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Ashes in the Snow by Ruta Sepetys

The Book ✯✯✯✯✯


I am always blown away by Ruta Sepetys and her ability to transport us back into well-known time periods by showing us a glimpse of the little-known atrocities that occurred during them. Ashes in the Snow is no different. 

We follow firey Lina and her family through the terror of Stalin. You see, Lina's family is Lithuanian and was deported for assisting family members in escaping the occupation. It is estimated that during Stalin's rule, he killed nearly 20 million people in work camps and gulags. Keep in mind, Hitler also controlled Lithuania at the same time and killed around 200,000 Jewish Lithuanians. The Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia did not gain their independence from Russia until 1990 and during the decades between the end of WWII and their independence, it was a crime punishable by death to speak of the torture they endured. Thus the reason for this heartwrenching piece of history being nearly lost--until Sepetys brings it to popular light in a YA historical novel, and soon to be a major motion picture.

This story follows the same depressing, important narrative of most Holocaust-themed novels. People die terrible, horrible deaths. And the author does not shy away from the fact that children and infants died of disease, and then their grieving mothers were shot. Not all of the people we come to love making it to the end. And really, the story ends on a hopeful note but with some things left unanswered. 

But there is a love story and strength in the Lithuanian prisoners that deserves our attention. The most important piece of this work of historical fiction is that it will encourage you to look into the non-fiction histories to uncover more. 

As a mother, I understood Lina's mother--her outlook, her willingness to sacrifice herself, and her stubborn ability to hold the lines she drew and encourage her children to do the same. It is a masterpiece, and I cannot believe it took a rebranding of the title to nab my attention. Read it. You will not regret it.



Comments

  1. Nice review. The book sounds wonderful. I hadn't heard if it until now so thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome! It was originally published under "Shades of Grey" and very obviously had to be recoined when it was made into a movie.

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  2. New to me, thanx for sharing the info and glad you liked it

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  3. Lovely review, I enjoy reading 5 star reviews. It looks like a book historical fiction lovers would get a lot out of.

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    1. I think so! I have recently really enjoyed Historical Fiction, and this hit all the right notes.

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  4. It is the first I am hearing about this book. It sounds lovely. great review.

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    1. Go and get it from your library. It was originally published under "Shades of Grey" so I promise they'll have it!

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  5. I enjoy books like this a lot; and this is the first I have heard of this one so thank you.. will definitely be adding this to my TBR

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  6. I've never read anything by this author but Ibknow she is really popular.
    Gemma @ Gemma's Book Nook

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    1. She deserves that popularity. I haven't read one of her books yet. I still need to get around to that one!

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  7. This is a new author for me. It's great that you found such a fantastic read.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you got to hear of a new book!

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