The Survivors by Kate Furnivall / Blog Tour

The Survivals by Kate Furnivall

 

 

41100508Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 29th November 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

Genre: Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Discover a brilliant story of love, danger, courage and betrayal, from the internationally bestselling author of The Betrayal.

Germany, 1945. The Allied Military Government has set up Displaced Persons camps throughout war-ravaged Germany, to house the millions of devastated people throughout Europe who have lost everything. Klara Janowska is one of these. In her thirties, half Polish, half English, born and brought up in Warsaw, she fought for the Polish Resistance, helping to sabotage the Nazi domination of her country. But now the war is over and she has fled Poland with her 8 year-old daughter, Alicja, ahead of the advancing Soviet army, leaving her past behind her.

Or so she thinks.

She and Alicja are detained in Graufeld Camp, among a thousand strangers who have flooded into the protective custody of the British zone in Germany. She is desperate to get to England, her mother’s native country, but she has no identity papers. She needs to escape, at any cost.

This unstable world becomes even more dangerous when Klara recognises someone else in the camp – Oskar Scholz, a high-ranking member of the German Waffen-SS who terrorised Warsaw. Forced together in the confined claustrophobic space, the two of them know terrible secrets about each other’s past that would see them hanged if either told the truth. Both want the other one dead.

But the most displaced element in the camp is the truth. In a series of unexpected twists, the real truths finally emerge and drastically alter the lives of all.

An unforgettably powerful, epic story of love, loss and the long shadow of war, perfect for readers of Santa Montefiore and Victoria Hislop.

Rating: five-stars

Klara Janowska and her ten – year – old daughter Alicja have managed to survive the horrors of WWII, however the terror is not finished yet. They find themselves in Germany, in the Graufeld Displaced Persons Camp, where they are waiting for any news on their move to England, as Klara is half – English. At least they have a roof over their heads and something to eat there but still it’s not a safe place. especially as one day Klara catches a sight of a man, and it makes her blood run cold – they used to know each other, and he knows her secrets – Klara knows he’s a danger to both of them, her and Alicja. Will they manage to move to England before something terrible happens? Will they be safe? Or must Klara take matters in her hands and get rid of this man…? Will she loose all, after coming this far?

This book was closer to my heart than you could suppose. I was born in Poland and lived in Poland for almost 30 years, and the history, and especially the WWII was a very important part of my education, but not only this, I think it is normal when you’re growing up you want to know more about things and events that touch upon you, and so not only did I read many memories of the war, I also was in Auschwitz and well, if you haven’t been there I think it is impossible to imagine the immensity of the loss, of cruelty, of lives being sent to death. Hence this book, with its topic, was really close to my heart, my grandparents were all in the war and though they didn’t recount enthusiastically about those times they let slip some stories, and believe me, I won’t be able to forget them. And this is probably why I’ve immediately felt the atmosphere of the novel, I fell for the characters and felt with them and experienced together with everything they experienced.

I loved the character of Klara. She was a woman who knew what she wanted and she was not afraid to kick asses when necessary, she had fire in her and she was not afraid to cause troubles. She was incredibly resourceful and determined, she was to finish what she started no matter what. Her story was gripping, thrilling, incredibly sad but also full of hope. Having read many book about World War Two, it still made me feel anger and shock at all the situations and events Klara and her daughter Alicja had to endure.

Kate Furnivall is absolutely one of my favourite authors and every new release of hers is as excellent as the last one. I can never be sure which period of time the author is going to focus on this time and it is brilliant, as no matter which one it is, it is always absolutely perfectly researched, full of details and little things that made those times. It’s the same with “The Survivors” – even though I know much about WWII, about pre- and afterwar times, I don’t think I have ever heard about the displaced persons camps – they were for those who survived the war but lost their homes and families. It was shocking and so desperately sad to see that, even after the war, with all its atrocity and desperation, there were still people who haven’t learnt better – the author told things how they really were, brutally honest, highlighting all the ups and downs of living in the camp, though there were rather mostly downs.

It was incredible, unforgettable story full of intrigue, uncertainty, manipulation, danger, betrayal but also unconditional love and hope. The author’s writing is so beautiful and elegant and I was involved in this book right from the opening pages. There was a brilliant mystery added to the plot, and also we were left with all the secrets surrounding Klara – to be absolutely honest, I allowed myself to wonder once or twice if Klara is really who I’m thinking she is, or if there is more to her than meet the eye. The author has really done the secrets in the best possible way, we’re left till almost the very last moment to discover what it was that happened. And this is not all, as in the last few chapters Kate Furnivall presents us with such unexpected twist, I really didn’t know what to think, if I should cry or be happy, and she really left me with my mouth hanging I really didn’t want this book to end, to leave those unforgettable characters behind. “The Survivors” was a moving, emotional, poignant and heartbreaking but still with hope for humanity,  powerful read about courage, full of tension that made me feel afraid for Klara and Alicja – I wasn’t sure what’s going to happen when I turn the page, and it is the best kind of tension, believe me. Highly recommended!

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The Liberation by Kate Furnivall

The Liberation by Kate Furnivall

 

29232459Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 3rd November 2016

Source:  Received in return for an honest review.

Number of pages: 560

Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Italy, 1945: as British and American troops attempt to bring order to the devastated cities, its population fights each other to survive. Caterina Lombardi is desperate – her mother has abandoned them already and her brother is being drawn into the mafia. Early one morning, among the ruins of the bombed Naples streets, she is forced to go to extreme lengths to protect her family and in doing so forges a future very different to the one she expected. But will the secrets of her family’s past be her downfall? This epic novel is an unforgettably powerful story of love, loss and the long shadow of war.

