the survivors Kate Furnivall book review

The Survivors by Kate Furnivall


How far will a mother go to protect her child?

I haven’t read The Betrayal, and so had no idea what to expect with Kate Furnivall’s latest fiction. I had the Women’s Weekly Great Read shiny sticker and I saw a couple of 5-star reviews online, although I didn’t peek, because, spoilers!

Stories of the horrors of WWII sit uncomfortably with me, I don’t relish the thought of relieving fictional stories based on the real, unfathomable horrors of the time. But, it is important that we don’t forget what happened, the sheer enormity of displacement and honour those who fought with love and survival at their core. With The Survivors, Author Kate Furnivall delivers a powerful, yet delicate story with class.

The Survivors follow Klara Janowska, a young mother and her daughter Alicja as they walk weeks to get to the ‘safety’ of Graufield Displaced Persons camp. Instead of an oasis and safe haven, they are thrown into a crowded, chaotic and dangerous camp.  As they try to gather themselves and make a plan to get back home, Klara spots a person from her past.  Once she saw him, she knew he had to die, to protect herself and more importantly her daughter.

Duffy’s Thoughts On The Survivors

As the reader, you think the story is going one way, and then, just as you believe Klara, seeds of doubt are sprinkled on the page. Does her story ring true? Who is this stranger and just what did she do to keep alive? Little Alicja is smart, older beyond her years as would be expected and a very loveable character. She reminded me a little of Liesel from The Book Thief. In fact, I’m pretty sure they would have been friends had their pages ever crossed.

The Survivors can be a tough read in places, but ultimately the love that shines through and the bond between mother and daughter drives the plot forward, giving the reader heart-in-mouth moments and a few twists and turns along the way. A believable piece of historical fiction with truth at its core.


Read if you loved The Book Thief, The German Girl, or anything by Pamela Hart

Thank you, Simon & Schuster, for the review copy. Published 6th September

Grab your copy by clicking the image below.

the survivors by Kate Furnivall

About The Survivors by Kate Furnivall

Discover a brilliant story of love, danger, courage and betrayal, from the internationally bestselling author of The Betrayal.

Directly I saw him, I knew he had to die.’

Germany, 1945. Klara Janowska and her daughter Alicja have walked for weeks to get to Graufeld Displaced Persons camp. In the cramped, dirty, dangerous conditions they, along with 3,200 others, are the lucky ones. They have survived and will do anything to find a way back home.

But when Klara recognises a man in the camp from her past, a deadly game of cat and mouse begins.

He knows exactly what she did during the war to save her daughter.

She knows his real identity.

What will be the price of silence? And will either make it out of the camp alive?

the survivors by Kate Furnivall