Jane’s Boekentips

22 BRITANNIA ROAD by Amanda Hodgkinson

After reading so many World War II novels I now feel that I need the bar to be raised. I need a novel to give me something different, something that is unique as a plot or that the writing is so superior that I cannot wait to pick up the book. Well, this has happened with 22 Britannia Road. This is a debut novel that is powerful, moving and brings another dimension to the thousands of stories about the second world war that we have read or heard about.

Janusz and Silvana are a young married couple with a young son living in Poland at the start of the war. Janusz goes into the military which eventually leads him to the RAF in England. Silvana is not so lucky. She escapes Warsaw with her son and ends up living in the forests of Poland. After the war, Janusz finds his wife and son in a refugee camp and brings them to England, to their new home in Ipswich. 

How does a family, that has been apart for six years, come together? This is a story about finding and creating a home and a family. Imagine a glass pitcher breaking and having to put the pieces back together. You may be able to glue it, but it will never be the same and it will always be fragile.

Hodgkinson does an impressive job in her debut. There are so many emotional threads to this story and each one is thoughtfully and brilliantly written. This is a story about the ones who survived the war and as we know, they all have a story to tell. The question is, will they?

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  • Aledys Ver  On May 24, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Great idea to post your book reviews, Jane!
    I think that this topic has been visited upon many times – couples or families reunited after a long separation and great suffering as a consequence of conflicts or wars, or even thewar – so to know that it has good things to offer and is brilliantly written is high praise indeed. I’m curious now – I have already added it to my list (had already done that the other day when you mentioned it to me) and I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks!!

  • Nancy P  On June 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Jane – check out http://jewishcentralvoice.com/2011/06/does-holocaust-scholarship-matter/ – local piece on Holocaust lit.

    OMG, I have a bunch of kiddie books I’ve misplaced in my move from Gale – they sent me the MEANEST nastygram with threat of criminal action! I better phone there today… shoot, I was hoping to find them in my unpacked boxes!! 🙂

    Miss u!

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