In a bombed-out Polish village during World War II a young resistance fighter finds that he is suddenly alone and trapped between two opposing armies. He is one of Poland's "Devil's Rebels" fighting desperately to save his homeland, but an injury has erased his memory and his only possession is a torn photograph of a couple he assumes are his parents. The woman appears to be holding the hand of a young child whose image has been ripped off. Could the child be him?
Caught in the crosshairs of the retreating German army and the advancing Russian forces, the village holds nothing but destruction and despair until a mysterious young woman offers a small glimmer of hope that may represent his last chance - news of a refuge train departing from a nearby town headed for American installations at the border. But complications arise when the resistance fighter is betrayed by his own countryman and hunted by German SS Officers who are determined to kill him before they retreat. Desperately searching for a home and family he can't remember he is persuaded to rescue two children who are doomed to die without his help.
As time runs out the former rebel is faced with an impossible choice. Standing at the crossroads of saving himself or risking his life for strangers, what would motivate a young man at the brink of salvation to make one more sacrifice?
|Size||5.5 x 8.5|
|Book on CD||Unabridged, 5 discs, 5.25 hours|
|Performed by||Tristan Morris|
|Published||Shadow Mountain 2016|
By Melanie, Submitted on 2016-12-27
This book is amazing! It takes place during a dark and dreary time (WWII), but the underlying message is hope. It's about a soldier who heads home to Poland, but he has no memory in the beginning of who he is. There is someone, however, who knows exactly who he is, so his life is in danger. As his memory slowly returns, he realizes that someone is after him, and it becomes a race for him to get to the refuge train before he is found.
There are quite a few characters introduced in the beginning so it's a little slower, but the pace quickly picks up and it was hard to put down. The tension built as we were able to see the story from several different viewpoints and it became a race to a certain location.
The author's descriptions of life during that time were so realistic that I felt like I was there, feeling the fear and devastation the people must have felt. It's a somber book yet it doesn't feel too heavy and illustrates the power of courage and hope. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters and their back stories which helped to understand why they were behaving in certain ways. This book is well-written and eye-opening and it will stay with me for a while.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way
By Cathy J, Submitted on 2016-12-13
I was thrilled to get to review this book! Chris Stewart is the congressman who represents my district in the house. And I was able to meet him a couple of months ago when he talked to a group of young people in our area. I was really impressed with the person that he is. He is honest, and kind. I really enjoyed listening to him talk about his life, he is a truly interesting and remarkable person.
Anyway...on to the book! This book sucked me in, I have to tell you a funny story about when I was reading it. I was reading it when my daughter got her braces done the other day, and usually I have a hard time focusing on books during those appointments. The doctor is always in and out and there are tons of loud things going on around you. I was reading this one and I was so involved in what was happening in the story that I didn't even notice that the doctor had left my daughter's station and was on to whatever else he was doing. This book is amazing!
The plot line is one that I hadn't yet seen as a World War II novel and I was super amazed at the devastation and trials that the Polish people faced. It makes me think just how blessed we really are when I read about things like this.
I liked the characters, and the way that they interacted. There's Lucas, the rebel who is being hunted. Muller, the hunter. Cela and Aron, the kids that Lucas gets roped into helping. And Melina, the beautiful young lady who helps Lucas and the kids. I really loved the ending, not that you really know what happens to the characters, but the way it's just beautiful and I could really imagine my own lives for these characters that I'd cared for as I read this book.
By Andrea, Submitted on 2016-12-10
I'm a big fan of historical fiction, but I hadn't read any of Chris Stewart's books, so I wasn't sure what to expect with Winter Sky. I was happy to find a very engaging and suspenseful novel full of heart. I was intrigued right away and my attention was held throughout the book. The amnesia pulled me in, but I didn't realize the resistance fighter still had so much lost from his mind until the end.
Winter Sky is a relatively short book (just under 200 pages), but it felt complete. I had time to become invested in the characters, and didn't feel that it was lacking in plot or character development.
I highly recommend Winter Sky, and plan on reading it again.
