A suspenseful, faith based-coming of age mystery set during the Russian civil war in Ukraine and post-war Germany — with themes of intergenerational trauma, perseverance, and resilience — Katarina’s Dark Shadow prequels the courageous human struggle inside a distinct faith during violent political times.
The only certainty of war is uncertainty.
1951: Peter stumbles on his adopted mother’s diaries from the Russian Revolution. What happened during those early years that prompted Katarina to go back to Ukraine during WW2? What secrets lie behind the Iron Curtain?
1915-1917: During the great war, Ukraine seeks independence from Russia. Fifteen-year-old Katarina also yearns for freedom from her restrictive German Mennonite roots. She dreams of traveling the world and creating her own destiny. Then, a rebel attack at the family farm prompts her to move across the Dnieper River to her wealthy sister’s heavily guarded estate. But things are not as safe as they seem. As Russia implodes, the separatist army grows, and suspicion lurks at every corner.
As society crumbles, the solid foundations of faith and family weaken, and emigration lures. Katarina faces the ultimate decision that will determine her future. Will she choose to stay in Ukraine with her pregnant sister and wait to see if the political situation improves? Or will she abandon all hope and embrace an unknown future, knowing she can never see her family again?
Inspired by true stories and actual events based on the harrowing tales of the author’s ancestors, this book will particularly interest those with German-Prussian, Ukrainian, or Russian Mennonite ancestry.
If you enjoyed The Memory Keeper of Kyiv and The Girl with the Silver Star, you’ll enjoy stepping into this intriguing and unusual world with its unique cultural dynamics.
***** “A chillingly realistic, yet fictional, account of what happened to ordinary people in Russian Ukraine when their world was overthrown by social unrest, war, and then a revolution. I couldn’t put it down.” *****Author P.C. James.
***** “A gripping historical fiction and true to its time. Highly recommended for those interested in a different viewpoint from WWI.” ***** Author Nola Li Barr.
If you enjoy strong women of faith and suspenseful reads, get the first book of this dynamic series today. Katarina’s Dark Shadow will pull you into a world that you never knew existed.
Targeted Age Group:: 35+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My Mennonite grandparents were refugees from Ukraine during the Bolshevik Revolution/Russian civil war. Growing up, I listened to their war stories. I wanted to write and record them at some point. But life got in the way. Then, in 2014, I traveled to Poland and Ukraine to visit the ancestral lands. There I realized the horror that they'd lived through. Although I no longer had access to those original stories, I found enough historical information to write a fictional saga based on those terrible years.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I imagined Katarina and Anna as my grandmothers when they were young. The rest of the characters are composites of myself or people I know. To maintain the family perspective, I rely on old family photos to guide me in character development.
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MJ Krause-Chivers is the historical fictional stream for award-winning Canadian Christian non-fiction author Miranda J. Chivers.
Her first fictional series — Russian Mennonite Chronicles — was inspired by the cultural genocide of the Russian Mennonite communities in southern Ukraine during the Russian civil war and the Stalinist era.
Miranda grew up in the German-Russian Mennonite culture surrounded by family storytellers chronicling their intriguing and dangerous emigration treks from Soviet Ukraine.
In 2014, when she visited Poland and Ukraine to learn more about her ancestral history, Russia had just moved into Crimea and the borderland war was exploding. Moved by the desperate conditions of the Ukrainian people in the shadow of this revived war, she decided to write a story for a new generation of readers.
In developing the series: Russian Mennonite Chronicles, the author drew on her rich background, skillfully weaving the vivid imagery of her childhood, her religious understanding of that era, and both oral and documented history into a compelling and courageous tale of suffering and enduring faith.
Miranda has a background in social work, mental health, and tourism and is a C-PTSD survivor. Her personal history enriches her writing style with a unique insight, providing valuable expertise to those seeking a faith perspective for life hurts. She enjoys historical fiction movies, nature photography, travel, and cultural events. She resides in Niagara, Canada.