I had requested a few book tours recently and ended up with a most of them, which meant my last few reads have been mostly planned out. This week, I was able to enjoy The Child of Ukraine by Tetyana Denford.
About The Child of Ukraine:
Ukraine, 1940. She cups her daughter’s face with her trembling hands, imprinting it on her mind. ‘I love you. Be brave,’ she whispers through her tears, her heart breaking into a thousand pieces. Sending her child away is the only way to keep her safe. But will she ever see her again?
When war rips their country apart, Julia is sent away by her tearful parents in the dead of night, clutching her mother’s necklace and longing for one last embrace. But soon she is captured by Nazi soldiers and forced into a German labour camp, where behind a tall fence topped with cruel barbed wire, she has never felt more alone.
Just as she begins to give up on all hope, Julia meets Henry, a young man from her village who shares her heart full of dreams. And when she feels a fluttering in her belly that grows and grows, she longs to escape the camp and begin a new life with their child. But then Julia is forced to make a terrible choice. A choice no mother should have to make.
New York, 2011. With her heart shattered and her life changed forever by the shadows of war, as the years go by Julia thinks she will never be whole again. For decades she has been carrying a terrible secret with her, her every moment tainted by tragedy and loss since those dark days of the war.
But when she receives a phone call in the middle of the night, far away from the home and family she lost in the war, will Julia finally be reunited with the missing piece of her heart? Or is it too late for her wounds to heal?
I love books based on true stories, and The Child of Ukraine is based on the author's own family. Reading what the family went through, from the war and prison camps, to Australia and their struggles there, and finally to America, really highlighted the perseverance of human nature. Julia went above and beyond what one could even imagine a woman could handle and somehow managed it all with dignity and grace. I am still processing this read. The story is deep and will have you in tears more than once as you follow Julia's journey.
Tetyana Denford grew up in a small town in New York, and is a Ukrainian-American author, translator, and freelance writer. She grew up with her Ukrainian heritage at the forefront of her childhood, and it led to her being fascinated with how storytellers in various cultures passed down their lives to future generations; life stories are where we learn about ourselves, each other, and are the things that matter most, in a world where things move so quickly.
Her debut novel, Motherland was self-published in March 2020 to critical success and longlisted for The Readers Digest Self Published Book Awards. It was based on an incredible family secret that was revealed by her maternal grandmother, Julia, only recently, and has been described by people as 'haunting', 'powerful and devastating', and 'a fragile and hopeful story of an immigrant family'. In March 2022, Tetyana signed a 2-book deal with Bookcouture, an imprint of Hachette, and Motherland will be re-released in July 2022 with a new title and cover.
She also works with Frontline News as a translator, has been featured in The New York Times, The Telegraph, The Flock Magazine and Mother Tongue Magazine, and speaks several languages. She also hosts a YouTube show called 'The Craft and Business of Books' that helps writers understand both the creative side and the business side of the book world. Her series of 'conversation books', collections of poetry and prose about Grief, Motherhood, and Love, were published in 2021.
Tetyana currently lives in New York with her husband and three children.
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