Skip to main content

Quick Review: "The Mirrored World" by Debra Dean

From Goodreads:  Born to a Russian family of lower nobility, Xenia, an eccentric dreamer who cares little for social conventions, falls in love with Andrei, a charismatic soldier and singer in the Empress's Imperial choir. Though husband and wife adore each other, their happiness is overshadowed by the absurd demands of life at the royal court and by Xenia's growing obsession with having a child--a desperate need that is at last fulfilled with the birth of her daughter. But then a tragic vision comes true, and a shattered Xenia descends into grief, undergoing a profound transformation that alters the course of her life. Turning away from family and friends, she begins giving all her money and possessions to the poor. Then, one day, she mysteriously vanishes.

Years later, dressed in the tatters of her husband's military uniform and answering only to his name, Xenia is discovered tending the paupers of St. Petersburg's slums. Revered as a soothsayer and a blessed healer to the downtrodden, she is feared by the royal court and its new Empress, Catherine, who perceives her deeds as a rebuke to their lavish excesses. In this evocative and elegantly written tale, Dean reimagines the intriguing life of Xenia of St. Petersburg, a patron saint of her city and one of Russia's most mysterious and beloved holy figures. This is an exploration of the blessings of loyal friendship, the limits of reason, and the true costs of loving deeply.


My Thoughts:  I will read just about any work of historical fiction if it is set in Russia so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it.  It sounded really good and I loved Dean's The Madonnas of Leningrad so I figured I would love this too.  However, that just wasn't the case.

I didn't hate this book but I felt like it needed so much more.  It was very short and it seems as though it could have been longer.  There was a lot of story leading up to Xenia's transformation and then the story soon ended after that point. I had expected there to be more about her life helping the poor and it just wasn't there.  She seemed to become such an interesting character and yet the reader didn't really get to know her at that point.  I also was kind of disappointed that the narrator, Dasha, was not more developed.  I wanted to know more about her but despite being the narrator, she really was a minor, almost unimportant, character.

I do think the author provided some beautiful descriptions of Russia during the reign of Empress Elizabeth: I loved the scenes at the costume party.  I also like that this book made me want to know more about the real Xenia because I had never really heard of her before.  Otherwise, I was not super impressed with this book.  I just think that the story had so much potential and it just wasn't able to live up to it.  2 1/2 stars.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic:  Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most 1.) The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons   2.) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon           If you read my blog at all, you know I love these two books so much!  I am not afraid to suggest them to anyone who I think might enjoy them. 3.) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I was definitely recommending this book left and right when the first movie came out. 4.) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 5.) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin           These are two books that I just recently started recommending but they are books that can appeal to anyone so they are easy picks when someone asks for a recommendation. 6.) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead  - I get a little embarrassed when I recommend this book to people but seriously, just because it has vampires does not mean it is like Twilight. 7.) The Giver by Lois

Review and Giveaway: "Distant Signs" by Anne Richter

Synopsis: Distant Signs is an intimate portrait of two families spanning three generations amidst turbulent political change, behind and beyond the Berlin Wall. In 1960s East Germany, Margret, a professor’s daughter from the city, meets and marries Hans, from a small village in Thuringia. The couple struggle to contend with their different backgrounds, and the emotional scars they bear from childhood in the aftermath of war. As East German history gradually unravels, with collision of the personal and political, their two families’ hidden truths are quietly revealed. An exquisitely written novel with strongly etched characters that stay with you long after the book is finished and an authentic portrayal of family life behind the iron curtain based on personal experience of the author who is East German and was 16 years old at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Why do families repeat destructive patterns of behaviour across generations? Should the personal take precedence over

Review and Giveaway: "This Son of York" by Anne Easter Smith

Synopsis: Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by This Son of York…” — William Shakespeare, Richard III Richard III was Anne’s muse for her first five books, but, finally, in This Son of York he becomes her protagonist. The story of this English king is one of history’s most compelling, made even more fascinating through the discovery in 2012 of his bones buried under a car park in Leicester. This new portrait of England’s most controversial king is meticulously researched and brings to vivid life the troubled, complex Richard of Gloucester, who ruled for two years over an England tired of war and civil strife. The loyal and dutiful youngest son of York, Richard lived most of his short life in the shadow of his brother, Edward IV, loyally supporting his sibling until the mantle of power was thrust unexpectedly on him. Some of his actions and motives were misunderstood by his enemies to have been a deliberate usurpation of the throne, but thr