Ludmilla is a young farmer’s daughter living in southern Russia during the Russo Crimean Wars of the 16th century. Motherless since age three and with five older brothers constantly taunting her about her gender; Ludmilla eventually develops into a strapping, freakishly strong, and quite intelligent worker on her father’s barley farm. Shedding her identity as a girl completely by age 13, she dresses like a man, walks like a man, and quite frankly smells a lot like one too.
But she has also out-worked, out-thought, and out-fought all of her older brothers until gradually, as they one by one run off to join the army, she becomes almost solely in charge of the entire farm. Father is growing older and more feeble with every passing winter.
Then one day she sees the most beautiful girl she’s ever laid eyes upon. It is Tatyana actually… daughter to the local innkeeper and a quite dainty yet effervescent young teenager almost exactly Ludmilla’s age. Tatyana has practically grown up working in the family’s tavern, serving ale and Vodka to drunken men who have slowly but surely begun treating her like some common trollop when they’ve had too much to drink. Motherless since age ten; she never had time for friends growing up. Never had time for a boyfriend either. Eventually she has become inured to the fact she might just turn into an old maid, some day running the business when her own father passes on.
All this changes when a handsome, yet beardless young “man” enters her tavern; and what happens next will change both their lives forever. Ludmilla (appearing to be a boyish-looking teenager), is suddenly everything Tatyana needs in her life. She is warm, she is caring, and she really listens to Tatyana. She is the best friend Tatyana never had growing up, and the “boyfriend” she thought she’d never find.
They fall in love; and as their love quickly blossoms into a full acceptance of each other’s true identity and sexuality, tragedy is visited upon them when the Great Tatar Invasion of 1571 turns not just theirs but the lives of over 170,000 fellow Russians upside down. Captured and forced into slavery, Ludmilla becomes a common field hand working on a cotton plantation in northern Turkey. Tatyana becomes a concubine in the royal palace of the Grand Sultan in Istanbul. Yet before they are parted, Ludmilla (who prefers going by the male name “Lyev”) makes a solemn vow to her lover.
“Stay alive. No matter what they do to you, just survive. Someday, whatever it takes, I will come for you…!”
The Wild Fields is the second full length novel by Purple Hazel and one we’re particularly proud of. King’s daughter Candace was the first to ask the obvious question, “Why a Lesbian romance?” and King was quick to answer “Because love is precious in all its forms – and those who feel it toward one another certainly believe it’s real, regardless of whether it follows social norms or customs of the day.”
That said, we weren’t fronting some modern social/political agenda! It’s a fantastic plot line which takes the reader from the southern Steppes of Russia all the way to Bursa, Turkey and even inside the Topkapi Palace of the Grand Sultan in Istanbul. Historically accurate, almost to the point of meticulous, in The Wild Fields our readers will learn about this long-lost horrific chapter in world history that few in the west have ever heard about.
What’s more the book, which is over 160,000 words, tells the fascinating tale of a strong-willed woman living as a man in a male-dominated society and having to start at the lowliest station possible by being reduced to that of a common field slave. Yet due to her determination to be reunited with her lover, she not only survives but achieves her own personal freedom. The Wild Fields takes you all the way down into the putrid hold of a slave ship crossing the Black Sea, and takes you into the degrading world of the international slave market in Caffa (aka modern-day Feodosia). The burning of Moscow in 1571. The horrors of the slave march southward to the market where humans were sold off like cattle. Life inside the Ottoman Empire during its heyday. Yes, it’s all there.
The Wild Fields is offered for sale on Smashwords for only $2.99 but you may download the first 20% for free! Learn more about Purple Hazel at Purple Hazel Author Page. You may contact us here on Purple Hazel Blog or by clicking on our contact page by clicking here: Contact Purple Hazel. True love endures all things!