In the 1930s, some 6,000 Finnish Americans traveled to Karelia, a province in Northwestern Russia, hoping to leave the Depression behind and to establish a workers\u2019 paradise. Based on these true events, The Darkest Evening chronicles the story of Jake Maki, whose father, caught up in the socialist fervor washing over their Finnish mining community in Minnesota, moves their family to the Soviet Union. Instead of finding the utopia they were promised, Jake and his family encounter only disappointment and hardship. When Stalin\u2019s secret police begin targeting Americans for arrest, his worst fears are confirmed, and Jake leads his family on a daring midwinter escape attempt on cross-country skis, fleeing toward the Finnish border.
William Durbin is a former high school and college English teacher and the award-winning author of ten novels, including Wintering and The Broken Blade. He lives on Lake Vermilion at the edge of Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.