeth Gifford's finely wrought prose; at turns acute, delicate and fierce. -- Liza Klaussmann
Sure to ignite an interest in sea mythology partnered with real-life ground-breaking sightings and discoveries, this is the perfect read if you're heading to a British beach this summer. -- Red magazine
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Publisher: Atlantic Books
|Publication date:||1st February 2018|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Reading Groups, Sagas and Romance,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Elisabeth Gifford grew up in a vicarage in the industrial Midlands. She studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. She has written articles for The Times and the Independent and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford OUDCE and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway College. She is married with three children. They live in Kingston on Thames but spend as much time as possible in the Hebrides.More About Elisabeth Gifford