The Rings of My Tree: A Latvian Woman's Journey by Jane E. Cunningham

In parts harrowing, at all times honest, The Rings of My Tree not only sheds light on atrocities that, for many, have remained hidden for too long, it also gives an insight into the strength of the spirit and the power of optimism.

At the centre of the story is Mirdza, who, by 2004 (when the book was published), was an elderly lady living in America. Mirdza, like so many others, was forced to flee her country, Latvia, during World War II, and, after spending time in Germany, she was eventually accepted as a refugee by America. For many years, her story remained silent until her friend Jane Cunningham decided to give it life.

The story is written in the first person, and it is easy to imagine Mirdza sitting in her living room, relating her life story for Jane Cunningham, who is writing it all down, word for word.

The photo of Mirdza and Jane (taken in 2012) is from