Thursday, May 5, 2011

22 Britannia Road

22 Britannia Road: A Novel
by Amanda Hodgkinson, April, 2011, Pamela Dorman Books

Historical fiction at its best!

 Historical fiction at its best! This is the story of a Polish couple, Silvana and Janusz and their son Aurek. They met and married in 1937. As both the Russians and the Germans invaded Poland in 1940 the couple is separated. He joins the military and after a long journey, typical of Poles who chose to fight on after the defeat of their country, ends up in the RAF in England. She initially raped by a German soldier, flees with their son to a live in the forests of Poland. The story opens in 1946 as the couple is reunited after their six year separation. Building on the memories of a deeply loving relationship before the war the couple tries to reestablish their family life. Each has secrets that they do not share with the other. These secrets, the crux of the story, are slowly revealed in two separate threads. No more spoilers from me on the story!

This book is vividly written and has complexity to the plot that continues to draw you in right up until the last chapter. The long lasting effects of war on people are brilliantly portrayed in the story. In post war Britain, the couple has every advantage- an intact family, a house, a car, a good job - but the lingering effects of what happened to them during the war destroy their chances to go forward. The son has been deeply influenced by his time in the forests avoiding both Germans and Russians and living off the land. In one scene his father shows him how to collect and save birds eggs and the boy can only think of how he wants to eat the eggs contents as he did so often in the forests. He has a particularly difficult time socializing and entering into normal relationships. It was heartbreaking and at times almost too sad to bear. In the end though this story is a triumph of the human spirit over adversity.
I read a copy of this book provided by the publisher


Zibilee said...

What a great review! I can't wait to read this one and am very much looking forward to it after having read your thoughtful analysis. Thanks!

~Enamored Soul~ said...

I just received my ARC of this book, and can't wait to read it! Thank you for the amazing review, and for sharing your thoughts with us! :D

Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com

Julie said...

I put this one on my wishlist about as soon as I saw the first review, and your review just seals the deal. Sounds like a wonderful book for anyone!

Hopping over from Cym's!

Ginia said...

I haven't hear of this one yet. I love historical fiction too. I will have to check iit out. Thanks for sharing.