Elaine Stock writes Historical Fiction, exploring home, family and friendships throughout time. She enjoys creating stories showing how all faiths, races, and belief systems are interconnected and need each other. A member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and The Historical Novel Society, she wrote We Shall Not Shatter, Book 1 of the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy, inspired by her deaf great aunt who was left behind in Poland and perished in the Holocaust. The novel has earned the Historical Fiction Company 5-star and “Highly Recommended” Review, won the Finalist Award in the Historical WWI-WWII category of the Historical Fiction Company Contest, and took the 2022 Silver Medal in the Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year Award. Book 2, Our Daughters’ Last Hope has also won Historical Fiction Company 5-star and “Highly Recommended” Review. Book 3, When We Disappeared will release in 2023.
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We Shall Not Shatter, Book 1 of the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy
An unforgettable story of friendship, family and hope as two courageous young women face one of history’s most horrific tragedies.
Brzeziny, Poland, 1939 Zofia’s comfortable-lifestyle overturns when her husband, Jabez, who monitors Nazi activity, has gone missing. Rather than fleeing the country with her young son, as she had promised Jabez who is fearing retaliation, she decides to stay. She cannot possibly leave her friend, Aanya. Since their childhood they have amazed fellow Brzeziners that it does not matter that Aanya is Jewish and deaf, and that Zofia is Catholic and hearing. Now, more than ever with war looming, Zofia will do whatever is necessary to protect her family and Aanya.
As both love and war approach their Polish town, Zofia and Aanya must make choices that will change the meaning of family, home, and their precious friendship. The journey, decisions and the no-going-back consequences the women face will either help them to survive—or not—as Hitler’s Third Reich revs up its control of the world.
Inspired by the author’s paternal heritage from Brzeziny, this is a heartbreaking yet beautiful story of two women who are determined to remain united in friendship and to live freely despite the odds.
We Shall Not Shatter
A WWII Story of friendship, family, and hope against all odds (Resilient Women of WWII Book 1)
Book Excerpt or Article
A Funny Thing Happened While Writing This Story!
By Elaine Stock
Have you grown up in the shroud of family mysteries, like me, and never expected to see the proverbial light? Do I have a story to tell you!
Imagine yourself as Shirley, born in 1907, a second-generation-born child from an immigrant family, and you’re fast approaching your 30th birthday. Unlike your friends, you’re single and have no children. But then, you meet Charles; Chaskel was his Polish name. He was born in 1907 too, in Brzeziny, Poland—a town known for its tailoring industry, located halfway between Łódź and Warsaw. Love strikes fast. You marry and a daughter is born. Four years later, pregnant with your second child, on a pleasant September day in 1941, you’re sitting in a movie theater with your husband, enjoying a night out. Charles experiences acute pain, is rushed to the hospital, diagnosed with appendicitis… but it’s too late. Charles passes. You’re now a widow with one young child, another on its way. What do you do? The very best you can. Four days after the United States is jolted into war when Pearl Harbor is bombed, you give birth to your baby boy and name him after his father that he will never know, at least not in this lifetime. And, you never, ever talk about your beloved husband, or his family heritage. You only live in the moment.
What happens when your granddaughter asks about the man in your wedding photograph, still on your bedroom dresser? “What?” you say. “Are you going to write a book?” Yes, Grandma, I have, although this story brewed and brewed for decades because I only had scant knowledge of my paternal family: Chaskel, born hearing-abled, was one of several siblings that were born deaf. His oldest sister, deaf and a teenager, was not permitted through the health-inspections at Ellis Island in 1914 when the family sailed to America on one of the last ships before the outbreak of The Great War. And this great aunt, whom I didn’t even know her name until recently, became the crux that prompted me to write We Shall Not Shatter. However, it is a fictional tale inspired by my family’s origins in Brzeziny Poland; it is not autobiographical. I like to describe the story as my personal love letter to all those who perished in the Holocaust and to those who bravely fought the evil of those times. Caught in the snares of approaching war, it’s a story applicable to all times: what to do to not only survive but to thrive without surrendering dreams, friendship, or family?
One unexpected evening, after I contracted with Amsterdam Publishers for the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy, a second-cousin phoned and helped to fill in the gaps about our family. Wait—there’s wonderfully more. He had just finished completing a family history and tree of my paternal relatives that dates back to my great-grandparents in Poland and sent it to me!! I now have names and dates. Yet, on a bittersweet note, there’s no information on my great-aunt who remained in Poland. It’s believed that she perished in the Holocaust with the remaining Jewish population of Brzeziny. Here is my Dedication in We Shall Not Shatter:
Dedicated in the Memory of my Great Aunt, Katie Pakula, and her brother, my grandfather, Chaskel (Charles) Pakula of Brzeziny, Poland. You have passed on way too early. May we one day meet in the glorious afterlife.
And also, in memory of all those who lost their lives in Brzeziny, in all of Poland, and all those who fought against Nazism during World War II.
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