Nothing to do with that Fifty Shades book…..
In 1941, hundreds of thousands of people were deported from the Baltic states to Siberia. Politicians, soldiers, academics, landowners, doctors, teachers, and others were declared “enemies of the people” and deported along with their children. Those who survived spent more than a decade in Siberian prisons and forced settlements before they were allowed to return to their home countries.
Between Shades of Gray uses the life of one fictional girl to illustrate the horrors of Stalin’s regime.
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina is preparing for art school, first dates, and all that summer has to offer. But one night, the Soviet secret police barge violently into her home, deporting her along with her mother and younger brother. They are being sent to Siberia. Lina’s father has been separated from the family and sentenced to death in a prison camp. All is lost.
Ruta Sepetys is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee who fled during World War II. In order to provide background for this book, Ruta traveled to Lithuania to interview survivors of the deportations, psychologists, historians and government officials. The level of research is reflected in the writing with small, heartbreaking details that feel pulled from real life.
I strongly recommend this book. The occupation of the Baltic states gets little attention in the US compared to other aspects of World War II, despite the atrocities committed. I read it in one sitting, although I’m a fast reader in general so not everyone will read it that quickly. It was published in the US as young adult fiction, but it seems to have been published as adult fiction elsewhere to give you an idea of the reading level.
Between Shades of Gray is available on Amazon. An international bestseller, it has also been published in Australia, Brazil, China, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macau, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the UK.