Book Reviews

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero (Spoiler-free) Review

In the land of dolls, there is magic.
In the land of humans, there is war.
Everywhere there is pain.
But together there is hope.

Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Krakow, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked past. 

The Dollmaker has learned to keep to himself, but Karolina’s courageous and compassionate manner lead him to smile and to even befriend a violin-playing father and his daughter–that is, once the Dollmaker gets over the shock of realizing a doll is speaking to him. 

But their newfound happiness is dashed when Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland. Karolina and the Dollmaker quickly realize that their Jewish friends are in grave danger, and they are determined to help save them, no matter what the risks.


The Dollmaker of Krakow is a middle grade novel that takes place in Krakow, Poland during World War II. The main character is Karolina, but what makes this book unique, is that Karolina is a doll. She can talk and walk and has a soul just like a human. One day, her land is attacked and she needs to make an escape. Her soul is transported into a doll of a Polish dollmaker’s toy shop. There she materializes and becomes the dollmaker’s companion. One day, they befriend a family of Jewish people. They accept that Karolina is a talking doll and they all become great friends. One day, they are separated and their lives are thrown into turmoil because of the war.

I love any book that centers around World War II and I am always interested in reading stories about the Holocaust. This is a wonderful and tragic middle grade novel about the terrible subject. We all know the Holocaust was a violent time in history. This book takes the point of view of a doll, which is unique in itself, but it does not mask the true horrors of the Holocaust. I thought this was a great representation of this horrific time in history. I think this would be a great introduction for children who are just starting to learn about the Holocaust. It’s not too brutal, but it does show how terrible it was to live in Europe at the time of the war.

This book had a great underlying message. Beneath the horrors of the Holocaust, this story showed that no matter how much evil is present in the world, there will always be those who are compassionate and kind. I loved the message that this book portrayed and I think it is an important book to read, especially those younger in age.

“You can destroy a person, but destroying their story is far more difficult. No one is ever really lost as long as their story still exists.”

-R.M. Romero, The Dollmaker of Krakow

I recommend this read to anyone who enjoys reading about WWII and loves middle grade books. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!

Thank you to netgalley, the publisher, and R.M. Romero for an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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37 thoughts on “The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero (Spoiler-free) Review

      1. I did a Joint Honours Degree in English Literature and History, but mainly focused on World War I and II for the history side of it. I also wrote my dissertation on primarily Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but also how it linked to other camps such as Auschwitz. Me too, it’s a harrowing topic but something I’m trying to learn as much as possible too. I visited Auschwitz a few years ago, was a very eye opening experience.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I might have to check this one out. The doll part kind of throws me off, but WWII are so powerful, and it would be nice seeing a middle grade book touching the subject in an unique way.

    Liked by 1 person

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