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22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

22 Britannia Road

by Amanda Hodgkinson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6134816,247 (3.66)68
  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
    Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  3. 00
    The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman (LynnB)
    LynnB: Deals with losing/finding a child.
  4. 00
    Far to Go by Alison Pick (Roro8)

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Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
I have a lot of sympathy and sorrow about what Europeans suffered during and after WWII, especially those families who were separated and displaced. Hodgkinson's story is a reminder that what is broken is difficult to put back together. I liked the format that intersperses the stories of Silvana, Janusz, and the their difficult reunion in England after the war. But there was something lacking in this debut novel and I find it hard to identify just what it was. Good, but not great. ( )
  VivienneR | Jul 6, 2015 |
fiction, WWII, England, Poland ( )
  cuicocha | Feb 25, 2015 |
I'm a sucker for WWII novels, and this one gripped me pretty quickly. It's gritty, likely very true to life for thousands of war refugees, and has a satisfying ending along with a slew of endearing an sympathetic characters. My beef with this novel is probably the overuse of sex scenes--I from an artistic and moral standpoint believe less is more in describing sexual encounters--and Silvana's weakness in resisting men, while understandable, could have been detailed less often and less specifically. Otherwise, highly recommended and with a special surprise at the end that warms the cockles of one's heart. ( )
  rwilliab | Nov 21, 2014 |
Every war is horrible and terrifying and leaves traces which are deeper and last longer than one thinks and hopes for. A young couple gets separated at the beginning of the WW2 and finds each other six long years later. They have seen, done and otherwise experienced things they would rather forget, and therefore have difficulties to trust each other and the emotions that are pushing them around. Most of the time things are too much to bear, and they do not really know what is going on and how to remain on top of things.
The author manages very well to introduce unspeakable things without making them gruelsome in detail, and leaving them at a very personal level, which makes them even more believable. It is an interesting book which describes and uses many important aspects and after effects of a war and shows them in a context of a personal story of a young family and how it is devastated by it. ( )
  flydodofly | Sep 7, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (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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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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