Shavlan – A Woman’s Journey to Independence – Eunice E. Blecker

This family saga is based on true events in the life of the author’s maternal grandmother spanning three continents and five decades. It tells of a woman’s journey to independence, while living through World War I, deportation from her village in Lithuania, the Russian Revolution, the Civil War and Lithuanian independence.

As the story unfolds, the reader is witness to the struggles of Jews in the Pale of Settlement and the strategies they use in coping with Tsarist rule and the anti-Semitic society governing them. Some acquiesce, trying to adapt, some oppose the Tsar by joining revolutionary groups, and others by emigrating. The author weaves a matrix of emotions and ideas into her characters as they move in and out of her grandmother’s life. We learn how an uneducated, naïve young girl, raised in Shavlan, a Lithuanian shtetl, becomes an independent, strong-willed and forceful woman, schooled in the ways of the world––her education obtained by being a witness and participant in world-shaking events.