The Little Russian by Susan Sherman is the story of the self-absorbed and dauntless Berta Alshonsky, a The Little Russian Readings: The Little Russian by Susan Sherman,The Death of Bees by Lisa ODonnell, The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiroyoung Ukrainian woman coming of age at the turn of the century in Moscow, Russia, and Ukraine- known as Little Russia. Chosen to live with wealthy relatives as a companion to their daughter, she is unceremoniously returned to her life as grocer’s daughter in Mosny under the guise of time off to to visit her family. Unhappy and unaccustomed to her old way of life, she flouts traditions and holds herself apart, an outsider in the town, until she marries Hershel Alshonsky, and achieves something approximating the life she once led. However, Hershel’s covert activities to arm Jewish citizens against frequent and unpredictable pogroms threatens the life they’ve built and the understanding in their marriage.Alshonsky is not and easy character to like but I loved her and her story. She has her own ideas about life and she never backs away from what she wants and how she want to live despite the fact that many of her choices aren’t backed by others’ vision or common sense. Berta grows through hardship but she does so in a way that is true to the core of who she is. Sherman is an excellent writer, and though Berta’s point of view is dominant throughout, key chapters with other characters give greater background to the history of the Jews in Ukraine, and their tenuous relationship with Russian peasants over several wars and regime changes. Sherman will suck you into the story, and place you firmly in the romance, and the terror of the time. A gorgeous treat for historical fiction lovers, and not to be missed, but this holds especially true if you are enamored of Russian history. Highly Recommended. Seriously.