When We Fall by Carolyn Kirby

Based on the Katyn massacre of 1940, a moving historical novel of three lives forever altered by one fatal choice


When We Fall

By Carolyn Kirby

Published by No Exit Press

Publication date: May 2020

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England, 1943. Lost in fog, Air Transport Auxiliary pilot Vee Katchatourian is forced to make an emergency landing where she meets enigmatic RAF airman Stefan Bergel, and then can’t get him out of her mind.

In occupied Poland, Ewa Hartman hosts German officers in her father’s guest house, while secretly gathering intelligence for the Polish resistance. Mourning her lover, Stefan, who was captured by the Soviets at the start of the war, Ewa is shocked to see him on the street one day.

Haunted by a terrible choice he made in captivity, Stefan asks Vee and Ewa to help him expose one of the darkest secrets of the war. But it is not clear where everyone’s loyalties lie until they are tested.

All of the victims of the Katyn massacre were men, except, remarkably, for one woman. And when I discovered that this woman, Janina Lewandowska, was a pilot, I knew  that the Polish experience would become the heart of  my novel… The story I tell is fiction, but it is one that  I could not have begun to imagine without the remarkable life and death of Janina Lewandowska.
 Carolyn Kirby

Polish Cultural Institute
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