Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Sunday Business Post (Ireland) (Restitution)

A tale of abandonment and love amid the rubble of World War II Restitution tells the tale of Alix, a German aristocrat left stranded as the Soviet Red Army advance upon Germany, eager to drive the final nail into the Nazi coffin. Alix is forced to seek refuge in her former home during a snowstorm, where she is joined by her childhood sweetheart – who winds up deserting her. Stranded, Alix is left on her own in a world full of anger and hate. This is a tale which draws on the stories of the civilians who were displaced during the war, clearly portraying most German civilians as frightened, disillusioned spectators to Hitler’s game of life and death. Eliza Graham is an adroit writer; her prose is succinct yet powerful.

Friday, 27 March 2009

The Actuary (Restitution)

The Actuary April 2009
Recommendation of the month

Eliza Graham

Restitution is set mainly in the Second World War and follows Alix, an aristocratic young girl, on a journey of love and betrayal. It has all you would want in a good novel, a gripping narrative and pure escapist plot. It's one of those novels you pick up and can't put down.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Historical Novels Review

Historical Novels Review
February 2009

Eliza Graham, Macmillan New Writing, 2008, £14.99/C$24.95, 393pp, 9780230709133

In January 2006 Alix is tracked down by her birth son, Michael. He asks the question she has long dreaded: ‘who is my father?’ The answer is simple and yet so complicated—he was her most feared, most adored enemy. Rewind the clock to 1945, and Alix’s story begins with her flight from the Red onslaught which is brought harrowingly to life. Death and fear stalk the pages and her meeting with old sweetheart, Gregor, is fraught with mistrust and passion. Rewind to 1939, and part-Jewish Gregor has his own story to tell—again confused by betrayal and fear—as he and his mother flee from Nazi aggression and try to find a place to call home. Interspersed between Alix and Gregor’s stories are those of their parents and friends. But for Alix and Gregor, the truth behind their encounter in 1945—and the puzzles it created—will only be understood after the passage of sixty years. At the heart of Restitution is the belief that corruption, hatred and fear cannot destroy love and hope, and that acts of kindness can take place even in the most appalling conditions. It is unusual to read a book written from the German point of view, showing many everyday Germans in a favourable light. It also focuses on the harsh treatment of German women by the Soviet army, a subject that many readers may not be familiar with. For all these reasons it is well worth reading, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. -- Sara Wilson

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Faringdon Folly (Restitution)

Restitution--a new novel by Eliza Graham
"People are like rivers, they have no nationality but take on the nature of the terrain they pass through. No human spirit can be confined to a single state."

This is just one excerpt of the cleverly tailored new novel 'Restitution' by local author Eliza Graham

'Restitution' is the story of Alix, the aristocratic daughter of a German resistance fighter, who, in the wake of World War Two, is desperate to flee her home before the Red Army comes to revenge itself on Eastern Germany. On the last night in her own home she encounters unexpected visitors. By morning one is missing and one dead. Confused and afraid Alix finally runs for her own life. Although the war has ended, the fight for survival is only just beginning for Alix, and the mystery of that terrible night takes another sixty years to unfurl.

Although the storyline leaps back and forth through the many decades covered, this is carefully orchestrated leaving the reader enthusiastic for more. Overall, the story is written with an inherent intelligence and understanding, with unexpected surprises around every corner. The characters are three-dimensional and the storyline exudes the horrors and heroism in this tale of survival, love and betrayal.

Eliza has been working on this, her second novel, for some time, and has visited Pomerania, as part of her research. During the course of this she has studied many memoirs written by Polish and German civilians.

When asked what inspired Eliza to write this novel, her reply was, "A long time ago I had German friends who fled eastern Germany when the Russians came in. I'd always been intersted in that period of German history, the very end of the war and the period immediately after. I couldn't imagine what it would have been like to have grown up in a country that had been invaded from both sides and was (understandably) considered a pariah state and which had been reduced to rubble, in the case of many Germany cities. ALthough I could see why the Russians felt such hatred for the Germans, my response to Soviet treatment of German civilians was repulsion. I started wondering what it would be like to be a young girl coming of age in that period of history'.

'Restitution' by Eliza Graham was published by Macmillan in September 2008.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Waterstones Quarterly

Alix seeks refuge in her deserted ancestral home and is amazed to find her childhood sweetheart, Gregor, there. Two more fugitives arrive but by dawn they are gone and Gregor gone. As the Red Army advances, Alix flees. A story of courage and betrayal during the death throes of the Third Reich.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Big Issue (North)

September 2008

With Europe ravaged in the closing stages of world war two, Russia's advancing Red Army causes the civilian population of Germany to flee in terror. Alix, the aristocratic daughter of a German resistance fighter, is the sole survivor of a brutal attack and begins an incredible but heartbreaking journey.

Alex Donohue

Friday, 29 February 2008

Brighton Argus

Brighton Argus
Playing with the Moon
Eliza Graham
Pan Macmillan

Minna and Tom rent a cottage in a small village near Dorset, hoping the change of scene will help them deal with the recent loss of their son.

Exploring the beach, the unearth a skeleton that belonged to an American GI posted there during the Second World War. What seems to be nothing more than a strange discovery starts having a deeper impact on Minna, as she traces the GI's history with the help of a local woman she befriends.

The story is engaging, with time divided equally between past and present day. Although the ending won't surprise, it makes for an emotional read.