A deeply moving story of an innocent young girl called Oksana, through no fault of her own, lives in a poverty stricken part of Russia called Kazak. Living with her pregnant alcoholic mother and her aunt they are driven by hunger they steal and beg what they can, her mother and aunt turning to prostitution just to keep a roof over their heads. I say a roof but where they live is a cold concrete derelict squatter. When her mother gives birth, knowing that her aunt cannot afford another mouth to feed Oksana has to make a desperate heartbreaking decision just to survive. Following which without any warning or farewell to her mother, her aunt drags both Oksana and her baby sister to an orphanage with absolutely no intention of returning.
With feelings of abandonment they enter a world of further lost hope with only one intention of being reunited with their mother. Life in the orphanage is harsh but in time her baby sister Natalie is adopted by an American couple but Oksana rushes in tears to the meeting not to be parted with yet another family member, luckily the couple see the heartbreak and make the decision to adopt both. But can Oksana overcome her feelings of betrayal to her mother and allow the love of this family to be part of her? Can she believe in what they say and trust them, after such a harsh upbringing in Russia?
The way the author progresses with the story compelling, you cannot fail to be touched by reading this book. You are drawn to Oksana, feeling her desperation throughout this truly emotional read, the sadness of a child in a horrid and cruel adult world is immense. Yet joys of hope as her life takes a positive turn if she could only accept the genuine kindness from the people around her.
What I didn't realise while reading the book is the whole story is based on the author's own adoption experiences, bringing the strong harsh truth of Russia's orphans to light, which inspired her to write this brilliant work of fiction.
Completely and utterly recommending this high quality read by, you will not want to put the book down.