Authors on Stage: Amanda Hodgkinson
Amanda Hodgkinson, author of the best-selling novel 22 Britannia Road, will speak at the New Canaan Library on Tuesday, June 5, at 7:00 p.m. in the Adrian Lamb Room.
It has been six years since Silvana has seen her husband, Janusz, when she boards a ship that will take her from Poland to England with their eight-year-old son, Aurek. Asked for her occupation, “housekeeper or housewife?” Silvana first responds softly, “survivor.” She and Aurek spent much of World War II hiding in the forests of Poland, and when they arrive in England, they will have to learn a new way of living, and face an intense emotional adjustment to the unfamiliar place they will now have to call home.
Meanwhile, in a small English town, Janusz prepares for his wife and son’s arrival. He rents a little house at 22 Britannia Road and plants a quaint English garden. Determined to be a true Englishman now, Janusz wants to forget the war, his memories of both his own bravery and his shameful cowardice. Upon their sweet, if awkward, reunion, Janusz, Silvana, and Aurek enter their new life. But six years apart have changed all of them....
A lifetime without a father and a wild, almost feral existence in the woods of Poland have made Aurek suspicious of this man who expects him to sleep alone for the first time and go to school like a normal boy, and he begins to think of Janusz as “the enemy.” Janusz still has the letters from a love in France whom he cannot forget. Silvana is skittish and struggles to play the role of proper English housewife, but the shattering secret she keeps—an act permissible in the midst of war but unthinkable during peacetime—stands between husband and wife. When the dashing father of Aurek’s only friend shows up and makes Silvana feel like a woman again for the first time since the war began, the charade of contented family life on Britannia Road comes crashing down.
22 Britannia Road is an unforgettable story about maternal love, overcoming hardship, and ultimately, acceptance — a tour de force that will pierce your heart.
Amanda Hodgkinson was born in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, England, and grew up in a small fishing village in East Anglia. She earned an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia. She currently lives in an old stone farmhouse in the southwest of France with her husband, two daughters, some chickens, and two cats. This is her first novel.