Chris Stewart has written a very good novel, “Winter Sky”. I always gravitate toward books set during World War II, especially those written about the French Resistance, the Malice, and what the people had to endure and how their homelands were changed by the battles and bullets.
This story concerns a returning resistance member who has been wounded and does not remember even his name. All he has is a photograph with him holding hands with his parents. He returns to his village in Poland to try to search for something that will remind him of his past. Even though the SS is actively searching for members of the resistance, and danger is ever present, he continues his mission. This area of Poland is being squeezed by the fleeing Germans on one front and the Russians coming south. The SS is determined to finish their assignment to find and kill all the members of this resistance cell.
Determined to find a home and his family, he tries to flee the pincers that is German troops vs. Russian troops. His photograph shows a young woman seeming to hold hands with a younger child. A young woman whom he met in his town persuades him to take two young children to safety with him. Even though they will definitely slow him down, he consents to help them.
As I read this book, I was able to feel the fear, the cold, the hunger, and even the determination of this young man to reach safety with his charges. I was pleasantly surprised at the ending of the book and the warmth that I felt reading this was worth it.
Lucas is a fighter in the Polish Resistance Movement during World War II. But when he wakes up in the trenches after a long night of being shelled, all he has left is a torn photograph of a family.
On December 20, Lucas is left at the train platform of a bombed-out Polish village. Nothing is familiar, though his buddies assure him that this was his home town. A young woman recognizes the people in his photograph, but his hope is short-lived when he finds out they were some of the first casualties of the war.
As he leaves the village, he comes upon two children; a brother and a sister, both on the verge of starvation. He wants to help them, but he has nothing to give: not a blanket, nor a scrap of food.
On the train, he notices the little girl is carrying her own torn photograph. When he asks to see it, he realizes that it is the second half of his own picture. With a full heart, he recognizes the young boy in his photo as the little boy sitting across from him. In the second half of the photo he sees himself in his uniform holding hands with the young girl. The children are his family: his own brother and sister.
One more face in the picture draws his attention. It is the girl who helped him in the village—she is his sister, killed along with his parents, but who has returned as an angel to make sure the little family was reunited and safe.