Book snacks – The Winter Guest – Poland – Pam Jenoff

More book snacks as we have called the Tuesday Teaser…..

Love Polish food but not too hungry at the moment?

Want to sample Polish fayre but a bit apprehensive?

Book snacks are the way to go –


18 year old twins Helena and Ruth, are left to bring up their younger siblings when their mother is taken ill. With their father dead, their situation is even more precarious. The sisters go to visit their mum in hospital  but it’s in the Jewish quarter  – which Helena needs papers  in order for her to visit. The Nazis have been rounded up and removed most of those living in the Jewish quarter, but the hospital has remained forgotten.

When Helen has visited one day she comes across a wounded Allied (and Jewish) paratrooper and helps him to hide in a deserted chapel. Helena decides to keep it a secret.

But the world around her is a dangerous one…

A taster – 

The gun mounted atop the jeep turned toward her with a creak. A solider stood behind it, his gaze seeming to focus just above her. He shielded his eyes, searching the forest. This was the closest Helena had come to the war and, despite her terror, she found herself studying the man.

Sukiennice - the cloth hall of Krakow old town and the most recognisable symbol of the town.
Sukiennice – the cloth hall of Krakow old town and the most recognisable symbol of the town.

Twenty minutes later she reached Kazimierz, which was the Jewish Quarter, or at least what was left of it. There were no Jews in the village back home….

The loud voices, speaking a language she did not understand, had made Kazimierz seem like a foreign country.

The Winter Guest

Set in 1940, rural Poland at a time of great upheaval and uncertainty in the country and the world and the setting is grim and unsettled. The atmosphere of the countryside is sparse and poor and the Jewish situation fraught with horrific consequences. Hauntingly evocative.