This is a WWII story that is very different from others I have read. Maud, a shy young woman living in England in 1945, is recruited to be parachuted into Yugoslavia as a secret agent. Her mother is Croatian and the family lived there for several years when Maud was a child, so she is fluent in both the Croat and Serb languages.
Her mission is extremely dangerous as the Partisan group she is working with are not only resisting the Germans, but they are surrounded by Chetniks – another partisan group who are pro-Communism. Maud – now Amber, is to send out information on the wireless regarding the rescue of downed Allied servicemen, as well as arrange for drops of medical supplies and arms for the Partisans.
Fast forward to 1947 where Maud finds herself in an insane asylum in England, charged with a violent crime she has no memory of committing. She knows she has signed the official secrets Act so must be very careful what she reveals to her psychiatrist. However, she desperately wants to remember and to get out of her current situation.
The narrative moves back and forth between 1945 in Yugoslavia, and 1947 in Woodlands Asylum. I found the story utterly fascinating and I learned a lot about the constant fighting and slaughters that have taken place in the Balkans in the last sixty years. This is the best book I have read in some time.
The One I Was
Another Day Gone
The human cost of the Yugoslavian conflict in the 1940s was enormous. It is generally agreed to have been the deaths of at least one million people. the Ustashe regime committed genocide against Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-Fascist Croats.