By Aimee Brown, Submitted on 2016-12-08
I have been reading a lot of Christmas books lately but none like this one. This book is not fluffy or even sweet. It was actually really hard for me to read and I'll tell you why. War is ugly and awful. The devastation and loss pulls at my heart and just makes me sad. This book depicts so much of the realities of war and I'll be honest in saying that I struggled reading it. But, as with most of the most awful things in the world, you find stories of men and women who display courage and kindness. They shine in the darkness that surrounds them. That is what happens in this book.
This book takes us back to WWII and the less focused on Polish people. A people caught in the cross hairs of the battle between Germany and Russia. For one young man, a rebel resistance fighter, this is his own personal nightmare. He is strong and he is brave. He is fighting to stay alive. It's an amazing tale of heroism and sacrifice.
This book is on the shorter side and didn't take me long to read. I had a hard time putting it down because the story is so compelling, but I had to because my emotions were battered. As a mother, a wife and a daughter, I cannot even begin to imagine some of the horrors described in this book. But out of this book also comes the emotion of gratitude for what I have. Much of what I have comes at a price that I didn't pay. I am a recipient of freedom and prosperity because of many others and I am indebted and grateful.
Winter Sky is not your typical Christmas story, but it will bring to a better place in the end. I'm so glad I had the chance to read it.
- I received a copy of this book, free from the publisher. I was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
By Lisa F, Submitted on 2016-12-07
When I was asked if I would like to read this book, I jumped at the opportunity. Chris Stewart is the author of one of my all-time favorite books, Prologue: The Brothers. I love the series, but The Brothers is my favorite.
Winter Sky takes me to a time and place that I am not as familiar with. When I think of WWII, I think of the allies vs. Germany, concentrations camps, Pearl Harbor, etc. It is easier for me to focus on the grand scale of the war and not on the people or places caught in the middle.
This book takes place in Poland. The Polish were hated by the Germans and the Russians. (A fact that I rarely remember.) The focus of the book is on Lucas, a rebel soldier who has lost his memory in a battle that nearly took his life. He is now fighting, not with a regiment, but behind the scenes ans he struggles to regain him memories and deal with the pain of those memories.
He has two children who are orphaned who join him in this journey. It is heartbreaking to think of the children left alone after parents were killed senselessly. This book brings to mind the sacrifices that were made by those who fought for their country and sought to fight against oppression.
This is an excellent book. It takes place around Christmas time. Some of the images of Christ's hand in the middle of horror are inspiring. This book reminds me of all that I have to be thankful for. I also remember those who fought for their home and country. I am grateful to them and their sacrifices.
By Heidi G., Submitted on 2016-12-05
Chris Stewart has written a compelling story about a little known time and place. Many World War II stories focus on the fighting, or the different fronts of the war, Russia, France, Italy, etc. I have never read a story before that takes a look at the Polish fighters who resisted the Germans after their country had already been overrun. In a surprisingly few pages (less than 200), Stewart takes the reader into a country teetering on the edge of disaster. After so many years of war, no town is left untouched, people struggle to find enough to eat or even a place to sleep. The Germans are on the cusp of leaving, but the Russians offer no hope to the suffering people. And appearing in the midst of all this is a young resistance fighter, who finds himself in a town that is supposedly his with no memory of who he is and only a few flashbacks of where he has come from. His only clue to his identity is an old photograph he carries in his pocket. As he moves through town hoping for something to remind him of who he is, he finds himself in an old church where he meets a beautiful young lady named Melina, who gives him something to fight for. But Colonel Muller, the local German commander hates the rebels with a passion and refuses to leave until this young man has been captured and killed, no matter how dangerously close it puts him and his men to the Russians. With only one hope left, the young man sets off with two young children to find a refugee train heading towards the American lines. But with the difficult winter conditions and a freezing river ahead, and the Germans behind, their chances of survival aren't good at all. I was amazed at how much of story the Stewart manages to create in this relatively short book. In addition to the young man, we meet Zarek, a man whose willing to betray his own people, so his family can survive; we meet Antoni, a young former rebel, whose missing a leg, whose willing to sacrifice himself to save a town, and we meet Melina, a young woman who is not exactly what she seems. This is a book that tugs at the heartstrings. It wasn't easy reading about all the suffering that war brings, often to the innocent. Yet it's also a story of finding hope and courage, and a reason to keep fighting even where there appears to be none. I can highly recommend this book for those who enjoy those kinds of stories that stay with one long after you put it down.
