A sample from the first chapter:
The General's Barber and the Seamstress
A Polish Love Story
1. The Bicyclist
When I reach into the past and remember my primitive living conditions, it’s hard to fit it into my head!
It was supposed to be a delightful holiday in the last days of August. The Warsaw train station was filled with travelers and baggage of various shapes and sizes. A young couple held hands and looked into each other’s eyes. Even sixteen months after their wedding nuptials, they had that special glow of newlyweds. Marysia was a petite, fair-skinned blonde with hazel eyes that sparkled when she smiled, and she always smiled when admiring her new husband. Her wavy, shoulder-length hair was pinned back to show off her delicate features and smooth, clear complexion. She was dressed modestly but sharply in a bright green shirtwaist dress and a lightweight wool coat. It was her first time wearing colorful dresses again, having spent the year wearing black in respect for her father who had passed away shortly after her wedding day. The only cosmetics she allowed herself were lightly-applied, red lipstick and a touch of brown pencil on her eyebrows.
Józef stood several inches taller than his sweetheart, with chestnut eyes and dark brown hair, always kept short since his military training days. The army had taught him to maintain a healthy physique, which he liked to show off by raising himself to his fullest height and throwing back his shoulders. He wore a simple, dark brown suit, expertly made by a Jewish tailor near his home village.
The couple, who met in Warsaw six years earlier, were not native Warszawians. Both came from small peasant villages in the east where subsistence farming was the primary way of life. Józef’s family did not have the luxury of leaving its farm work, even for such a rare occasion as a wedding. The couple was making the trip so Marysia could bond more closely with her husband’s family...