Sunday, February 19, 2023

*Review* The Stolen Twins by Shari J. Ryan

 Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: February 14, 2023
Pages: 315

Auschwitz, 1944: “You can’t leave me,” I whisper, my hand trembling as I reach for her cheek. “You can’t. We’re in this life together, always, just you and me.” This utterly heartbreaking yet beautifully hopeful World War Two page-turner tells the story of identical twin sisters in Auschwitz. Born minutes apart, Arina and Nora have never left each other’s side—until now…

The cattle car is dark, except for the light filtering through the boarded windows. There are too many of us to count, crushed up against each other. The air is stuffy, carrying the scent of our terror—none of us know what awaits us when this train stops. I cling onto Mama’s hand and Nora, my twin sister, clutches Papa’s.

After what feels like forever, the train stops. We spill out of the carriage, the sun blinding us after being imprisoned in darkness for so long. There are people everywhere, soldiers separating children from their parents, husbands from wives.

We’re in some sort of queue, and a man in a dark-green SS uniform walks by, glancing at everyone he passes. “Twins, twins,” he shouts. My heart falls into the pit of my stomach.

“Right here,” says Mama, hesitation in her voice. “My daughters are twins.” My eyes widen, and Nora trembles. Papa tries to tell Mama to be quiet, but it’s too late.

The Nazi catches sight of us. “Twins,” he says again, pausing to inspect Nora and me. “Yes, you are, aren’t you? You two are going to come along with me.”

This unforgettable World War Two page-turner, perfect for fans of The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Lucky Ones and The Midwife of Auschwitz, shows that, in the darkest of times, love can save your life…

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley after playing Netgalley Request Roulette for historical fiction. This is my honest review. 

I was super excited to get approved for this book as I've been fascinated by WWII era fiction for pretty much as long as I can remember. This book provided a new perspective for me, featuring twins that were victims of Mengele's experiments (I refuse to refer to him as doctor). Additionally, most of the WWII era books I've read don't explore the aftereffects of life during the Holocaust to the extent that this book did. This book really felt more focused on the girls' lives after the war, with glimpses back to show how they got to where they are now. I didn't feel like those scenes in the camp shied away from the horrors that took place there, but showed them in a way that I'd have no problem encouraging my children (13 and 11) to read this book. Granted I think it's important that kids learn how truly horrible humans can be to each other to hopefully prevent something like the Holocaust from happening again. 

This story was told in alternating POVs between Nora and Arina, with the beginning chapters also showing their present and then their past until the past caught up with their present (boy I hope that makes sense). This gave us a broader view of events both during and after the war, and two budding romances. I think longer scenes from the camp would have helped to explain Arina's post-war behavior a little bit better, especially for any readers that may be less familiar with the Holocaust than I am. I also thought Ms. Blum really dropped the ball with helping Arina handle Mrs. Vallentine, considering her background. But I didn't get to see inside Ms. Blum's head, so I don't know what ghosts she was battling or how they were really affecting her either. 

I will definitely be checking out some of Ms. Ryan's other Holocaust fiction in the future. Overall I give this book 4.83 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Shari J. Ryan is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Women’s Fiction, WWII Fiction, and 20th Century Historical Fiction with a focus on the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor.

Shortly after graduation from Johnson & Wales with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Shari began her career as a graphic artist and freelance writer. She then found her passion for writing books in 2012 after her second son was born. Shari has been slaying words ever since.

Shari has hit the USA Today Bestseller List, the Amazon's Top 100, Barnes & Noble's Top Ten, and iBooks at number one. She has also received two Rone awards.

Some of Shari’s bestselling books include: The Bookseller of Dachau, The Doctor's Daughter, The Girl with the Diary, Prison Child, The Soldier's Letters, and The Lieutenant's Girl.

Shari, a lifelong Boston girl, is happily married to her personal hero and US Marine and have two wonderful little boys. For more details about her books, visit:

1 comment: