22 Britannia Road

22 Britannia Road

by Amanda Hodgkinson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101514085
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/2011
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 798
File size: 327 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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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22 Britannia Road 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
MarionMarchetto_author More than 1 year ago
I chose to read this book because of my Polish heritage and the many stories I heard when I was growing up of the hardships that the Poles faced during WWII. So, when this book came along it was easy for me to want to read it. At the beginning of WWII, a young Polish family is separated: husband Janusz goes to fight for his country leaving wife Silvana and their infant son Aurek at home in Warsaw. The next time the three are reunited it is seven years later in England, the war has ended and all have endured hardships and horrors they would rather forget. Janusz has crossed Europe and joined the RAF. Along the way he has fallen in love with a French girl. While his initial attempts to resist her become weaker, he rationalizes that his family are probably dead anyway, he ultimately gives in and falls in love with Helene. They exchange letters during the war and Janusz keeps these letters even after his reunion with his wife and son. Silvana, I believe, has the worst of the situation. Left on her own to keep her child safe, she is in her apartment when the Germans invade Warsaw. In an attempt to flee she makes it as far as the first floor of her apartment building. She ducks into a vacated apartment and hides her son as a German officer rapes her, telling her that he would like to have her as a mistress and that he can provide for her. But she will have to lose the child. When he leaves, Silvana helps herself to extra clothing and blankets from the apartment and boards a bus with her baby. Everything goes downhill from there. She spends the remainder of the war years a step or two ahead of the German troops, essentially living and raising her son in the forest. Janusz manages to find his way to a small English town and with Allied assistance tracks down his little family and brings them to England. Here is where the story gets interesting. Both Janusz and Silvana try to put the horrors of war behind them. They simply don't want to talk about those years. They try to become assimilated into the English way of life. Aurek, the seven year old boy, is so wild that he clings to Silvana, calling Janusz 'enemy'. There is so much inner turmoil, with both husband and wife thinking that they have failed their spouse as well as the boy, that neither one seems to understand that the other is hurting inside. It takes another emotional upheaval, this time shared by both Janusz and Silvana, before each is willing to open their hearts and learn what the other has experienced. The author has created extremely complex characters that carry the book forward on their own with little assistance needed from secondary characters. The story is strong, the characters are strong. We experience the horrors of war secondhand yet they seem as real as when they happened. Although set during and after the Second World War, the inner wars that are fought by those who experience war are common to all who have fought or lived in countries torn asunder by wars regardless of the year or locale. I highly recommend this book. I am giving it five stars for its readability and strong characters. I look forward to Ms. Hodgkison's next novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
War changes you and whether that is for the better or not, you deal with it. This book took a different approach to war and had the reader dealing with the rekindling of a relationship that WW II tore apart. This marriage was strong before the war and after the war the relationship had secrets that neither party was ready to let go nor ready to put on the table and discuss. Silvana lived in a hostile environment with a small child without her husband for 6 years and finally was reunited with her husband in a foreign county. She tried to play the part of the good wife but the secrets from the past came flooding back and haunting her. Janusz's secrets kept flashing back to him and his emotions were all over the board. Their son Aurek was the interesting character. They say you are a part of your environment and well, this 6-year old holds true to that saying. This book is not a happy story but it is reality and it sure held my attention. Amanda did a great job with the details of the characters as I felt the emotions of the characters and enjoyed them as they developed in the story. This book does a lot of flash-back and present-day presentation and sometimes I get lost when reading these books but Amanda did a great job(awesome really). I also enjoyed how she has the some chapters split up between Silvana and Janusz. Enjoyed this story.
Aggie2010 More than 1 year ago
This was such a great book!!! The novel revolves around the separation of a husband and his wife and son during WWII. The narration switches back and forth between their experiences during the war and their life in England as they attempt to put their lives back together after the war. The secrets they carry and the past that haunts them is devastating. Can two people who loved each other before the war still love one another despite what happened and how they've changed? As the novel answered this question, I was heartbroken, shocked, and floored. I could not put the book down!! I highly recommend it!!!
