Out Now: The Story of Us by Lana Kortchik

The Story of Us by Lana Kortchik

I can’t wait to read this one. Ukraine suffered more death and destruction in the 1930s and 1940s than any other country in the world, and I’m so glad to see some mainstream publishers picking up books (also this one) with these themes.

The Story of Us by Lana Kortchik

Love can’t be defined by war. Watching the Red Army withdraw from Ukraine in the face of Hitler’s relentless advance, Natasha Smirnova realises her life is about to change forever.

As Kiev is cast under the dark cloud of occupation, Natasha falls in love with Mark, a Hungarian soldier, enlisted against all his principles on the side of the Nazis.

But as Natasha fights to protect the friends and family she holds dear she must face up to the dark horrors of war and the pain of betrayal. Will the love she and Mark share be strong enough to overcome the forces which threaten to tear them apart?

The Week: 8th – 14th October

Sunny spring days in Canberra.

This week started out gorgeous, had some weird weather in the middle, and involved a trip to the city to pick up my passport for my next trip!

Plus, there was a gorgeous (and very sweet) royal wedding to watch on Friday night (our time). I’m not into the royals usually, but this one…

How is October already half over? It’s nearly time to start thinking about Christmas!

Most of my posts this week were about sexual assault, and how the topic is handled (or dismissed in some quarters) in romance publishing. I’m utterly disgusted by recent events in the United States, and by how these things have an effect on women the world over.

Romance authors, misogyny, and conservative conversations about men.

Russian Orthodoxy – GONE!

China…

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Easy by Tammara Webber

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Breaking the Silence by Katie Allen

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Breakable by Tammara Webber

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr

Russian Orthodoxy – GONE!

ANDRIY BARANSKYY

The Lavra in Kyiv

In a centuries’ overdue move, and one that is going to lead to more Russian aggression in Ukraine, the Constantinople Patriarchate approved Ukraine’s split from the Russian Orthodox Church overnight. It is being called the biggest split in all of Christianity in a thousand years.

Russian Orthodoxy was forced on Ukrainians over several centuries, finishing with the forced conversion of my family’s Ukrainian Catholic villages in the west of the country when Churchill gifted the country to Stalin after the Second World War (thanks for that, Winston!).

What will happen now? Well, in anticipation of this move, the Russian military has already stepped up attacks in Ukraine’s east, with people being killed in record numbers again. It has to be understood that Russia’s Church – in the past decade or so – has become a weaponised political party that effectively runs the country, behind only Vladimir Putin.

Additionally, experts are predicting staged attacks on Russian churches, so that Putin can blame them on “fascist Ukrainians”, and attack and invade even more.

What I’m worried about is attacks on the thousand-year-old Orthodox monasteries and cathedrals in Ukraine, such as the Lavra complex in Kyiv. I sure hope they’ve stepped up security at those locations.

This move removes a major aspect of Russian colonialism from Ukraine.

I’m not sure why Russia never comes up alongside the likes of France and Britain and Spain in discussions about colonialism and cultural appropriation (because people think Russia is romantic?). The Russians were just as brutal as anybody else (see the Holodomor). And – unlike other nations – their behaviour is ongoing (see the annexation of Crimea, the invasion and occupation of eastern Ukraine, the ongoing invasion and occupation of one-fifth of Georgia, and the illegal occupation of Moldova).

The next few weeks are going to be chaotic for Eastern Europe.

Book Feature: My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih

My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih

Ukraine is basically the forgotten country of the twentieth century. Before the Second World War arrived on its doorstep it had already suffered a genocide at Stalin’s hands that killed at least as many as the Holocaust. More people died on Ukrainian soil than anywhere else in the war, leading to historians calling Ukraine the Bloodlands.

My Real Name Is Hanna appears to be well-researched, and I hope to read and review it soon. Of course, it’s going to be a touchy subject for me, as both my mother’s parents were taken prisoner by the Nazis, and my family still lives on Ukrainian land full of WW2 craters.

My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih

Hanna Slivka is on the cusp of fourteen when Hitler’s army crosses the border into Soviet-occupied Ukraine. Soon, the Gestapo closes in, determined to make the shtetele she lives in “free of Jews.” Until the German occupation, Hanna spent her time exploring Kwasova with her younger siblings, admiring the drawings of the handsome Leon Stadnick, and helping her neighbor dye decorative pysanky eggs. But now she, Leon, and their families are forced to flee and hide in the forest outside their shtetele—and then in the dark caves beneath the rolling meadows, rumored to harbor evil spirits. Underground, they battle sickness and starvation, while the hunt continues above. When Hanna’s father disappears, suddenly it’s up to Hanna to find him—and to find a way to keep the rest of her family, and friends, alive.

