Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

Title: Russian Winter

Author: Daphne Kalotay

Genre: Fiction

About: The story of a Russian ballerina who becomes a star of the Bolshoi Ballet, falls in love with a poet and tries to live the best life possible under Stalin’s rule until that is no longer possible.

My thoughts: This is one of those novels that pulled me in immediately and kept me interested throughout. Daphne Kalotay’s descriptive writing immersed me in life in post WW II Russia – especially what it was like for people in the arts.  I felt like I was in the audience watching Nina Revskaya dance in Swan Lake.  I could imagine falling asleep at the dacha listening to the nightingale sing.  I could even visualize the working crews of women smoothing asphalt on the roads.

Once Nina defects from Russia she travels to London, Paris and finally Boston.  She smuggled her jewels with her when she left and now, decades later, crippled and in a wheelchair, she has decided to have her collection auctioned with the proceeds going to the local ballet.  The jewels have stories of their own that connect several characters in the novel.

One of the characters is Grigori, a professor of Romance languages in Boston.  He has a pendant that he believes is part of Nina’s collection and is trying to find out what the connection is.  He has his own assumptions and he would like Nina to confirm them.  He has contacted her a few times over the past few decades and each time she has refused to discuss her past or the jewels.

As the auction of the jewels draws near Nina finds herself remembering her past more and more.  There are a few twists and turns near the end and  Grigori and Drew, who works for the auction house, make their own discoveries which converge in a satisfying conclusion.

Source: Dawn from She Is Too Fond Of Books sent me her review copy.  Thank you, Dawn!

Recommend? Yes, especially to fans of historical fiction.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

19 thoughts on “Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

  1. Mary, I think one of the girls are giving me this for Christmas. Glad that it was a wonderful read! Thanks for the great review! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Enjoy the 20 people-I love alot of people visiting and enjoying the holidays!


  2. Well you know I love historical fiction. I have a sample of this on my Kindle but haven’t gotten to it. It does sound like a really good novel and I’m glad to hear you liked it.


  3. You have just made me add this to the WWBL. I’ve seen other reviews and the synopsis of this, but it didn’t appeal to me. Now it does. Thank you! You put a better spin on it.


  4. What a beautiful cover and beautiful review Mary! I can’t wait to read this one, it’s been on my TBR shelf and I am looking forward to reading it.


  5. I’d passed this one up when it was on Shelf Awareness, then received an unexpected copy, and I’m so glad for that given all the glowing reviews. Glad you really liked this one. You’ve made me really look forward to reading it.


  6. Hi Mary,
    This sounds like a really good book and I love reading books about history. I’ll have to check this one out. Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great day!

    Just Books


  7. What a beautiful cover. I am so glad you liked this book. loving the cover as I do, I would have been so disappointed if the story had turned out to be a ‘bad’ read.


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