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The Winter Guest: The perfect chilling, gripping mystery as the nights draw in

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A stirring novel of first love in a time of war and the unbearable choices that could tear sisters apart, from the celebrated author of The Kommandant's Girl. This is an amazing story of Helena and Ruth, 18 year old identical twins raising their three younger siblings in a small town in Poland during WW2. They are identical in looks but they are very different from each other in their behaviors. Ruth is more domestic and lady like, Helena is definitely more adventurous and used to the outdoors. As they grow older, they begin to have secrets from each other. The girls are close – as twins often are – but there are lots of resentments bubbling under the surface, too. Helena resents Ruth for being their mother’s favourite, while Ruth envies the fact that Helena gets to escape their small dwelling every so often. It’s not that Ruth particularly wants to be out trudging through the forest on the weekly visit to the hospital, or out in the cold chopping firewood, it’s more that she is jealous of that little bit of freedom and time to herself that Helena has at those times.

The sibling rivalry between Ruth and Helena is very well-written, and actually feels quite true-to-life in that sometimes, their petty jealousies eclipse the bigger picture for both of them. When Helena has to tell Ruth about Sam, Ruth immediately thinks that Helena is planning to leave with him, and in her determination not to let that happen, sets in motion a train of events that will have tragic consequences. Un romanzo che lascia nel lettore l’amarezza delle giovani vite andate incontro a un destino spietato e la gratitudine per quegli eroi che si immolarono per la salvezza di tanti. Perhaps a lukewarm or even an aimless plot can be excused if were to be redeemed by another facet of the novel. This, however, was not the case. The writing is hardly refined artistry; in fact, it’s amateur. Helena and Ruth are twin sister from a small village in Poland during the WWII. With their mother hospitalized they had to start taking care of their three younger siblings. The war is getting closer and supplies are scarce. Things are very dangerous and people are disappearing everyday. As the sisters struggle in their daily life, the rivalry and jealousy between them affects some of their actions and might prove dangerous after Helena saves an American solider and tries to help him.I loved this story because it features two equally strong women as its protagonists, something less often seen in historical fiction than I would like. Jenoff is an excellent historical storyteller; her novels truly capture the hardships faced by mostly ordinary people in wartime. In particular, the overwhelming hunger comes across throughout her writing in this book. Reading this story made me consider the plight of the Polish community during the war, a country sometimes forgotten in history.

Everything is different in winter. The people disappear insideand count on one another. The film opens with a well-coifed woman in her 60s,in a fur coat, making her way across a field in bitter cold. This is Elspeth( Phyllida Law), and she is on her way to the house of her daughter Frances( Emma Thompson). She fears losing her. Frances' husband has died, and she hasretreated into an angry silence beyond mourning. Perhaps she will leaveScotland and move away with her teenage son Alex ( Gary Hollywood).Eighteen year old twins Helena and Ruth are struggling. It is Poland, 1940. With their father dead and their mother institutionalised, they are left to jointly raise their younger siblings while desperately trying to ward off starvation and the harsh winters. When Helena comes across a young soldier stranded when his plane crashes, they begin a clandestine relationship and she gradually falls in love with the handsome American. One would think that with a storyline like this it would be a really emotional and interesting read. Unfortunately it was flat and emotionless. The conversation were dull and the actions were slow. Some of the events that happens deserved a better reaction from me but I just didn't feel. I couldn't feel the romance or any sympathy towards the characters, except maybe for Helena at times.

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