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Winter Journey

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,303 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
Halina Shore is a Polish-born forensic dentist who lives in Australia. When she travels to Poland to take part in the investigation of a war crime, she finds herself at the centre of a bitter struggle in a community that has been divided by a grim legacy. As the investigation proceeds, her professional assignment becomes a confronting personal odyssey as the truth about he ...more
Audiobook, Library edition
Published June 1st 2006 by Bolinda Publishing (first published February 22nd 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,593)
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Apr 22, 2016 ☼♄Jülie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to ☼♄Jülie by: Self

This book was brilliant on every level!

Gee I love historical fiction! And this book is a classic example of why.
Here we have a good dose of actual historical events seamlessly blended with a fictitious scenario that gives it such an authentic feel as to make it sound credible...even the incredible becomes plausible.
At the same time edifying us to the shocking realities that are woven within.

This is such an impressive construction of a story within a story.
Although much of it is quite confront
Halina Shore is a forensic dentist, whose mother emigrated with her from Poland to Australia after WWII. Apart from the fact that she was born in Poland in 1939, Halina knows little of her background as her mother refuses to talk about Halina's father or relatives. Now living in Sydney (around the late 1990s), Halina is invited to be part of a forensic team investigating the site of a Jewish massacre. Although the Poles want to believe that the Germans killed the Jews after the Russians left Pol ...more
Apr 30, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a book in 2006 and have now listened to it on audio, which I enjoyed more.
This is a powerful story about truth, justice and reconciliation, as well as coming-to-terms with an unpalatable past. Partly a detective story, partly an historical novel and partly a story about an older woman's 'coming-of-age', it's the story of Polish-born Halina Shore, a forensic dentist, who – discontented with an unsatisfactory affair with a married man, and rootless since her mother’s death - takes o
Jan 20, 2016 Barbara rated it liked it
The premise of this novel of an Australian forensic dentist being invited to Poland to examine the remains of a massacre committed 60 years before. The dentist was born in Poland and brought to Australia as a girl by her mother. The timelines in the story were often unclear and the disadvantage of an audiobook is that the reader can't go back to recheck details. The story of working to uncover the truth behind the death of the entire Jewish population of a Polish village in 1941 is compelling. T ...more
Amanda Markham
Feb 11, 2010 Amanda Markham rated it really liked it
This is a moving and powerful book that will stay with you long after you've finished reading.

In July 1941, the inhabitants of the rural village of Novacalvaria, Poland, murdered their own Jewish population. Around 1000 of Novacalvaria’s Jews were herded into a large barn by the village’s non-Jewish populace and burned alive. Only two children escaped the brutal inferno brought upon them by their former friends, neighbours and villagers.

Sixty years later, forensic odontologist (dentist), Halina
Vanessa Couchman
This book had potential: a Polish village has to come to terms with its past when a mass grave containing the remains of Jewish villagers killed in 1941 is exhumed. The main character, an Australian forensic dentist with Polish ancestry, finds herself drawn deeply and personally into the history.

The tensions raised in the village by the exhumation and the very disparate attitudes to Jewish people (both during World War II and in the present) are well conveyed. But in the end, I remained unconvi
Diane Challenor
Abandoned! I abandoned this book because I couldn't cope with the sadness at the beginning. I listened to it last thing at night and just knew it wasn't for me. Man's inhumanity to man never ceases to appall me. I couldn't read The Book Thief either, for the same reason. My abandonment is not a reflection on the quality of the writing.
Nov 27, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This journey of discovery could easily serve as a lesson for our contemporary situation. An illustration of how easily fear and hatred can cause humanity to do unspeakable things and also how others can open their hearts to great good. This is a book I could not put down. Layer upon layer peeled away to reveal the secret. Makes you search your own motives.
This was a difficult read for me. I picked this book up because it deals with World War II era, and I am very interested in this time period. The story takes place in current times, but the main character is piecing together events that took place in a small village in Poland during WWII. I am especially interested in WWII from a perspective other than Germany's. It was slow to get moving and I actually abandoned it for a while, but eventually came back to it. The story picked up about a third o ...more
This book certainly exceeded my expectations! I didn't quite know what to expect, I just picked it up at the local library, having read something about Australia, Poland and WWII on the back cover.

