Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “22 Britannia Road” as Want to Read:
22 Britannia Road
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

22 Britannia Road

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  9,699 Ratings  ·  1,104 Reviews
"Hodgkinson's portrait of the primal bond between mother and child . . . leaves an indelible impression." --"The New York Times Book Review"

Debuting its first week on the "New York Times" bestseller list and earning comparisons to "Sophie's Choice" and "Sarah's Key," "22 Britannia Road" is an astonishing first novel that powerfully chronicles one family's struggle to creat
Paperback, 302 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Fig Tree (first published 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about 22 Britannia Road, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about 22 Britannia Road

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Susan in NC
"She is made of the thinnest eggshell, her toughness a veneer. . ." That is the way Janusz describes his wife Silvana as he embraces her; the scene is about two-thirds through the book and seems to be the first insightful thing he thinks about her. I chose this book from the Amazon Vine program because it sounded like a wonderful, moving premise for a novel, but I was disappointed. I expected it to be sad, but I also expected to feel for and empathize with characters who have been through so muc ...more
Teresa Lukey
22 Britannia Road was most definitely a pleasant surprise for me. There are so many books out there relating to WWII and sometimes I think there can possibly be anymore to contemplate regarding WWII, but, again, this book has proven me wrong. The scope of people affected by WWII is hard to grasp, but definitely a reality.

In this story, a newlywed couple and there infant son are separated when Poland is invaded by German forces and must go to war to keep their country. Janusz, the father, is requ
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"

Ex-AS-perating! Could have been so much more.
The writing was actually decent enough that I could have given it three stars, but by the time I got to the end I was tearing my hair out in frustration at what she chose to include and what she chose to leave out of the story. I was left with a feeling of pointlessness. 2.5 stars
Silvana and seven-year-old Aurek are reunited with Janusz, her husband, after World War II. He has settled in England after the war, and his family was found in a refugee camp. Silvana and Janusz have been through separate terrible wartime experiences when Poland was invaded by both German and Russian soldiers. Janusz traveled to safe houses to finally get to England. Silvana and Aurek lived in the forests of Poland, and Aurek has only known a wild existence. Their adjustment is difficult, and t ...more
Poor little gorgeous prose, it deserved a better book.

Beside the solid flowing writing, there is absolutely anything worth remembering about this book. Though WW2 is on of my favorite settings for historical fiction and the premise it’s pretty powerful, the execution lacks in all aspects. It is slow, boring to the core, painfully predictable and basically pointless. And the characters are the absolute worst, they might actually be the most useless hero/heroine ever to be written. They don’t do a
Lydia Laceby
Reviewed at Novel Escapes

The portrayal of World War II in 22 Britannia Road doesn't hold back, which I really appreciated, but unfortunately I found it came across as emotionally stilted - which maybe was the point. These were characters hardened by war and had lived through torturous years apart when the war separated the recently married couple. But I still couldn't help wanting more. I wanted to empathize and root for these characters and their relationship, but didn't seem to be able to. Unf
May 01, 2011 Felice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 22 Britannia Road of the title is the destination for a young family destroyed by WWII. Silvana and Janusz Nowak and their 8 year old son Aurek are Polish refugees. When the novel begins it's 1946 and they are all about to start a new, picket fence life in England. They have been separated since 1939 when Janusz left his wife and son to fight for Poland against the Germans. Each of these spouses then spent the next seven years struggling with the choices that would keep them alive. Once the ...more
Jan 27, 2016 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
First sentence: The boy was everything to her.

I swore no more World War II books for a long while. This book just kept crossing my path here and there so I finally requested it from the library. It's a bit different than many of the other stories focusing on the war. In this story the war is over and the husband, wife and small son are together again after being apart for six years. Their experiences during the war are horrible yet it's told in such a manner that I understood each of their behav
Wendy Pearl's Picks
This is such a wonderfully written first novel! I just read it a second time (cover to cover), before hosting a dinner with the author and some Bay area booksellers. It's less of a WWII story than a story of what happens after the war. If you enjoy books like: Sarah's Key, Book Thief, and even the new YA novel, Between Shades of Gray, you'll like this one! This one's gaining fans and "buzz" among independent booksellers across the country!
Pam Jenoff
Nov 02, 2016 Pam Jenoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This remarkable book chronicles the struggle of a Polish woman to make a new life for herself and her son in England in the aftermath of World War II. But her life is crippled by questions: Can she overcome the horrors she has been through to reunite with her husband (whom it now seems she barely knows)? And what really happened during the war? Original, memorable and heartfelt.
1.99 on Amazon

