Sunday, July 8, 2012
22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson
Release Date: April 28, 2011
It is just a few months after the Polish Sylvana and Janusz are married that the Germans invade Poland. Janusz is forced to join the Polish army, while Sylvana and their infant son, Aurek, leave Poland and disappear into the forests of Eastern Europe, where they bear witness to German atrocities. Janusz sees a chance to flee to France. There he starts to date a French woman, while he still is in search for Sylvana and Aurek. After the war he eventually moves to England. He finds out where Sylvana and Aurek are; in a refugee camp and they soon are joining Janusz in England. They meet on the station, and that is the start of their new life in Ipswich. But then Sylvana finds letters from a woman to Janusz, which Janusz obviously has hidden away. And Sylvana meets Tony, the father a schoolfriend from Aurek. She starts dating him now she has lost her trust in Janusz after she found out about his misstress in France. And Aurek seems to grow up as a child who is traumatized by everything he saw in the war, and maybe the biggest secret that is revealed in the book is about him.
22 Britannia Road is a book about a little family who has seen horrible things in WWII, survive it, set up a new life in a completely different country than their own, but the past keeps haunting them. This is not a light book that you just pick up and read in a whim, you really have to take more time for it as it isn’t an easy story. What I liked about it whas the strenght of the characters and how they coped with everything. There is not just one main character, Sylvana, Janusz and Aurek play all three and even important part in the story. But I felt like I never got to know Janusz or Silvana, and I don't think they knew each other. There where just too many secrets they where hiding from eachother
What I had trouble with was that the book switched in time period, place and character so many times. This made it a bit harder to read, I am just not much into flashbacks in books.
I think the author did a good job describing how people act after they survive a war, and try to keep everything together with ups and downs. It was very raw and realistic and didn’t sugercoat anything. A must read for everyone who is into WWII –themed fiction.
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