Welcome – as I trace my Estonian family history

Join me in my adventures in reading and writing

Join me in my adventures in reading and writing

Kaia Gallagher, Author

As a memoirist with an Estonian family story to tell, I am writing a wartime narrative of heroism that details how my family, like many Estonians, managed to survive when their country was occupied first by the Soviets, then by the Germans during World War II, only to be re-occupied by the Soviets after the war ended.

After a lifetime of collecting stories regarding how my mother and her family escaped from Estonia as World War II was coming to an end, I am beyond excited that my book, Candles for the Defiant, is now in print. Look for the paperback or E-book versions at your favorite book distributor. The audiobook should be available shortly.

My grandfather, Jaan Vares, 1939

Before war broke out in Estonia in 1939, my grandfather, Jaan Vares, was a successful physician, a former Mayor of his hometown of Viljandi, and a prominent town leader. After watching many of his colleagues, neighbors, and friends deported to Siberia by the Soviets, he was forced in 1944 to leave everything behind, an exile that lasted for the rest of his life.

My Grandmother, Elise Vares, 1949

My grandmother, Elise Vares, was an organizer who liked to keep her household in order. For years, she managed my grandfather’s medical practice. Then, when war broke out, she watched as her life fell and those whom she loved most in the world died.

My aunt, Asta Vares, 1939

Idealistic and patriotic, my mother’s sister, Asta, fought with her fiancé, Bruno, to resist when the Soviets occupied Estonia at the beginning of World War II. Their struggle was doomed to fail.

My mother, Kaia Vares, 1939

My mother was only 18 when the war in Estonia began. Doggedly determined to survive, she found ways to help her family to escape, first from Estonia and then from the Eastern section of Germany before it was taken over by the Soviets.

Publishing News

Thank you for your interest and support. I am so excited to finally be able to share my book with you.

Candles for the Defiant is now available through multiple book distributors including Amazon.

I am delighted to have arranged for the talented Kiiri Sandy to serve as the voice narrator for my audiobook. Check out a sample of the audiobook below.

Review copies of the e-book and audiobook versions of Candles for the Defiant are also now available through NetGalley.

Click icon to listen to a sample.

Every month I offer a Book Club suggestion that highlights authors who write about their family history and explore themes of identity.
If you have books you would like to recommend, contact me at: kaia@kaiagallagher.com

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