The Last Green Valley- a review by Amy

posted in: Amy | 0

The Last Green Valley
By Mark T. Sullivan

458 pages
Lake Union Publishing
Published May 4, 2021

Oh the tears! This story, inspired by the Martel family, completely gutted me and also reminded me of the beauty and strength found in love and faith.

What Emil, Adeline, and their children had to endure is the substance of nightmares. Trying to outrun Stalin’s army while having to trust the protection of the Nazis is not unlike running with cunning, self-satisfying wolves while being chased by mean, hungry bears. Their hopes and dreams of a peaceful family life on their farmland in the Ukraine were destroyed and buried under the realities of scarcity and war. What followed were years of hardship, toil, and loneliness as refugees. Instead of caving to suffering and oppression, Adeline led her family to hold firmly to faith and boldly claim that beauty would come from every cruelty they faced.

Sullivan meticulously crafted these characters and plunged me into their harrowing circumstances. What they felt, I felt. What they experienced, I experienced. I really adored Adeline and her stubborn faith and persistent, unconditional love. If ever there was a perfect matriarch, Adeline portrayed that. But my very favorite character was quirky, delightful Corporal Gheorghe. He was immensely endearing while also being surprisingly wise. (Don’t miss the author’s notes regarding the real life inspiration for Corporal Gheorghe!)

I’ve read a wide variety of WW2 historic fiction, but this was my introduction to Black Sea Germans and The Long Trek from Ukraine to Germany. I found it a unique addition to a seemingly full genre.

In the foreword Mark Sullivan says, β€œI hope their story (the Martels) will give comfort and courage to the afflicted and a better understanding of what ordinary people can endure and achieve when all seems lost.” As I ruminate on the Martels and what they had to bear, I am reminded that perspective and hope can indeed fuel the impossible.


Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *