Katya Vogt is now an old woman, but the story of how she came to North America begins in Russia in 1910. As Katya's story unfolds, it becomes clear that she is a survivor of revolution.
Born into a Mennonite community on the Russian steppes, Katya and her family live on the large Sudermann estate. Their religion, their traditions, and the luxurious green of their fields set them apart from the Russian workers who toil on the estate. Katya's father, foreman of the estate, has been promised a land of his own to farm, but each year the Sudermanns put him off. As in a Willa Cather novel, the rhythms of the seasons are mirrored in the structures of a society in which everyone knows their place, even if they chafe against it. Then, in the wake of the First World War, revolution comes. First the German army, then anarchists, Bolsheviks, and Communists sweep across the land. Katya is tested by a world upended. In lucid, spellbinding prose, Birdsell vividly evokes time and place, and the unease that existed on the brink of revolutionary change.