Ludwika tells the story of a real Polish woman, Ludwika, who was taken to Germany in the Second World War in order to make her contribution to the Reich. The author has used as many facts about her life as he could uncover, but has introduced some believable fictional characters and events to create a gripping and ultimately very poignant story. Ludwika is faced with one dilemma after another in her determination to survive as a second-class citizen. Forced to wear the letter ‘P’ on her clothes whilst moving in dangerous environments, she prays that every choice she makes will keep her family safe back in Poland.
Because the story is partly true it sometimes reads a little like a biography, and when I first saw the cover showing two photographs of the real Ludwika, I thought it was one. But once the author let me into Ludwika’s head I was deeply sympathetic to her plight, and desperately wanted her to find some happiness after all the misery she goes through.
My only criticism is that the narrative is sprinkled with anachronisms, some grammatical errors and shaky punctuation, which jolted me out of the story every now and again. However, this is nothing a competent copy-editor couldn’t remedy. Ludwika would really sparkle with a final polish, to make this a truly worthwhile read. On saying that, this reader enjoyed the story very much.