The Dollmaker of Krakow begins with a little doll called Karolina, who has a heart made of glass. Karolina comes from the Land of Dolls, a place of powdered sugar snow and gingerbread houses: a place full of magic. But when war comes to the Land of Dolls, rats force Karolina to leave her peaceful home where she would make clothes for all her friends, sewing their wishes into the hems.
Karolina is found by a kind wind who takes Karolina and her friend, Fritz, to the human world, placing them in the hands of two different magicians. Karolina wakes to find herself in the humble toy shop of the Dollmaker, who soon becomes her best and closest friend. But all around Krakow, the Dollmaker's home, war has also come, bringing harsh and hostile Germans with it. Karolina and the Dollmaker are forced to watch as their beautiful Krakow is taken over by Hitler and his German soldiers.
The Dollmaker and Karolina soon become very concerned for their Jewish friends, Rena and her father Jozef Trzmiel, the violinist. Quickly the Trzmiel family of two are taken away by the Germans to a ghetto with other Jews from Krakow. The Dollmaker and Karolina hatch a brilliant, yet extremely risky plan to get their friends to safety- but it will mean taking lots of risks, channeling the Dollmaker's magic, and needing a bit of help from their enemy, Brandt, a fellow, yet evil, magician. Despite these dangers, Dollmaker and Karolina are willing to take those risks if it means finding safety for their friends- even if it costs them their lives.
The story of The Dollmaker of Krakow is sweet yet hostile, filled with war and magic, and not-so-happy endings. I have to admit, halfway through the story I was getting a little bored and ready to move on, but in the end, R. M. Romero really pulled through, grabbing my attention and making me speed on to the last chapters.
My heart broke while reading about Karolina and the Dollmaker's best friends, Rena and Jozef, and the terrible things that they and their fellow Jews were put through. Although the story had a slow start, I'm glad I continued to read The Dollmaker of Krakow, because the ending really brought tears to my eyes. I am very thankful to R. M. Romero for showing me, and you, the story she crafted, just as the Dollmaker crafted Karolina. I hope that you will enjoy the book as much as I did.