The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero | The whimsical story of magic during the war

The dollmaker of krakow

It took me awhile, but my review for this lovely li’l book is finally here! Usually, if I had left it this long between reading the book and writing the review, I would just leave the full review altogether. But I feel like this book deserves the full thing…if I can gather my thoughts properly. I still find it difficult to describe this one! But I shall try.

Let’s dive right in!



Synopsis (1)

Found on Goodreads

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.


*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book. This in no way affects my opinion.

A fairytale in a bleak world, The Dollmaker of Krakow is a whimsical story set with a tragic background.

Following Karolina, a living doll lost in the world of war-torn Poland, this middle-grade/children’s novel seems to me the perfect way to set a book during the war without it being *too* hard-hitting. Don’t get me wrong, the dark, bleak world is very much there, but the magical – almost adventurous – side to the story helps to alleviate the horrific side of war while still discussing the events that took place. Perfect for a slightly younger audience.

But though this is a children’s novel, it’s a story that could be enjoyed at any age. I’m sure most people still have heart for that comforting feeling a magical story brings, and this one was no different. Charming seems to be the perfect word to describe it. Which brings to mind fairy tales of princes slaying dragons but…not quite. How about magic dolls teaming up with a toymaker to save their friends during the war, instead? It still holds that fanciful, adventurous, almost nostalgic feel. The writing alone has the traditional “storytelling” feel associated with childhood tales.

Not only is the story stunning, but the book itself is too. The cover is one to fawn over, but the inside pages really give it that extra li’l something. Each chapter has a dedicated illustration, and the chapters dedicated to Karolina’s backstory are outlined with thick, intricate borders with tiny details relating to the story. It was so lovely turning the pages and seeing the designs, knowing full well they were helping to bring the descriptions alive in their own little way.


Needless to say, this book is just gorgeous. A quick read that can capture your heart, I really believe this would be the perfect way to introduce a younger audience to historical fiction, or even a way for people like me to revisit what feels like an old favourite.

Rated 4/5 stars!

4 stars

give a warning

Share your thoughts!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

If you haven’t read this book, do you plan to?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Until next time…


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6 thoughts on “The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero | The whimsical story of magic during the war

  1. I feel like the only person who didn’t really like this book. I honestly thought the juxtaposition of Doll Land and the Holocaust was a bit odd and almost insulting, like middle grade readers wouldn’t understand the Holocaust without the analogy of dolls fighting big mean rats. Also I didn’t like the doll because she seemed annoying and pushy rather than “feisty.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair enough! No book is for everyone. I can see what you mean – I suppose I assumed it was for a much younger audience from the descriptions it gives (like how you pointed out a typical middle-grade audience would likely be able to understand the Holocaust). There’s definitely a few things to be pointed out when looking back on it!


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