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Homeland

3.14  ·  Rating Details ·  135 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
It is 1946, and the eve of the harshest winter for a hundred years. Servicemen are pouring home from the war to a land beset by food and job shortages. As anti-Polish refugee propaganda reaches its height, Wladyslaw Malinowski, a young veteran of Monte Cassino, attempts to start a new life on a withy farm in the middle of the wetlands. His taskmaster is Billy Greer, newly ...more
Paperback, 474 pages
Published 2005 by Pan Publishing (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mary-Ellen Lynn
Sep 05, 2012 Mary-Ellen Lynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
Francis takes us back to the appalling British treatment of Polish servicemen who had fought with the Allies during the Second World War. At the end of the war, many Polacks resided in Britain, in fear of returning to their homeland, that had been taken over by Stalin. In Britain, they found themselves barred from victory parades in London and contained in resettlement camps; segregated from society, they were reduced to subjects of public hostility.

Francis paints the Somerset wetlands beautiful
...more
Diane Wallis
It's 1946 in the wetlands of Somerset and many of the inhabitants aren't very welcoming to the Polish soldiers and refugees living in camps in the area. Against a backdrop of a bitter winter with rationing of food and services unfolds a story of how Poles try to piece together their broken lives with very little encouragement from ignorant, resentful and backward-looking locals. There are a few sympathetic characters amongst the British, but not many.
Couldn't finish this. Not because I didn't w
...more
Sandra Danby
Aug 25, 2015 Sandra Danby rated it liked it
No, not the American TV series about Carrie Mathison and Nicholas Brody, the thriller by British author Clare Francis. Francis is a proficient thriller writer, but it is some years since I last read one of her books: until I picked one at random off my shelf one day.
Homeland is set after World War Two in the quiet rural corner of England that is the Somerset Levels. A land of rising and ebbing water levels, and unworldly place of withies and willows. Into this walks Billy Greer on his return fro
...more
Sheila Craig
Nov 22, 2015 Sheila Craig rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
I gather Clare Francis is known as a writer crime novels and thrillers. Homeland is neither (which is fine with me as neither are particularly my cup of tea). This is really a story of battered young soldiers returning from the nearly endless horror that was WWII to the impoverished peace of post-war rural Britain.

In this desolate aftermath, Billy Greer and Lyndon Hanley return to their roots in the wetlands of Somerset, but both feel utterly out of place and unable to settle. Wladyslaw fought
...more
Tracy Terry
Interweaving the stories of the villagers of a rural community with that of the Polish servicemen living in a large resettlement camp based nearby, Homeland offers an interesting insight into the struggles of this particular community in post-war Britain and in particular that of the Polish servicemen but for me I'm afraid that's about as good as it gets.

Lacking any deeply meaningful story. The author seems to concentrate on the narrative and describing the somewhat bleak landscape and living/wo
...more
Mike
Jan 06, 2011 Mike rated it liked it
Gentle comment by way of an unadventurous story on the shameful (as we look back now with the advantage of hindsight) treatment of the Polish servicemen in the UK after the last war. Things then were not so clear-cut in a time of shortage, tension and the post-war uncertainty as to Russia’s intentions.
The tale is set in the relatively unfamiliar literary background of the Somerset wetlands.
This is an atmospheric book but some of the characters are thinly drawn. Lyndon Hanley loses importance bec
...more
Caroline
May 31, 2013 Caroline rated it liked it
The story was ok, basic, predictable and readable, however the historical interest was new to me and hooked me. I didn't know that the Poles had joined us so many years ago and am especially surprised at how difficult it was for them when now 65 years later they have arrived on our shores again. I also find books like this so fascinating to see how women were treated and what little value they had in society. Important yes as wife and homemaker but clearly no authority and expected to go back ...more
Lisa
Mar 18, 2008 Lisa rated it it was ok
I read this quite quickly and enjoyed it as it was a change from the heavier reads I have been tackling lately. On the plus side I learnt about the Polish refugees who were relocated to London after WWII, or rather, could not return to their homeland. This was an aspect of the war I was not familiar with. But somehow the charaters seemd a little one dimensional and I couldn't really connect with the main character. The "murder" mystery came to late - almost an afterthought. I am left feeling the ...more
Jay
Mar 22, 2013 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This beautifully read and essentially sad audiobook required close attention to its many characters. Clare Francis provides a detailed story of the difficulties of life in post-war England where Polish refugees are badly treated in their temporary home. It is probably difficult for those born after 1950 to imagine how hard it was for all of those who were affected by war, whether directly or indirectly.
Say
Jan 31, 2016 Say rated it it was ok
Set in the Somerset levels in 1946 it tells of life for the community and people returning or stranded there following the war. It highlights some of the racist views held by the community; as well as the post war struggles for food, fuel, labour and purpose.

