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Winter Journey

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  2,654 ratings  ·  257 reviews
Diane Armstrong's bestselling fictional debut.

A mother's silence, a village with a terrible secret, and an Australian woman who travels to Poland to uncover the truth ...

When forensic dentist Halina Shore arrives in Nowa Kalwaria to take part in a war crimes investigation, she finds herself at the centre of a bitter struggle in a community that has been divided by a grim
Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published February 1st 2014 by 4th Estate (first published February 22nd 2005)
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Pouting Always
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I really didn't enjoy this one even though the writing was decent, I just feel like there was a lot of extra stuff in the book that didn't need to be there. Also there were like two or three places the point of view changes but only for like a few pages and it didn't seem necessary, it just made me annoyed honestly. The main character is really self destructive and she's supposed to be a strong women but being successful shouldn't automatically mean youre strong, why are strong women always port ...more
☼♄Jülie 
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 had been in Australia since she was a child. She and her mother had arrived after the war from Poland, but as much as Halina wanted to learn about her childhood, her mother refused to speak of it. After her mother’s death, Halina – a forensic dentist – was invited to Poland, to the small village of Nowa Kalwaria to investigate the murders of hundreds of Jews during the Nazi occupation.

Halina herself was born in Poland and her object, while she was in the country for work, was to res
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 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
Joy D
Fictional account based on a real event that took place in a small town in Poland in 1941 where people of the Jewish faith were locked into a barn and burned to death. The author took a different angle than usual in approaching this story. It is set in the early 2000’s rather than the 1940’s and involves a forensic dentist, who has personal ties to the region, taking part in an excavation of the site of a mass grave from the WWII era.

I had mixed feelings about this book. On the plus side, I lik
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘The end of a life was a disappointingly small moment that hung on the final exhalation of a breath .’

Halina Shore and her mother emigrated to Australia from Poland in the late 1940s, after World War II. Halina knows that she was born in 1939 but knows little else of her background. Her mother, Zosia, has never spoken about Halina’s father, about her family or life in Poland. And when her mother dies, she leaves little behind.

Halina is a forensic dentist, living in Sydney with her cat Puccini,
Sonja Arlow

In the time between Russia retreating and Nazi Germany arriving, something happened in a small Polish community in 1941 that can only be described as collective madness.

How do you otherwise make sense of a community that turns on its citizens, rounding up all the Jewish people and burning them alive? People that have been your neighbours since you were born now rape torture and burn you.

The story pulled me because of the medical forensic angle and of course any story set during WW2 is difficult
I’ve read quite a few books about the Holocaust and the depths of depravity to which human beings are capable of sinking, and I am amazed that there are still aspects to the Holocaust that I’ve never heard of and that still have the power to gob smack me. This is one of them.

The author’s note at the end of the book explains that Nowa Kalwaria in Poland is fictitious, however while I was reading, since I was fairly sure this was based on a true story, I went googling to see if there was informati
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

Halina Shore is an Australian forensic dentist. Her career takes her to mass graves to help identify the bodies based on the dental remains. She has been requested to go to a village in Poland to help identify the remains of Jews who were massacred during WWII. This is bittersweet for Halina because she was born in Poland but knows nothing of her family; her only known relative, her mother, recently passed away. The Jews were not killed by Nazis as some Poles want to hear, but were kill
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading about dental forensics/DNA. I found that to be fascinating.

I liked some parts of the story line, yet found some to be lacking or repetitious. The actual writing, itself, was excellent.

I would give this 3.5-stars
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very well written but, sad story, about a horrific event in Poland where a community rounded up the Jewish people and burned them in a barn while blaming it on the Germans.
Halina, a forensics scientist, uncovers an unknown piece of history while also learning about her family lineage.
Kelly Kauffman
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
Susan Peterson
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Winter Journey is a haunting book...focusing on atrocities against the Jews in
Poland during WWII, the perpetrators, the victims, the bystanders who watched and did nothing, and the brave souls who risked their lives to save those that they could. This also becomes a story of family secrets, as unexpected twists are revealed. As is the case for many books written on this subject, there are parts that are painful to read. But this is also the story of sacrifice, family, and faith...and forgivenes
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was so intrigued with this story. It is horrifying that this actually happened. Diane Armstrong writes beautifully though this is a difficult story. I found the forensic science fascinating and was totally drawn into the mystery of the story. If you liked Lilac Girls and Mischling then this is a must read! !
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Halina Shore is a forensic dentist who was born in Poland and moved to Australia when she was nine. After the death of her aloof mother, she accepts an invitation to help exhume a mass grave in Poland. One of her motivations is that her mother has died without revealing anything substantial of Halina’s Polish history, and at this stage of her life, she wants to know more. In 1941, the Jews of the town were burned to death in a barn. The town's residents believe the Nazis did it, but rumors persi ...more
Amanda Markham
Jan 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing

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.
Gabi Coatsworth
This novel, based on a true historical incident, is a tough read at times, but it tells an important story. I speak Polish so I may have found it easier than most to deal with the Polish names and dialogue. They do add authenticity, as do the descriptions of the tragedy at the heart of the book. Some scenes require a strong stomach, but I found the book as a whole gripping. It asks a lot of moral questions without hitting one over the head with them. A good book for book clubs.
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alina is an Australian specialist who specializes in forensic dentistry and whose life is falling apart in Sydney. She accepts a job to travel to her native Poland, where there is ano investigation underway. In 1941 the Jewish members if a small town were herded into a local barn and burnt alive. Locals say that it was the Germans, who did it, killing local communists.

Based on a true story the author spins a fictional start that puts a personal twist on what is truly an evil evil deed and it is
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This book has the potential to tell a powerful story, however, it was weakened by a lack of continuity in the main character. At the time this took place, she would have been in her 60s, yet the author portrayed her as being much younger; she was immature, impulsive, and lacked insight. Parts of the book are brilliantly written, but my annoyance with the main character clouded the important message of the story.
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.
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.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This a thought-provoking book about memory, heritage and community. Of course, I instantly connected to it as it is set in my family's homeland of Poland. Even a few days after I have read it, it still raises questions about family, love and hate - and the extremes that people are willing to go to, particularly during times of war. The cold open worked as a great hook and was not resolved until the end of the book. There were moments where I went "No!" and had to keep reading to find out what ha ...more
This had all the elements that should have made this a 5star but it just wasn't good for me. WWII, Poland, smart professional woman uncovering injustices...but the writing just didn't pull me in. I feel cold hearted that this terrible chapter during the nazi occupation of Poland left me uncaring. Disappointed.
Heather Hyde
Storyline is good but main character and her story are too contrived. I'd probably give it a 3.5
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
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
* Maru * (FellInLoveWithABook)
Rating: 3.25/5 stars

This book started as a potential 4 star read. The first pages really had me excited. Soon, it took a whole different turn but it was still looking good. I liked the fact that the main character was an independent, intelligent, confident middle-aged? woman. On top of that she was a forensic dentist, which we hardly ever read about and I have a personal interest in.

However, it soon starting dragging. For many chapters (and this is not a short book) it felt as if nothing was ha
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Play Book Tag: [Trim] Winter Journey by Diane Armstrong - 3 stars 4 15 Jan 12, 2019 11:20PM  
Goodreads Librari...: add ebook/Nook version 3 17 Aug 10, 2016 05:37AM  
Play Book Tag: Winter Journey - Diane Armstrong (★★★½) 1 7 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
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“Every human heart keeps a record of its own deeds.” 1 likes
“trickled the hot water over her neck and shoulders” 0 likes
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