Books - Fiction: The Beautiful Truth by Belinda Seaward

After 10 years as a journalist, Belinda Seaward became a novelist. It was her second piece of work, Hotel Juliet, published in 2008, which got her noticed. It told the story of a young woman who returned to her roots in Africa, embarking on a physical and emotional journey.

Seaward returns to this formula in The Beautiful Truth, only this time a more grown-up Catherine journeys from Cambridge to Poland, to meet with a film-maker who begins to unravel the mysteries of her estranged father’s past. She learns about Krystyna, who bravely fought against the Nazi and Soviet occupation of Poland, and whose story unlocks some of the unanswered questions Catherine struggled with in England years later – why had her father fled? Seaward uses stories from the past to drive the contemporary narrative in this moving and stunningly insightful book.

Young, courageous and frightened Krystyna in 1939 seems just as alive as confused, middle-aged Catherine in present day. Though the two never met, how their stories intertwine reveals the tragic yet beautiful truth of secret pasts.