I found myself captivated by the story - inspired by a true event - almost immediately. It starts off in Sydney but most of the story actually takes place in Poland, in a small village where there is to be an excavation of a mass grave. Armstrong manages to weave modern forensic science beautifully int
Jan 06, 2016 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Coincidently I went to the Holocaust Museum while reading it and I felt the story and events taking place in Poland even more deeply because of this. Every time I read one of these books I wonder what I would have done in those times. Such horror and depravity; yet the beauty and redemption of a few make it possible to bear.
Kathleen Hagen
Winter Journey, by Diane Armstrong, narrated by Deidre Rubinstein, produced by Bolinda Audio, downloaded from

This is a novel based in part on a true incident in Poland in 1941, where the town citizens killed their Jewish neighbors and tried to blame it on the Germans. In the novel, a dental ferensics expert, now living in Australia but previously from Poland, comes to Poland to aid in an exhumation of Jews who were burned to death in a barn where they were trapped. The Polish citize
MaryAnn D Roddy
Jan 02, 2016 MaryAnn D Roddy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I was very moved by this book which is not a common occurrence for me. The interweaving of history was well done. The science sprinkled in was enjoyable.
Jan 15, 2015 Gaysel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audible version. A haunting story, fiction but very real as some events based on fact. A little drawn out in parts but still very good and the reader was excellent.
Jun 14, 2011 Kathy rated it really liked it
Audio book version. I almost gave this 5 stars. It was pretty amazing in parts. I am an avid reader of historical fiction,and this did not disappoint. Although a work of fiction, it was fact-based. Not for the faint of heart, as it told about a period in 1941 in Poland when a village of Jews were herded into a barn and the barn set on fire. Two people escaped, and this is the story of the woman who would go there 50 years later as a forensic odontologist to excavate the site. Very emotional, ver ...more
Rita Kelley
May 10, 2016 Rita Kelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winter Journey

Although this is a novel, the story was based on truth an actual incident that happened in Poland in 1941. How easy it is to turn someone's mind against their neighbor. Hitler accomplished this and millions of Jews died as a result. A complex but very good read..
A fascinating story but very sad.
Jill Meyer
Apr 29, 2016 Jill Meyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diane Armstrong is an Australian author, who was born in Poland to Jewish parents in 1939. The family went into a sort of internal hiding in Poland by receiving papers that identified them as Polish Catholic. After the war, the family emigrated to Australia and reclaimed their Jewish identity. Diane became an author who has published a few works of non-fiction, including "Mosaic", which followed her family through five generation. With "Winter Journey", Diane Armstrong moves into writing fiction ...more
Mar 03, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on a true story. Forensic dentist and Australian citizen, Halinka, is invited to participate in an extraordinary dig at mass a grave from the Holocaus: 1941 small village in Poland, where a Jewish community was massacred and thrown into a pit and buried. It is now the 21st century, but there is reason to believe and the commission hopes to prove definitively with new technologic advances one way or another whether the crime was committed by Polish neighbors or the Nazis. The town and the c ...more
Jul 21, 2016 Tif rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An eye opening story of hate and forgiveness.
A reading challenge addict – that’s ME! These days I try to fit books from my insurmountable TBR into reading challenges but this time, I wanted to fit an Australian author into a non-Australian setting. That was a terrible exercise as it means I’ve added at least a dozen books to my TBR! However, it has also led to some amazing discovery which included this book, Winter Journey.

It was slow to begin as the first 20% of the audiobook had to set up a lot of background for the main character, Halin
Stacey (wanderlustforwords67)
This was an audiobook that I NEVER would have bought but it was a special for $2-3 and had a winter scene- I felt was befitting of the Christmas season. I'm not going to rate this book because it wouldn't be fair to the story and author. I was very interested in the beginning when they were covering Helena's life and career as a forensic dentist. There were was great details about forensic dentistry and forensic orthopedics, but it turns out that is a very small part of this story. Helens goes h ...more
Feb 24, 2016 Jean rated it liked it
Recommended to Jean by: Audible Daily Deal
(Audible; Deidre Rubenstein, narrator) Halina Shore, Polish-born, promiscuous, Australian forensic dentist, is asked to help identify WWII Jewish victims in a recently discovered mass grave in Poland. The political lines are clearly drawn at the outset of her arrival in Poland: Polish officials who refuse to accept that Poles could have slaughtered the village's Jewish citizens before the Nazis even arrived in the village versus scientists and police who are determined to investigate the evidenc ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Cinsoares rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually, I read Winter Journey by accident. I inadvertently chose it having confused it another. A fortuitous mistake.

