The Memory Keeper of Kyiv Blog Tour

 I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion

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The Memory Keeper of Kyiv

In the 1930s, Stalin’s activists marched through the Soviet Union, espousing the greatness of collective farming. It was the first step in creating a man-made famine that, in Ukraine, stole almost 4 million lives. Inspired by the history the world forgot, and the Russian government denies, Erin Litteken reimagines their story.

In 1929, Katya is 16 years old, surrounded by family and in love with the boy next door. When Stalin’s activists arrive in her village, it’s just a few, a little pressure to join the collective. But soon neighbors disappear, those who speak out are never seen again and every new day is uncertain.

Resistance has a price, and as desperate hunger grips the countryside, survival seems more a dream than a possibility. But, even in the darkest times, love beckons.

Seventy years later, a young widow discovers her grandmother’s journal, one that will reveal the long-buried secrets of her family’s haunted past.

This is a story of the resilience of the human spirit, the love that sees us through our darkest hours and the true horror of what happened during the Holodomor.

May we never forget, lest history repeat itself.

A share of proceeds will be donated to DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

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Author Bio –

Erin Litteken is a debut novelist with a degree in history and a passion for research. At a young age, she was enthralled by stories of her family’s harrowing experiences in Ukraine before, during and after World War II. Her first historical fiction title, drawing on those experiences, will be published by Boldwood in June 2022.  She lives in Illinois, USA with her husband and children.

My Review

How much can a human endure? In this historical fiction, Katya is thrust into the hellish nightmare of the Holodomor. Although I have only learned recently about this time when Stalin murdered millions of Ukrainians, I want to learn more. This book is a great place to start, because the author has done a lot of research to bring true history and culture to life.

The story of Katya and her family was so emotional, it’s hard to even find the words to describe the experience. The teenage girl marries her true love, while her sister marries his brother. Then Stalin’s henchmen set up a plan to take all of the food grown and leave the people to starve to death. Katya’s sister goes crazy after her baby was born, while Katya’s baby dies after birth.

Katya’s husband is killed because he was working in the rebellion and Katya and her brother-in-law are left alone to raise the baby. Katya’s entire existence is to keep the baby alive when, after stealing food, her sister gets the blame and is shot. The day after day horror is a real page-turner, as the reader is just hoping that there could be some good news.

The beautifully written book goes back and forth from the Holodomor to the present day. A family with a Ukrainian grandmother is finding out that she had a secret life before she came to America. You’ll also love the off and on love story in the present day.

Although this isn’t a book for youngsters, I recommend it because of it’s haunting depiction of what Ukrainians went through in the early 1930’s. And, I love how it shows that learning more about the past helps us to look forward to a better future.

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  1. Oh this sounds like a fabulous story that I can’t wait to read!

  2. Thank you for sharing your review of this book, this sounds like an excellent story and I am looking forward to reading it

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