Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 458 pages
First Published: 2021
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing and through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
From the author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a World War II novel about a young couple caught between two warring armies. Emil and Adeline Martel come from a long line of Ukrainian farmers of German heritage. In March 1944, as the Soviet army marches on Ukraine, they must decide whether they want to again live under Stalin’s regime or retreat with the hated Nazi army.
The Last Green Valley is based on a true story, which makes it an inspiring tale but doesn’t offer the nail-biting action a truly fictional story might. The slower pace and heavy-handed focus on Emil’s religious transformation made chunks of the story drag. Yet, I was fascinated reading about the harsh realities of living in Eastern Europe in the first half of the 20th century. I don’t foresee The Last Green Valley ever becoming a bestseller, but it’s a story worth telling and will do well with those who love World War II historical fiction.
In late March 1944, as Stalin’s forces push into Ukraine, young Emil and Adeline Martel must make a terrible decision: Do they wait for the Soviet bear’s intrusion and risk being sent to Siberia? Or do they reluctantly follow the wolves—murderous Nazi officers who have pledged to protect “pure-blood” Germans?
The Martels are one of many families of German heritage whose ancestors have farmed in Ukraine for more than a century. But after already living under Stalin’s horrifying regime, Emil and Adeline decide they must run in retreat from their land with the wolves they despise to escape the Soviets and go in search of freedom.
Caught between two warring forces and overcoming horrific trials to pursue their hope of immigrating to the West, the Martels’ story is a brutal, complex, and ultimately triumphant tale that illuminates the extraordinary power of love, faith, and one family’s incredible will to survive and see their dreams realized.
About Mark Sullivan
Mark Sullivan is the author of eighteen novels, including Beneath A Scarlet Sky, The Last Green Valley, and the Private series which he writes with James Patterson. Sullivan was an investigative journalist before becoming an author. He grew up in Massachusetts and currently lives in Bozeman, Montana, with his family. Visit the author’s website →