Author: Amanda Hodgkinson
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publish Date: April 28th 2011
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction lover.
- You like books that show human struggle.
From Goodreads.com: "In her powerful debut, Hodgkinson takes on the tale of a family desperately trying to put itself back together after WWII. Silvana and Janusz have only been married a few months when the war forces them apart. Silvana and their infant son, Aurek, leave Poland and disappear into the forests of Eastern Europe, where they bear witness to German atrocities. Meanwhile Janusz, the sole survivor of his slaughtered military unit, flees to France. There, he takes up with a local girl and, though he loves her, awaits the war's end so that he can go in search of his wife and son. He eventually finds them in a refugee camp and they travel to England together, where they attempt to put the past behind them. But the secrets they carry pull at the threads of their fragile peace. Hodgkinson alternates viewpoints to relay the story of three desperate characters, skillfully toggling between the war and its aftermath with wonderfully descriptive prose that pulls the reader into a sweeping tale of survival and redemption."
My Two Cents:
This is a story of a family coming back together after spending many years apart during World War II. During the war, Jan was a part of the Polish regiment of English forces. He spends part of his time in France where he falls in love with Helene, a young French woman. Meanwhile, Jan's wife, Silvana, is trying to escape the converging forces in Poland. She's also hiding a secret of her own. Neither of the main characters actions are really excusable but you can definitely see their methods for doing what they do.
I liked this book because a lot of books do not cover the time after World War II. There is a plethora of books that cover life during World War II but there are very few that cover everything that Europeans had to go through after the war.
This is a story about trying to find your way after going through a great trauma, a difficult thing for anyone to do. I'm not sure that anyone in the book handles things as well as they could have but 'tis human nature, I suppose.
Bottom line: Great historical fiction with a lot of sadness mixed in.