Sparse, resonant, and lyrical, weaving in tales of Jewish and Ukrainian folklore, My Real Name Is Hanna celebrates the sustaining bonds of family, the beauty of a helping hand, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Inspired by real Holocaust events, this poignant debut novel is a powerful coming-of-age story that will resonate with fans of The Book Thief and Between Shades of Gray.

The Week: 20th – 26th August

U.S. Senator John McCain @SenJohnMcCain , Ukraine's friend and greatest US supporter.

Edit: R.I.P. to John McCain.

What an absolutely stupid week in Australian politics. We seem to change Prime Ministers faster than Donald Trump changes staff!

Weirdly, on Thursday afternoon, right after some of the worst drama in Parliament here in Canberra unfolded, I stepped outside and a group of fighter jets flew straight over me. (I’ve been around them many times before, but GOD, those things are loud). People in Canberra were joking that a military coup had begun.

Maybe we need one!

One Week

My review of Watchmaker’s Heart by Juli D. Revezzo

Children’s Book Week

This Is Not My Hat (I Want My Hat Back) by Jon Klassen

Curious Zelda in a Book!

Curious Zelda The Cat

On this day: Human Rights in Canada

Ukrainian Independence Day

National Dog Day

Ukrainian Independence Day

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Celebrations in Luhansk in 2013. The city has since been invaded and occupied by Russia.

It’s a bit of an ironic holiday when huge swathes of southern and eastern Ukraine are currently occupied by the Russians and their enormous military, but today is Ukrainian Independence Day.

Vladimir Putin can’t live forever, so maybe there’s hope for the future. If only Kremlin propaganda wouldn’t live on after him…

On this day: human rights in Canada

Ukrainians in Castle Mountain concentration camp in 1915.

The 22nd of August, 1914 saw the passing of Canada’s War Measures Act. The act would result in government-sanctioned human rights abuses against Canadians of largely Ukrainian origin.

Ukrainians were declared “enemy aliens” and thousands were put into concentration camps to be used for slave labour across Canada. They were seen as enemies because the western regions of their homeland were under Austro-Hungarian rule at the outbreak of the First World War.

Some 80 000 Ukrainians who weren’t imprisoned were still required to register as enemy aliens and barred from leaving the country.

Plaque and statue at Castle Mountain near Banff.

The infamous Castle Mountain Internment Camp in Alberta saw prisoners used to work in the national parks, where they established the groundwork for the massive tourism to Banff and Lake Louise seen today.

Abuses at the camp were widespread, and were reported as far away as Britain.

Internment continued for two years after the war ended.

Kapuskasing_ON_3The Ukrainian cemetery at the Kapuskasing Internment Camp a concentration camp for mostly ethnic Ukrainians imprisoned to be used for slave labour during the First Wor

Ukrainian cemetery at the Kapuskasing Internment Camp in Ontario.

The internment of ethnic groups was widespread across many countries in both the First and Second World Wars, including in Australia and the United States, though the internment of Japanese Americans in the 1940s is generally the only instance most know of.

The Week: 23rd – 29th July

Friday afternoon drinks on the patio near the lake at the National Library. Canberra put on a sunny and surprisingly warm day. It was a gorgeous end to the week.

Australian Parliament from the car on Friday afternoon.

There was a terrible fatal accident involving a truck, three cars, and many people right near where I live yesterday morning. It’s on a patch of the Monaro Highway where, recently, I’ve seen a car run off into a paddock, a huge truck overturned, and, a few weeks ago, it was the exact spot we nearly got cleaned up by an aggressive male driver who ran a red light several seconds after ours turned green. And that’s before mentioning the endless kangaroos/foxes/wombats/possums that have been hit by vehicles and now line either side of the road.

We had to drive past the scene yesterday (and will have to travel past there twice today), and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

The Monaro Highway is the thoroughfare for interstaters going to and from the Snowy Mountains, the country, and Sydney, and is also where all the reckless ute-driving workmen (who’ve never met a road rule they won’t break) travel from early morning through to late afternoon.

I had a lot of posts this week, with all the news floating around!

#Cockygate Resolved

Tara Crescent Cockygate Resolved Thank You

The Bridgertons are coming to television!

bridgerton

RITA Awards 2018

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

A Buffy Remake?

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Dear Canberra Writers’ Festival: Barnaby Joyce is NOT a writer, and you know it

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The Trump Effect on Books

Tessa Dare Donald Trump Paper Costs Canada Trade War 1

Roswell Trailer

Roswell New Mexico 2018

On this day: Prisoners of War in Ukraine

20th Anniversary of Ever After

On this day: Prisoners of War in Ukraine

Lager Winnica, gefangene Russen

28th July 1941: Red Army soldiers captured by the Nazis during food distribution at a camp in occupied Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

In contrast to their treatment of British and American prisoners, the Germans employed a policy of deliberately mistreating Soviet prisoners of war, which resulted in 3-3.5 million deaths – an estimated 57% of all soldiers captured.

From the German Federal Archives.