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And The Sandra Moran Award goes to:

1.    The Witch of Stalingrad by Justine Saracen   
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (March 17, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626393303
ISBN-13: 978-1626393301
Amazon: The Witch of Stalingrad
Amazon Kindle: The Witch of Stalingrad

As the German Blitzkrieg brings the Soviet Union to its knees in 1942, a regiment of women aviators flies out at night in flimsy aircraft without parachutes or radios to harass the Wehrmacht troops. The Germans call them “Night Witches” and the best of them is Lilya Drachenko. From the other end of the world, photojournalist Alex Preston arrives to “get the story” for the American press and witnesses sacrifice, hardship, and desperate courage among the Soviet women that is foreign to her. So also are their politics. While the conservative journalist and the communist Lilya clash politically, Stalingrad, the most savage battle of the 20th century, brings them together, until enemy capture and the lethal Russian winter tears them apart again.
The story comes alive vividly - the suspense kept me reading long into the night and late in the morning.
A highly dramatic and engrossing tale of a small band of Russian women pilots during WWII who risked their lives flying sorties over Germany in rattle-trap airplanes without a parachute, without the benefit of daylight. The love story is quite profound by virtue of the connection that exists between one of the aviators and an American war correspondent photographer. Despite their inability to be together very often, the women share a soul mate level of inner reflection, one to the other. A can’t-put-it-down action tale of war, love, disillusionment and redemption.
The Witch of Stalingrad is the story of women pilots in the Russian army during World War II. The story is extremely well researched, and the historical details are woven into the story so that you feel you're there, not being given a history lesson. I loved reading about such intelligent, strong, and brave women. The relationship that grows between the two main character adds luster to the story, but it doesn't overpower each woman's story or character. If there were no love story, this would still be a great book. Well done!


Runners Up:
2.    Bright Lights of Summer by Lynn Ames   
3.    Secrets of Angels by A.L. Duncan

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