The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan

The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Historical, Fiction
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

In late March 1944, as Stalin’s forces push into Ukraine, young Emil and Adeline Martel must make a terrible decision: Do they wait for the Soviet bear’s intrusion and risk being sent to Siberia? Or do they reluctantly follow the wolves—murderous Nazi officers who have pledged to protect “pure-blood” Germans?

The Martels are one of many families of German heritage whose ancestors have farmed in Ukraine for more than a century. But after already living under Stalin’s horrifying regime, Emil and Adeline decide they must run in retreat from their land with the wolves they despise to escape the Soviets and go in search of freedom.
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Caught between two warring forces and overcoming horrific trials to pursue their hope of immigrating to the West, the Martels’ story is a brutal, complex, and ultimately triumphant tale that illuminates the extraordinary power of love, faith, and one family’s incredible will to survive and see their dreams realized.

The Last Green Valley is inspiring as well as entertaining. A family who is ethnically German but living in Ukraine in 1944 is caught between the bear and the wolves (Stalin and Hitler). What a terrible decision. They do what they must to survive, and extreme danger is at every turn.

This family—the Martels—and their near relatives flee as refugees, and life is difficult, to say the least. Heart-breaking decisions must be made along the way, and the Martels suffer in different manners. Sometimes the troubles are physical, but sometimes they are mental and emotional and…haunting. How is this family going to survive such trials?

Emil Martel has lost his faith, even though his wife Adeline has not. Then they meet a man who appears to have lost his link with reality. This man changes Emil’s life in an unexpected way.

The manner in which the Martels deal with their troubles is quite moving. Their triumphs will feel like the readers’ triumphs. The author of this book has done a great job at making the characters and their world so real. This is a memorable story and should be on the reading list of anyone who enjoys true historical stories.

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