By Rachelle, Submitted on 2016-11-30
Chris Stewart has opened a door to shed light on an aspect of WWII that isn't as well-known. The Polish resistance fighters were an incredible facet to a horrible war and I'd never heard about their efforts before this book. This book is a work of fiction, but Stewart knows his stuff and interweaves fact with his fiction to create a compelling setting and storyline.
I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read at only 177 pages but it pulled me in and had me rooting for the main characters. I enjoyed the suspense of the story as Lucas struggled to recover from injuries and make tough choices as well as the connections to family that comes full-circle in this story. If you've read Chris Stewart before then you'll recognize his writing style of moving quickly from different viewpoints and how his scenes sometimes appear as snippets that push the throttle of the book forward. He doesn't dwell too long in one place and you'll likely finish the book hoping for a sequel just like me. If you haven't read Chris Stewart, then this is an excellent place to start and I'd highly recommend the Great and Terrible Series.
For Winter Sky, I would have liked to see some author notes in the back of the book with details about his research and how he chose this story, mostly because I'd never heard of the Polish resistance fighters before this book. If this book is a stand-alone, then an epilogue would have been nice because the ending is abrupt while still providing closure.
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
By Becca Carroll, Submitted on 2016-10-23
World War II books are hard for me to read. I cannot stomach the thought of the level of hatred during that time in history. I don't understand hate just for the reason to hate. It makes no sense. Plus they usually make me cry like a little girl.
This one didn't have as much fighting as most World War II books so it was much easier to read. Plus, it was really good. It's a short, intense, and sweet all at the same time. :)
Lucas is a rebel soldier, now. He was forced to fight for the Germans, and then forced to fight for the Russians. He finally was able to join a band of rebels that fought against the Russians and the Germans. They caused havoc on them for years. Unfortunately, the rebels don't have many men left and know that the war might be coming to an end. They are disbanding and trying to return to their homes.
Lucas had been injured saving a fellow rebel, and on their way home they drop their fellow rebel off in a little town in Poland. Lucas finds himself at a train station without any memory of how he got there or who he is.
Slowly the memories come back, and he starts to search for his family. During this time a German general was gunning for this particular rebel. He had a spy in the Polish town Lucas was in and reports to his Commander where he is.
Lucas finds a church to hide in and regain some strength. He meets a young lady there and she finds out that he is searching for his family. When Lucas decides to move on Malina decides to make him take two little kids with him when he goes. Lucas is very against it but ends up taking the children any way know it is their only hope at living.
What comes next is unexpected! It's scary, sad, and wonderful all at the same time. For such a short book it packs a punch at the heart strings.
If you like World War II books, pick this one up. It doesn't end horrible with every one dead! It wraps up in a nice bow, that is beautiful.
Source: I was given this book as part of a blog tour. I was not compensated in any way for my review. These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.
Content: Clean and Wonderful!
By Erin Secrist, Submitted on 2016-10-22
Chris Stewart does a great job at showing a simple story of what life was like in Poland during World War II. An amazing ending that you do not see coming. The story allows the reader to get into each detail with multiple character's stories being portrayed. Chris Stewart shows multiple sides of each character- good or bad and allows the reader to see how each character is feeling and their though process. An amazing plot line! Such a good book for World War II readers and those that like a good book about a journey.
By Shauna Wheelwright, Submitted on 2016-07-28
This book is AMAZING! Tender, touching, timeless--
WWII, a rebel on the run, loss of memory, two kids who need help, and help from beyond.
A story of hope that will stay with you long past the last page.
By Shauna Wheelwright, Submitted on 2016-07-23
This book is AMAZING!
Tender, touching, timeless--
WWII, a rebel on the run, loss of memory,
two kids who need help, and help from beyond.
A story of hope that will stay with you long past the last page.