Review Highlights:

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Age: 17+ ( based on the complexity of the writing, mild sexual situations and war time violence.)

Recommendation: This book is perfect for those who like well written historical fiction with a heartbreakingly realistic plot and a romance that brings hope even amidst some of the most horrific acts the world has ever seen.

Type: Stand Alone

Length: 292 pages

Summary: This book is more than I expected and surprised me completely. Complex, raw and realistic, this story is full of pain, strength and resilience. +well developed +wonderful world building +extremely strong heroine +intense and upsetting at times +action packed drama +sweet romance  -really depressing in parts +well written and easy to read +available on Kindle Unlimited.

Description: 

September 1941, Kiev.
Life for teenage sisters Natasha and Lisa Smirnova is about to change beyond their worst fears.

Despite Stalin’s assurances to hold the Ukrainian capital at all costs, Hitler has ordered his troops into the Ukraine and for the Russians and Ukrainians living there, it heralds a terrible time of fear, hunger and peril.

All too soon, the danger of living under Nazi occupation impacts on the lives of the ordinary citizens.

The eldest Smirnov son, Stanislav, sets off to fight for the Red Army at the front.

On the brink of marriage to her fiancé Alexei, Lisa’s happiness quickly turns to despair.

Her older sister Natasha watches as their frail grandmother stands up to a Nazi and pays a hard price. But who is the mysterious soldier who steps in to rescue Natasha?

As the harsh winter of 1941 draws in, the Smirnov family watch Jewish friends dragged from their homes, never to return.

The family are further torn by war when Natasha’s father is taken away.

Distraught Natasha turns to Mark, a Hungarian who she grows quickly fond of.

The consequences of their relationship could be dire for both Natasha and Mark if they are discovered, and their future looks fragile.

Two years pass and the noise of Red Army planes is heard once again over Kiev, prompting new hope to rise up among the citizens of the city.

The Nazis look set to move out, but will the Smirnovs’ loved ones ever return to Kiev?

Natasha waits and hopes for better times to return, not knowing whether she will ever see the people she cares for again.

Savaged Lands is a novel of love and loss, which chronicles the lives of ordinary citizens of Kiev during this dark and desperate period of their history in World War 2. Its descriptions and characters portray the horrors, and ultimately the hopes, of family members looking to survive oppression and starvation.

Whilst moving and chilling in parts, it ultimately bears testimony to the strength of the people of Kiev, and to their faith that life and love could still prevail against all the odds.

Full Review:

The description provided for the book makes it sound like a love story amidst a war torn Kiev, and it is but, the story itself is so much more than a simple romance. I am not going to lie, this is a heavy, emotional and dark read. The absolute fear and intermittent hopelessness is so strong at times if feels like it might swallow you whole right with Natasha and her family. Told from what feels like a mixed first person and outside point of view, this story follows Natasha and her family during their time spent captive in their own city during the Nazi invasion.

The writing and the continuous flow of this book is remarkable. As someone who gets distracted easily, most historical fiction, even some of the best, leaves me bored with the details usually and more than once. Unlike many others, Kortchik had me in a trance from the beginning. The romance between Mark and Natasha feels old world, with chivalry and true intentions.  Kortchik brings the reader to the forefront of the war and leaves them right smack in the middle of all the misery and chaos.

The plot is action packed, continuous and never falters. The relationship between each character is developed and deep. Natasha, our heroine, is strong, determined and brave. The violence is intense but not graphically described. The sexual elements were sweet and tasteful. The heartbreak and loss feel real and managed to keep me on the brink of tears more than once. Over all, if you are in the mood for something both remarkable and gut wrenching with a little taste of how redeeming real love can be, then this book is one to consider.

Disclaimer: I obtained a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. Thank you Lana Kortchik for the chance to meet Natasha!

On Amazon: Savaged Lands