Necessary LiesNecessary Lies by Eva Stachniak

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Historical fiction

In 1981 as the Solidarity movement is disrupting Soviet control of Poland, Anna is offered a fellowship to travel from Poland to Montreal to study.  She leaves behind her activist husband Peter.  She plans on being gone for six months.  She doesn’t plan on falling in love and leaving Poland for good.

Anna was from a town named Wroclaw which used to be apart of Germany until the end of World War II.  Her new husband was born there and was five years old when his town fell to the Russians and his family evacuated.

After 10 years of marriage, Anna’s new husband expectedly dies.  The Berlin Wall has fallen and Poland is ostensibly free.  She decides to visit her family in Poland again to see the changes for herself.

One of my historical fiction reading goals has been to find more books set in Poland that aren’t about World War II.  This author is one of the reasons for that.  I loved her book The Winter Palace about Catherine the Great that talked about the greatness of Poland at that time.  This was her first book though and it doesn’t live up to what comes later.

The author also left Wroclaw in 1981 to go to Canada.  That part of the story is good.  It discusses adapting to a life suddenly free of rationing and shortages.  But the story takes a turn after her husband’s death.  Her return to Poland is just boring.  Everything is pretty much that same and her ex-husband is mad at her.  There’s a shocker.  I just wish there was more to the story because the beginning showed so much promise.