Night Train to Odessa
". . . a story full of twists and turns, gripping readers right until the very end."
It is 1919. The Russian Civil War rages in the Ukraine.
Elvira Maria Andrushko, recently widowed, flees the embattled countryside bound for the safe haven, Odessa. As the night train approaches she is violently separated from her small children and arrives in the seaport alone and traumatized. Bewildered by the city’s harshness, alienated by unhelpful authorities, and tormented by her loss, she searches Odessa hoping to find her children.
When she meets Michail Lukashenko, an artisan who ekes out a living with a puppet theatre, she is attracted by his charm and the fairytale performances that entertain hundreds of children, who could be her own. But the innocent faces cheering in the crowds for The Golden Reindeer and Father Frost are not all happy, nor have they all come to watch the show. Elvira Maria reluctantly enters an underworld where the price of life and the cost of war dictate the terms of survival.
Night Train to Odessa is a beautiful and moving novel of hope and courage, and a loving tribute
Praise for Night Train to Odessa
"In this historical novel of love and lore, idealism and corruption, and, always, hope, Mary L. Grow writes with grace and conviction about a young widow searching for her missing children in the beautiful but beleaguered city of Odessa during the upheaval of the Bolshevik revolution. NIGHT TRAIN TO ODESSA is gripping and unforgettable, with writing so transporting I could feel the cold winter wind blowing across the Black Sea."
—Judith Claire Mitchell
author of A Reunion of Ghosts
"NIGHT TRAIN TO ODESSA is both page-turner and cri de coeur that transports the reader to the war-torn seaport, Odessa. The novel’s buoyant, well-plotted journey crosses paths with a cast of unforgettable characters. Though snow often whips against the reader’s face, the scent of lilacs also stir the soul. I recommend this book to anyone curious enough to be swept into a rich, well-told tale—with an astonishing outcome. "
—Alison Leslie Gold
author of Anne Frank Remembered
by Miep Gies & Alison Leslie Gold
"Deeply informed and highly engaging, NIGHT TRAIN TO ODESSA relates the heart-wrenching story of Elvira Maria as she searches for her lost children during the brutal upheaval of the Russian Civil War. The mother's tenacious struggle becomes increasingly difficult due to her poverty and loneliness—until she finds unexpected kindness from an itinerant puppeteer and a woman with an unsavory past. Mary L. Grow visits a tumultuous era with insight and the well-crafted impact of an accomplished author."
author of The Waters of Star Lake
Mary L. Grow’s beautifully rendered story is set 100 years ago, yet the events then and events now in war-torn Ukraine are frighteningly a story of today. Fleeing horror overnight and the loss of all that is good and familiar, Elvira Maria searches the once-exquisite port city for her precious children as the brutal winterencroaches. Night Train to Odessa is immersive, suspenseful, intimate and tender, a page-turner that captures your heart and soul.
producer & host, The Last Word, KSFR
"Night Train to Odessa sweeps readers across an explosive wartime landscape, following a brave young woman whose unexpected loss thrusts her into the political upheaval that surrounds her. Mary L. Grow has created heartfelt, compelling, and breathing characters. With passion and eloquence, she brings the past back to clamorous, detailed life. She is a remarkable author to be avidly followed and admired."
author of Nectar From A Stone
A beautifully written portrayal of a Ukrainian family that perhaps resonates nowmore than ever.
Grow's novel can be ranked with Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated in capturing the essentials of modern Ukraine.
—Barbara Conaty, Library Journal
NIGHT TRAIN TO ODESSA is a heartfelt, warm. and moving story. . . one of my most enjoyable reads of the year.
Five Star Review