About the book
It is 1946, and the eve of the harshest winter for a hundred years. Servicemen are pouring home from the war to a Britain beset by stringent shortages and a desperate housing crisis. Anxieties are heightened by the unexpected arrival of the soldiers of the Second Polish Corps, whose refusal to go back to Poland is regarded with impatience and suspicion. As anti-Polish propaganda reaches its height, newly demobbed Billy Greer reluctantly agrees to take on a young Polish veteran named Wladyslaw Malinowski as a labourer on his uncle’s withy farm in the heart of the Somerset wetlands. Stella, the local schoolteacher, has been waiting for the return of Lyndon Hanley, a hero of the Burma Campaign, but increasingly finds herself drawn to the beguiling Wladyslaw. As the country is brought to its knees by blizzards and hardships, the tensions of post-war life lead to mistrust, accusation and ultimately death.
Reviewed by Odiham-Bridewell Reading Group:
We all thoroughly enjoyed this atmospheric book. It is beautifully written, bleak in places, with characters, especially the male ones, well drawn. We found parallels to todays world of tensions produced by immigration.
Star rating: ****
3 thoughts on “Homeland by Clare Francis”
Review by Shipton Bellinger WI Reading Group:
Clare Francis writes well and evokes the atmosphere of post war Britain. The painful beginnings of change in our society. Scarcities, lack of housing, rural poverty, a cruel winter and an influx of stateless Polish soldiers greet the homecoming men. She deals sensitively with her subject but it does leave a feeling of depression in tune with the times she writes about.
Star rating: ***
Review by Mulberry Reading Group:
Disappointing – characters not developed. We all felt it could have been more interesting.
Star rating: **
Review by Reading Circuit
Historically interesting but slow and unstimulating. A number of our readers did not finish it; very different to her other books.
Star rating: **