- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
My interest in reading Between Shades of Gray by Ruth Sepetys was two-fold. First, I read about how Sepetys' book-talks were beseiged by Fifty Shades of Grey fans. The author, Ruta Sepetys, says that many Fifty Shades of Grey fans learn something new when they attend her book-talks. Many were not aware of Joseph Stalin's ethnic purges during World War II. Second, as I mentioned in my review for Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin, my husband's grandfather was a victim of one of Stalin's purges. He was taken away during the night and never heard from again. His family had to flee the Soviet Union and endure many hardships when they moved to Germany.
Between Shades of Gray is a unique look at a survivor of one of Stalin's purges. In this case, the main character, Lina, is a Lithuanian. Due to the fact that the Soviet Union was an ally during World War II, many Americans do not know about the extent of Stalin's atrocities towards the educated class from the Baltic states. Lina and her fellow purgees move from various work camps until she finally reaches Siberia. There, many perish due to the extreme cold. Labeled as criminals, Lina and her family labor day to day not knowing what will happen next. Can Lina survive? What about her brother and mother? Will her new love survive?
Sepetys is a descendent of one of those Lithuanian purgees. At the end, she explains about her connection and about what happened to Lina.