The threat of winter overtaking the family farm in 1940 seems more worrisome than the sudden disappearance of neighbors, as twins Helena and Ruth care for their younger brother and sisters after Mama is hospitalized far away and Nazi forces edge ever-closer to their tiny Polish village.
And then an American airman falls into Helena’s life…
My book talk: After losing their parents during wartime, Helena and twin sister Ruth hold their family together. When Helena risks their safety to keep a downed Allied aviator out of the Nazis’ hands, another rash act may doom them all.
On their small Polish farm, strong Helena and gentle Ruth must keep their younger siblings warm and fed after Papa’s death and Mama’s hospitalization in the city. The young women also must keep the village officials from realizing that Mama may never come home.Winter Guest, by Pam Jenoff (book review) – war, love, memory, betrayal
Hiding near the snowy trail on one long trek to see Mama in Krakow, Helena overhears German soldiers -an Allied plane crashed nearby, and one of the airmen has survived! She finds Sam in a remote abandoned chapel and decides to help him. As his leg heals and more secrets unfold, they plan her family’s escape.
But how to get food to the American when there’s little enough at home?
Will Mama ever rouse from her grief and depression in the Jewish hospital?
Can Ruth and Helena stay clear of the lecherous town constable and the Nazi soldiers now in their village?
Bracketed by episodes of her life as an old woman now, Helena’s compelling memories of the Jewish airman whom she came to love and the terrors which invaded their village paint a vivid picture of World War II mysteries and ghosts, including Ruth’s act of treachery.