Approaching 80, frail and alone, a remarkable man makes the journey from his sheltered home in England to Berlin to meet his granddaughter. He has six days left to live and must relate his life story before he dies…
His life has been rich and full. He has witnessed firsthand the rise of the Nazis, experienced heartrending family tragedy, fought in the German army, been interred in a POW camp in Scotland and faced violent persecution in peacetime Britain. But he has also touched many lives, fallen deeply in love, raised a family and survived triumphantly at the limits of human endurance. He carries within him an astonishing family secret that he must share before he dies… a story that will mean someone else’s salvation.
Welcome to the moving, heart-warming and uncommon life of Alfred Warner.
Juliet Conlin was born in London and grew up in England and Germany. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Durham. She works as a writer and translator and lives with her family in Berlin. Her novels include The Fractured Man (Cargo, 2013), The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days (Black & White, 2017), The Lives Before Us (Black & White, 2019).
This was a sad and moving story, covering the life of Alfred Warner née Werner, recounted to a kind stranger turned friend as his grandaughter lies in a hospital bed.
Alfred’s life has been full of tragedy and hardship, but also love and kindness, from his early days as an orphan in Berlin, to a POW in Scotland, eventually becoming a British citizen and building a family with his wife.
The writing is warm and inviting, pulling you along with Alfred as he grows, into his present. He desperately wants to impart the family secret to his comatose granddaughter but is running out of time, but Julia, his new friend, provides the means to do so.
This is a lovely, life affirming read and worth spending six days with Alfred.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.