Rating: 5/5

Last year I read and totally enjoyed Kate Furnivall’s “The Italian Wife”, so I started reading “The Liberation” with my expectations highly set – I really expected a lot from this novel and from this author. And believe me, guys, it is a long book, with almost 600 pages, but there was not a single dull moment and the author kept me in dark, adding a lot of tension and suspense , and I. Loved. This. Book. Everything there had its own place and even though it started relatively slowly – but hey, with such a long book there is no pressure, right, and it was brilliant that the author took her time to slowly introduce us to all the threads in this very complex, very advanced and expanded plot – there came a moment that I couldn’t get enough of the reading, that I couldn’t put the book down.

The story is set in Italy, post – war, with the British and American soldiers still present in the country, trying to bring order back to Italian lives. When Catarina Lombardi was only ten, her mother has left her family, abandoning her and her baby brother and leaving her father as a single – parent, and also causing a scandal in the traditional Italy. Now, eleven years later, it is 1945 and the war is over, but it is far away from Naples living in peace – hence the American and British soldiers staying there. Caterina lives now with only her young brother and a blind grandfather, as her father has been killed when working in his workshop by a bomb explosion, so it is up to Caterina to keep the heads above the water. She stepped into her father shoes and is now creating beautiful boxes and items from wood that she sells in Naples, often to the soldiers. But when two of them, out of the blue, visit her at home, disturbing, turbulent and eventful times come for Caterina and she soon finds herself fighting for her own, as well as for her family’s, lives, freedom and desperately trying to discover the truth about her family’s past. Is she going to find answers to all her questions? Is she going to bring danger on her family?

The writing is so rich and so full of imagination and Kate Furnivall has transported me with her descriptions effortlessly to Italy and the tension and uncertainty was palpable through the pages, the Italy was bustling and the characters were effortlessly brought to life. They are so incredibly well developed and Catarina is a brilliant lead character – she was strong – willed, she wasn’t afraid to put herself into dangerous situations only to help her family and to clean the honour of her father; she was stubborn and she had a great ability to find the truth and she never took any prisoners, and she only felt satisfied when she’s seen things with her own eyes, which of course led her to many dangerous situations and often endangered her own life. But in my eyes she was a real inspiration, she was bold, incredibly loyal and searching.

There were many characters introduced to us in this story and the author has made them all so complex personalities, and I really wasn’t sure who is there to help Caterina, and who is there to disturb her. It often happens that you feel almost paranoid when reading about such characters however not in this story. It kept me on my toes, it made me feel suspicious but it also made me fell incredibly intrigued and I wanted to discover who is the person I can trust. Every single character was so very significant to the plot, even the most background ones, and their appearance always added a new question, a new curveball and I loved, I simply loved, how in the end, somehow, all the characters and their stories, come together.

Kate Furnivall described life in Italy with so many small details and captured all the problems, fears and tension that bothered people in those times, and it was often so heart – breaking to see what people were forced to do only to survive. She has described the groups of children running wild on the streets, she has told us how the women needed to earn their bread and what kind of things kept people stay alive when Italy was trying to run again after the war. She has also shown how corruption, conspiracies worked and how hard it was for people like Caterina, people who were honest and didn’t want to hurt anybody, to survive.

One the main mysteries in the book is the one about Caterina’s father, Roberto – it seemed he was being involved in things that Caterina didn’t want to believe in, that she wanted to shut out. Among this mystery all the others are built, creating a story with multiple layers, slowly falling away and making the novel incredibly hooking. Among the team being involved in the investigations are Jake and Harry, two American soldiers who are trying – or maybe disturbing – Caterina to find the truth, as it seems that her beloved father has known much more than his daughter thought. And it was really this moment when the book took off and never stopped – the author fed us with new information and details but in a way that I’ve never felt overwhelmed or confused.

The way the author was adding clues and tips was so, so clever and subtle! But personally, I haven’t predicted what was coming, I didn’t guess any of the threads and for me it is a sign of a really brilliant, cleverly plotted story. I enjoyed the fact that the author took me on a curvy rollercoaster journey with her story, I just went with the flow and more than once I wanted to gasp in horror, more than once I wanted to shout to Caterina to be cautious and more than once I found myself totally surprised with the turn of events.

This story is masterfully plotted! I often found myself holding my breath at the new curveball, at the incredible web of lies, secrets and understatements, and how the Italian traditional family bonds, how the view that the family honour is the most important thing in the world could change lives. I, with a great joy and admiration, watched how those secrets were slowly being resolved and how all the pieces of the puzzles found their places. I also can’t express enough how much I admired the lot of work and research that the author for certain has put into writing this novel. It was grand, complex story with many layers and I couldn’t wait for them to be peeled back, to see what’s hidden and what exciting things are to come yet. “The Liberation” is an epic tale. It is a power house of a story. It is full of brilliantly developed and expressive characters with their own distinctive voices and stories that added a lot of tension. There is mystery to be solved, dazzlingly tangled, not at all obvious but rather keeping you on your toes and getting under your skin, as you are desperate to know what has really happened. There is suspense, there is romance and this all in the right quantity and masterfully and skilfully dosed throughout the whole story. The writing is beautiful, engaging and rich in descriptions and details but not in the way that makes you want to skip some of them because there are too many of them – I personally didn’t want to skip a single word, as for me they were all so important and significant. It is a story of love and hate, of loss and win, of honour, loyalty and hope. It is full of heart – breaking moments as well as many uplifting moments, it is a historical fiction with a difference and I will be recommending it to all my friends – it is a book that shouldn’t be missed!