Coffee Pot Book Club Review: The Road to Liberation Trials and Triumphs of WWII: A Collection

Welcome to my first Coffee Pot Book Tour! 

I am excited to be part of this great group of bloggers who promote my favorite genre: historical Fiction. Today's book is a compilation of diverse stories related to WWII.  The six amazing  female authors are: Marion Kummerow, Marina Osipova, Rachel Wesson, JJ Toner, Ellie Midwood, and Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger. I will be reviewing only one of the books: Chrystyna Lucyk-Bergers' Magda's Mark.

Here's the blurb for The Road to Liberation:

Riveting stories dedicated to celebrating the end of WWII.
From USA Today, international bestselling and award-winning authors comes a collection filled with courage, betrayal, hardships and, ultimately, victory over some of the most oppressive rulers the world has ever encountered.

By 1944, the Axis powers are fiercely holding on to their quickly shrinking territories.The stakes are high—on both sides: Liberators and oppressors face off in the final battles between good and evil. Only personal bravery and self-sacrifice will tip the scales when the world needs it most.

Read about a small child finding unexpected friends amidst the cruelty of the concentration camps, an Auschwitz survivor working to capture a senior member of the SS, the revolt of a domestic servant hunted by the enemy, a young Jewish girl in a desperate plan to escape the Gestapo, the chaos that confused underground resistance fighters in the Soviet Union, and the difficult lives of a British family made up of displaced children.

2020 marks 75 years since the world celebrated the end of WWII. These books will transport you across countries and continents during the final days, revealing the high price of freedom—and why it is still so necessary to “never forget”.

Stolen Childhood by Marion Kummerow
The Aftermath by Ellie Midwood
When's Mummy coming? by Rachel Wesson
Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods by Marina Osipova
Liberation Berlin by JJ Toner
Magda’s Mark by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger

Individual Author Bios:

Marion Kummerow was born and raised in Germany, before she set out to "discover the world" and lived in various countries. In 1999 she returned to Germany and settled down in Munich where she's now living with her family.
After dipping her toes with non-fiction books, she finally tackled the project dear to her heart. UNRELENTING is the story about her grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime. It's a book about resilience, love and the courage to stand up and do the right thing.

Marina Osipova was born in East Germany into a military family and grew up in Russia where she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. She also has a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. In Russia, she worked first in a scientific-technical institute as a translator then in a Government Ministry in the office of international relations, later for some Austrian firms. For seventeen years, she lived in the United States where she worked in a law firm. Eventually, she found her home in Austria. She is an award-winning author and a member of the Historical Novel Society.

Rachel Wesson is Irish born and bred. Drawn to reading from an early age, she started writing for publication a few years back. When she is not writing, Rachel likes to spend her time reading and playing with her three kids. Living in Dublin there are plenty of things to do, although the cowboys and Indians of her books rarely make an appearance. To chat with Rachel connect with her on Facebook - authorrachelwesson. To check out her newest releases sign up to her mailing list.

JJ Toner: My background is in Mathematics and computing, but I have been writing full time since 2005. I write short stories and novels. My novels include the bestselling WW2 spy story 'The Black Orchestra', and its three sequels, 'The Wings of the Eagle', 'A Postcard from Hamburg', and 'The Gingerbread Spy'.
Many of my short stories have been published in mainstream magazines. Check out 'EGGS and Other Stories' - a collection of satirical SF stories. I was born in a cabbage patch in Ireland, and I still live here with my first wife, although a significant part of our extended family lives in Australia.

