1915-1917: Fifteen-year-old Katarina dreams of a self-determined future. But when she’s injured during a rebel attack, she learns of threats against her German Mennonite people. Conspiracy theories rise, servants take sides, and loyalties are questioned. Emigration beckons. Amidst the confusion of shifting politics and growing lawlessness, Katarina must choose her fate. Growing up has never been more difficult.
1952: Germany. Peter questions his mother, Katarina’s mysterious death in Ukraine during WW2. Was there a cover-up? Will her teenage diaries from the Russian Civil War reveal buried secrets?
Inspired by true stories, Katarina’s Dark Shadow portrays the courageous human struggle inside a distinct faith during violent political times.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My Mennonite grandparents were refugee immigrants from the Russian civil war in Ukraine. I grew up immersed in tradition and listening to stories of the old country and the horrors of war. In 2014, I traveled to Ukraine to explore my ancestral roots. I discovered many of the old villages are nonexistent — razed by the Soviets. Somewhere there, my great grand-parents are buried in unmarked graves, probably in a farmers' field. Some of my ancestral homelands are now under Russian occupation again. When I left Ukraine, I knew I wanted to write my grandparents' story. But since I didn't know enough about their personal experiences, I used historical facts and memoirs to fill in the rest.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Katarina and Anna are imaginary representations of my grandmothers when they were young women. The historical villains are real. The other characters are composites of people I know.
MJ Krause-Chivers is the grandchild of Mennonite refugees from the Russian civil war in Ukraine (1920s). Her writings portray her prolific background and her passion for faith, cultural history, and mental health. When she isn't writing, she's exploring nature and photographing flowers and landscapes. She also enjoys traveling to new destinations and experiencing ethnic cuisine. A retired social worker and tourism operator, she lives in Niagara, Canada.
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