I've just had an extraordinary evening - one of those occasions when you start a book and can't do anything until you've finished because it's so enjoyable and compelling.
The book was 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson and I had picked up because I am hosting a visit by the author to Browsers Bookshop, Woodbridge at the beginning of May.
As a large format, preview copy, with a striking front cover image, it was exciting to receive, but I was thrilled to discover very quickly that it was a great read.
It's set in Ipswich and tells the story of a Polish couple and their young son who are trying to make a home and a life for themselves after being separated during the Second World War. Trying to deny the horrors they have individually experienced in the past few years, the couple have a fragile existence and little by little their secrets are exposed to a devastating effect.
It is a remarkable book. I found that I was completely convinced by all the characters, and despite flashbacks and locations switching from Ipswich to Poland, I was never wrong-footed, and no one part of the book seemed stronger than another. What's more, despite the tragic backdrop and the struggles being described, it still felt an uplifting and enriching experience learning about the lives of these very real characters.
It's lovely to discover such a book, but it's difficult to know what to pick up next!