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The Dollmaker of Krakow by R. M. Romero, illustrated by Tomislav Tomić

The Dollmaker of Krakow

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"One night a little doll named Karolina comes to life in a toyshop in Krakow, Poland, in 1939, and changes the life of the gruff, broken-hearted Dollmaker. And when the darkness of the Nazi occupation sweeps over the city Karolina and the Dollmaker must bravely use their magic to save their Jewish friends from a terrible danger, no matter what the risks."

As a story blending magical realism and history, The Dollmaker of Krakow definitely appealed to me. The way Romero uses entwined metaphors to link the fairytale story and the main plot is just brilliant.

Romero creates two interwoven stories of oppression in The Land of Dolls and Poland and makes them just so poignant that you can’t help getting swept up in them. As a history-lover, I know a bit about the historical background to this book, and Romero's author’s note shows just how much research she did for it. The note alone is a powerful piece of writing that has stayed with me since.

Every character was fleshed-out and it felt like they were jumping off the page. Tomić's illustrations are beautiful and really complement the story, bringing the vibrant characters to life even more.

The Dollmaker of Krakow is an astounding, gorgeously-written debut novel that I adored.