Promises made almost fifty years earlier have their reckoning.
Meri "Sisu" Saari made a promise to her dying mother that she would keep the family together, but she was too young to know how a war can pull people apart. With the Soviet invasion of Finland, Meri pledges loyalty to the Lotta Svärds and becomes the sole caretaker for her siblings. When her father goes missing in action, she finds herself searching for him on the front lines.
Forty years later, living in northern Ontario, Meri’s past and present collide when she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Responsible for her granddaughter, and navigating a strained relationship with her daughter Linnea, Meri is haunted by the people of her past and by the promises she failed to keep. As she struggles against her inevitable decline, she knows her losses are amassing: her home, her health, and her memories. Meri embarks on one last journey in search of the man she had to give up, before it’s too late. Before everything disappears.
Author Bio: Liisa Kovala is a Finnish Canadian author and teacher. Her first book, Surviving Stutthof: My Father’s Memories Behind the Death Gate (Latitude 46, 2017), was shortlisted for a Northern Lit Award and published in Finland under the title Stutthofin selviytyjä (Docendo, 2020). Her work is inspired by her Finnish heritage and the northern landscape she calls home. Sisu’s Winter War (Latitude 46, 2022) is her debut novel. She lives in Sudbury, Ontario with her husband and two children.