In the heady, early months of 1939, Eva Thorne’s life is forever shattered.
It is the dawn of the Second World War, but for the residents of Fielding life carries on in its simple way. Yet paranoia and suspicion cast a pall over Eva’s world when her dearest friend simply vanishes, and no one claims to have known her at all.
Beginning to doubt her own sanity but desperate to find Annie, Eva makes the acquaintance of two mysterious strangers: the elderly and eccentric Lola, and tender but distant Gabe. Showing no surprise at Eva’s tale, the two open her eyes to a hidden world — one in which people can be lost and all memory of them forsaken. Gabe and Lola vow to assist Eva in her quest, but she soon begins to suspect they may be guarding important secrets.
A thoughtful and touching story, Family of Strangers explores what it means to love and belong in the midst of fear and uncertainty.
Found and Lost
She found me a short while later, sitting on a bench as far from the gate as I could get. Hands folded in my lap and my mind far away, the first I knew of her presence was when her hand gently covered mine. Although it was an unexpected touch from a stranger, my instincts didn't cause me to jump or recoil and I looked up into her face. `May I join you?' she enquired gently, although she didn't wait for me to answer.
Looking back now, I realise that I'd felt safety in the way she held my hand beneath hers.
Up until that act of warm companionship, I'd felt more frightened than I had ever imagined possible. My hand had relaxed beneath hers; just one part of me that felt some release from fear.
This diminutive lady holding my hand made me think of a child holding the string of a balloon, feeling it bouncing and bobbing in the wind, where release would see it escape high into the endless sky. Then it would drift and bob through clouds and breeze, until it grew too small for the limits of the eye and would never be seen again. I felt like I could be the balloon and reality was this old lady's grip, from which I could easily slip away. I didn't want her to let go.
My day already felt so unreal that a tea invite from a little old lady I'd only just met seemed almost normal in comparison. It had started off just like any of a hundred other days before, with not a hint of what would soon be revealed.
Already translated. Translated by Elisabetta Borghi
Translation in progress. Translated by Rebeca Mendes
Already translated. Translated by Ana Dávila