Mia heads to the Poland-Germany border to visit her dying grandmother Ilse. Ilse cries out for Szymon and Mia finds a series of postcards between Szymon and Tadeusz at Ilse’s home. Can she find Szymon and bring her grandmother solace in her final days?
The Postcard is a dual timeline historical novel set in 1999 and during the 1930s and 40s.
Mia’s parents died years ago. Now she has escaped a violent relationship but her heart endures more heartache as her beloved grandmother lies dying in hospital. Ilse wants forgiveness for the past but also reassurance that Mia will be looked after in the future. Secrets from the past need to be exposed and atoned for but time is running out.
The book is written from multiple perspectives, both in the first and third person, in the 1930s/40s and 1999. I felt a little separated from the emotion of the book, possibly due to the varying viewpoints. The pace is quite slow at the beginning as we get to know Ilse in the past and present. The plot speeds up as the wartime secrets begin to be revealed to us and to Mia.
I thought that the angle of the book showing the Polish experience of the Nazi regime was quick fresh. The brutality is described almost objectively as the characters have become immune to the suffering in order to survive mentally and physically.
The Postcard is an interesting and well researched historical novel.
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. A 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.