by Batya Casper, is comprised of two novellas, Hidden and Hanover Gardens.
Woven from the fabric of many lives & separate decades, a story of loss, guilt, & hope.
The story opens with an old man falling down the stairs like a bird from the sky, and a stranger in a yellow dress, purple jacket and boots, opening the front door and claiming to be “next of kin.” It is about a young woman who, for 10 years, refuses to come out of her room; a vagrant who roams the streets at night mumbling to herself, tending to broken birds and stray cats; an older woman who sleeps her life away in her living-room chair; a man who nurses a pain in his chest as he struggles to mend the lives of those around him; and a girl who grows up among people who refuse to tell her who she is, who her parents were, what they looked like, or why they didn’t care enough to “stick around and watch me grow.”
Unlike the vagrant they call the “little lost boy,” the sisters huddle underground with the members of their host household as the bombs screech above them and the city of their refuge is blitzed “to hell and back.” The sisters spend their formative years struggling against the gratitude and resentment they feel for the mother and children who have taken them in, and for the other annoying refugees who clutter up the house. All the residents of this home are wrestling with the guilt of their survival, each in his/her own way, with their fears for the parents or children they have left behind, and the prayers they mutter in the dark for their well-being. It is a coming-of-age story of the refugee girls and their British counterparts; all battling their demons, waiting for the war to end, learning to take action, to stand and be counted—while always, always waiting to see who will survive and come to get them.