Although the key characters are linked by actions the key ones are shown not told by subsequent activity.

An easy but dissatisfying read covering some difficult subject matter.
Sarah
Jan 21, 2015 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I always feel a bit guilty for abandoning a book, like if I was a better person and had given it more a=of a chance then I might have liked it. But life is too short to be reading things you have no interest in just to please the part of yourself that hates to give in. I just found this book really boring and I hated all of the characters. The one thing I did find interesting was the treatment of Polish soldiers in Britain after the war but that interest wasn’t enough to keep me going.
Windy
Sep 09, 2012 Windy rated it really liked it
Set in 1946 just at the onset of one of the harshest winters on record this tells the story of men who have returned from the War to the hardships which face a country getting itself back on its feet. Well drawn characters with intertwining stories. Some parts were told with snapshots to move the plot along but the reader isn't left feeling they've missed anything.
Lynne - The Book Squirrel
Mar 19, 2010 Lynne - The Book Squirrel rated it really liked it
I liked this book! It tells the story of the first year or so after WW2, on the Somerset Levels. Love, hardship, Polish POW workers and the locals during the hard winter on 1946/7.

I have never read Clare Francis before but will certainly look our for more of her books on my book hunting excursions!
Camille
Jun 05, 2015 Camille rated it liked it
This was an interesting read about the Polish war refugees/soldiers during the early period of camp settlements in England. I loved the primary Polish character but found the main English character very hard to like (intentional I'm sure) as the book provided a good insight into the challenges these migrant refugees faced at this time and effectively described all they had lost.
Julie
An intense and beautifully crafted novel set in post-war Britain. A young Polish refugee finds peace in the English countryside and captures the heart of Stella, a teacher who lost her husband in the war. But a death in the area throws the foreigner into a web of suspicion and deceit. Clare Francis is such a genius of character and setting- this was impossible to put down.
Rachel
Jul 30, 2011 Rachel added it
This was ok. The characters weren't really developed, more a quick sketch. We never learnt enough about the rather dysfunctional Billy to be satisfied with the character. I rather pity poor Anne, though what was her 'back' story? It's got the feeling of a partly finished novel.
Joyceling
Interesting story about the sad predicaments of the Polish army in Britain after the war and during the horrible winter of 1947. A side plot has you wondering what on earth Annie, a smart local woman, sees in Billy, who is a real piece of work.
Bernadette
Mar 25, 2009 Bernadette rated it liked it
I read this en route to visit Michele in Florida and finished it just before the end of my visit. I have never read any Clare Francis before - it was an easy and pleasant read. I liked the Polish after war theme as I have always been interested in the sad fate of the Poles since I visited Poland.
Jan Bailey
An atmospheric novel about the Somerset levels and the hardships of people just after 2nd world war. Especially the Polish servicemen who couldn't return home.
Kate North
Jul 05, 2015 Kate North rated it really liked it
Not to be confused with the television series of the same name. I liked this a lot, really got interested in the story and the lives of the post-WWII Polish refugees.
Pat Stearman
Apr 05, 2013 Pat Stearman rated it liked it
It's a long time since I read this! Do like her writing in general so guessing I enjoyed it - something about Polish guy staying after the war?
Gill
Jan 14, 2013 Gill rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book and learned many interesting things. However, the ending was unsatisfactory; it seemed to just end without resolution.
Shonna Froebel
Read half, got bored.
Set just after World War II, Polish soldiers not wanting to go back to Russian-occupied Poland. Not all British wanting them.
Situation complex.
Gave up October 7, 2005
Linda
Dec 27, 2012 Linda rated it liked it
Light gentle easy read. Not the best of her books. Not a page turner: more a take it or leave it read
Tracey  Wilde
Aug 04, 2010 Tracey Wilde rated it liked it
I enjoyed this. I didn't realise what difficulties the Poles had in our country after the war. Recommended.
Leannda
Leannda rated it liked it
Oct 31, 2011
Vida
Vida rated it liked it
Aug 24, 2013
James
James rated it liked it
Feb 01, 2014
Colette
Colette rated it liked it
Jan 29, 2012
Chris Keast
Chris Keast rated it liked it
Aug 23, 2014
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Clare Francis's first novel; Night Sky was published in 1983 to international success. It went to number one in the Sunday Times bestseller list, and spent six weeks in the New York Times top 10.

Three more thrillers followed, Red Crystal (1985), Wolf Winter (1987) and Requiem (1991), which was published in the U.S. as The Killing Winds. Her first crime novel, Deceit was published in 1993, and dram
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