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22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

22 Britannia Road

by Amanda Hodgkinson

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5624417,723 (3.7)58
  1. 10
    The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both novels deal with Eastern Europe during WWII and with the stress that war and separation puts on a marriage.
  2. 00
    The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (LynnB)
    LynnB: Deals with losing/finding a child.
  3. 00
    Far to Go by Alison Pick (Roro8)

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» See also 58 mentions

English (41)  Dutch (3)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
I enjoyed reading this one. I rather liked the story, even though it’s dark and moody. The setting and the theme was well done and although Silvana and Janusz are supposed to be together, you can feel the detachment between the two of them because of the war. It changes everything and when they do get together, the love just isn’t there. You’d have to wonder if it was lust at first sight instead of love.

You don’t quite connect with the characters here. Again, it feels like detachment is the main theme of this story. The characters themselves don’t quite connect with each other either. So I can see why this book might not be for everyone. Nevertheless, despite this, I liked how it was written and the mood overall was very well done.

There is a little twist in the plot. It’s not mind numbing or shocking, but it sort of livens up the story a bit and it was an unexpected twist for me. I’d have to say Silvana’s story while she was trying to survive was a good one. She endured a lot and while reading her side of the story it’s filled with how people would just take advantage of one another during these times (or in any time during a war). It’s just a matter of survival and how humanity would take drastic steps to do so even if it means stepping over particular boundaries that one wouldn’t normally do in other circumstances.

Historical fiction readers may like this book for its’ beautiful writing. I thought it was worth the read. It may not be for everyone, but it’s worth a read through. ( )
  sensitivemuse | Aug 5, 2014 |
Part of my Summer Reads - can't hardly wait! Well, I had high expectations about this book - as in tear-jerker romantic. I didn't really like it, but I did feel like I had been in the war. I do not recommend this book if you are depressed. ( )
  lmeza | Feb 6, 2014 |
This is a story of survival: physical and psycological survival of World War II, and the survival of a marriage.

Janusz is separated from his new bride and their infant son for six years during WWII. He travels to France, then England to fight with the Allies; she survives by hiding in the forest where she and her young son encounter various other refugees and soldiers. Janusz falls in love with a French woman before he is reunited with Silvana; she becomes infatuated with a neighbour after the reunion.

Janusz and Silvana try to make their way in a new country and watch their son Aurek struggle to accept his father; and to adjust to life after war.

This book is well written with excellent characters. Recommended. ( )
  LynnB | Aug 6, 2013 |
A young polish couple torn apart by war, tragedy and heartbreak are reunited to start a new life in England. Can they overcome trauma and betrayal to build a life together with their peculiar son? A great read. ( )
  nbermudez | May 9, 2013 |
The author
Amanda Hodgkinson is a British writer and journalist who grew up in a small Essex fishing village before moving to Suffolk, and attending the University of East Anglia. She now lives and works in south west France with her husband Guy and their two daughters. For more information on Amanda Hodgkinson visit her site at http://www.amandahodgkinson.com/

The review
I bought the ebook in January of this year after I saw it in the bookstore knowing I had to have it and read this book. But than I got caught up with other books and kept postponing this one. At the beginning of September I was visiting Manuscripta (a book convention in the Netherlands) and the author of this book was going to be there. Still I did not find time enough to fit this book in. The author would sign her book on Sunday so I bought myself a paperback version on the Saturday. That evening I was thinking to just read the book so I could say something smart but than I thought that this story must deserve way more attention than I could give at that moment. So totally blank I approached the author on Sunday asking her to sign my book. And I am happy I chose to wait reading it cause this book does deserve the attention.
There are a lot of things happening in the book. There is the war story where people make choices to survive. But what I found more interesting was the approach of the author on the aftermath of the war. What does one tell a loved one when you have been forced apart so long? When you might feel like you betrayed them to stay alive? Or even what do you share with people in your surrounding? My grandparents never wanted to talk about the war. Only on very few occasions they made a remark which gave you an idea about what happened, but just a really small idea. Today you hear all the stories of soldiers coming back home and not being able to adjust anymore to their old lives. Not understanding anymore why things are important. I think the author only touched the tip of an iceberg with this story, concentrating on how two people manage to be together again and making the rest of their lives fairly easy with the way they picked up work but she did touch a very sensitive and actual problem with this book.
Unfortunately as said before she keeps the adjustment problems fairly small ad I am still not really sure what I feel about the characters. I had a hard time really feeling them and was not able to really attach myself to one or more of them.
Still I think everybody should read this book to start a wave of realization that if the traumatizing event is not present anymore a person cannot go back to the way things were. ( )
  Ciska_vander_Lans | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Successfully weaving three narrative strands and three different viewpoints is a challenge to any novelist, let alone a tyro, but it's one that Amanda Hodgkinson meets with accomplishment. She intersperses the wartime past with the present in a series of tense, sharply observed scenes: the couple's first meeting, in 1937; the blissful early days of their marriage in Warsaw; the birth of their beloved child....Although the English neighbours are a little stereotypical, the strength of this novel lies in its characters. The Nowaks are tenderly and imaginatively evoked, and the glamorous Italian black marketeer whose young son befriends Aurek is a magnificent creation. Silvana is utterly individual; one doesn't sympathise with some of her prickly or naive reactions, but one is forced to understand them and to long for her happiness. The ending does not disappoint.

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The dead have need of fairy tales too -- Zbigniew Herbert
To my mother and father. With love.
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The boy was everything to her.
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Book description
In her powerful debut, Hodgkinson takes on the tale of a family desperately trying to put itself back together after WWII. Silvana and Janusz have only been married a few months when the war forces them apart. Silvana and their infant son, Aurek, leave Poland and disappear into the forests of Eastern Europe, where they bear witness to German atrocities. Meanwhile Janusz, the sole survivor of his slaughtered military unit, flees to France. There, he takes up with a local girl and, though he loves her, awaits the war's end so that he can go in search of his wife and son. He eventually finds them in a refugee camp and they travel to England together, where they attempt to put the past behind them. But the secrets they carry pull at the threads of their fragile peace. Hodgkinson alternates viewpoints to relay the story of three desperate characters, skillfully toggling between the war and its aftermath with wonderfully descriptive prose that pulls the reader into a sweeping tale of survival and redemption.
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In this tale of a Polish family desperately trying to put itself back together after WWII, Silvana and Janusz travel to England where they attempt to put the past behind them. But the secrets they carry pull at the threads of their fragile peace.

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