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The Amber Heart [Kindle Edition]

Catherine Czerkawska
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Amber Heart is a big, compelling family saga set in mid 19th century Eastern Europe - an unfamiliar but magical setting. Loosely based on extraordinary episodes from the author's own family history, this epic novel follows the fortunes of an array of characters whose lives are disrupted by the turmoil of the times.

But The Amber Heart is first and foremost a love story, a passionate and at times explicit tale of lifelong attraction and affection.

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.

‘Stefan took a pouch from his jacket and scattered coins as though scattering grain, watching them spread out and dive, hunting among grasses, squabbling volubly, fighting for what they could find, like so many starlings. But one of them didn’t move. He was the tallest and the oldest, a boy of perhaps eleven, his hair black and matted, his face sallow under the grime, his eyes an unexpectedly bright cornflower blue. He stood still, hands hanging by his sides, fists clenched, and he stared up at Maryanna, unsmiling, unmoving. She shifted uneasily. For perhaps the first time in her life, she saw a gaze of pure resentment directed straight at herself. She turned her head into her father’s jacket.
"Daddy, tell the boy not to look at me," she whispered.'

'An excellent holiday read or for any other time you want to lose yourself in a good book' - Indie Bookworm.

Catherine Czerkawska is an award winning writer of historical and contemporary novels, short stories and more than 100 plays for the stage, for television and for BBC Radio 4.


Product Details

  • File Size: 646 KB
  • Print Length: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Wordarts; 1 edition (March 28, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007PV35G8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,249 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book I'll remember for a long time June 12, 2013
By Leri
Format:Kindle Edition
Loved it. Would like another star to award it 6.
It started slowly - and I wasn't really sure it was my thing. Set in 19th century Poland, I couldn't imagine I would get into it. I wanted to try because I had really really enjoyed another novel by the same author 'Bird of Passage'.
Within a few pages the book had drawn me in and it got better and better as I turned the pages.
It's a book I'll remember for a long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweeping family saga November 26, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
'The Amber Heart', set in 19th century Poland, is an impressive, far-reaching story covering both decades and a large swathe of central and Eastern Europe. The central character is Maryanna, an unconventional noblewoman, and it is through her life that we gain an insight into the turbulent political situation of the time. Poland's internal divisions are reflected in Maryanna's intense, passionate love for Piotro, a Ukrainian peasant. Convention dictates that these two characters can never be together, and yet their lives are bound together in ways beyond their control, and their passion for each other overrides everything else.

Though the novel could be classified as both romance and family saga, it's not in the least fluffy or cozy. It deals with politics, sex, love, and relationships in a frank, forthright manner. The characters, too, are not standard romantic leads, but real, flawed people. Maryanna can be contrary and brattish, and Piotro at his worst is despicable, and yet - like Heathcliff and Cathy, who they represent in so many ways - their stories are told in such a way as to rule out outright moral censure. Instead, we experience the world through their eyes, finding out why they behave as they do and the extent to which they have been formed by events beyond their control. The novel is by turns sad, joyful, moving, thrilling and - at one point - genuinely creepy.

'The Amber Heart' made 19th century Poland, about which I know very little, come to life, from the beauty and mystery of the countryside to the social, religious and ethnic divides of the people living there. Czerkawska's writing and characterisation was effortless throughout. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Panoramic Novel October 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Amber Heart is wide open like a panoramic movie. It encompasses the historic situation of Poland, Vienna and other places and drags along the hearts of people who lived in those awful and majestic times. This novel offers an intimate view of passionate love that cannot be denied though the lovers try hard to part. They indeed lose each other and build lives of their own only to be drawn together again and again. Any reader who loves danger, drama, romance, history and all that makes a book good must read The Amber Heart.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read February 11, 2014
By ReaderM
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was a little different than what I am used to but it was great. It was very memorable.
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More About the Author

Catherine Czerkawska is an award winning writer of novels, historical and contemporary, short stories, poems and many plays for the stage and for BBC Radio. Her novel The Curiosity Cabinet, an enchanting love story set in the Western Isles of Scotland and spanning several centuries, was one of three finalists for the Dundee International Book Prize. It was originally published by Polygon, but is now available as an eBook with a stunning new cover, designed by Scottish textile artist, Alison Bell. There is also a very beautiful reading on Audible.
Bird of Passage is a powerful story of unimaginable cruelty, loss and passionate obsession against all the odds. One reader describes it as a 're-imagining of Wuthering Heights' - one of the author's favourite novels.
The Amber Heart, described as a 'Polish Gone With The Wind', is a vivid and intensely romantic saga of love and and loyalty, set against the background of a turbulent time and place. It is loosely based on episodes from the author's own family history. Ice Dancing is both a quirky and contemporary romance, and a lovingly detailed account of Scottish village life, while The Physic Garden, another historical novel about friendship, betrayal, fine needlework - and medicinal gardens - was published in 2014 by Scottish publisher, Saraband and has received rave reviews in publications such as the Sunday Times. This author is nothing if not eclectic!
Catherine's blog is at http://wordarts.blogspot.com and she also blogs regularly with Authors Electric.
When not writing, she finds time to collect and occasionally deal in antique and vintage textiles, especially those with a Scottish or Irish provenance. She loves costume history and often finds that textiles of one kind or another, embroideries, lace, silks and satins, find their way into her fiction. She lives in a 200 year old Scottish cottage with an enchanting (if a little untidy) garden - a wildlife sanctuary, the haunt of dragonflies, bumble bees and many species of birds.



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