This is not a book for the feint at heart. The tale it tells, of humanity at its worst, is bone chilling. It is also a tale of humanity at its selfless best. The author expertly and poignantly intertwines the two.

I've read a number of books that have left me wondering what I would do under the circumstances the characters encounter. Winter Journey did not answer that question fo
May 29, 2013 Hermien rated it liked it
Probably worth three and a half. There were some parts of this books that were excellent and fascinating, but other parts felt contrived and/or romanticised. I did enjoy the writing so am looking forward to reading more of her work.
Jan 17, 2016 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I have been assured that I have read this book ( two years ago), I could not remember one iota of the story line. But apparently I enjoyed as much then as I did listening to it in the dying stages of 2012.

The fact that this story is based on fact only helps highlight the cruelty and inhumanity which has taken place during World War II.

Ms. Armstrong has woven together a marvellous story from facts gathered from historical events. For me one of the most powerful sections was near the end
Brianna Audrey Wright
Apr 06, 2016 Brianna Audrey Wright rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: opl-owns
I listened to this book on audio and only made it through disc five because I was entirely confused as to what was going on. Which was extremely disappointing, because I really wanted to like this book. However, I could have done without the entire beginning story lines. Disc 1 held my interest in the fact that it was about the Jewish community and the beginnings of WWII. But Helena's story lost me. It felt like endless chapters of her boring life. It felt like the author only had certain things ...more
Shannon Benson
May 01, 2016 Shannon Benson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very inspiring book that has its roots in World War II Poland. This book is part mystery, part science and all emotions. I gasped, I cried, I even yelled (in my head) while reading this novel. It isn't a first person account, but is based on facts from the time period. It was just the Germans that committed atrocious acts to the Jewish people. The world needs to know all sides. This is a story of a Polish Pogrom. Heart wrenching facts and emotions leapt from the lines of this novel. This is a ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Conchita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard me to get into but the finish made up for it. I just hate to give up on a book so I kept going & enjoyed most of the book
Interesting story in that I knew little of the pograms in Poland by certain Polish nationals during the 20th century. Popular history concentrates on the pograms in Germany. Based on a true event, this story uses the device of looking back from current times to unravel the facts of the pogram through forensic science. You learn some about dentistry, some about bones, too much about the cruelty otherwise perfectly good people can devise. For all I learned, I would give the book 4 stars.

My three-s
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Goodreads Librari...: add ebook/Nook version 3 15 Aug 10, 2016 05:37AM  
Play Book Tag: Winter Journey - Diane Armstrong (★★★½) 1 4 Apr 28, 2016 04:37PM  
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Diane was born in Poland and arrived in Australia in 1948.

At the age of seven she decided to become a writer. Her first article, about teaching at a Blackboard Jungle school in London, was published in The Australian Women's Weekly in 1965. Diane subsequently became a freelance journalist, and over three thousand of her investigative articles, personal experience stories, profiles and travel stori
More about Diane Armstrong...

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“Poland 1941 The madness began around the time of the summer solstice, as soon as the Bolshevik trucks roared away behind clouds of dust. At first everyone went crazy with joy. Barefoot children chased the departing trucks, poking out their tongues, yelling, and mimicking Cossack dances until they flopped down in the dirt. After the suspicion and fear of the past two years, the arrests and accusations and deportations, everyone was smiling once more. Even grumpy old Antos, who had sworn never to play his harmonica again, struck up a mazurka and hopped around on his wooden leg. It seemed to Piotr Marczewski as though a sorcerer’s spell had been lifted and his dead village had come to life. And” 1 likes
“trickled the hot water over her neck and shoulders” 0 likes
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