Carolyn's Reviews > Winter Journey

Winter Journey by Diane Armstrong
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really liked it
bookshelves: australian-author, historical, mystery, ww2

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 Poland and can't see a reason for the exhumation, there is a suspicion that the Jews were in fact killed by the local villagers in a horrific act of genocide.

Told over two time frames, the author tells the story of hate and brutality that lead to the killing of the Jews and Halina's journey of discover not just in piecing the story together but learning more of her own history. In the process of getting to the truth, many secrets are uncovered and the story gathers steam to unravel the lies and deceptions and finally reveal the truth.

As the child of wartime Polish refugees who fled to Australia post WWII, Diane Armstrong is very familiar with the tales of horror told by those who managed to escape and resettle in a safe country. Although this is a work of historical fiction set in a fictional village, the author has based it on a real massacre where the entire Jewish population of a Polish village was slaughtered by their non-Jewish neighbours. She has done an excellent job of setting the depicting the atmosphere in the village at the times of the massacre and the later exhumation and investigation. She gives us plenty of description of the processes involved in cataloging and identifying the remains found a mass grave and brings home the complexity of the process when so many bodies in poor condition are present.

I thought this was an excellent historical novel, highlighting that unspeakable crimes that did and do occur during war should never be covered up and ignored but investigated and the perpetrators brought to account.

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Reading Progress

December 27, 2015 – Shelved
December 27, 2015 – Shelved as: owned-tbr
June 9, 2016 – Started Reading
June 9, 2016 – Shelved as: owned-tbr
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: australian-author
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: historical
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: mystery
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: ww2
June 15, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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☼♄Jülie  I thought you would like the forensics side of this one Carolyn ;) I was really impressed with this story, glad you liked it too.


Carolyn I thought she kept the descriptions simple but accurate Jools. I enjoyed the history too :)


message 3: by Debbie (new) - added it

Debbie Robson I must read this! Thanks for the review!


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