Friday, May 3, 2013

If You Want to Read About...Russia (Historical Fiction edition)

This is my second 'If You Want To' post on I thought I would focus it on historical fiction set in Russia.  I am obsessed with Russian history (I even got my master's in Russian Studies) and so anytime I see a work of historical fiction that is focused on Russia, I have to read it.  Personally, I don't think there are that many really good works of Russian historical fiction  but below are some of my favorites.  I may do another post at some point that focuses on non-fiction about Russia and/or Russian Literature.

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons-I'm sure you are all well aware about my love for this book.  It's seriously one of my favorite books ever and it is set in Russia which makes me love it more!

The Jewel of St Petersburg by Kate Furnivall-This is a wonderful love story set at the beginning of the Russian Revolution.  It has wonderful characters and a beautiful setting.  It's the first in a trilogy but I think it was the definitely the best of the set.

The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges-This book is fantastic because it is paranormal, YA and Russian historical fiction.  It is not the most historically accurate but it is still a really fun story.

The Little Russian by Susan Sherman-I loved that this story was so unique and very well-written.  It was set in Ukraine in shtetl and provides a completely different look at the experience of living through the Russian Revolution. 

The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller-The Lost Crown is one of many books that focuses on the family of the last tsar.  What makes it so different is that it is told from the point of view of Tsar Nikolai's four daughters.  I found this story to be incredibly poignant and heart-breaking.

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith-Child 44 is an awesome murder mystery set in Stalinist Russia.  It is super creepy but so good!

The Siege by Helen Dunmore- I find the Seige of Leningrad to be so fascinating and this is a short but well-written narrative about the seige.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys-One of my focus areas in grad school was Stalin's mass deportations of various ethnic groups living within the Soviet Union.  This book is narrated by a young Lithuanian girl whose family is affected by these events.  I am so glad that someone wrote an approachable book about one of the lesser-known atrocities committed by Stalin.

Have you read any of these books?  Is there a book you think I should have included?


  1. Thanks for your suggestions. I have recently read most of James Clavell's and I am now fascinated by Soviet Union!

  2. I am Ukrainian and grew up in the Soviet Union now I live in Australia. To be honest Paulina Simons The Bronze Horseman is not a good historical book at all. So many mistakes about Leningrad history. If you want to know more about Russian ( Soviet Union) history then try to read russian authors books such as Journey into the Whirlwind by Yevgenia Ginzburg, Varlam Salamovs books , Vasyl Shkliar's Raven ( it goes about the Ukrainian fighters for freedom, who battled against the Soviets in 1920-1922 in a region called Kholodnyi Yar (Cold Valley), Solzhenitsin nooks etc. There are some really good Christian authors books about Russia - Michael Phillips and Judith Pella's The Russians Series( 7 books) Bonnie Leon's The Sowers Trilogy. They are not written by russians but they describe russian history very well

    1. Thank you for your comment! I have read "Kolyma Tales" by Varlaam Shalamov and two of Yevgenia Ginzburg's books as well as some of Solzhenitsyn's works. This list's focus is more on works of fiction set in Russia which is why I didn't include those authors. I know that Shalamov's and Solzhenitsyn's books are fiction but I don't necessarily see them as being in the same category as the books listed above.


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