Shayna by Miriam Ruth Black
“From frozen ground, flowers grow…”
1919 Ukraine – In a small trunk in the corner of an abandoned shed a young woman huddles hiding from the Cossacks ravaging her shtetl, burning homes and killing Jews. Shayna Rifkin, seventeen, loses everything. Desperate to find safety, she dreams of reaching America. Shayna rescues her four-year old nephew and with her fiancé and his mother braves a perilous trek across Europe. Shayna’s courage and determination bind them together, weaving a strong fabric from their separate threads to make a family, a safe place from which to build a new life in a new country.
This emotionally rich novel is steeped in the Yiddish culture of the shtetl and the Lower East Side of New York in the early 20th century.
Winner Hackney Literary Award
With so much fiction devoted to the Holocaust, it is refreshing to read an historical novel about the period of the great Jewish migration from Eastern Europe to the New World. From the founding of HIAS, the Jewish refugee agency, from 1880s - 1920s, millions of Jewish immigrants arrived in the U.S. There is hardly a Jewish family in the U.S. whose immigration is not rooted in that era. Few novels tell that story. It is all the more gratifying that this one, Shayna, tells it beautifully. From the moment I picked up Shayna’s saga, I was captivated and found myself caring deeply about her and her family. That is the test of a good novel – and this one passes with flying colors! Kudos to the author.
—Roberta Elliott, daughter of a refugee, and former VP of Communications, HIAS
I loved this book! It’s authentic, emotionally satisfying and a compelling read.
—Bonnie Dimun, Executive Director, Museum at Eldridge Street
Miriam Ruth Black won the Midwest Independent Publisher’s award 2013 for Literary Fiction for her novel Turtle Season. Recently she won the Hackney Literary Awards’ prize for Shayna. She divides her time between Tucson and Minneapolis. miriamruthblack.com