20th Century Historical Fiction
THE POLISH GIRL
Poland, 1944. “Please, officer, I beg you—,” I cry. But my father has already fallen. “Don’t leave me, Tata,” I whisper, rushing to desperately cradle him close. As the kind, loving man who raised me takes his last breath, I weep into my hands and promise to fight to end this terrible war, no matter the cost…
Devasted by the loss of her beloved father, twenty-three-year-old Wanda vows to follow in his footsteps and join the resistance against the German occupiers. Her father lost his life protecting innocent people from Nazi cruelty—she will risk her life too.
Under the cover of shadows, Wanda slips down cobbled streets and past spired buildings to meet an informant who could provide crucial supplies for their fight. But the sight of the man waiting turns Wanda’s blood to ice. She instantly recognises him as the soldier who killed her father.
Who is this man: Nazi soldier, or double agent? Why did he kill her father—could her Tata be a traitor? If Wanda chooses to trust the man who destroyed her family, will she put the whole resistance network in danger—or is this her chance to save hundreds of innocent lives?
Previously published as The Last Sketch (Gold Medalist in the 2022 IPPY Awards)
THE POLISH WIFE
Germany, 1934. Surrounded by beautiful wedding china, we share our first dinner alone as husband and wife. But, instead of sharing affections, all he talks of is his admiration for Hitler. I force a smile, but my blood runs cold. How can I stay with him, now I know what he truly is?
Six years later. When Anna is approached by the Polish resistance while sheltering in Warsaw, she is eager for the chance to fight against German occupation. Managing a network of spies behind the façade of a café for enemy soldiers will mean risking everything. But, after fleeing her fanatical Nazi husband only for war to follow close behind, Anna can’t run any more.
Every conversation she overhears between the unsuspecting officers at the café brings back awful memories of the Nazi her husband became and makes her more determined to do what is right. Spending more time with the resistance behind the scenes, she grows close to them all—especially a brilliant young doctor with deep hazel eyes called Mateusz, who shows her a kindness she has never known.
As they work together, Anna can’t help imagining what life would be like with him, instead of the man she is tied to. But one day her dreams of a future with Mateusz, and freedom for her country, are shattered. Her husband has tracked her down.
Terrified, Anna knows that living as his wife again is her chance to gather information that could help end the war. But can she keep her nerve long enough to spy on her own husband? And with such a high-ranking enemy officer watching her every move, can she protect Mateusz, the man truly she loves, from the firing line?
THE POLISH DAUGHTER
Poland, 1944: Armed men line the streets and herd us forward as they pull people from the crowd. My heart pounds as I hear a familiar cry. They have my best friend. I desperately push through to her, to save her. But we are too densely packed in. I can’t hold back my sobs as she disappears from sight. I am too late…
When war broke out, Julia’s father, a high-ranking Polish officer, took her from Warsaw to keep her safe. Now her father is missing in action, Julia hasreturned home to find him and fight for the resistance—but the city is more dangerous than she ever thought it could be.
When she is trapped in the ghetto, Nazis shoving people into the streets all around her, Julia can only watch in horror as her dearest friend is dragged away. It seems she is about to suffer the same awful fate, until her childhood sweetheart, Nikolaj, appears in enemy uniform and stops the guards with one word.
Surely the boy Julia remembers would never side with the Germans? In the safety of his private room, he explains he is a resistance spy within the ranks of Nazi officers. But the longer he keeps her in the barracks, surrounded by his soldiers, the more Julia grows uneasy about the man she once knew…
Half-Jewish and with her father a wanted man, how safe can she be behind enemy lines? And, not knowing who to trust, will she ever be able to reunite with her captured friend, and her beloved father—or will the war tear them apart forever?
The Last Sketch is a powerful yet beautifully written novel recounting one of the worst periods in human history. The first person account offers a haunting insight into the suffering of the innocent at the hands of the Nazis, yet the author approaches the subject with skilled delicacy and no shortage of knowledge. For a debut novel, this was an outstanding, heartfelt story. A bright future awaits this fantastic new author.
—Steven Moore, Amazon Bestselling Author
The Last Sketch is a spectacular debut novel, full of brilliant details, profound characters, and a unique plot infused with intrigue. The heartfelt depiction of life during trying times of love, loss, and war brought me to the edge of my seat. I highly recommend this captivating novel to all fans of Historical Fiction.
—Shari J. Ryan, USA Today Bestselling Author of Last Words
Gosia Nealon writes from the heart in The Last Sketch, an incredibly moving piece of historical fiction picking up near the end of World War II. [...] The Last Sketch is an action-packed story that dots all the i's and crosses all the t's.
While Gosia Nealon is a proud New Yorker, she was born and raised in Poland. Her journey to the Big Apple revealed a wealth of cultural differences, but also the values that connect us all. Like the fierce desire to protect family, find love, and ultimately, discover who we are and why we’re here.
Gosia’s award-winning short stories have always delved into life’s biggest questions, but it was the drama, sacrifice, and tragedy of WWII that led her to pen her debut novel, "The Last Sketch."
Growing up in Poland, Gosia heard many firsthand accounts of the war, told from a perspective rarely captured in mainstream literature. She was compelled to breathe life into Wanda and Finn, two young people falling in love in the midst of the most terrifying conflict of our time.
When Gosia isn’t tapping away at her laptop, she’s often walking the streets of New York. With her husband and two young sons in tow, they search for the most succulent pierogi, transporting them back to the cobbled streets of her childhood.