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Alissa Lukara’s Novel Takes Readers on a Quest to Heal

Ancestral Trauma’s Impact on Future Generations


What if the trauma of ancestors we have never met can still haunt our lives today? The field of epigenetics reveals how these past traumas are passed on to future generations in the DNA. The new novel, Secrets of the Trees by Alissa Lukara, explores one woman’s quest to heal the impact of this phenomenon in a story set in Latvia in 2003, thirteen years after the nonviolent Singing Revolution freed the country from fifty years of Soviet rule.


Nikkie, a twenty-two-year-old dancer performing at the Hollywood Bowl, is about to become a star. Instead, she’s sent reeling by the vision of a girl and her parents being shot in a forest in 1940s Latvia. Knowing she will not be able to dance again until she solves the mystery of the vision, she goes on a quest to Latvia, the land of her ancestors, to uncover the secrets hidden in the trees of her vision and to find the father she has never met.


The world-famous Latvian Song and Dance Festival is about to take place. Latvia is in the midst of a renaissance but also living in the shadow of the residual trauma from Soviet oppression. Nikkie discovers the Latvians’ mystical soul connection to nature and trees and the unifying power of their mass choir singing and dancing. She confronts how her ancestors’ resilience in the face of challenge has shaped her own life and how helping the dead of her vision could heal them and free her to fulfill her own dreams.


Alissa Lukara is a first generation American. Her family escaped Latvia during WWII to avoid deportation to Siberia and were refugees for five years. She traveled there three times to research this novel. Her memoir, Riding Grace: A Triumph of the Soul (Silver Light Publications), was called by the Midwest Book Review “a transcendental story about the immeasurable powers of redemption and compassion.” Night Dancin’ (Ballantine Books), her pop culture overview of New York City discoes, is now a collector’s item. She has been a professional writer and writing coach for more than thirty years. She blogs at, teaches workshops and speak on writing as a transformational journey.


Secrets of the Trees by Alissa Lukara • October 23, 2019 •

Novel • Trade Paper • $17.95 • ISBN: 978-1-950475-03-2 • 334 Pages

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