I thought this was a powerful debut by Hodgkinson. I enjoyed reading about the struggles of Polish refugees during and after WWII. It moved at a good pace and kept me interested.
May 23, 2011 Chandler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Currently I search for books about World War II and impact of it on what Tom Brokaw dubbed, “The Greatest Generation”. In my quest, I search for books that look at different aspects, countries and ethnic groups impacted by this war.
“22 Britannia Road” by Amanda Hodgkinson has a similar tone to another book I recently enjoyed, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”. Since my weakness is history, I am joyful when I learn something new about history that escaped my limited education.
Janusz Nowak
Sep 18, 2012 Silke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember the first time I actually saw this book in my local bookstore. It called out to me. Maybe it was the picture on the front page, maybe it was the title. I am not quite sure, because I am not very found of books that are set in the war. I left the book in the bookshop. But every other visit it kept calling to me. So eventually I actually took it home with me and boy am I glad I did! This is one of the best books I read this year.

Sure the book is about the war. But at the same time it i
This is a powerful and moving, but sad story about a family torn apart by war. The story moves back and forth in time (pre-WWII, during the war, and after the war), location (Poland, France, crossing the channel, and England) and between three characters – wife/mother, husband/father and child/son. Despite the fact that the story involves very painful topics – death of family members, rape, loss of loved ones, separation, witnessing violent deaths, etc. – the story was not depressing. I won this ...more
I’ve read a number of books set during the onset and duration of World War; many of them focus on The Holocaust or the United States involvement in the war. 22 Britannia Road takes a different approach in the story of Janusz, Silvana and their son Aurek.

The novel opens with the reunion of the little family six years after they were separated in 1940 when the Germans Army invaded their homeland of Poland. This reunion is not a joyous Hollywood style meeting. After so many years apart the two are
May 06, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is just out and as it is a WWII era story I had to read it. It was a good story but didn't grab at me enough to give it a four. I would give it more like a 3.5. It is another sad story about war and how it can so destroy people, both physically and emotionally.

This book centers around two Polish survivors of the German invasion of Poland. Living in Warsaw and happily married with a baby boy named Aurek, Silvana and Janusz seem to be on their way to a promising life. Until the Germans i
Susan Johnson
Sep 13, 2011 Susan Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
War destroys lives. People make choices that don't always make sense. And most of us would do whatever they could to survive.
When Poland is invaded Janusz leaves to join the Army and makes absolutely no preparations for his wife and newborn. He does not get them to his parents. He just leaves. Silvana seems to go into some type of protective shell and does nothing. It reminded me of when I was diagnosed with cancer. Somehow your mind shuts down and you hear people but they sound so far off- not
This author will be running a writers workshop I'm attending in October and I was very eager to read her debut novel. The verdict? Well, it was good. But not great. I enjoyed it, but I wasn't engrossed by it. There were no images that will forever stick with me, which was a little annoying considering the multitude of opportunities her plot gave her for strong imagery. She seems to write 'faster' than I do, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but some incredibly intense moments lost a lot of th ...more
May 07, 2011 Anne rated it it was amazing
Really loved this book. It's so difficult to believe that this is a debut novel, the author shows such deftness of touch in telling the story of the reunited Polish family in Ipswich after the war. I read the book in two sittings and found it absolutely unputdownable, so involved did I get with the stories of Janusz, Silvana and Aurek. There are passages telling of the most horrifying privation and wartime cruelty and tragedy, set against the domestic detail of resuming life in Ipswich and their ...more
May 11, 2011 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
I loved this book! Heartwrenching with a good ending. I give this one 5 stars.
Apr 27, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book, I felt like I was in a movie theatre, just sitting back and enjoying the story. I kept imagining a very young Meryl Streep as Silvania.

This book is set in 1946 in England but has flashbacks to Poland during WWII. The flashbacks were handled flawlessly so you always knew which character and what place you were going back to. The book opens with Janusz, a Polish immigrant to England trying to immerse himself in English culture and customs. He desparately wanted to fit in
Apr 06, 2012 Vox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is a warning: do not read 22 Britannia Road if you want something light and entertaining. Don't read it if you prefer not to think about a book.

