Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: "The Betrayal" by Helen Dunmore

From Goodreads:  Leningrad in 1952: a city recovering from war, where Andrei, a young hospital doctor and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together. Summers at the dacha, preparations for the hospital ball, work and the care of sixteen year old Kolya fill their minds. They try hard to avoid coming to the attention of the authorities, but even so their private happiness is precarious. Stalin is still in power, and the Ministry for State Security has new targets in its sights. When Andrei has to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer, Volkov, he finds himself and his family caught in an impossible game of life and death - for in a land ruled by whispers and watchfulness, betrayal can come from those closest to you.

My Thoughts:  This book is the sequel to The Siege which I read a few months ago.  I feel like I haven't read much historical fiction lately and this book made me see how I much I have missed it.  The Betrayal picks up 10 years after The Siege and continues to follow Anna, Andrei and Kolya as they try to survive and thrive in Stalinist Russia.  I think Ms. Dunmore did an amazing job of portraying what life was like for the average person during this time and the book is very well-written.  I was pretty sure going into this book how it would end and I was right but I'm not upset about it.  Rather than create the perfect happy ending, Dunmore's ending was real.  That's not to say that the ending was bad but it was realistic and showed what happened to people during that era.  I never cease to be shocked by how incredibly messed up life in Stalinist Russia was and reading this book made me excited to get back to reading books about this era.  4 stars.

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