Lilacs In The Dust Bowl is historical fiction set in Canada and begins in 1929. It follows Lukia Mazurets and her family who leave their home in the Ukraine and immigrate to Canada. The Canadian authorities have offered farmland at a fraction of the cost of land at home and thousands are flocking there.
However, once Lukia and her family arrive in Winnipeg, all the good land has already been bought. They face extreme cold each winter, summers which stretch to drought, terrible dust storms, grasshopper plagues and near starvation especially when the grain prices plummet as Canada goes into its Depression years.
The book covers around eight years of Lukia’s life; she is fifty-four when she leaves the Ukraine and the book ends with her reflections, then aged sixty-two. This book is the sequel to Sunflowers Under Fire, which I haven’t read, and I was interested to read in the author’s notes that Lukia was the author’s grandmother.
It was quite humbling to read how the family survived. The author’s research into the Depression years shone through with details from the era, but on occasions I felt that some of the story was written so that historical facts could be added, rather than them complimenting the narrative.
As a dedication to the author’s relatives, this book worked well; as an engaging piece of fiction, it was okay, but I struggled to engage with the characters as much as I had hoped and I kept comparing the story to similar ones I’ve read.
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A family saga, set during the Great Depression, when hope and opportunity clashed for all who tried to make a living off the land.
Based on the true story of her grandmother’s trials, Diana Stevan continues the amazing tale of Lukia, a woman who showed—no matter what life threw her—where there’s a will, there’s a way.
When Lukia Mazurets, a Ukrainian peasant farmer, and her family immigrate to Canada in 1929, she has no idea the stock market is about to crash and throw the world into a deep depression. For the next seven years, she and her children will be tested not only by life as immigrants in a strange country but also by the ravages of nature. The threat to family security will also come from her rebellious son, her willful daughter, her arrogant brother, and the married son she’s come to rely on. And to add to the turbulence in her home, she’ll be romanced, awakening desire she thought was long gone.