Book Review: The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan

How I got the book?

I got this book by following my 2022 book challenge:  “Read a book with a color in its title” so I chose “The Last Green Valley” by Mark Sullivan.  I got it as an eBook from the Kindle Unlimited Subscription. I got the Kindle Unlimited Subscription a few months ago as part of a sale trial (I canceled it a few days ago).

The book has a staggering 4.6-star rating out of over 21,000 reviews, which is truly impressive.  It is also a Historical Fiction novel which is absolutely my favorite genre to read.  I chose the book without knowing anything about the author, or its reviews, just mainly on the premise of the book. You can get your book in Hardcover, Ebook format, and also as Audiobook.

Information about the book

Mark Sullivan the author has written a staggering 18 books, with “The Last Green Valley” being her very last book and released in May 2021.  His previous published book was “Beneath the Scarlet Sky” which is in production to be a major television event (this book is on my radar as well).

What is the book about?

As taken from Amazon and Goodreads the premise of the book is:

“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.

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 the ultimately triumphant tale that illuminates the extraordinary power of love, faith, and one family’s incredible will to survive and see their dreams realized.

My Personal Opinion:

I am completely amazed by the feelings of hope, patience, unconditional love, and bravery this book inspired in me.  I felt grateful as I read page after page of the struggle of surviving horrible and cruel moments of war.  The heartbreak of death and family separation, and the most rooted hope when we leave everything behind for the greater promise of a better tomorrow somewhere else far away and unknown to us.  Millions of families are displaced by wars around the world and this is a story that makes us feel grateful for what we have, for our freedom, and for our loved ones.

The book is narrated moving forward while the Martel Family decides to leave everything behind and flee their land in the hopes of escaping an ever so close war.   With death always around them, evil lurking beside them, starvation and thirst always present, and without having the right clothes to survive the coldest winters or the hottest summers, the Martel Family tries their best to keep their eyes and thoughts on their ultimate goal: Freedom.

The Author Mark Sullivan has been written many books before, and this is my first one, but I must say that I am a fan of his writing. It was very visual which is needed in a storyline like this. There were many scenes in which the Martel Family comes so close to being war casualties, that you can feel relieved that they survive such a close encounter.

Emile’s constant view of the future as his focus to go through hunger, tiredness, cold, fear, and thirst is impressive and very compelling.  Adeline’s hope in God from the very beginning maintaining her faith through the 7 years that took them to be free is inspiring.  Even when both had to say goodbye to their families and even to themselves for a while, they kept their dreams alive for their sons and for themselves. They were the epidemy of perseverance and I am grateful I read this book and their stories.

I truly loved the end of the book and knowing about how the Martel’s became a steady and successful family once they arrived in the United States made it more compelling.  Their sons Walt and Will went through so much during the 7 years of their journey to freedom that knowing they grew up focused on appreciating the efforts that their grandparents and parents did to give them freedom was comforting.

The Highlights of the Book:

In my opinion, the highlight of the book is Adeline. Her strength, clarity, mental focus, hope, unconditional love for her sons, undying love for her husband, and faith was inspirational.  The ability to be grateful and appreciate the smallest moments of happiness was so heart-warming. 

I also really liked the way the book could move from a very tense moment to a more slowed-down scene naturally, making you feel part of the journey as Emile and Adeline goes through their survival.

The Negatives:

Books and stories based on the ravages of war are always hard to read for me.  The way the author describes the treatment and carnage towards the Jews was hard to go through, the pain of seeing your loved ones die and starve is difficult There were moments of the book when I had to put the book down due to the death count just going on and on and on and the Author makes a good job making sure you can feel the fear and evil lived by the Jews and war prisoners.  The ability of the human being to be so cruel is never an easy thing to read (or accept), so if you do not like these types of stories, this may not be the book for you.

Information as found in Amazon:

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lake Union Publishing
  • Publication date: May 2021
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 458 pages
  • Genre: Fiction / Biographical Historical Fiction

What are you reading right now? What book would you recommend to me? Would you like a personal review of a book? Let me know! I am always looking for recommendations and suggestions to add to my reading list.

Enjoy reading!!!

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