Inspired by a true incident that took place in Poland in 1941 but was concealed for 60 years, Diane Armstrong's gripping novel is a detective story that is part mystery, part history, and part forensic investigation. It is also a tale of love, loss, and unimaginable sacrifice.
©2005 Diana Armstrong; (P)2005 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
"The best and worst of the human spirit are dredged up in this profoundly moving, compelling, and superbly written story." (Australian Women's Weekly)
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
First off, let me say that the historical parts of Winter Journey were fascinating, horrifying and educated me on one more atrocity of WWII that I never knew existed . . . the killing of several hundred Jewish citizens in Jedwabne, Poland by it's own citizens, NOT the Germans . . . it is a true story (the town renamed for the book) . . . but I was sadly "put off" by the author's continuous need to place Halina in one sexual escapade after another . . . the forensic dentist, Halina, talented and experienced at her craft, would have been at the very least in her fifties, but most probably older . . . and the graphic sex detracted from the story line . . . the forensics, the delving into her past, that's what kept me listening . . . but I felt like it took way too long to get there because I had to wade through too much mud . . .
A captivating story which was beautifully read. This was a book that I took a chance on as I hadn't read a review or heard about it prior to download. At times heart-wrenching but a definite page turner that kept my interest until the last word.
This is one of the best books I bought.
It is a true story and I can not agree with other poeple that this is over dramitized. I cound not stop listening!!
Very well written and it give a true reflection of human nature. The reader was excellent. She was able to bring to life Jewish, Polish, & Australian characters with just the right accents and inflections.
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
Interesting book, based on a true story about a forensic dentist Halina Shore, from Austrailia, who because of her Polish background, is one of the people chosen to go on war crimes assignment to dig up a mass grave in a town in Poland. The village people are divided and and angry about this intrusion in their lives, because it might show that they, the Poles, were responsible for the 1,000 jews that were burned alive there, and not the Germans, as they claimed.
Digging up the mass grave, uncovers much more than the answer to the question about who dunnit, it uncovers truths about Halina's own life. Good story, a little confusing at times, with all the names and characters, but an overall a good book.
Deidre Rubenstein deserves an award for her performance reading this book. Her emotion and skill draw you in. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed reading this one as much as I did listening to it.
I'm not sure what time line the other reviewers were using but a little research shows Poland entering the European Union around 1990, which would make the main character around 50, not 70. While some people may be surprised that a woman could be involved in a romantic relationship at that age, I found it very refreshing and thought the entire story was very moving and interesting.
Winter Journey is beautifully written and takes the reader along on the journey of discovery. Though some of the story seems slightly contrived it will play on every emotion you have. The narrator tells the story well and is very committed to the story. Loved it!
Tell the story
Every time I thought the book might pick up, the author reiterates the reiteration. I agree with other reviews that the protagonist's personal story is distracting and annoying. I really don't like stories that are interrupted by sex. I think the author just says " Oh, this is a good time for some sex!" For those who think this makes it a "chick" book- Wrong! I'm a woman and it takes more than melodrama and sex (which this book had too much of) to keep my attention. Halfway through I was checking to see how may more chapters I still had to endure. The answer? Too many.
I like this book. If it is indeed a true story, it is a remarkable story. It is well written and the characters and their circumstances are good.
It is not a mystery like most but the ending took me by suprise.
If there is anything missing, it is something that is missing from most books written about this black period. Soul searching.
First, the good news: the reader was excellent. She was able to bring to life Jewish, Polish, & Australian characters with just the right accents and inflections. Now, the bad news: there were a few too many coincidences for me with regard to the main character; and in the end I realized she would be a much older character than she seems throughout the novel. I do enjoy listening to novels that have some basis in history - so I would still recommend the book even though I found some flaws in the timeline.
"Winter Journey by Diane Armstrong"
A substantial and gripping tale, Winter Journey contains many elements, romance, mystery, murder and history. It was no surprise to discover that the theme was based on a horrific event that took place in Poland in 1941. A war crime against the Jews that was covered up for many years. A forensic dentist, Halina knows that when she was very small her mother escaped with her from Poland to Autralia. Her mother was tightlipped about the background to the escape but after her mother`s death and the end of a love affair Halena chose to go to Poland and assist in a war crime investigation. Caught up in the antagonism and resentment of the villagers Halena found an unexpected bond with the local priest, also based on a living person. The discovery of the tragic truth regarding her family was devastating but gradually with the support of her lover Halina came to terms with the past and found the serenity she had always saught. Beautifully read by Deirdre Rubinstein I would have no hesitation in recommending this book.
"Forensic science meets historical fiction"
A gripping work of historical fiction set in 21C Poland uncovers the truth about an appalling atrocity that occurred in a village community during the Second World War. The narrative explores the human capacity for evil - and good, and truth and reconciliation. Halina an Australian forensic odontologist travels to Poland to assist in the excavation of the site of the crime. Gradually the forensic evidence reveals not just uncomfortable truths about the past, but also about Halina and others still alive today.It is not just about the search for truth however, but how to make sense of it, and here Diane Armstrong confronts us with the clash of science and religion. A well researched book based on events that really happened and sympathetically told by Deirdre Rubinstein. A week after finishing the book I still find myself thinking about it - and wondering about the title!
A good listen, and one that I'll read myself.
This book tells the story of Halina Shore, a Polish forensic dentist who lives in Australia and travels to Poland to take part in the investigation into a war crime, occurred in the mid forties, against the Jewish population. Once there, she will find out not only about the terrible crimes that took place but also about her own Polish roots. It is a fiction book but based on a real historic fact (the burning alive of around one thousand Jews in a barn in a Polish village). I think it is a really interesting well-narrated story, quite disturbing at certain points. I couldn't put the second part of the book down as I was absorbed by the plot. I found the narrator excellent. On the other hand, there are quite a lot of fiction components mixed up with the tragic real events, so I am not sure if this narration would suit all tastes. For me, it was a worthwhile listen.
"Just up my street ....."
I enjoyed this book ... the reader is excellent.
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