Amanda Hodgkinson creates some memorable, if occasionally completely unlikeable, characters in 22 Britannia Road. The book opens with Janusz waiting at Victoria Station for his wife and son, some time after the end of WWII. Both husband and wife have changed deeply since the war, and it has been six years since they've seen each other. During that t
Sally Wessely
I love to read novels set in postwar England. When I read the back cover of this book while I browsed through the books at a discount warehouse store, I could not resist buying it. The book is advertised as the debut work by Amanda Hodgkinson. Reviews compared it to "Sarah's Key" and "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society." I would have to disagree. You may be fans of those books, but I'm not sure you would enjoy this book as much as those.

The novel tells the story of a Polish couple who
Apr 13, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

Regular followers of my reviews know that I have a soft spot for certain types of books: family dramas with a mystery or two, books filled with magical realism, and (lately) WWII dramas. Perhaps this is because there have been quite a few excellent WWII-era novels in the past few years such as THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, THE POSTMISTRESS and BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY. Amanda Hodgkinson offers us a new novel in this pa
Amy Siggelow
Jun 05, 2011 Amy Siggelow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book as a First Reads book from Goodreads.

This book is about a young Polish couple who fall in love right before WWII begins. They get married and Silvana becomes pregnant and gives birth to a boy named Aurek. Janusz is her husband and soon after his son is born, he leaves to join up with the army. On his way to his post, the train he is riding on comes under fire from the Germans. The Germans open fire on the to-be soldiers that are taking a break outside the train. Janusz hits his h
Jul 02, 2013 Melodee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book more, but I just couldn't. I would really give this 1 1/2 stars, but I can't rate in halves, so I rounded up. What I liked most was the writing. The writing was lovely, some of the lines were poetic and striking. The writing itself was so beautiful, the reader almost forgot that there really wasn't much to inspire in the subjects. I guess my problem is usually when I read "war stories", I am inspired by what the people lived through and how they pulled themselves up an ...more
"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."

In her debut novel, Amanda Hodgkinson presents us with a family reunited following six years of separation. The year is 1946
Aug 29, 2011 Billpilgrim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a Polish family that gets separated at the beginning of World War II, when the husband joins the Polish army just before the Nazi invasion. He ends up escaping, first to France for a short time, then to England where he joins the British armed services. His wife unsuccessfully tries to travel to his parents' home, and ends up living in the forest with her very young son until the end of the war. Then, when he tries to find her, she is located in a refugee camp and they are r ...more
Overall I really enjoyed this book, although the character development was not that great. I liked the historical aspects about the couple's experience apart during World War II with Silvanna in Poland and mostly living in the forest and Janusz sort of fleeing/sort of joining the war effort. I like how they both really seem human and not some romanticized ideal with it not always being exactly a happy ending even though they do reunite after the war.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free thro
Jan 07, 2014 Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gives different perspectives than many novels set around World War II. The main characters are Polish and one hides out in a forest with her child and the other quickly loses his regiment. They both experience horrific events and the novel mostly deals with how this impacts on their relationship as they try to reform their family in England after the war ends. Less details of the atrocities of war makes it easier to read than many similar novels. A thought provoking, well written novel.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson - 4 stars 4 18 Oct 25, 2016 11:25AM  
22 Британия роуд 1 9 Jul 27, 2014 11:06AM  
Tellus Book Club: 22 Britannia Road 2 17 Oct 09, 2011 10:40AM  
  • Far to Go
  • The Soldier's Wife
  • The Things We Cherished
  • The Girl in the Blue Beret
  • Next to Love
  • Camp Nine
  • The Sandalwood Tree
  • Mosaic: A Chronicle of Five Generations
  • Coventry
  • Gertruda's Oath: A Child, a Promise, and a Heroic Escape During World War II
  • Doc
  • A Fierce Radiance
  • In This Hospitable Land
  • Letters From Home
  • The Last Time I Saw Paris
  • Anya
  • I Gave My Heart to Know This
  • My Enemy's Cradle
Amanda Hodgkinson is an award-winning British novelist. Her debut novel 22 Britannia Road was an international bestseller, an book of the year 2011, a Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee and was published in over sixteen languages. Spilt Milk is her critically acclaimed second novel published in 2014. (Spilt Milk is a refracted version of real life, that impossible me ...more
More about Amanda Hodgkinson...

Share This Book

“Memories shrink. Like a soap bar used over and over, they become deformed, weaker scented, too slight and slippery to hold.” 26 likes
“Januz feels glad to have her in his arms--his wife, who would do anything to protect their son. This is how she presents herself. Like a soldier who would kill for her country. And her country is their son.” 4 likes
More quotes…