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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

Russian Winter: A Novel (P.S.) 
Publisher: Harper Perennial
ISBN: 9780061962172
496 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction/Soviet
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge


Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound  


Summary from publisher:

A mysterious jewel holds the key to a life-changing secret, in this breathtaking tale of love and art, betrayal and redemption.
When she decides to auction her remarkable jewelry collection, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi Ballet, believes she has finally drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, the former ballerina finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events, both glorious and heartbreaking, that changed the course of her life half a century ago.

It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of the theater; that she fell in love with the poet Viktor Elsin; that she and her dearest companions—Gersh, a brilliant composer, and the exquisite Vera, Nina’s closest friend—became victims of Stalinist aggression. And it was in Russia that a terrible discovery incited a deadly act of betrayal—and an ingenious escape that led Nina to the West and eventually to Boston.

Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime. But two people will not let the past rest: Drew Brooks, an inquisitive young associate at a Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a professor of Russian who believes that a unique set of jewels may hold the key to his own ambiguous past. Together these unlikely partners begin to unravel a mystery surrounding a love letter, a poem, and a necklace of unknown provenance, setting in motion a series of revelations that will have life-altering consequences for them all.
My Review:  

I’ve had one hectic weekend between all of the computer crashes and the baking. But it did help me get more reading done. It’s only when your computer bites the big one that you realize what you have missed in reading while wasting away your life staring at a screen. This is one of those books that I picked up over the weekend and it proved that maybe I should crash my computer more often.

I loved reading about Nina in both her past and her present. I loved the octogenarian Nina as much as I loved the younger version. The elder Nina was every bit as spicy as I expected. Reading about life in the Soviet Union through Nina’s eyes was a great experience. She was not the type of character to sugarcoat her recollections. It felt completely authentic and served to make the characters and the story feel more real.

I don’t tend to read much modern era historical fiction. I usually still to more historical historicals. You know pre-20th century. So the Soviet era is really new for me even though it was one of my focuses as a History major. The historic detail was rich and vibrant. It sounds cheesy but you really feel as if you were there. The writing was beautiful and elegant. This was the meaty type of historical fiction that I really love and look forward to and it definitely lived up to my expectations 

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.


  1. That is why I refuse to take my computer when I go on vacation - it forces me to pick up those books I've been putting aside (you know, so I can read more emails or something) and I always end up being reminded how much I DON'T really need a computer after all. :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one - thanks for being on the tour!

  2. I totally agree with you on the computer sapping up potential book-time.
    The book sounds interesting. I've not read any soviet era historicals either.

  3. I really enjoyed Russian Winter. Like you I usually like my historical fiction pre-20th century but I'm much more apt to change that after reading Kalotay's novel. I just picked up The Bronze Horseman for my Kindle and hope to dig into it this summer or fall.



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