Heavensent1 More than 1 year ago
22 Britannia Road is a fiction romance set during WWII. Silvana Nowak is a young Polish woman living in Warsaw at the time the Germans take over the city. When her husband, Janusz is called away to fight for their country, he leaves her and their young son, Aurek, behind. After setting out on the train with his unit, they are attacked by German planes and he becomes lost from his troops. However, after months go by, he realizes that his heart is not in this and he is befriended by two other deserters and the trio make their way across Poland to France in order to join up with troops already stationed there. Along the way many things happen to Janusz that changes who he was and after the war is over, he settles in England to become a proper Englishman and buys a house located at 22 Britannia Road. He then sets out to find what happened to his family. Silvana and Aurek are soon left at the mercy of the German soldiers and after being raped, she escapes with Aurek and stunned, scared and lonely, she follows the other people heading out of the city. She wanders for weeks and along the way she befriends a woman who helps them find shelter for the winter. When Silvana and Hanka part ways, her and Aurek must learn to take shelter and survive in the woods. Finding another group of survivors they spend the winter with them before moving on to another family, who save them from near death. Always Silvana is fighting for their survival, seeking shelter and food when there was none to be found. When the English find them, they are taken to a refugee encampment. It is there that she learns that Janusz is alive and is looking for them. However, Silvana has mixed feelings about returning to her husband's arms. She has many secrets that she cannot share, and many situations she wishes never to have to remember again. When the three finally come together, they must learn to live and love all over again. Will their love be enough to see them through the past; a past they had no control over? Or will their lies and secrets drive a wedge through them forever? I thought this was a fantastic debut novel. The period that the book was set in was wonderfully written. It had clarity and mystery and immersed you into the novel, wearing the heartaches that Silvana had to endure. The horrors of the war were graphic and the imagery given made you grip the book as you read on. Then the realization sets in that things really did happen this way; war really does this to people. It was heart-rendering to read at times as the prose left you aching at humanity's animalistic barbarity. The characters were strongly portrayed and balanced the plot with grace and understanding. The back story characters were equally impressive in their impressions upon the reader. I did happen to guess all the secrets of the two early on in the book but I do believe the hints were subtle in their rendering and I am quite sure those who enjoy love stories will enjoy this book.
lfraz More than 1 year ago
Great story
Anonymous 2 days ago
A+very+different+read+regarding+the+war+and+years+after+the+Holocaust.+
Anonymous 7 days ago
A stlory about what p3ople A story about what people can do to survive the war
vietnambutterfly on LibraryThing 22 days ago
A guaranteed great read. An engaging story of a family who survives the invasion of Poland during World War 11. But will this survival and the individual experiences cause the family relationship to break down. I wanted to stay with the family as they emerge from the darkness of the war.
kiwifortyniner on LibraryThing 22 days ago
This is the story of a Polish couple separated by the war. Both believe the other party is dead but somehow after the war they are reunited in England when Silvana and her son come to join Janusz in the house he has been living in. So much has happened to both of them and the question is how much do you tell when keeping secrets may bring you undone. Both of them have to realise that what has happened to the other has changed them, that they are not the same person they were. A good but not great read.
