WRETCHED LAND describes the passionate love, intense suffering and the miraculous survival of one family who lived in Ukraine through the hardships of World War One, the Civil War and World War Two including the famines of 1921, 1932-33 and 1947, and the cruel, Stalinist era. The story is fictional, interwoven into the fabric of Ukrainian history.
The love between Dmytro, an impoverished aristocrat turned farmer, and Khrystina, daughter of a wealthy landowner, carries their family through the horrors of the early twentieth century that befell the Ukraine. As wars rage on, and famines threatens their and their children's lives, Dmytro and Khrystina show demonstrate their love and resolve, in the process teaching their children about compassion in the face of adversity.

WRETCHED LAND will take readers on an unforgettable journey into the heart of a land and a people built on pain, passion, and hope for a better future.

The idea of writing WRETCHED LAND came to me after reading an old Ukrainian history book that I came across in Canada. I rediscovered historical events that even I was not aware of when I lived in the Ukraine. In the former Soviet Union, you see, history was rewritten to show that everyone in the country supported the Communist ideals. I was surprised to find that the movement for Ukraine's independence was far more extensive than I had been taught to believe. As the Stalinist's "iron fist" regime gripped the country, many prominent Eastern Ukranian independence fighters perished in the prisons and labor camps of Siberia and their family names and dreams were wiped out. During my research, I read testimonials of the Ukrainians who lived during the Revolution, Civil War and the famines and discovered many hidden historical facts about the Soviet political regime under Stalin's leadership. One of his political errors was the forced land collectivization that seriously damaged the country's agriculture.

The novel was written from the point of view of the main heroes Dmytro and Khrystina, and it reflects their opinions about the situation in Ukraine. Dmytro was involved in the independence movement and therefore was informed about the people's oppression in the country. However, Khrystina, along with many other citizens who didn't have any outside information, knew only what the Soviet government let them to know about political life in the former USSR. The government glorified the life in the country and concealed the real rotten situations. There was no freedom of speech or even thought allowed. People were punished for the smallest transgression.

Now the world knows that millions of Ukrainians died during the famine of 1932-33, and that Stalin and his collaborators instigated it. However, very few know how those who survived lived through the wars, the revolution and the famines that raged in the country. This epic novel describes the life of one family who lived through all those times and reflects their feelings, thoughts and dreams. Read it and see for yourself how one can survive so many ordeals and still be able to love, to be loved, to have hopes for a better future and to feel happiness.

I wrote this novel for everyone who thinks that their life is not happy enough, that they are missing something that would make their life more meaningful. Read it. It will open for you new avenues for happiness. 

Mila Komarnisky