Based on a true story, this is the story of an English couple, a young German woman, and the baby loved by all of them. Set during and following World War II, the story opens with a woman in a hotel in Poland on a search for her birth mother before jumping back in time to tell the stories of her German mother and the English couple who adopted her.
Gisela is a young German girl who lives with her melancholy bookseller father (her mother and baby brother died within weeks of each other). She befriends an English girl staying with a friend of hers and is subsequently invited to come to England to visit Marjie. Not long after her lovely interlude in England meeting Marjie's friends and family, Hitler's ambitions start to play out with the Anschluss and the Invasion of Poland. Gisela comes of age during the war, facing great hardship and privation. Meanwhile, in England, the friends of Marjie's family also suffer greatly during the war.
The threads of Gisela's and the Tacey family's lives continue to weave together and seperate throughout the narrative. Wix has handled the intertwinings of these stories beautifully, making even the coincidental instances believable. There are no heroes or villans here, just people living and loving during a difficult and terrible period in history. Just as we never know all the connections we have to others, many of the connections between the characters stay hidden from them or unexplored by them. This book just feels true.
Jane, the fortunate child of the title and the older woman searching out echoes of her birth mother at the start of the book, is the permanent connection between the characters. And the story of her parents, biological and adoptive, is a powerful one, touching and engaging. It will draw you in and ultimately leave you feeling alternately happy and sad: happy that this child was so surrounded by love in the family in which she grew up and sad that she and her birth mother never really had the chance to know each other. Their stories must, by necessity, diverge again. Well-written and engrossing, this self-published book deserves a wider audience. It is available at Lulu. (Please note that I have no dog in this hunt. I don't earn a commission from the author or anything like that if you do decide to buy it. I just liked it and think that anyone intrigued by the description--mine or on Lulu--will as well.)