|This piece of furniture, dated 1626, is 200 years old than the house!|
It's a house in which people have stayed for a long time.
Sometimes, in a world where the news seems to be a constant barrage of devastating tragedy, political hatreds masquerading as religion, and misery of all kinds, this community seems like a sanctuary of sorts. Not always - because what place is? But mostly. And sometimes all you can do is gather friends and family about you, love and care for those closest to you, and hope, somehow, that the light spreads a little.
|The old Polish setting for my novel: The Amber Heart|
It isn't wholly set in winter, of course. There are plenty of summer scenes, plenty of Easter celebrations. But when I think of it, it seems to be a snowy landscape that comes into my mind. So much of it was based on the stories about my family that dad had told me over the years. I wrote them as fiction of course, changed them, shaped them, wove them into a different story entirely.
The Amber Heart is set in mid 19th century Eastern Europe - an unfamiliar but magical setting. It follows the fortunes of an array of characters whose lives are disrupted by the turmoil of the times. But first and foremost it's a love story.
Maryanna is a Polish landowner’s pampered daughter, born and brought up in the beautiful 'pancake yellow' house of Lisko, while Piotro is a poor Ukrainian estate worker. The lives of these two people from vastly different backgrounds are destined to become hopelessly and tragically entwined from the fatal moment of their first meeting.
At one point in the novel - after a series of devastating events - Piotro is travelling hopelessly, painfully on foot, through a wintry landscape, when he is given traditional hospitality by a Polish family on Christmas Eve:
For the week beginnning 24th December, The Amber Heart will be on special offer in Amazon's Kindle Store - a big book at a bargain price. Or here, if you're reading this in the US. A good, long Christmas read.
Meanwhile, let me take this opportunity to wish all my readers and subscribers a very happy Christmas and may the New Year bring you all you could wish for yourselves.