This book is essentially a love story set in World War II, and the regrets unfolding from it many years down the line in 2010.
Dorothy Sinclair is the owner of the suitcase, a suitcase that has a role to play throughout the book linking the past and the modern day. She was 39 in 1940 when she met Jan Pietrykowski, the love of her life, although circumstances contrived against her, with the War being one of them of course. Fast forward to 2010 and she is 109 and has a lot to get off of her chest, and that will be to her grand-daughter Roberta who has already discovered that some of her grandmother’s (or babunia’s) backstory doesn’t match up and wants to discover why.
There are two perspectives to this story. The first is that of Dorothy, who was “a thoughtful woman, a woman of intelligence” who “just wanted Jan”. Theirs was a chance encounter, but love at first sight.
Then there is Roberta, the grand-daughter, with the modern-day perspective, and she also has an unfulfilled love story to tell with her life always being spent at the bookshop “the Old and New, the place where I am always to be found,” hence the book spines on the front cover. She is a collector of all the letters, postcards, drawings and stuff like that that can be found in the second-hand books that come into her shop. This includes one her grandmother had, a “stupid letter which seems to refute all that my grandmother has told me about her early life.”
All in all this is a heart-warming tale of lost love, of the one who got away, and the one that didn't.
Publication date: 27 February 2014
Amazon UK link: Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase