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I Must Betray You

I Must Betray You, by Ruta Sepetys

47/60 | Started 10.18.23 • Finished 10.27.23 | 4.25 stars

So much historical fiction is written in the World War II era. I was intrigued by the Romanian setting of this book and I love that it covered a part of Cold War era history that I don't know much about. The story follows young Romanian Cristian Florescu, a boy with big dreams being drowned in the communist rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu. As seems to be the norm, Ceaușescu lived in luxurious power while the people lived in stark conditions: freezing, starving, dying.

“Mistrust is a form of terror. The regime pits us against one another. We can’t join together in solidarity because we never know whom we can trust or who might be an informer.”

Romania is a country of secrets and betrayal, characteristics that soon come to mark Cristian's life, against his will. This dark tale runs through with hope as Sepetys describes the fall of Ceaușescu and his regime, with Cristian right in the middle of it. It is gritty and at times violent, but it reads true to life, without exaggeration. I've enjoyed Sepetys in the past and will continue to recommend her to others.

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