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In the aftermath of World War II, Polish native Silvana Nowak flees her homeland, devastated by war, on a ship destined for England. With her she brings Aurek, the son she loves more than her soul.  She plans on being reunited with her husband, whom she has not seen in six years.  Janusz, Silvana’s husband, was a member of the Polish army who spent the last six years fighting German soldiers while his wife spent the time hiding from them with her son, in a forest.  As the family reunites, domestic bliss is constantly threatened by the secrets that each holds.

The essence of this deftly written debut novel is the struggle of three people to rebuild their shattered lives.  The narrative is compelling, frequently switching setting and point of view so as to give the reader a clearer picture of both the present day and the past experiences which led up to it, from each of the major characters’ perspectives.  A host of minor characters are cleverly interwoven to advance (and, in certain cases, complicate) the plot.  Historical details are certainly not lacking in the novel.  We feel the time period through the characters’ eyes.

This book is a not-to-be-missed page-turner that kept me engrossed from start to finish.  With three- dimensional characters and clever plot twists, it is guaranteed not to disappoint; very highly recommended.

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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award


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(US) $25.95
(UK) £12.99

(US) 9780670022632
(UK) 9781905490707


323, 320


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