This small book makes a big impact. The narrative ‘voice’ is authentic and utterly compelling, and the swift pace of the narration sweeps the reader through the terrible and tragic events of WW2 in Poland. What gives the book its distinctive character is that there are, in effect, two authors: Maria Szubert relates her story with all the energy and plausibility of a survivor who will never forget the suffering of those times but it is her daughter, Anna Nolan, who brings Maria’s story to life through a translation which is marked by great clarity and economy of style as well as by emotional restraint. To say that the book is a pleasure to read is to risk devaluing its subject material. I would rather say that I read it at a single sitting in complete absorption, taking a minute’s break here and there to try to understand the miracle of one family’s survival of a nightmare which lasted years.