Monday, June 3, 2019

Julie's Review: Lost Roses

Author: Martha Hall Kelly
Series: Lilac Girls #2
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Publisher: Ballantine
Pages: 448 
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Solid look at WWI and the White Russians
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: It is 1914, and the world has been on the brink of war so often, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia: the church with the interior covered in jeweled mosaics, the Rembrandts at the tsar’s Winter Palace, the famous ballet. But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia’s imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortune-teller’s daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly stop coming, she fears the worst for her best friend. From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg and aristocratic countryside estates to the avenues of Paris where a society of fallen Russian émigrés live to the mansions of Long Island, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways. In her newest powerful tale told through female-driven perspectives, Martha Hall Kelly celebrates the unbreakable bonds of women’s friendship, especially during the darkest days of history. ~amazon.com 

Review: When Historical Fiction is done right, you learn something about history that you didn't know previously or you knew about it but just on the surface. For me it what the revolution of the Bolsheviks and the overtaking of the government. I find Russian history fascinating and extremely complex, you definitely need a flow chart at times. Ms. Kelly keeps it simple by focusing on one family that are a part of the White Russians and even the inner circle of the royal family. 

I enjoyed the story-line of Sofya and her family as they tried to flee to the Russian countryside from the Revolution in the city but unfortunately the countryside is no safer and maybe more dangerous than the city. They are out of the protection of the guards and are out in the open. Sofya's husband is away fighting for the royal Army so that leaves her and their young son to fight off the mercenaries that threaten their existence. What she didn't expect was that the young village girl that she hired to help her with the care of her son would bring the biggest danger to her house and affect her life in ways she never imagined. 

Sofya is a strong woman who suffers much loss before she finally finds her peace. She is resilient in a way that a privileged young woman, let alone a wife and mother, ever find out they need to be. She fights for her safety and the safety of her family.

I felt that the story of Eliza Ferriday took a backseat to Sofya's trials and tribulations. It's not that Eliza didn't suffer her own losses but she also didn't have the tragedy that Sofya had. She never stopped looking for her friend and did help many women and families that fled Russia during the revolution. She looked for ways she could make a difference and fight for those who lost everything. She gets this from her mother who was/is a champion for women rights.

Lost Roses is a great historical fiction novel but can be a bit slow at times depending on the pace of book you are looking for. I definitely can't wait for the 3rd in this series. 

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