Sisters of War
Sisters of War
by Lana Kortchik
Published March 4, 2021 by HarperCollins Publishers’ HQ Digital
Rating: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre: General Fiction (Adult) | Historical Fiction
From the Publisher:
Can their bond survive under the shadow of occupation?
For fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The German Midwife comes this unforgettable tale of love, loss, family, and the power of hope.
Kiev, 1941: Watching the Red Army withdraw from Ukraine in the face of Hitler’s relentless advance, sisters Natasha and Lisa Smirnova realise their lives are about to change forever.
As the German army occupies their beloved city, the sisters are tested in ways they never thought possible. Lisa’s fiancé Alexei is taken by the invading army, whilst Natasha falls in love with Mark – a Hungarian soldier, enlisted against all his principles on the side of the Nazis.
But as Natasha and Lisa fight to protect the friends and family they hold dear, they must face up to the dark horrors of war and the pain of betrayal. Will they be strong enough to overcome the forces which threaten to tear their family apart?
Oh my gosh, I was literally CRYING through the last 20 pages of this book! The ending simply pulled out all the stops, leaving me so bittersweetly content about finishing this novel. It’s funny too, because up until the end, the book had been tracking at a 3-star for me as “liked it”, but didn’t quite pop over to 4-star “really liked it”. I’ll do my fellow readers the courtesy of not ruining the ending by mentioning just why I cried through the end, but I will say that the conclusion of Sisters of War added that something extra I was looking for and is definitely worth adding an extra star.
Sisters of War is a good, solid tale that I enjoyed. The characters feel very real and believable – in fact there is one in particular for whom I’m still feeling badly, even now – several hours after finishing the novel. The setting for this book was interesting as well. The majority of WWII novels I’ve come across take place in England or France or sometimes the U.S. This one takes place in Kiev, Ukraine, and is written by an author who actually grew up in Ukraine and Russia until moving to Australia as a preteen. The authenticity of Lana Kortchik’s writing, based on personal and family knowledge of that part of the world distinctly shines through. Kortchik also read dozens of memoirs and diaries of the Kiev survivors in preparation for the novel – true stories written by women who put their lives at risk documenting the Germans’ activities, which gave the storylines a strong factual base.
The story in Sisters of War starts out in the early 1940’s in Kiev, which has been under Soviet rule for over 20 years. Germans have been bombing the city and eventually bring Kiev under Nazi occupation, not leaving for over two years when the Soviet Red Army finally frees the city. The slice of time Kortchik chose for her novel framed the events well, making for an impactful read. As you can imagine with a WWII tale, there are many losses and heartbreaking experiences, but there is also love and hope, new life, and the indomitable spirit of the Ukrainian people. As our heroine Natasha reflects, “(T)heir lives… would forever be touched by war, but not broken. Never broken.”
Get your copy of Sisters of War, and other great 2021 reads, at https://bookshop.org/lists/most-anticipated-reads-for-the-new-year – Book.Shop.org – the online bookstore that gives back 75% of the book’s profit margins to indie bookstores.