Winter, 1916: in St Petersburg, Russia, on the brink of revolution. Outside the Smolny Institute for Noble Young Ladies, an English governess is waiting for her young charge to be released from school. But so are the Tsar's secret police....
Beautiful and headstrong, Sashenka Zeitlin is just 16. As her mother parties with Rasputin and her dissolute friends, Sashenka slips into the frozen night to play her part in a dangerous game of conspiracy and seduction.
Twenty years on, Sashenka has a powerful husband with whom she has two children. Around her, people are disappearing, but her own family is safe. But she's about to embark on a forbidden love affair which will have devastating consequences.
Sashenka's story lies hidden for half a century, until a young historian goes deep into Stalin's private archives and uncovers a heartbreaking tale of passion and betrayal, savage cruelty and unexpected heroism - and one woman forced to make an unbearable choice.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kindle Customer on 03-04-18
Gloomy and exceedingly l o n g - well researched Russian history saga.
I honestly thought this saga would never end but I stuck with it.
Russian history is so complex and so complicated and so rich and so sad and this well researched book explains and explores many aspects of Russia"s tragic history beautifully. I didn't find it an easy story to stay with but that's okay. It challenged me. It's probably a masterpiece in the vein of Dr Zhivago or War and peace. And I appreciate the skilled writing and its reach because it is an epic tale, well told.
Did I enjoy it? Not entirely. Here and there I was moved, mostly I was appalled and I didn't fall in love with Sashenka as I think I was supposed to do. Here and there I gasped, Shocked. Such madness and paranoia. and I did want to find out what befell Sashenka and what happened to Snowy and Carlo. I think the story will stay with me for a long time.and I learned a lot about Russia and Stalin and history and propaganda and perhaps a little more about Russian psyche. Obviously It Is no easy undertaking to write a book like this and I can't fault anything about the gifted and clever writing and what must have been years of research. But I didn't warm to the persona of Sashenka or the main characters and the end was like a glass of cold water thrown in my face. I d say if you have any interest in Russian history and are up for a long saga cleverly put together and well written and researched and don't mind a challenging read ... Or listen .... Go for it. It's one I didn't altogether love but won't forget or regret listening to either .