THE AMBER HEART
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The Amber Heart is an epic love story set in the troubled Eastern Borderlands of 19th century Poland. Tackling adult themes with sensitivity, this is a vivid, dramatic and intensely romantic story of obsessive love and loyalty, of tragedy and triumph, set against the backdrop of a turbulent time and place.
When Polish noblewoman Maryanna Diduska first meets Ukrainian Piotro Bandura, they are both children, but their situations could not be more different:
Stefan took a pouch from his jacket and, with a laugh, scattered coins, as though scattering grain, watching them spread out and dive, hunting among grasses, squabbling volubly, fighting for what they could find, like so many starlings. But one of them didn’t move. He was the tallest and the oldest, a boy of perhaps eleven, his hair black and matted, his face sallow under the grime, his eyes an unexpectedly bright cornflower blue. He stood still, hands hanging by his sides, fists clenched, and he stared up at Maryanna, unsmiling, unmoving. She shifted uneasily. For perhaps the first time in her life, she saw a gaze of pure resentment directed straight at herself. She turned her head into her father’s jacket.
‘Daddy, tell the boy not to look at me,’ she whispered.
It is also the story of the beautiful pancake yellow house of Lisko, Maryanna’s beloved childhood home, and the way in which the lives of the characters are disrupted by the political turmoil of the times. It has been described as a 'Polish Gone With The Wind', but if you loved the film version of Dr Zhivago, this might be the novel for you. It is very loosely based on a series of extraordinary facts which came to light when the author was researching her own remote family history.
Catherine Czerkawska is an award winning writer of novels, short stories and many plays for the stage and for BBC Radio 4. When not writing, she also finds time to collect and deal in antique and vintage textiles.
Reviewing her previous novel, Bird of Passage, Dr David Manderson said:
'It's not just a cracking read, it's a genuinely powerful one, and once you stumble over the great love story at its centre you won't be able to put this book down. There's real pain here and many different kinds of healing, few of them nice. A story that like Wuthering Heights has as many harsh and knotted bits as deliciously sweet ones, you will be taken to a different world by it, but one as real as your own.'