We’re deep into winter here in northern California, although not a Russian winter by any means. Winter evenings, when afternoon light fades earlier each day into cold, inky sky, I relish the extra time I guiltlessly take to read good books. Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay was one terrific novel I recently finished. It’s not a short read, but its complexity interwoven with love, loss, betrayal, dark secrets, intrigue, life-altering revelations, and redemption make for a true page turner.
Daphne Kalotay crafts a magnificent novel rooted in well-researched historical facts with characters who compel attention. The personality of the ballet, life in Stalinist Russia and in Boston, and the exquisite depth of amber are superimposed on an interesting array of characters adroitly depicted by Kalotay in Russian Winter. Love affairs, lies, and political beliefs essentially trap humans in their tracks every bit as much as a spider finds herself forever suspended in time, emerging egg sack and all. That is until the urgency of fear on one hand and the promise of fulfillment on the other allow the determined to escape oppression and the resilient to open to trust and new beginnings. The intricacies of personality, politics, and personal choice, along with an attraction to fine jewelry and dance are absorbing—you won’t want to put this book down even after you’ve read the last word. And you’re sure to learn a great deal about the effects of political oppression along the way. Beware of what you hope for; it could come back as the end of freedom as you know it.
Memory plays a big part in this novel. In fact, you could say the plot revolves around memories secreted away. The Story Woman and all TellTale Souls understand the power of deeply seated memory. Have some fun with Russian Winter. For some of you, it may tempt the telling of tales you’d thought were secure!