Many readers of my book 'Stolen Years' have asked me what happened next to the characters in that novel.
They will be pleased to catch up with them in 'The Journey'.
Though this is not a sequel, the characters of both novels come together in the third part of 'The Journey'.
This reflects their life in the post war years, when, as refugees in England, they were placed in ex-army camps, forming close-knit communities.
Anyone brought up in that environment, or anyone with Polish connections, will find particular affinity with that part of the story.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
At seventeen, Anna is among the Polish youth that are rounded up in 1940 and sent to live on farms to provide labor in order to supply German forces with food. Luckily she is assigned to the same farm as her older brother’s three friends: Michal, Franek and Staszek. They arrive thinking with optimism that they can put by a bit of money then pursue their dreams, but in reality their new existence is harsh, uncompromising, bleak, of indeterminable length and they are little more than slaves. There are frequent episodes of German brutality, committed both by the Gestapo and their overseers at the farms. A great story of friendship and human endurance, as well as a reminder that a great many people suffered under the Nazis and we shouldn’t forget them or what they went through. Toward the end I felt a sense of fatigue that no matter where they went bad things just kept piling on top of them and they had to continue to muddle through, but I’m sure that is how it was. The ending wasn’t particularly happy, but I was almost grateful that after all they suffered, the ending wasn’t rose-colored or glamorized. Great characters, and a very engaging read!
by L. Daniels
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
This book focuses on, a rarely discussed part of World War II, the enslavement of young Polish citizens to supplement the German labor force. Anna is told she will be working and earning money for 6-months. Once she arrives she learns that she will be barely making enough to buy necessities and is seen as property. Anna winds up enslaved for 5 years and faces a number of injustices and witnesses the abuse of her friends.
by Rebecca Apple
5 out of 5 stars
This is a story of a Polish teenager, Anna, who is taken from her home to go and work on a farm during WW2. From the very beginning as she is removed from her family and then traded as a slave worker to a farmer in Austria, the tension is high. At times it felt like I was reading an adventure story and then suddenly there would be a reminder that actually this was during a war, the characters were slaves, and dreadful things happened to them at random times throughout. Yet somehow the thing that remains constant through the book is the strength of the characters and the undeniable spirit within them, willing them to survive each day and each hurdle they come across. The characters in the book are incredible. The things they endure and survive over a long space of time make it clear how hard it would have been to be a Polish slave worker in Austria during the war. For the last 4% of the book I was in tears… tears for both their hardship and for the moments of joy they found during such desperate times. I think this book would appeal to anyone who likes historical novels, and indeed to historians. It is incredibly clear that some of these stories are based on real characters. And what amazing characters those people must have been. I feel honoured to have read this book.
by Rebecca Emin
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars:
The following will be published in numerous magazines in September: It’s 1940 and Poland is under occupation. Seventeen-year-old Anna is forced to leave her home near Krakow to work on an Austrian farm, where she is little more than a slave. But she finds solace, friendship and love amongst her fellow workers, even as the situation they find themselves in becomes progressively harder. The author’s parents were Polish refugees and survivors of Stalin's labour camps, and this personal connection certainly comes across in this poignant tale.
by Kate Duggan via NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC digital copy of this book. One of my favorite periods for historical fiction is the WWII period. This is a really good read! The book is about a young Polish girl, Anna, who left her family to "work" for the Germans during WWII. She was under the false impression that she would be getting a nice job to earn some money and would be returned to her family soon. She ends up spending years working like a slave for a few farmers and their families. Through her experience, she endures heartaches, disease, and mistreatment. She also finds love, motherhood, and great life-long friends along the way. This is a great book with a realistic, yet suspenseful plot. I love a book where I can "fall in love" with the characters, and wonder about them after the book is finished. This book was recently published in June 2016. I highly recommend!
by Stephanie Nipper
#amreading Stolen Years by Kazia Myers at the moment. VERY difficult to put down!
by Rebecca Emin via Twitter
This story is beautifully told, and I felt a deep empathy with Anna, who is spirited character. The plight of Polish slaves was not an aspect of the war that I really knew about, so events in this story deepened my understanding of the impact of war on Eastern Europe. There are moments of utter horror – the Gestapo’s punishment of Stefan and Lilli made me feel faint; and anger – the British soldier’s treatment of Anna is shocking. But there’s also compassion and balance, as we see a different side to the Austrian authorities in bitter but sad Umtraut, and honourable Dieter. The ending, quite simply, made me cry.
Stolen Years is a compelling story, which adds to the understanding and remembrance of the Second World War with its sensitive and thought-provoking narrative. This is an excellent novel, and proves absolutely that self-published writing can be of very high quality.
by The Tangled Leaves of Anniseed
Kazia Myers was born in Palestine, then under the British mandate. Her Polish parents were refugees and survivors of Stalin's labour camps. They settled in England after the war.
Kazia is a retired teacher, with a love for writing, painting and classical music.
She lives with her family in Leicester.