DubaiReader on LibraryThing 22 days ago
A WWII novel with a difference.I have read a number of novels set around the time of WWII and enjoyed that 22 Britannia Road varied from these in two respects. Firstly, we knew that the couple were reunited right at the beginning and the body of the book covered the problems of this reunion, with flashbacks to their individual war-time experiences. Secondly, the protagonists were Poles, not British, escaping from the awful realities of their homeland, which gave a refreshing new slant to the book.Silvana meets Janusz as a young woman in Poland and Aurek, their son, is born soon after their marriage. Although life is frugal, it is happy, until the approach of the German army to Berlin prompts Janusz to sign up as a soldier. Eventually it becomes impossible for Silvana to remain in the city and she leaves with Aurek, little knowing what horrors await her.The present tense is used for current time, their struggles to make a life together after 6 years of horrors and desperate lack of basic necessities. Two other strands, in past tense, follow their individual experiences during this time and reveal the secrets that they subsequently hide from each other in their new life together. The strands join as the secrets start to reveal themselves and the problems that these secrets cause loom larger.It is a thought provoking book, as we are made to realise that the miracle of a reunion, after all the deaths of WWII, is really just the beginning of the story. Having changed so much, it is not easy for any of them to revert to 'normal' life again, least of all in a foreign country where they are viewed with suspicion.I particularly liked Aurek who, at the age of 6 and after so much depriavtion, is jealous of his mother's relationship with Janusz and names him 'enemy'.This was my first experience of reading an e book on my new reader. It was well written and full of feeling and harsh experiences for all three parties, but I often found that I wasn't quite sure who was speaking when we switched from one chapter to the next. I do not know if this would have been the same problem in hard copy.Certainly well worth a read, recommended.
nicx27 on LibraryThing 22 days ago
This is the story of Silvana and Janusz, and their little boy Aurek. Silvana and Janusz were separated during the war, when Janusz joined up and Silvana was left behind to fend for herself, living in forests for much of the time.After the war, Janusz finds Silvana and Aurek and brings them to England to live in the house he has found for them at 22 Britannia Road in Ipswich. The story is told in alternating chapters, first of all in Ipswich and then looking back on each of their separate experiences during the war.This is a fairly bleak sort of read in a lot of ways, and quite sad, but I did enjoy it and the contrasting chapters worked very well. I also enjoyed reading about the life of foreigners in England after the end of World War II. It's a well written book and shows real promise for Amanda Hodgkinson's future novels.
karenlisa on LibraryThing 27 days ago
22 Britannia Road By Amanda Hodgkinson A young couple with a small child are separated for 6 years during WWII. They are from Warsaw and Januscz goes off to war, Sylvana is left with little baby Aurek. She tries to get to her inlaws home but the bus runs out of gas and all their lives are forever changed. They survive in the forest. By some miracle the family is reunited when she arrives with her son in England and Januscz tries in vain to make them a proper home, and start a new life. But the past is full of secrets and mysteries of war. Love and loss that is buried deep but cannot be forgotten. The reader can picture the characters and feel their sadness and their hope. Excellent story of love, history and moving on even if you have to take the past with you.
RidgewayGirl on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This book tells the story of the Nowaks, Silvana and Janusz, who were living in Warsaw with their baby, Aurek, when Poland was invaded. Janusz goes to join up with the Polish army and they end up separated for the duration of the war. Janusz eventually reaches England, after a long stay in a French farmhouse, while Silvana has a much more traumatic experience, ending up surviving in the forest. Janusz works hard to find his family and to build a new life in Ipswich, but both Janusz and Silvana hold secrets and sorrow and guilt, and are now different people from the young couple beginning married life in Warsaw so long ago. This novel has interesting things to say about loss and survivor's guilt and how the joyous reunion is only the beginning of the story, rather than the end. There's a lot going on, between everyone's wartime experiences and their new life in Ipswich, so the characters remain opaque. Still, the story is hard to put down, even if the "big secret" is pretty clear, at least to the reader, from early on. Not a great book, but a good read that approaches a familiar theme from a slightly different angle.
