Russia and Eastern Europe have been rife with conflict for years. There have been regimes and empires that have risen and fallen throughout history and it is an area in history that I have such limited knowledge and understanding. Whenever I see historical fiction books set in Russia or Eastern Europe, regardless of the time period, I am usually really interested in. I know that I will learn something new and explore unknown to me history. When this one came up for review, naturally I was intrigued.
Lana Kortchik is not stranger to historical fiction, she has written two other books that are set in WWII, both of which are focused on the Eastern European experience (Ukrainian region) during the war. That is one of the things that makes this book stand out for me. There are so many books set in WWII that focus on the occupations of France and Belgium, as well as the experiences of England, America, and France. Right away I could tell this book was different just based on the description and I was eager to see what sorts of historical tidbits I could glean from this one.
This book is actually set earlier the WWII so it will be a new time period for this author, and a favorite time period of mine! I couldn’t wait to start reading this one and am so excited to bring a review to you guys today! This book is out now so do not miss it especially if you are a historical fiction fan looking for something a little off the beaten path historically.
Petrograd is on the eve of revolution. For Countess Sophia Orlova, the city of her childhood – the only home she has ever known – has become her deadly enemy. The mob are ready to get rid of anyone connected to the old regime, including Sophia.
When rebels threaten to shoot Sophia and her husband, they are saved by Nikolai, a fervent supporter of the revolution. Determined to help Nikolai’s cause, Sophia sets up a hospital wing in the house, nursing injured victims by his side.
Her kindness has captured Nikolai’s heart, but their burgeoning romance is forbidden. With battle lines drawn between the new and the old, both their lives are in danger…
Will their love be strong enough to overcome the horrors of war?
From the bestselling author of Sisters of War comes a heart-wrenching novel of lovers trapped on the opposite sides of a terrifying political conflict, loss, and sacrifice. (summary from Goodreads)
This book could potentially be a bit misleading at first glance. This book is published by HQ which is an offshoot of Harlequin, a publisher known for its romances and thus I think a lot of people will go into this one expecting it to be ‘fluff’. This book was surprisingly heavy on history. On one hand a lot of history and background is helpful but can sometimes bog the story down. I enjoy books with a lot of history especially when it’s a time in history that I don’t know much about such as this. I felt like I learned a lot from this book historically but at times it just felt a little too heavy on the history part for the casual reader. I personally didn’t mind but I am also a historian and love learning about the historical things happening in a part of the world that I don’t know much about but if you are looking for something that is a historical fiction light book, then this might be a bit much on the history for you.
The book does start off with a lot of action and right away it hooked me into the story. This book doesn’t shy away from the brutality of war nor does it romanticize it but it does show that even in the darkest of times, romantic connections and love can form. I really liked how this book portrayed the struggles of the people and characters, but also showed readers that love could grow from unimaginable pain and suffering. I loved reading Sophia and Nikolai’s romance. I thought they were a great pair and I loved seeing how they worked through struggles and difficulties. While I am normally not a huge fan of romantic triangle, in this book both Nikolai and his brother are both in love with the same woman. In this book though I think the romance triangle does more for the story than other romantic triangles.
The romantic triangle helped explain things historically—at least for me. Each brother had a differing opinion about the politics of the time and I think this really helped me understand how and why some things were happening politically. This is why I didn’t mind the romance triangle in this book as it served a larger purpose than just being a romantic instrument for the characters. The story as a whole really kept me on the edge of my seat too, it was an excellent read with a lot of drama, love, and of course history.I felt invested in the characters and their stories as well as the romances, but what shined for me was the history. While heavy history might not be for everyone, for me it made the story stand out and unique. I really liked this book and can’t wait for more from this author.
Book Info and Rating
Format 352 pages, Paperback
Published December 8, 2022 by HQ Digital
ISBN 9780008512613 (ISBN10: 0008512612)
Free review copy provided by publisher, HQ Digital, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: historical fiction