Book review: The Survivors by Kate Furnivall

Title: The Survivors by Kate Furnivall

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (Sept. 6 2018)

Pages: 400

Genre: historical fiction

Description

Germany, 1945. Klara Janowska and her daughter Alicja have walked for weeks to get to Graufeld Displaced Persons camp. In the cramped, dirty, dangerous conditions they, along with 3,200 others, are the lucky ones. They have survived and will do anything to find a way back home.

But when Klara recognises a man in the camp from her past, a deadly game of cat and mouse begins.

He knows exactly what she did during the war to save her daughter.

She knows his real identity.

What will be the price of silence? And will either make it out of the camp alive?

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Kate Furnivall

About the author:

Kate Furnivall had the shock proof of her life when she learned just over a decade ago that she was part Russian. Not a demure all-English rose after all then. It changed her life. Triggered those Russian genes into action. Inspired by her grandmother’s dramatic St Petersburg life-story at the time of the Soviet Revolution, Kate wrote her first historical novel, The Russian Concubine, which hit the New York Times Bestseller list and was sold in 25 countries.

It hooked Kate into the thrill of setting powerful emotional stories in dramatic far-off locations. She took to travelling with a vengeance – Russia, China, Malaya, Egypt, Bahamas, Italy, France. All became backdrops for her sweeping tales set in the first half of the 20th century when the world was in turmoil.

Research trips were riddled with wonderful adventures and weird discoveries that enrich her books. She delves into dark themes as well as intense love stories, and strips her characters to the bare bones in times of crisis to see what they are made of. Her books are full of tension, twists and thrills, atmosphere and romance.

Kate was raised in Wales, went to London Uni and worked in advertising in London. She now lives in blissful Devon with her husband, snuggled up close to Agatha Christie’s house for inspiration. She has two sons and a manky cat.

Kate has written ten historical novels, two of which have been shortlisted for the RNA Historical Novel of the Year Award.

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Review

An intelligent and dramatic description of life in a displaced persons camp after WWII. Klara and Alicja Janowska are survivors of the horrors of war and find themselves living in Graufeld Displaced Persons Camp. Klara is fiercely protective of her young but fearless daughter Alicja. She has no protector, her pilot husband a casualty of the war.

Although life in the camp is already fraught with danger and privations, a man from Klara’s past enters the camp under an assumed identity, a man who poses a real threat to their safety. Unable to leave the camp, she goes on high alert to gather her friends closely around her to protect Alicja as she formulates a plan.

Despite the apparent hopelessness of their situation, a gentle Frenchman, Davide, who has also suffered privation through the loss of his family and his health, assumes the role of friend and protector. Having long lost the ability to trust, Klara is drawn to him. Could her plan put her newfound friendship in jeopardy?

Impeccably written, this story wraps itself around you as you follow Klara from her past to her present. You don’t want to let them go.