MadMooseMama on LibraryThing 27 days ago
22 Britannia Road is a fiction romance set during WWII.Silvana Nowak is a young Polish woman living in Warsaw at the time the Germans take over the city. When her husband, Janusz is called away to fight for their country, he leaves her and their young son, Aurek, behind.After setting out on the train with his unit, they are attacked by German planes and he becomes lost from his troops. However, after months go by, he realizes that his heart is not in this and he is befriended by two other deserters and the trio make their way across Poland to France in order to join up with troops already stationed there.Along the way many things happen to Janusz that changes who he was and after the war is over, he settles in England to become a proper Englishman and buys a house located at 22 Britannia Road. He then sets out to find what happened to his family.Silvana and Aurek are soon left at the mercy of the German soldiers and after being raped, she escapes with Aurek and stunned, scared and lonely, she follows the other people heading out of the city. She wanders for weeks and along the way she befriends a woman who helps them find shelter for the winter.When Silvana and Hanka part ways, her and Aurek must learn to take shelter and survive in the woods. Finding another group of survivors they spend the winter with them before moving on to another family, who save them from near death.Always Silvana is fighting for their survival, seeking shelter and food when there was none to be found. When the English find them, they are taken to a refugee encampment. It is there that she learns that Janusz is alive and is looking for them.However, Silvana has mixed feelings about returning to her husband's arms. She has many secrets that she cannot share, and many situations she wishes never to have to remember again.When the three finally come together, they must learn to live and love all over again. Will their love be enough to see them through the past; a past they had no control over? Or will their lies and secrets drive a wedge through them forever?I thought this was a fantastic debut novel. The period that the book was set in was wonderfully written. It had clarity and mystery and immersed you into the novel, wearing the heartaches that Silvana had to endure.The horrors of the war were graphic and the imagery given made you grip the book as you read on. Then the realization sets in that things really did happen this way; war really does this to people. It was heart-rendering to read at times as the prose left you aching at humanity's animalistic barbarity. The characters were strongly portrayed and balanced the plot with grace and understanding. The back story characters were equally impressive in their impressions upon the reader. I did happen to guess all the secrets of the two early on in the book but I do believe the hints were subtle in their rendering and I am quite sure those who enjoy love stories will enjoy this book.
bachaney on LibraryThing 27 days ago
22 Britannia Road tells the story of one family torn apart by war trying to rebuild itself after the war is over. Silvana and Janusz fell in love in rural Poland before World War II. They married and had a son, but soon after the war breaks out, it tears them apart. Six years later, Silvana, Janusz and their son Aurek are reunited in England. Will they be able to heal the wounds the war has inflicted on their lives and souls, or will it be too much for them to overcome? I thought 22 Britannia Road was an excellent novel. The story is very powerful, and explores the trauma and tragedy of the war on everyday people and then how difficult it is to leave those memories behind in the wake of the conflict. The author used an effect technique to explore both sides of her story--she alternated chapters in the novel's present (post war England) with flashback chapters to the main characters experiences during the war. This allowed the reader to understand the deeper motivation for the characters actions. I also thought the language of the novel--which was sparse but powerful, added something to the overall story telling. Although parts of this novel are very sad, I do feel like there was an underlying message of hope. Fans of literary fiction or historical fiction set in the World War II period should check out this excellent novel.
Enamoredsoul on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Janusz and Silva are a young married couple, with a beautiful son named Aurek, and just beginning to settle into the family life when Poland is invaded by Germany. The war coming home results in Janusz joining the Military, and this results in the separation of this beautiful little family. Having been left to survive in Poland, Silva takes her Aurek and flees towards the forest, where she must fend for herself and her son.Going through every hardship imaginable, living in the wilderness and almost becoming part of it, Silva manages to survive for six long years, and eventually finds her way into a refugee camp. Janusz, with the help of a social worker, locates his wife and child in this camp. The horrors of the war, and the fight for survival for Silva and Aurek was really difficult to read. As for Janusz, we see him becoming number and number to the effects of war, a common practice for soldiers trying to keep their wits about them, and detach themselves from the pain of having been separated from their loved ones. It is as if he has decided that he will become like water, complacent and moulding to whichever situation he is thrust into.The real story in this emotional novel, is of the homecoming of Silva and Aurek. Of this family getting back together - except, they are no longer a family. Time, and the difficulties of war, have hardened Janusz, Silva and even Aurek. Janusz and Silva are no longer the young, happily married couple - they are both soldiers, having fought for their lives through a war. "22 Britannia Road" is the story of the re-mapping of Janusz and Silva's lives. "22 Britannia Road" is where Janusz and Silva must re-discover themselves, re-learn each other, and decide how much of who they were before the war has been retained. This book is a prime example of how the fighting doesn't end with war...people find themselves fighting themselves, each others, and fate long after the battles of war are over.
