Amanda Hodgkinson's debut 22 Britannia Road
deftly explores how a family survives war and if the past can be reclaimed. Broadly, the idea of reclaiming the past is a tantalizing one, but through the catastrophic lens of World War II, this notion becomes both heartbreaking and poignant. All of the characters wrestle with how they can recapture the life and dreams that existed before the war, but the struggle is the most difficult for Silvana and Janusz, a young married couple who are separated during the war and reunited at the end. Both Silvana and Janusz have disastrous secrets that threaten the heart of their marriage, yet both are beguiled by the thought that their relationship can be salvaged if they focus on their son, work hard, and recapture the romance of their first days together.
Hodgkinson's use of flashback intensifies the narrative, as the story jumps...
Beyond the Book
In Amanda Hodgkinson's 22 Britannia Road
, Silvana and Janusz are plunged into war when Germany invades Poland in 1939. Though the invasion catches them (and their real-life counterparts) by surprise, Polish-German relations had been increasingly strained since the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which redrew European borders at the end of World War I in 1919. A German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact, signed in 1934, had promised to keep relations between the two countries cordial, but, among other reasons, Germany's unwillingness to cede the Polish Corridor, per terms of the Treaty of Versailles, strained diplomacy.