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The Darkest Evening

2011
Author:

William Durbin

The Darkest Evening

An adventurous tale of one Finnish American family’s encounter with the “Red broom”

Set in the 1930s, The Darkest Evening chronicles the story of young Jake Maki, whose family moves to the Soviet Union when the socialist fervor washes over their Finnish mining community in Minnesota. But when Stalin’s secret police begin targeting Americans for arrest, Jake leads his family on a daring midwinter escape on cross-country skis, fleeing toward the Finnish border.

Taking a little-known historical event for its context, Durbin’s historical fiction is every bit as exciting as the best adventure tale.

Kirkus Reviews

In the 1930s, some 6,000 Finnish Americans traveled to Karelia, a province in northwestern Russia, hoping to leave the Depression behind and to establish a workers’ paradise. Based on these true events, The Darkest Evening chronicles the story of Jake Maki, whose father, caught up in the socialist fervor washing over their Finnish mining community in Minnesota, moves their family to the Soviet Union.

Instead of finding the utopia they were promised, Jake and his family encounter only disappointment and hardship. When Stalin’s secret police begin targeting Americans for arrest, his worst fears are confirmed, and Jake leads his family on a daring midwinter escape attempt on cross-country skis, fleeing toward the Finnish border.

The Darkest Evening

William Durbin is a former high school and college English teacher and the award-winning author of ten novels, including Wintering and The Broken Blade. He lives on Lake Vermilion at the edge of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The Darkest Evening

Taking a little-known historical event for its context, Durbin’s historical fiction is every bit as exciting as the best adventure tale.

Kirkus Reviews

Readers who enjoy tales of courage under fire . . . will find this exciting stuff.

Booklist

Durbin writes historical fiction for young people better than just about anyone.

St. Paul Pioneer Press