asigg44 on LibraryThing 27 days ago
I won this book as a First Reads book from Goodreads.This book is about a young Polish couple who fall in love right before WWII begins. They get married and Silvana becomes pregnant and gives birth to a boy named Aurek. Janusz is her husband and soon after his son is born, he leaves to join up with the army. On his way to his post, the train he is riding on comes under fire from the Germans. The Germans open fire on the to-be soldiers that are taking a break outside the train. Janusz hits his head on a rock and passes out, missing the train as it departs. He meets up with another soldier who was left behind and is convinced to walk to find his company with him. He eventually ends up in Italy where he falls in love, leaves Italy to come to Britain and buys a house so that he can have something when the red cross finds his wife and child.Meanwhile, Silvana, trying to escape the war, takes her young son and makes a trek from Warsaw, trying to get back to where Janusz's parents and her parents live. She travels and hides in the forest, living in the forest until the red cross finds her and sends her to Brittain to meet with Janusz. There is so much more to this book: betrayal, lies, lost love that stands the test of time, etc.This is not a very happy book, but it is a book that draws you in and shows a brief snippet of what some people had to do to survive the war. I love how the author makes you feel like you know these people, showing a bit of the sorrow, fear, uncertainty and betrayal of trust. There are a few twists in this book; things that I didn't expect to happen. The happy ending is there, you just have to see the struggle to get to it.Very good book, I would recommend it to anyone. I will be looking for more books from this author
ReginaR on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This is a powerful and moving, but sad story about a family torn apart by war. The story moves back and forth in time (pre-WWII, during the war, and after the war), location (Poland, France, crossing the channel, and England) and between three characters ¿ wife/mother, husband/father and child/son. Despite the fact that the story involves very painful topics ¿ death of family members, rape, loss of loved ones, separation, witnessing violent deaths, etc. ¿ the story was not depressing. I won this book from First Reads hear on goodreads, but I chose to listen to the narrated version instead. I believe the story is a good first start from this author. I think the transition from each character¿s point of view, was done well but perhaps could have been done better. I did not like the male protagonist. I thought he was weak and easily influenced, but ultimately he does right by his family. I also thought that the silence and secrets between the reunited characters was overly dramatic, I just did not believe the level of secrecy and lack of intimacy between them but then I have never survived a war while separated from my spouse. I was completely surprised by the twist in the story and the revelation still breaks my heart. I am giving this 4 stars, while I think it is a 3.5 star book because the story left me emotionally moved and thinking about the characters. I believe if a reader is a fan of literary fiction, interested in the post-WWII time period, or interested in stories of surviving and moving on ¿ then this book will be enjoyed. It isn¿t the best book I have ever read, but it is good.
wendytrim on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Starts off slow but is really a poignant story that I enjoyed. I'm a sucker for a good war novel.
dgmlrhodes on LibraryThing 27 days ago
22 Britannia Road is the story of a young Polish family caught in World War II. It is a story of the desperate things people will do to survive a war, whether that is emotional or physical survival. This is a story of secrets, lies, betrayal and forgiveness. The story unfolds with the present and a series of flashbacks to the war. This effect nicely unveils the story and the motivations. It is truly a wonderful story and would make a good book club discussion.
