The Officer’s Daughter

Written by Zina Rohan
Review by Fenella Miller

Sixteen-year-old Marta always wanted to be a soldier like her father, an officer in the Polish army. Instead she has to settle for leading a group of girl guides on a camping trip into the forest on the Polish-German border on the day the Nazis invade her country. The girls are spirited away across Poland until they are billeted in a nunnery. When the Russians arrive and arrest Marta, her nightmare really begins. She endures a perilous journey of thousands of miles from the logging camps of Siberia to the British field hospitals in Persia. The book ends in post-war England when she is a mature young woman of twenty-seven. During this epic book, Marta is forced to draw on reserves of courage and make impossible choices.

This is a huge book in every sense of the word. It transports the reader into a world of horror and deprivation so extreme that in places it is hard to read on. However, the power of the story is such that you are compelled to continue. The heroine, Marta, is not a sympathetic character; she is far too self obsessed, too opinionated. But she is totally credible, and the author drags you into her life to suffer alongside as she makes the transition from child-woman to adult.

This is a tour de force, a wonderful book which will stay with you for years. Very highly recommended.