22 Britannia Road: A Novel

22 Britannia Road: A Novel

3.4 57
by Amanda Hodgkinson
     
 

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"Hodgkinson's portrait of the primal bond between mother and child . . . leaves an indelible impression." —The New York Times Book Review

Debuting its first week on the New York Times bestseller list and earning comparisons to Sophie's Choice and Sarah's Key, 22 Britannia Road is an astonishing first novel that

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Overview

"Hodgkinson's portrait of the primal bond between mother and child . . . leaves an indelible impression." —The New York Times Book Review

Debuting its first week on the New York Times bestseller list and earning comparisons to Sophie's Choice and Sarah's Key, 22 Britannia Road is an astonishing first novel that powerfully chronicles one family's struggle to create a home in the aftermath of war.

With World War II finally over, Silvana and her seven-year-old son, Aurek, board the ship that will take them to England, where Silvana's husband, Janusz—determined to forget his ghosts—has rented a little house at 22 Britannia Road. But after years spent hiding in the forests of Poland, Aurek is wild, almost feral. And for Silvana, who cannot escape the painful memory of a shattering wartime act, forgetting is not a possibility.

Editorial Reviews

Sarah Towers
It is Hodgkinson's portrait of the primal bond between mother and child, her visceral understanding of the gorgeous, terrible weight of love mothers must carry, war or no war, secret or no secret, that leaves an indelible impression.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
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. (May)
Library Journal
This debut novel moves between wartime Poland and postwar England as it follows the shifting fortunes of Janusz Nowak and his wife, Silvana. Their young marriage is tested by the German invasion as Janusz enlists and Silvana finds herself left behind in Warsaw with their young son, Aurek. Janusz loses his regiment and ends up in England after spending time on a farm in France, where he has a passionate love affair. Silvana and Aurek escape into the forest and endure years of privation and abuse at the hands of their protectors. Their unexpected postwar family reunion is marred by the guilty secrets they each harbor. And in spite of Janusz's good job and comfortable home, the path to happiness is complicated by Aurek's mistrust of his father and the appearance of a dashing widower with a murky past, who is drawn to Silvana. VERDICT Fans of novels like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and Sarah's Key, who can never have too much of a good war story, will warm to this fine debut. Recommended.—Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Kingston, Ont.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143121046
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/24/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
455,353
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Amanda Hodgkinson was born in Burnham-on-Sea, England, and lives with her husband and two daughters in a farmhouse in the southwest of France. This is her first novel.

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