How Dare the Birds Sing
by Marina Osipova
Amazon Digital Services LLC

"That evening at the river marked both the end of everything I have known and the beginning of something new."

In Lipetsk, Russia in 1933, Lyuba and her best friend Natasha’s lives are on an ordinary track until they meet two pilots from flying school, Stepan and Gunter. Swept up in feelings of love, Lyuba and Gunter decide to get married. On the evening of introducing Gunter to her mother, Lyuba is surprised when Stepan shows up at her door, announcing Gunter’s betrayal, and his “sudden” leave back to Germany. Years later, in 1937, whispers of war approach the Russian front, and Lyuba is tricked into marrying Stepan for her safety. Her life changes drastically almost overnight, and even more so once World War II begins to take its toll on Russia. Lyuba finds herself learning to fight for survival and keep hope alive as the world hardens around her.

A tale of romance and war, this book captures the spirit of heartache and survival beautifully. Breaking up the book into four sections from before and after World War II, readers follow along as Lyuba experiences the hardships and joys of life and learns to adapt to the ever-shifting world around her. A little naïve at first, Lyuba learns of the many cruelties of the world starting with her heartbreak around Gunter. But instead of being equally cruel, she still strives to be kind.

The author does a great job of exhibiting both the politics of war and the horrors of war without going into too much detail or making it gruesome. The details she does provide in the story build a realistic image of the people’s struggles throughout the book. Additionally, there are many references to birds, flight, and song, symbolically showing the yearning for freedom that Lyuba longs for. Dedicated “to all women burned by war,” the book is a great story about strength.

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