- ASIN: B096S1T96V
- Publisher: Bookouture (2 Sept. 2021)
- Language: English
- Print length: 347 pages
- Author: Chrystyna LucyK – Berger
- Genre: World War 2 Historical Fiction Reviews
The BookViral Review:
‘The Woman at the Gates’ is a story that immediately requires the reader’s attention, for attention is required in forming an early understanding of the many characters in the narrative and the interplay between them. Patience is required, and is more than rewarded!
Once this is achieved, Chrystyna Lucyk – Berger presents the reader with a remarkable, tense and heart breaking story of suffering, courage and survival on both a macro and a micro level. On the wider level, The Woman At The Gates presents us with a bleak panorama of the tragedy of the Ukraine in the deeply troubled wartime years of 1941 to 1945 and the struggle for Ukrainian independence in an exquisitely researched and beautifully written account of this often ignored period of Ukrainian history. There seems to be no clear distinguishing line drawn between the two threatening and oppressive powers of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, the two conflicting enemy powers; leaving the people of the Ukraine caught in the trap between. The choice between the two evils is often a blurred and complex decision to make.
And, on a deeply personal level, the writer presents us with a love story, a compelling one. Antonia is an academic and an intellectual, lecturing literature in the Soviet controlled city of Lviv. She is also heavily involved in the running of an illicit press on behalf of ‘The Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists’; one of a number of conflicting organisations with often very differing agendas. Almost predictably, there is a violent Soviet backlash early in the narrative. Antonia is imprisoned and tortured. Victor, her lover, is likewise taken and disappears without trace. Antonia is saved by the intervention of the Nazi invasion of the Ukraine. She seeks safety with her sister, her brother in law and her two young nephews in her family homeland as the war between the two powers approaches ever closer. When the time comes, Antonia finds herself, finally, in a terrible dilemma, that of making the choice between joining the struggle of the Resistance and close and dear friends or a life of captivity in a brutal German labour camp trying to protect the lives of her family and her young nephews.
This is we are presented with. It is painstakingly researched and detailed, and with a touching and exquisite insight into human suffering. It is an anthem to individual tenacity and to the bonds of comradeship and love. It is a story that leaves the reader more than content to have made the long and difficult journey and it is unreservedly recommended.