Far Above Rubies Book Review: Reading Corner

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Far Above Rubies
by Cynthia Polansky
Far Above Rubies book

Far Above Rubies is a riveting book based on a true story-which in my opinion- are the most intriguing! Cynthia Polansky wrote this captivating story based on the aunt of her friend- who married a widower with six daughters. When her six step-daughters were all deported to Westerbork during the Nazi occupation in Holland, Sofie Rijnfield (AKA “Tante Soof”) bravely volunteered to go with them. Little did she know the danger that would encompass their journey, and where they would all be in the end.

The story carries us through their long journey and frightening experiences to the concentration camps. Sofie and her step-daughters were later transferred to Auschwitz. Learn of Sofie’s courage for her and her girls, and the incredible story that unfolds before her. This book and story, although it deals with extremely difficult times in the Nazi-era and the concentration camps, is very uplifting and is really a story about Sofie’s courage and perseverance. It is a beautiful piece of history that we should hold on to and be encouraged by.

This book is great for adults and mature students who want a personal experience of a Holocaust survivor. Although Sofie and her experiences are real, her legacy has been woven into a fantastic novel that I was quite enraptured by! What happens to Sofie, and her six step-daughters? Does she ever find her husband again?


I highly recommend the book “Far Above Rubies”. When I received it in the mail, I started to read the first chapter, and I literally could not put the book down until I had finished the story.  My entire night revolved around Sofie, her family, and her insistence upon surviving. It was so captivating, and although the book and journeys moved through the concentration camps and the horrors that awaited the family, Sofie’s attitude was so encouraging and positive- it was absolutely amazing. This book is a piece of history that you don’t want to miss! The descriptions in this book are so vivid and well-worded. Cynthia does a fabulous job at building this story and the end of the story is full of surprises that I had not seen coming!

Q & A With the Author, Cynthia Polansky:

1. What made you want to write about this particular story? 
I first heard the story of Tante Soof as a docent for the touring photographic exhibit, Anne Frank in the World.  The tours of school groups I led culminated in a brief talk by a Holocaust survivor or second-generation survivor.  Each time I heard docent Mieneke Gold tell the story of her Dutch aunt who voluntarily went to a concentration camp with her stepdaughters, I became more fascinated with it.  I told Mieneke that she had to somehow preserve this story, but she laughed and said that no one wanted to read her family stories.  “Very well,” I said, “then I’m going to do something about it.”

2. Was there a lot of research involved? 
 Yes, but not as much as you may think.  As a Jew, the Holocaust was a natural part of my formal and informal religious education, so I already knew a good deal about it.  I also incorporated real anecdotes I’d garnered over the years from various sources, such as the elderly security guard with whom I worked at Milwaukee’s International Airport, a Polish-Catholic man who spent five years in Auschwitz because of his father’s participation in the Resistance.  I haven’t yet visited Auschwitz but I hope to someday.

3. How long did it take you to write “Far Above Rubies”? 
Four years.

4. What is your favorite subject(s)?  
Foreign languages, English history (especially the British monarchy), and military history (I’m a Navy nut).

5. What do you hope that people learn about as they read “Far Above Rubies”? 
That the human spirit is stronger than we can possibly imagine.  That even as man’s inhumanity to man is apparently without limits, extraordinary kindnesses can and do take place.

6. Is there anything you would like to say to aspiring writers?
Probably the same things they’ve heard before:  write from the heart; don’t give up; and allow yourself to develop into the kind of writer you are meant to be, which may be very different from the kind of writer you want to be.

You can visit Cynthia’s website at http://www.cynthiapolansky.com/ to find out more about her books, interviews, articles, and more! She also has a blog you can visit at http://www.standswithalist.blogspot.com/.
Cynthia also does school presentations as well!

You can buy your own copy of “Far Above Rubies” on Amazon!

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  1. crimedoc1 says:

    Pick me pick me pick me!!

    1. Cynthia Polansky also wrote "Remote Control" (which sounds like a fun read, actually).

    2. If I won this book, I would (obviously!) read it. I am Jewish and also half-German. My father was born in Germany and he and his parents escaped when he was 8, just before Krystallnacht, so I grew up with the Holocaust as a part of my life – when the TV mini-series "The Holocaust" aired in 1978, it was REQUIRED family viewing – my parents considered it more important than our high school homework that week! Most of our classmates (not Jewish) were not allowed to watch it – we HAD to! My mother-in-law would probably also want to read it, and my husband. After that, I would probably donate it to my synagogue's library so that other members of my synagogue could read it as well. (Frankly, if I don't win, I may still buy a copy for the synagogue library).

