War changes us all, and sometimes we no longer recognise ourselves....
"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 the war, to Janusz, her husband. But she isn't sure any longer that she is a wife of any kind or whether she has a house. After living wild in the forests for years, carrying a terrible secret, all Silvana knows is that she and Aurek are survivors. In Ipswich, Janusz is getting ready for the arrival of the wife and son he hasn't seen in six years. After fleeing Poland and the war that left him a deserter, he has found his family a house. He works hard planting a proper English garden to welcome them and to distract him from his own secret.
But the six years apart have changed them all, and they must learn that love can't work unless there are no secrets. To make Aurek a real home, Silvana and Janusz will have to come to terms with what happened to them during the war, accept that each have changed immeasurably and allow their beloved but wild son to be who he truly is.
"A most accomplished first novel. Powerful story-telling and entirely convincing in its evocation of post-war England. Very good." (Penelope Lively)
"An affecting story, extremely well told." (The Times)
"Harrowing, terrifying, heartbreaking, incredibly moving. Prepare to be left teary-eyed more than once." (Stylist)
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