English writer Hodgkinson won high praise from reviewers when her debut novel was released in 2011. This is a poignant story that chronicles the struggles of a young Polish couple to recover their lives after several years of separation and suffering during the Second World War.
“Silvana Nowak and her seven-year-old son, Aurek, endure many hardships when German troops invade Warsaw in 1939. Six years later, British soldiers rescue them from the isolated forest in which they’re living and transport them to England, where they rejoin Silvana’s husband, Janusz, an RAF veteran. After successfully adapting to his new country, Janusz hopes to make a fresh start for them at 22BritanniaRoad in Ipswich. Fiercely protective of her son, world-weary Silvana’s hair has become gray. Aurek, a half-wild boy with no memories of traditional home life, has difficulties with school and sees Janusz as the enemy. Alternately presenting each of the Nowaks’ viewpoints on present and past, the novel courageously addresses tragic occurrences and lingering aftereffects. Both adults are hiding things, including complicated extramarital romantic feelings, and suspense steadily builds toward the surprising revelation of Silvana’s most painful secret. A stellar example of literary WWII fiction.” — Johnson, Sarah (Reviewed 04-01-2011) (Booklist, vol 107, number 15, p34)