I really enjoyed this book and yet, I feel so sorry for this book. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. After all, I am not a hater and don’t blog about books I don’t love.
But WHO was in charge of the title of this one? NO, it’s not one of “those” books: the “50 shades of grey” books known for “erotic romance” that were written by by E.L James and published in 2011.
In fact, quite the opposite, this is a well written, and historically accurate account of the horrible events that happened to Lithuania during WWII and told through the eyes of our fictious narrator, Lina.
When, Carolyn, my book club friend described this book as “well written and about WWII”, quite frankly, I initially rolled my eyes and tuned her out. I felt like I have read too many books about WWII and it was time for me to learn about something different. How arrogant I was! I knew nothing of the plight of the Baltic states and their deportation to Siberia. In fact at the end of the novel, the author says it is estimated that Josef Stalin killed more than twenty million people during his reign of terror. The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia lost more than a third of their population during the Soviet annihilation and the deportations of these people reached areas as vast as Siberia and Finland. She asks us to research this lost part of history. Which, of course, I did.
The book is a sweet love story about Lina, a 16 year old girl who is trying to help her family stay alive during this time as they nearly froze and starved to death. What Carolyn loved about the book is that they never gave up hope. I found it to be a bit depressing but I agree with her, that the survivors found a way to love and forgive their captors.
I would recommend this book as a sweet love story and one that teaches you about history. But I DO think the author should re-publish it. Under a different title that makes no reference to “shades of gray.”