Ellie Midwood is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning historical fiction author. She owes her interest in the history of the Second World War to her grandfather, Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front, who began telling her about his experiences on the frontline when she was a young girl. Growing up, her interest in history only deepened and transformed from reading about the war to writing about it. After obtaining her BA in Linguistics, Ellie decided to make writing her full-time career and began working on her first full-length historical novel, "The Girl from Berlin." Ellie is continuously enriching her library with new research material and feeds her passion for WWII and Holocaust history by collecting rare memorabilia and documents. 
In her free time, Ellie is a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, neat freak, adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew, and a doggie mama. Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was born in Minnesota in 1969 and grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of "Nordeast" Minneapolis. She started her writing career with short stories, travel narratives, worked as a journalist and then as a managing editor for a magazine publisher before jumping the editor's desk and pursuing her dreams of writing and traveling. In 2000, she moved to western Austria and established her own communications training company. In 2005, she self-published a historical narrative based on her relatives' personal histories and experiences in Ukraine during WWII. She has won several awards for her short stories and now primarily writes historical fiction. During a trip into northern Italy over the Reschen Pass, she stood on the edge of Reschen Lake and desperately wanted to understand how a 15th-century church tower ends up sticking out of the water. What stories were lying beneath? Some eight years later, she launched the "Reschen Valley" series with five books and a novella releasing between 2018 and 2021.
For more on Chrystyna, dive in at inktreks(dot)com.

My Review of Magda's Mark

Magda's Mark by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger
Published: 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction, World War II, European, Jewish history

Sex: 💗 very mild sexual content, nothing graphic
Violence: 😱 nothing too graphic, content appropriate

Reviewer's Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The book was included in a compilation of six novels, each about World War II. The Compilation is called, The Road to Liberation: Trials and Triumphs of WWII

The Plot in brief: (no spoilers) Magda's cheek is disfigured by a large birthmark, a map of Siberia she calls it. It marrs not only her face but her perception of herself. She hides her face behind a scarf and buries her self-confidence deep inside herself.

In 1938, her family is forced off their farm which is turned over to Germans. They must fend for themselves. Magda finds a job working for a Jewish family who she comes to adore. As the fighting progresses, the evil reach of the Nazi Reich invades her life and threatens the people she loves. Magda summons every ounce of courage to not only survive but to fight. Though the cruel war hardens her heart, she finds there is still room for love.

The Characters:  Confession: I searched the compilation for one book to read and review and landed on Magda's Mark. I meant to read only a few pages but I fell in love with Magda and couldn't put the book down. Drawn with a tender ferociousness, the characters spill from the pages like old friends and enemies. The author does an exquisite job of fleshing out Magda. I felt her pain, cringed with each humiliation and cheered at her triumphs. I also appreciated the duality in each character, everyone contains a percentage of good and evil. Good people are capable of cruelty and the wicked still retain a speck of humanity. Most of them, anyway. 

This History: I've read quite a few books on the WWII experience from the perspective of the Jewish population but this was a first for me. Set near the town of Litomerice, northwest of Prague, the author blends the stories and experiences of both Christians and Jews in Czechoslovakia, a place I know little about. The author clearly knows her history and the book reverberates with chilling details. 

The Writing: The story is beautifully told in a fast paced narrative with perfectly timed flash backs. The editing is superb. 

Overall Opinion: Loved it! I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. Magda pulled me along with her on her journey from a frightened young woman to a 'Warrior Queen'. I was so engrossed I had to force myself to slow down and take in all the details. 

Recommendation: I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates well written historical fiction. Although set during WWII, it is much more than a book about the war, it's about personal growth and sacrifice.  Anyone who loves a good story should enjoy this book. 

I give this book 5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Ratings:

1 ⭐  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2 ⭐⭐ Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 ⭐⭐⭐Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend


Amazon links for The Road to Liberation:

Buy now at Amazon US

Buy now at Amazon UK

Buy now Amazon CA


  1. Thank you so much for hosting The Road to Liberation today. I am so glad you enjoyed Magda's Mark, it is such a fabulous book!

  2. I immensely liked Magda's Mark. First, I read it as a short story and was deeply impressed. Being extended to a novel, it gained even more significance.

    1. I didn't realize it started life as a short story, how interesting.It's a great novel!

  3. This does sound interesting. I put it on my wish list.


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