    3-4. Consider yourself "liked"!: 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:


  5. 1. I choose remote control.
    2. I would read this because my family's history is German and I think it would be a great read.

    You have been liked on facebook.

  6. Almost Crazy Coupon Lady says:

    she also wrote "remote control" almostcrazycouponladyatgmaildotcom

  7. Almost Crazy Coupon Lady says:

    I'd probably read the book (Cassie Dow) almostcrazycouponladyatgmaildotcom

  8. Almost Crazy Coupon Lady says:

    I like you on FB 9Cassie dow) almostcrazycouponladyatgmaildotcom

  9. Almost Crazy Coupon Lady says:

    I like you on FB (Cassie Dow) almostcrazycouponladyatgmaildotcom #2

  10. remote control looks like a good read

    kathleenkmccoy at hotmail.com

  11. Cynthia also wrote several books about dogs and Remote Control, which looks like a fun spring-break read!
    Thank you for the giveaway 🙂

  12. If I'm lucky enough to win, I would read this first and then pass it along to friends and family. I just took a really fascinating WWII history class, so I'm very interested in this topic!
    Thank you for the giveaway 🙂

  13. I added Surviving A Teacher's Salary as a friend on Facebook – my FB name is Amanda Moore
    Thank you for the giveaway 🙂

  14. I added Surviving A Teacher's Salary as a friend on Facebook – my FB name is Amanda Moore
    Thank you for the giveaway 🙂

  15. Thank you for the Chance to win.

  16. I would love this book for myself. I visited Auschwitz as a teenager. It horrifiedme how cruel humans could be to one another! Our tour guide told us that she sometimes would refuse to give a tour. Because sometimes there would be a group that would come thru that didn't believe it had really happened- that it was all exaggerated! It is important to keep telling these stories! We can't pretend these things don't happen. [email protected]

  17. She also wrote books about pit bull terrier and staffordshire and I have one of those!

    [email protected]

  18. she is the author of REMOTE CONTROL

  19. Joyful Noise says:

    I think it is interesting that she stopped writing at the age of 17 because a magazine article she wrote didn't get published and started again after writing a business letter…Our words matter! Thanks for the chance to win…

    dan_jody at live.com

  20. Joyful Noise says:

    If I won I would read the book and I am sure that my sister would borrow it from me as well…thanks…

    dan_jody at live.com

  21. fruitoflabor says:

    I saw she wrote Remote Control

  22. fruitoflabor says:

    I would like this book my self because of the history behind it


  23. fruitoflabor says:

    I like you on FB

  24. fruitoflabor says:

    " like the beach"

  25. fruitoflabor says:

    I like you on FB

  26. fruitoflabor says:

    like the beach

  27. fruitoflabor says:

    like the beach

  28. Another book she wrote was: The American Pit Bull Terrier (Terra Nova)

    jas8929 at gmail dot com

  29. I would read this if I won. It sounds very interesting.

    jas8929 at gmail dot com

  30. [email protected]
    I would read this book because I just watched a movie about anne frank and I wanted to read a book on someone else experience.

  31. Remomte Control

  32. Remote Control is another one of her books

    bamagv at aol dot com

  33. I would be reading this book if I won but it would probably be passed around through my "reading circle" once I finish it.

    bamagv at aol dot com

  34. I like you on Facebook #1

    bamagv at aol dot com

  35. I like you on Facebook #2

    bamagv at aol dot com

  36. I love reading wwii books and this one sounds wonderful. Remote Control also looks interesting

  37. She also wrote Remote Control as well as several non-fiction books about dogs.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  38. I would read this book.

    I have always been interested in reading and learning about the Holocaust and have toured both Anne Frank's Secret Annex as well as a concentration camp.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  39. Carole Spring says:

    Mandatory entry: I would like to read Remote Control.

  40. Carole Spring says:

    If I won "Far Above Rubies" I would read it myself and then I would pass it on to my daughter to read.

  41. She also wrote remote control.
    pjames330 at aol dot com

  42. I would read this book.
    pjames330 at aol dot com

  43. FB fan
    pjames330 at aol dot com

  44. FB fan #2
    pjames330 at aol dot com

  45. She also wrote REMOTE CONTROL.

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