Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. -Goodreads
Let me begin by saying historical novels are not my cup of tea. I already can't sit through history let alone read historical books for fun. I knew that when I picked up this book, but it was on sale. I was actually pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the plot and felt a lot of sympathy towards the characters. I didn't particularly like the flashbacks though. They had to do with the present, but I thought it slowed down the pace. I did, however, love the evident emotion and was surprised by how attached to the story I became.