The Last Green Valley Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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“Mark Sullivan has done it again! The Last Green Valley is a compelling and inspiring story of heroism and courage in the dark days at the end of World War II.” --Kristin Hannah, number one New York Times best-selling author
From the author of the number one best seller Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a new historical novel inspired by one family’s incredible story of daring, survival, and triumph.
In late March 1944, as Stalin’s forces push into Ukraine, young Emil and Adeline Martel must make a terrible decision: Do they wait for the Soviet bear’s intrusion and risk being sent to Siberia? Or do they reluctantly follow the wolves - murderous Nazi officers who have pledged to protect “pure-blood” Germans?
The Martels are one of many families of German heritage whose ancestors have farmed in Ukraine for more than a century. But after already living under Stalin’s horrifying regime, Emil and Adeline decide they must run in retreat from their land with the wolves they despise to escape the Soviets and go in search of freedom.
Caught between two warring forces and overcoming horrific trials to pursue their hope of immigrating to the West, the Martels’ story is a brutal, complex, and ultimately triumphant tale that illuminates the extraordinary power of love, faith, and one family’s incredible will to survive and see their dreams realized.
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|Listening Length||16 hours and 8 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 04, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #972 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#5 in Biographical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#13 in World War II Historical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#22 in Biographical Fiction (Books)
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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I bought the book the the day it was published and read it right away. It is better than Beneath a Scarlet Sky. Much, much better. I could not put it down and will never forget it.
Other reviewers already provided plenty of details about the story, so I will spare you that. Instead, I would like to focus on how the book seems to operate on at least THREE LEVELS. Any single one of them is worth your investment of time and money.
LEVEL ONE is the surface level – a gripping WW2 story focused on two incredible people: Emil and Adeline. Fasten your seat belt for a wild ride. Sullivan transports you into worlds you never knew existed, even if you have already read many WW2 books. He entertains, informs, and inspires.
LEVEL TWO delivers a message. To be sure, the book teems with insights about life, love, death, evil, sacrifice, forgiveness, and faith. What struck me most, though, were Sullivan’s powerful insights about how to transform your life for the better. Regardless how bad things get for you -- no matter what hardships you face -- you, too, can emerge stronger and happier.
Sullivan threads the needle here. He does not beat readers over the head with his message about personal transformation. He shows it rather than tells it. The message is subtle and will not resonate with everyone. But it’s there if you need it, and I expect it will change more than a few lives.
LEVEL THREE is autobiographical. I am going out on a limb with this one, but here goes.
Sullivan has been public about his life challenges, including being so distraught that he nearly committed suicide. Then ‘Beneath a Scarlet Sky’ came along and changed his life. That story -- and its positive worldwide reception -- helped Sullivan journey through the darkness and emerge into the light.
Now, Sullivan seems to be giving back. With “The Last Green Valley,” he seems to be turning around and extending a helping hand to other travelers, offering to help them transform their own lives.
Granted, his best seller “Beneath a Scarlet Sky” did this, too, but the effect was somewhat unexpected. This time, Sullivan is doing it on purpose. In “The Last Green Valley,” he writes from a position of hard-won wisdom. He has mastered much more than storytelling.
I recently read Paolo Coelho’s masterpiece “The Alchemist” yet again and was struck by the similarities. If you know that book, then consider that when Sullivan wrote “Beneath a Scarlet Sky,” he was like the shepherd boy, Santiago, on a quest across the Sahara.
But now, Sullivan - who has lived in the Sahara himself -- has found his ‘personal legend,’ his calling. And he knows that the universe conspires to help him bring it into reality.
With “The Last Green Valley,” the shepherd boy (Santiago/Sullivan) has evolved into another character in Coelho’s famous book: the alchemist. In his new role as alchemist, Sullivan has begun to help others realize their 'oneness with the soul of the world.'
