Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thirty-three: Russian Winter - Daphne Kalotay

***Full disclosure: This book was provided for free by Harper Collins at their Book Buzz session part of ALA Annual Conference ***

Nina Revskaya star of the Bolshoi Ballet decides to auction off her jewelry that was given to her by her husband, poet Viktor Elsin.  She met him after a performance one night and they shared an immediate connection.  Nina meets him again a few weeks later and they start to date.  She meets his best friend Gersh - a composer - "fighting" against the government ideals.

Nina is surprised one evening when her best friend from childhood - Vera - appears at the dressing room for soloists. Vera left the Krakow Ballet to come to the Bolshoi.  Vera meets Gersh shortly after that and they fall in love.  Nina ends up getting pregnant twice, but decides to end the pregnancies because of her career. Vera ends up pregnant with Gersh's baby - Grigori.

Grigori grows up to be a Russian professor.   He believed all his life that Vikor & Nina are his parents.  He translates Vikor's poems to English.  He also tries to reach out to Nina with a picture of a necklace and documents he thinks are linked to her.

Drew Brooks from the auction house  is intrigued by Nina's history.  She asks her to provide stories about the jewels to help create the supplementary book for the auction.  This book goes back and forth between post WWII Moscow and present day Boston.  As Drew explores the origin of Grigori's necklace, they find out together that his parents are not who he thinks they are.

Both intensely romantic, but historically fascinating and scrupulous, Russian Winter is a love story and an adventure which is completely riveting from the first page.

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