The Former Russian Empire, 1918
Czech soldier Filip Sedlák never wanted to fight for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So at the first opportunity, he defected to the Russians. Now he and others like him have formed the Czechoslovak Legion. Their goal: leave the chaos of Russia, sail to France, and help the Allies defeat the Central Powers, thereby toppling a hated empire and winning an independent Czechoslovakia.
With the fall of the tsar, Nadia Linskaya’s life is in ruins. Her family is dead, her lands are confiscated, and her aristocratic world is gone forever. But Nadia is determined to elude the Bolshevik agent who destroyed her family and find a way to survive in this changed world.
When Nadia takes refuge with the Czechoslovak Legion, the last thing she expects is an ally. But when Filip proposes a sham marriage to ensure her safe passage across Siberia, she takes it. Neither Filip nor Nadia expect real love, not when the legion has to take over the longest railroad in the world—and then hold it against Bolshevik counterattacks, partisan sabotage, Allied intrigue, and a set of brutal Siberian winters. At risk is the future of Czechoslovakia, the fate of Russia—and their hearts.
I can't stop thinking about this book- the characters, the setting, the situations. It's just, WOW. This author did an amazing job at creating a world with emotion, conflict and purpose. I'm overwhelmed by it all in the best of ways.
Historical fiction is a favorite of mine because I love learning about events in history in a less "history lesson" sort of way. I had no idea about any of these events or the people of Czechoslovak legion who fought so hard and gave so much for the dream of a country of their own. What determination and endurance. What suffering, sorrow and loss. War is brutal and unfair. It was hard to read that part of it but necessary because we need to remember these brave people. I loved reading the author's notes at the back of the book too. Don't miss those.
Filip and Nadia are fantastic characters. I grew to love them so much. It's slow going for their relationship but I'm glad they really came to know each other through their actions. Neither one had a life they thought they would, but the way they adapted with grace and honor just swelled my heart. The whole cast of characters around them were all so good. There were multiple points of view throughout the book and I really enjoyed that.
I loved this book, I love this author. Oh! And I love this cover. It's beautiful and represents the story perfectly.
Content: violence (this is high because this is a war story), peril, death. Mention of rape and abuse with no details. Intimate relations between and husband and wife with no details. Kissing.
A. L. Sowards is the author of multiple historical fiction novels, with settings spanning the globe from the fourteenth to twentieth centuries. Her stories have earned multiple awards and nominations, including a Whitney Award and a Readers’ Favorite gold medal. Sowards grew up in Washington State, spent a few decades in Utah, and now resides in Alaska with her husband, three children, and ever-growing library. She enjoys hiking and swimming, usually manages to keep up with the laundry, and loves it when someone else cooks dinner.