Based on the real life story of the Martels, who fled Ukraine in 1944 with the help of the Germans, who promised they would escort and relocate families, to get them away from Stalin. The Martil family of dad Emil, mom Adeline and their two young sons Bill and Walter, pack up as much as they can and leave along with other family members and neighbors. It’s a very rough trip over treachous terrain, bad snowstorms and intense fighting between the Germans and the Russians. But Emil has promised his family they will go west and find a valley that will be their new home. Along the way we learn the backstory of Emil and Adeline and a horrifying event that Emil had to witness and take part of. Just as they are ready to live their new lives Emil is taken away and sent to work far away, knowing he may never see his family again. He makes Adeline promise to go west and he will find them and it’s a promise he will somehow keep.
Author Mark Sullivan has done a fantastic job reliving this harrowing story, of one of the darkest periods in history. He actually went and followed the route these families went on, with the real life survivors of this story Bill and Walter. If you’re a fan of historical novels this is one of the best that will come out this year or any year. It will be one of my top ten books of the year.
You can pick up The Last Green Valley in stores on Tuesday, May 4th.