Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christmas in Wattle Street - Hania

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to bring you a number of quotes from a book called Empire Day by Australian author Diane Chamberlain. In the first three quotes which I will post next week, the characters look back to the Christmas festivities in their native countries, and in the excerpts next week, the characters talk about their first summer Christmas here in Australia. The book is set just after the end of World War II predominantly in Sydney.

This quote comes from page 224-225 Empire Day by Diane Chamberlain

Hania hated the idea of Christmas in Australia. In Poland, with her foster parents, it had been different. Shivers still ran down her spine whenever she thought of the hushed atmosphere in the church on Christmas Eve, with the flickering candles, the smoky smell of incense and the soulful voices chanting and praying. After Mass, she'd look forward to the traditional spicy beetroot borsch with potato pirogi. Her foster father would lug home a huge fir tree and the house would be filled with a sharp piney smell. Then they'd hang shiny baubles and coloured stars on the ends of the branches and arrange gifts around the tree.

By way of explanation, Hania was actually a young Jewish girl who was fostered by a Catholic family to keep her safe during World War II. Now, she is in Australia with her mother so not only is she looking back on Christmas in another country, but also in effect a whole other life.


  1. Good passage. My interested is piqued.

  2. The more I read about this book, the more I want to read it. It sounds like it would really grip my heart and not let go.

  3. I having been eyeing off this audiobook in my online library catalogue for a few weeks - enjoying it?

  4. Jo, I would call it a solid read. There were a lot of characters in it and some of them kind of got a bit lost, but I am glad that I read it! There is a review a couple months back.