This stunning novel focuses on a Polish couple, Silvana and Janusz and their son Aurek, who are separated for six years during World War II. They areThis stunning novel focuses on a Polish couple, Silvana and Janusz and their son Aurek, who are separated for six years during World War II. They are finally reunited after not hearing from each other during that entire time. Their new home, at 22 Britannia Road in Ipswich England, offers them both a place of safety, but also is a place where each must come to terms with their own war time experiences, deciding what, when and how much to share with the other. The young son's story is especially poignant as he has no memory of his father (who left when he was only about a year old), has been raised solely by his mother and regards all men as "the enemy."
Hodgkinson gives us a masterful story as she weaves chapters from the present with flashbacks to the past, giving us the same glimpses that the couple allows themselves and sometimes each other. It is a story of loss, of fear, of courage, of incredible bravery, mother love, and serendipity. Ancillary characters help flesh out the deep anxieties of all three of the major players.
Highlighting an aspect of war that is not often detailed---the plight of refugees having to adjust to a new country and new language at the same time they are readjusting to each other and their marriage--this is a story that is sure to please. For anyone looking for another view of the fallout of war, this is a not to be missed book. It certainly will be included in my top of the year list. ...more