A tour de force that echoes modern classics like Suite Francaise and The Postmistress.
At the end of the Second World War, Silvana and eight-year-old Aurek board the ship that will take them from Poland to England. After living wild in the forests for years, carrying a terrible secret, all Silvana knows is that she and Aurek are survivors. Everything else is lost. Waiting in Ipswich is Silvana's husband Janusz, who has not seen his wife and son for six years. He has found his family a house and works hard planting a proper English garden to welcome them. But the six years apart have changed them all. To make a real home, Silvana and Janusz will have to come to terms with what happened during the war, accept that each is different, and allow their beloved but wild son Aurek to be who he truly is.
SPRING 1946. TO ENGLAND.
The boy was everything to her. Small and unruly, he had a nervy way about him like a wild creature caught in the open. All the dark hearts of the lost, the found, and the never forgotten lived in his child's body, in his quick eyes. She loved him with the same unforgiving force that pushes forests from the deep ground, but still she feared it was not enough to keep him. So she was taking him to England, determined that Janusz would love him and keep him safe.
On the ship's sailing list she was named as Silvana Nowak. Twenty-seven years old. Married. Mother of a son, Aurek Josef, aged seven years.
"What is your profession?" the British soldier asked her, checking the identity papers she put before him.
She looked at the documents on his desk and saw pages of women's names. All were listed as housewives or housekeepers.
Behind her, hundreds more women, dressed as she was in donated clothes, stood silently with their children. Above the soldier's...
22 Britannia Road is a beautiful story about the lengths to which a family will go to heal itself. Told in lyrical prose with sharp dialogue and precise detail, we are brought into a world emerging from catastrophe and into a family that will do anything to protect itself.
(Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).
Full Review (675 words).
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.
As Hitler gained power, he focused his vision of a hegemonic Germany, taking territories from surrounding countries to ...
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