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LOVED IT! 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

Title: 22 Britannia Road [buy the book]
Author: Amanda Hodgkinson [website] [Facebook]
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Fiction
Date Published: April 28, 2011

Summary:

A tour de force that echoes modern classics like Suite Francaise and The Postmistress. (Trish thinks this is WAY BETTER than The Postmistress.)

“Housekeeper or housewife?” the soldier asks Silvana as she and eight- year-old Aurek board the ship that will take them from Poland to England at the end of World War II. There her husband, Janusz, is already waiting for them at the little house at 22 Britannia Road. But the war has changed them all so utterly that they’ll barely recognize one another when they are reunited. “Survivor,” she answers.

Silvana and Aurek spent the war hiding in the forests of Poland. Wild, almost feral Aurek doesn’t know how to tie his own shoes or sleep in a bed. Janusz is an Englishman now-determined to forget Poland, forget his own ghosts from the way, and begin a new life as a proper English family. But for Silvana, who cannot escape the painful memory of a shattering wartime act, forgetting is not a possibility.

One of the most searing debuts to come along in years, 22 Britannia Road. is the wrenching chronicle of how these damaged people try to become, once again, a true family. An unforgettable novel that cries out for discussion, it is a powerful story of primal maternal love, overcoming hardship, and, ultimately, acceptance-one that will pierce your heart.

My thoughts:

Let me just say: I LOVED THIS BOOK. I thought 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson was beautiful and heartbreaking and the writing was fabulous and I practically ran in to the book club meeting, clutching this book, saying, “I can’t wait to talk about this book!!”

Hodgkinson told the story by jumping back and forth between 1939 Poland and 1946 England. Silvana and Janusz’s story is told simultaneously. I thought this worked extremely well. I actually felt a bit of tension as I wondered what had happened in the years during their separation.

As Silvana and Janusz try to come back together as a family, they have fits and starts at being successful. Secrets and lives that had moved past their marriage are obstacles they will have to overcome.

Here’s a few quotes to whet your appetite:

They (the clothes) will travel on, into the arms of men and women and children who have arrived at the end of the war with nothing but the curious realization that they have survived something and a dull sense that they might not survive the beginning of something else.

And another:

And if Janusz knew Silvana’s secret, would he forgive her? She has no words for what happened. No: it is better to guard her secret, to keep it dark, pickled, and slippery, like a jar of something forgotten, pushed so far to the back of the pantry that not even she can remember what is floating in there.

Anyway, fabulous fabulous book. I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

12 comments »

12 Responses to “LOVED IT! 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson”

  1. zibilee ()

    Oh, this was a wonderful review Trish, and made me really excited to read my copy of this book! I haven’t seen a lot about it on the blogs recently, and so this enthusiastic review makes me really eager to dig it out and get started with it. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much. Great review!

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  2. bermudaonion (Kathy) ()

    Wow! A friend of mine was asking about this book and I didn’t know what to tell her. It sounds like we should both read it.

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    Carol Wong Reply:

    I loved this book too!

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  3. Anna ()

    I really must read this one! I’m so glad to see you loved it. It sounds so heartbreaking, a husband and wife torn apart by war and then having to keep secrets about what happened to them in the years they were separated. I’ll link to your review on War Through the Generations.

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  4. Teresa ()

    I’ve heard both good and bad about this one which is why I haven’t read it yet. Sounds like I’m going to have to!

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  5. Virginia

    I’m always excited to see when you have posted. 🙂

    I have added this to my to-read list. I love it when I’ve read a book I love so much that I *must* share it with someone ASAP.

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  6. Becca ()

    Boy, I’m salivating over this one now! This is the first I’ve heard of it, so thanks for the recommendation and the glowing review!

    I’m just coming off a great book too – State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett. I couldn’t put it down.

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  7. jennygirl

    You can judge books by their covers! I knew this one had to be good. So glad you loved it and now I can’t wait to read it 🙂 thanks chica!

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  8. Sheila (Book Journey) ()

    I love it when I get a change to review a gush worthy book – I know my excitement shows through my writing…. you have just done that for me. Now I am pumped about this book and want it now… on my coffee table next to me….. now.

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  9. Meg ()

    I can’t believe this book hasn’t been on my radar! Absolutely sounds like one I would enjoy, and I’m on a serious WWII kick right now.

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  10. kaye

    This one is high on my wish list! so glad to see you loved it!

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  11. Sherry

    I read this over the summer and had a lot of mixed feelings about it. Your review brought me right back to the deep emotions I felt while reading it, especially overall sadness. Sometimes that what makes a great read! Love your blog; you read a lot of the same stuff as I do so I have subscibed! Looking forward to reading…

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