Local author Suzanne Parry will discuss her debut historical novel, Lost Souls of Leningrad, in conversation with Laura Stanfill and Suzy Vitello, at Powell’s City of Books on Thursday, November 10 at 7 pm. Equal parts World War II epic, family saga, and love story, this compelling tale is both a testament to human resilience and a harsh indictment of war and authoritarianism. Suzanne is a longtime Portland resident who once worked at the Pentagon where she negotiated security issues with the Soviets.
June 1941. Hitler’s armies race toward vulnerable Leningrad. In a matter of weeks. The Nazis surround the city, cut off the food supply, and launch a vicious bombardment. Widowed violinist Sofya and her teenage granddaughter Yelena are cornered in the crumbling city. On Leningrad’s outskirts, Admiral Vasili Antonov defends his homeland and fights for a future with Sofya while Yelena’s soldier fiancé transports food across the Ice Road—part of the fierce effort to save the city. As desperate weeks tick past, the women are further imperiled by Sofya’s reckoning with a family secret which threatens to finish what Hitler started. Based on actual events, Lost Souls of Leningrad brings to vivid life a little-known chapter of World War II. It is an intimate portrayal of two remarkable women—grandmother and granddaughter—separated by years and experience but of one heart in their love, devotion to family, and determination to resist the oppression of Stalin and the brutality of Hitler.
A former US defense policy specialist, Suzanne now writes historical fiction about the Soviet Union. After studying Russian in Moscow and earning a Master’s from Princeton University, she worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. While at the Pentagon she helped negotiate the Conference on Disarmament in Europe, the first security agreement of the Gorbachev era, Suzanne raised a large family, taught university, and completed marathons around the world, eventually landing in the wonderful and welcoming city of Portland. She coached high school cross country for fifteen years before embarking on a writing career.
Lost Souls of Leningrad releases on November 8, 2022.