Carolee888 on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This is a wonderful book, I felt like I was in a movie theatre, just sitting back and enjoying the story. I kept imagining a very young Meryl Streep as Silvania. This book is set in 1946 in England but has flashbacks to Poland during WWII. The flashbacks were handled flawlessly so you always knew which character and what place you were going back to. The book opens with Janusz, a Polish immigrant to England trying to immerse himself in English culture and customs. He desparately wanted to fit in and not be the guy with Polish accent. He had been separated from his long ago sweetheart and wife, Slivania and his young son, Aurek since 1937. Pre-war Poland was not so bad. There were many movie theatres and Silvania was proud of the beautiful uniform that she wore as an usherette at the Kine cinema. She was very glad to escape her depressing home to marry Janusz. In 1937, the grass was green and full, the trees blossuming with hope. Janusz had decided to not follow his father's advice to be a lawyer but to do what he loved, to work with mechanical things instead. The future was full with promise. Then the war came to Poland. The Germans invaded Warsaw and entirely changed the lives of Janusz, Silvania and little Aurek. As the story unwound, events were the starting points of long held and scary secrets. Some secrets were not so obvious and I had literally gasped out loud. Living in the forests outside Warsaw for Silvania and Aurek seemed so real that I often forgot that that I was reading a book! What they had to do to survive, how they had to completely depend on each other. They seemed like one unit. Janusz also had some life experiences that became memories and memories that became secrets. With this book, you realize how much wartime experience can take over the souls of people and utterly change their inner life. Secrets from Silvana held both by Janusz and those terrible life changing memories held by Silvana from her husband take on a life of their own. This book is a must read. The author, Amanda Hodkinson is very talented and is a joy to read. All the major and minor characters were vividly fleshed out and the scenes in Poland and England were rich with visual images. You will forget that you are reading and will feel that you are in England and Poland. The Polish customs, food and farms were beautifully interwoven in the story. By the end of the book or maybe before, you will be thinking of what war does to people and if and how those experiences can be overcome. I received this book as a part of the Amazon Vine Program but my review is based entirely my own thoughts.
BillPilgrim on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This is the story of a Polish family that gets separated at the beginning of World War II, when the husband joins the Polish army just before the Nazi invasion. He ends up escaping, first to France for a short time, then to England where he joins the British armed services. His wife unsuccessfully tries to travel to his parents' home, and ends up living in the forest with her very young son until the end of the war. Then, when he tries to find her, she is located in a refugee camp that they are reunited in London. He has a job in a factory and home in a suburban neighborhood. He tries to establish a typical British lifestyle for the family, but they have been damaged by their war-time experiences, especially the boy, who has a hard time accepting his father's presence in this life, and the regular life that is being imposed on him. And each adult is keeping a secret from the other of what happened during the war.I enjoyed the book a lot. The characters are well-developed and believable. And, for the most part, the events all resonated and seemed real.
picardyrose on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Post-WWII, a Polish couple tries to reunite. He spent the war in the RAF, she spent the war in the woods.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This stunning novel focuses on a Polish couple, Silvana and Janusz and their son Aurek, who are separated for six years during World War II. They are finally reunited after not hearing from each other during that entire time. Their new home, at 22 Britannia Road in Ipswich England, offers them both a place of safety, but also is a place where each must come to terms with their own war time experiences, deciding what, when and how much to share with the other. The young son's story is especially poignant as he has no memory of his father (who left when he was only about a year old), has been raised solely by his mother and regards all men as "the enemy."Hodgkinson gives us a masterful story as she weaves chapters from the present with flashbacks to the past, giving us the same glimpses that the couple allows themselves and sometimes each other. It is a story of loss, of fear, of courage, of incredible bravery, mother love, and serendipity. Ancillary characters help flesh out the deep anxieties of all three of the major players.Highlighting an aspect of war that is not often detailed---the plight of refugees having to adjust to a new country and new language at the same time they are readjusting to each other and their marriage--this is a story that is sure to please. For anyone looking for another view of the fallout of war, this is a not to be missed book. It certainly will be included in my top of the year list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago