1944, Germany. Gazing through the barbed wire, Antonia makes a vow: she will not let her family die in this camp. She will find a way for them to escape, even if it costs her own life. The Nazis have taken everything from her, but they can never take away her courage…
Would you go into a prison camp if there was a chance to save your family? When resistance fighter Antonia’s beloved sister and her children are taken by the Nazis, she knows what she must do. Only she is strong enough to save the family who have been her whole world since she was separated from her true love, Viktor.
As Antonia clutches her nephew’s little hand in hers, her other arm tight around her sister Lena, she knows she has made the right choice. And as the truck rattles towards a brutal labor camp, Antonia’s only thought is of how to stay alive, so she can escape and rejoin the fight to free her country. But with the brutal guards on the lookout for anyone who was involved in the resistance, she knows she can trust no one.
As the freezing winter sets in, her older nephew soon falls ill, while Lena starves to give her children what she can. For Antonia, the only thing worse than watching her nephews suffer is seeing Lena realise that her child will die without help. She cannot let that happen.
With the risk of betrayal always present, she must rely entirely on her own courage and ingenuity to plan their escape. Out of the gates. Away from the Nazis. To safety. To freedom. And perhaps even back to the man she loves…
A heartbreaking, inspiring and totally unforgettable story of the unbelievable courage and determination of extraordinary people in the darkest days of war. Fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, Fiona Valpy, and The Tattooist of Auschwitz will be gripped from the very first page until the final, heart-stopping conclusion.
Readers love Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger:
“Absolutely heartbreaking… Gripped me from the first page and I read it in one sitting!… Will stay with me for a long time.” Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Fantastic!!! There wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t gripped!… My heart really ached… Incredibly gripping!” Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“This book broke me, it was heartbreaking and had me gripped… The descriptions and imagery was so vivid that it felt like I was stepping into World War 2. I cried, I smiled and I didn't want it to end. This book is totally captivating.” Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Kept me up all night and I finished this book with tears in my eyes after I read the ending!… Powerful, gripping… Unputdownable… Five stars!” Tropical Girl Reads Books, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“A gripping story that will stay with you long after you have put it down… I highly recommend.” NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I could barely put down the book. I smiled, cried… I recommend it to all history lovers!” Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Grab a few tissues… Such a powerful story you must read.” Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Wonderful intense read… So vivid you will feel you are there. I could not put this story down. I loved the book.” Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Riveting, intense… From the very beginning you feel like you're amidst the chaos, the heartbreak, the despair but also the incredible bravery and spirit of the people in WWII.” Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Historical Fiction at its best
Antonia risks her life every day sneaking messages and refugees across the border to safety. But when she is hiding in the forest behind her house, she witnesses her sister Lena and her nephews being taken at gunpoint by the Nazi’s. She has to make the impossible decision, does she come out of hiding and go with her family to keep them safe or does she stay hidden and continue to fight. Antonia comes out of hiding and goes with her sister and nephews. When they arrive at the labor camp, the conditions are horrible and Lena’s son becomes very ill. Antonia must devise a plan for escape, to save her sister Lena and her two nephews. She spent so many years helping others and now, she is their only hope for their escape and survival. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I cried and found myself cheering them on. I was so enthralled by this gripping and powerful novel, I didn’t want it to end, yet at the same time I could wait to see how it was going to end.
Thank you Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger for such a riveting and intense story. I felt as if it was happening right in front of me. The hope, triumphs and tribulations that the people went through, was so descriptive, it made me feel such compassion for them. This phenomenal story is a must read and I highly recommend this book.
Extraordinary, Unforgettable, Beautifully Written
Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger’s “The Woman at the Gates: Epic, heart-wrenching and gripping World War 2 historical fiction” is truly a story that lays hold on your heart, gripping so tightly as it struggles to beat.
The Ukraine 1944, during WW2 this is the story of Ukrainian resistance fighters, caught in an uncertain world where are the choices between the evils fall on blurred lines, where a people fight for their homeland and unspeakable evils reign, yet they fight on. Antonia is independent, intelligent, and a young woman willing to do whatever it takes for those she loves and to fight for her country’s freedom. She is a professor by day and a resistance fighter by night, intent on saving those she loves and preserving her precious country and the life she has known and loved there.
The authors research is impeccable. She pens well-rounded, believable, and very alive characters in this story. Her rich, visual and sensory prose crafts with immense skill a story that holds you in its grip from beginning to end. I have great respect for Antonia, her courage and her extraordinary strength. The plot is strong, compelling and the ending wasn’t exactly what I suspected.
Based on a true story of the authors own family, this is an unforgettable, poignant story of love, hope, courage, betrayal, and of the power of human endurance during history’s darkest days. The story of extraordinary people whose courage and conviction saw them through the horrific horrors of war. I was reduced to tears more than once throughout the story. It was clear to see that it was written with the heart and soul of the author.
Thank you so much Ms. Lucyk-Berger for this beautifully written, wonderfully told, unforgettable story.
Thank you Net Galley for the chance to review an early release of this book