The Postcard by Carly Schabowski is a powerful dual timeline novel that totally consumed me.
The action is set during World War II and in 1999 in a small town that straddles the German/Polish border. It is a heartbreaking read as we hear of the horrors that the Poles suffered. As the novel opens in 1937 life is carefree and there is a gaiety as Germans and Poles exist side by side. As war looms, the atmosphere becomes oppressive as the Poles are hunted down and persecuted.
There are those who cannot stand idly by. “I don’t want to be like the others. I don’t want to do nothing, say nothing.” Unfortunately, youthful enthusiasm fails to project forwards to anticipate the consequences of actions.
The reader travels to Bergen Belsen as we witness the absolute horrors of mans inhumanity to man. We ‘meet’ Janek, a brave Pole, who sees goodness even though He walks through hell on earth. He believes that as long as we take control of our minds, we can never be in captivity. The Nazis can take bodies but not minds, without permission.
Lives have been held captive by thoughts of bitterness and unforgiveness. One can never live in freedom until forgiveness is given.
The novel is written in alternating points of view. We become intimately acquainted with the characters who are all well drawn, likable and realistic.
Carly Schabowski invades our hearts and our emotions with her tale. The horrors of war are not always found on the battlefield but in the black hearts of fellow human beings.
The Postcard was a powerful read. It’s a tale that must be read in memory of the six million innocents who died and of those who survived.
I received a free copy from the publishers. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.
The Postcard: A completely gripping and heartbreaking World War 2 historical novel
Holding the faded postcard in her trembling hands, Mia begins to read the one story her grandmother could never tell her, revealing a secret that will change her own life forever…
When her beloved grandmother, Ilse, is taken into hospital, Mia drops everything to travel to Germany and care for the woman who raised her. But when her grandmother briefly wakes up and asks for a man called Szymon, Mia is confused. Who is he? And why does her grandmother need to see him so desperately?
Later that night, Mia returns to her grandmother’s apartment to search for clues. She soon discovers a small parcel hidden inside one of Ilse’s suitcases. When she removes the wrapping, she finds a stack of faded postcards neatly bound together, signed with a name that makes her heart stop in her chest: Szymon.
Desperate to find Szymon before it is too late, Mia unearths a story her grandmother never told her: of childhood friendship and heartbreaking young love on the eve of the Second World War, and of a plan to rescue a young man imprisoned by the Nazis. Mia can’t quite believe her grandmother was so brave, and risked so much to save this man’s life… But did she succeed?
As the final pieces of the past come together, Mia realizes that she is about to find out what really happened to her grandmother during the war. But she doesn’t expect to uncover a secret that will change everything…
Based on a true story, this page-turning and emotional wartime novel follows one woman’s brave decision to save the man she loves from the Nazis. An unputdownable and moving story about courage in the face of unimaginable odds, perfect for readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Nightingale and The Alice Network.
Carly Schabowski worked as a journalist in both North Cyprus and Australia before returning to Oxford, where she studied for an MA and then a PhD in creative writing at Oxford Brookes University. Carly now teaches at Oxford Brookes University as an associate lecturer in Creative Writing for first and second-year English literature students.
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