For nearly two years, a book has been holding my favorite bookmark hostage. Back in 2010 I requested an ARC via a Shelf Awareness ad, which I excitedly received. When I started on the book, I placed my bookmark inside – and now two years later I finally have that bookmark back.
The book was Russian Winter written by Daphne Kalotay. So with a start like this, and two years to complete you must be thinking – it is either the longest book ever written or possibly the worst and trust me, it is neither. In fact, once I finally made the commitment to read and finish it a few weeks ago, I became so absorbed in the interwoven stories that I didn’t want to put it down.
Russian Winter takes the reader into post-WWII Communist Russia and the world of the ballet, and converses that with the present day centered on a jewelry auction. I hate to write too much and give anything really away but the story, especially Nina’s life in Communist Russia, her rise in the ballet and the choices she had to make to follow her love of dance are so beautifully written and heart-wrenching.
Two semesters ago I took a course with a reading list that included classics of Russian literature, including Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and while obviously on a different plane, Russian Winter certain had the depth and feel of a Russian classic. So while the book has a slow build, it is so worth it to soldier on, you will be rewarded with a beautiful story.
But, as a little word of advice on this hot August day as I plan on my own reading lists for my upcoming beach weekend – this might not be the book to lounge by the pool with, but it is definitely a curl up in your favorite reading chair with a cozy blanket and warm cup of tea kind of book. And maybe you want to keep a box of tissues close by.
*As noted, I received this ARC from HarperCollins via a Shelf Awareness ad back in 2010.*
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