I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // a histfic set in 1989 communist Romania

Ruta Sepetys is releasing another historical fiction novel!

And this time, it’s set in 1989 communist Romania.

Adult, Historical Fiction, Romania, Spies

I Must Betray You
by Ruta Sepetys

Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?

Expected Publication: February 1, 2022

Chance to learn about a new culture? Check!

Chance to learn about another country’s history? Double check!!

Chance to love and enjoy another histfic by Ruta Sepetys? Check, check, CHECK!!!

Out of the four historical fiction books that Ms. Sepetys has written, I’ve read three of her works and enjoyed them so much. I first discovered her novels in the summer of 2020 when I read The Fountains of Silence. I very much enjoyed the story, because it offered a look at 1957 facist-controlled Spain while also weaving a tale of love and family. I ended up giving the book 4 stars because it was a nice read, but I hadn’t been satisfied with the ending.

Fast forward to September 2020, and I read Between Shades of Grey. I cried. Three separate times. It was a very emotional story that highlighted the labor camps run by the Soviet Union in the 1940s. It reminded me so much of the Holocaust and the labor camps that Germany had, and I was shocked that I hadn’t known about these Soviet-run camps previously (I mean, maybe it was passively mentioned, but I have no recollection of it, and it was most certainly not as highlighted as the German Holocaust was). Who knows, maybe the American education system isn’t really too keen on teaching that one of its allies during WWII did something quite similar to Lithuanians.

In June of last year, I read my third Sepetys book, Out of the Easy. This one was set during the dawning of 1950, in the French Quarter of New Orleans. As my Goodreads mini review stated: “This book reminds me of why I love histfic. The characters are so vivid and colorful, the backdrop is so vivid and colorful, everything is just so vivid and colorful and it makes me want to dive into the book so I can experience it directly with the characters. I loved everything about it.”

I’ve come to adore Ruta Sepetys’ books. Being that I know virtually nothing about Romania or its history, I’m especially eager to dive into her latest novel and learn something about another part of history that I hadn’t known before.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you heard of I Must Betray You? Are you looking forward to reading it?
  • Have you read any of Ruta Sepetys’ books before? What did you think?
  • Do you have any recommendations for historical fiction novels that are set in not so common places/time periods (ie not the US, the UK, or Germany and France during the World Wars)?

Chat with me in the comments below!

10 thoughts on “I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // a histfic set in 1989 communist Romania

  1. I’ve only read one of Ruta Sepetys’s books, Salt to the Sea, and I really loved it! I’m going to have to read this one, and all of her others too!

    Like

  2. I really like the sound of this one! I know basically nothing about Romanian history and even less about more recent history – my GCSE History was basically on every 20th century war ever and it was SO DULL – and this sounds so interesting.

    Unfortunately I’ve only read one of Ruta Sepetys’ other books, Salt to the Sea, and I didn’t like it very much, but I would like to give her work another try!

    Like

  3. I haven’t read any books by the author. I have to check them now. Does France before World War count? I have recently read Historical romance, Beyond the Lavender fields by Arlem Hawk. It is set during French revolution in 18th century and it was great to know about the situation in France during the revolution.

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  4. I love Ruta’s books and cannot wait to read I Must Betray You. My favorite of hers is the one you haven’t read, Salt to the Sea. Absolutely devastating but so interesting to read since it’s about the worst maritime disaster in history yet I had never heard of it before reading. I appreciate that she highlights stories that aren’t always told!

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