Based on the author’s mother’s experiences during the war, yet a novel. Czech Lena Kulkova, her lover Otto and a small band of their fellow socialists manage to escape Paris and get to England ahead of the Nazis. They land in a small English village under the patronage of a like-minded noblewoman. They’ve all left family behind and as the war goes on, Lena begins to hear terrible rumors about the fate of her Jewish family.
There is a lot happening in this book. Maybe too much. However, Lena, does stay absolutely true to her socialist leanings. We get a glimpse, as the war begins to wind down, of the origins behind the rise of the Labour Party and the rise of the welfare state in Great Britain.
The last chapter brings us into the future, Lena’s adult daughter is visiting her elderly daughter. In her mother’s final days she discovers photographs of her mother’s family that perished in the camps. This revelation, while poignant, was a bit out of place. We don’t really learn why Lena never shared this with her daughter, which leaves us wondering about what else she left out.
Despite the disappointing ending, the author has written a compelling refugee story.
Pub Date 26 Sep 2017