Between Shades of Gray

Since my novel Trapped in Paris is out, I am more than ever paying attention to the way I choose a book.

If not guided by Amazon’s suggestions based on my previous purchases and browsing, I like to wander in a bookstore without knowing what I’m looking for.

My last purchase has been based on the title, the cover and the back cover.

Between Shades of Gray has nothing to do with Fifty Shades of Gray. It was published in the spring 2012 as a young adult novel. Although it could, and should be read by anyone.

The cover is a pale shade of gray with, on the front, a beautiful closed eyelid with eyelashes powdered with snow.

A pocket watch rests on a layer of snow on the back cover.

I love history and the three first words on the back cover hooked me: “Lithuania, June 1941”.

What happened in this little-known country right at the beginning of a war that would crush most of the world?

Was my purchase an impulse purchase?

I wanted a new book. Hundreds surrounded me. The successful combo of the title, the cover and the topic won my heart.

I read the book in a couple of days. I would have finished it sooner if I hadn’t been busy with my own book.

Ruta Sepethys wrote the heartbreaking story of the nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia that vanished from maps in 1941 and only reappeared after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990.

We all know about the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews, the Gypsies and so many more ethnic groups. But few of us know that 20 millions people died under Stalin’s regime.

My son last year chose to do a school report of the Gulag. He was surprised that people barely knew about it.

The reason is the silence that for decades surrounded the survivors. In fear for their own lives if they had told about their forced captivity, regardless of their country of origin, they had to bury their suffering and kept their memories tightly locked.

The silence is broken with Between Shades of Gray.


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