BOTTOM LINE: "The Last Green Valley" offers something for everyone. If you seek a thrilling, interesting story, then you will get it. If you want something more -- a gift that can inspire, heal, and perhaps even change your life -- then that is available to you as well. I highly recommend it.
The story follows the Martel family from 1930s till present. They experienced a Stalin rule, including Holodomor (great famine) and German rule in Ukraine. Then they move through different countries following war events and seeking survival. Sometimes protected (mostly by Germans) sometimes prosecuted (mostly by Soviets).
The story jumps a little in time at the beginning and the Martel’s lives during Stalin times in Ukraine are shown more like glimpses of the past. After this the plot becomes mostly linear in time, with exception of just one (but very important) event.
Despite the abundance of the suffering the gory descriptions are kept to minimum.
Author does a great job presenting, often complicated, political situations (specially Ukrainian). The physical and moral dilemmas faced by the characters (mostly Emil’s) are heartbreaking and force a question “what would I do in his place?”.
At the end it is a story about survival, family bonds and unbroken human spirit. There is also a tiny touch of almost supernatural or mystical element there.
It was not exactly a “page turner” for me (I do not think it was supposed to be, it is not a thriller) but I will remember this story.
I gave this book 5 stars mostly because of it’s authenticity. And also because I learned something new. I was getting a little frustrated by the last few WWII books I read where the war was just a very briefly sketched background for the cheesy romance.
Although historical fiction, and many scenes are the imagination of the author, the facts are documented and this family exists. Definitely portrays another aspect of WW2 then what most books show.
The author did a good job of keeping the story moving. I definitely recommend reading it.
Before your book arrives, have all your errands done and plan on having you food delivered because you will be glued to this book.
Top reviews from other countries
This is a heart-wrenching, upsetting yet stunning book about Emil and his wife Adeline and their two sons caught in a world where the second world war is causing upheaval in Europe and further east.
Torn from their farm in Ukraine the tensions of the period are brought to life and the impact on the characters is so sad. Caught between Stalin’s brutal regime and Hitlers annihilation of the Jews it follows the family as they try to flee to safety.
This was a truly emotional read. The horrors of war are shadowed by the brutality and evilness of men who commit such terrible crimes against each other. It felt that there was nowhere safe for the family and the instinct to survive no matter what life threw at them is just so reflective of the many people who lived through this nightmare.
Based on a true story this book took me on a moving journey of hope and a certain trust that in the end everything is worth fighting for. Emil’s journey took him to the depths of absolute misery, one that I am lucky enough to say I have never and hope to never witness. How one man could experience such horror and still believe his path out of it would happen is just testament to his strength and love that he had for his family.
It’s an area of history I know little about. For many Germans who lived in areas outside the Fatherland the return to it was not all it seemed and the afterword provided historical context to the storyline and some family details which was very useful. Did I have a tear in my eye - yes I did, but I also had a feeling joy and comfort.
This was a 5 star 🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟 read for me. A family’s journey from the horrors of war to their dream to realise a better, safer life where they would have the freedom to make their own choices.
Phenomenal story and Mark Sullivan is such a gifted writer who has been given this story to tell so beautifully.
The crimes committed by the opposing armies, be they German or Russian , the figures are so astronomical as to be nearly incomprehensible. Saying that , the Allies don't get off that lightly either. The descriptive power by Mr. Sullivan, almost let's you think you are in the battles and have you firmly shouting for the refugees. What thespeople went through, all caused by the tyranny of his fellow man or indeed woman , is something that you definitely won't learn in History class . This is one main reason why this book is so important, and many other books like it
I'll finish on a rather thinkful note: most of this took place in the years leading up to and after the Second World War, however, today, no matter which country you come from, every single day the most common headlines are all about Refugees. Some drowning in the Mediterranean, others being turned back from one country or another. Children starving in a world that's full of food. " Oh, when will we ever learn" If you get a chance, read and enjoy this book.
Just read the book.