22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson. They are truly unhappy in a unique way.
Janusz just found his wife and child who have been living in the forests of Poland for most of the previous 6 years. When Janusz last saw them, he was leaving them in Warsaw to fight the Germans during World War II. He had given them up for dead but now he believes he can have the family he always wanted. There are a few problems though, he's still trying to forget the girl he
Rather unfairly all my sympathy was with Silvana. Sure, lots of bad things happened to Janusz but if they were giving out awards for Most Horrific Experiences, Silvana would have him beat. So when Janusz was thinking about all the pretty flowers he wanted to plant and wondering why his wife wasn't quite ready to make some more babies, I was mentally squishing his head. Of course Silvana has some Big Reasons of her own for not being down with Janusz's plan.
The story alternates between the past and present of both Janusz and Silvana's experiences (with a few of Aurek's thoughts tossed in). The mystery of what happened during the war is revealed slowly throughout the novel. Once everything is out in the open that's when things start falling apart.
22 Britannia Road examines the cost of war on the survivors, especially those who've been separated by time and tragedy. Although I wouldn't say I enjoyed 22 Britannia (is that possible considering the heavy topic?), I did find it to be an engaging story. There were a few things that bothered me about this debut. Maybe it's me or the fact that it was an audiobook, but there were a few inadvertently funny scenes, you know, the kind that were supposed to be serious and poignant but gave me a case of the giggles. That really wasn't the author's intention. It was rather a slow go at times too.
If you're in the mood to read something gloomy or are interested in the post-World War II era, 22 Britannia Road is for you.
About the Audio: Narrated by Robin Sachs. It was a little weird hearing such masculine voice impersonating a Polish woman but somehow he made it work.