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Publisher's Summary

In Russian Winter, the beautiful debut novel by critically acclaimed writer Daphne Kalotay, a famed ballerina’s jewelry auction in Boston reveals long-held secrets of love and family, friendship and rivalry, harkening back to Stalinist Russia. Called “tender, passionate, and moving” by Jenna Blum, the New York Times best-selling author of Those Who Save Us, Russian Winter is a perfect choice for fans of the novels of Debra Dean (The Madonnas of Leningrad), Ann Patchett (Bel Canto), and Ian McEwan (Atonement).

©2010 Daphne Kalotay (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

“A complex story that, in the end, boils down to the simplest of elements: love, fear, disappointment and loss. An auspicious first novel, elegantly written and without a false note.” ( Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    37
  • 4 Stars
    52
  • 3 Stars
    31
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    7

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    35
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    7
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    4

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    26
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    30
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    22
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Listen

I really enjoyed this story. I bought it because I am fascinated with Russian society, and this story gave me an interesting glimpse into a more prestigious lifestyle in Moscow. It may be a little slow at first, but by the end I thought it was a nicely woven story showing how your decisions in life affect not only your life but so many others. I love stories that weave a thread so that in the end you are thinking, "Ah, that's what that storyline was all about." This one did this well. The narration was also very well done.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

This is one of those gems you find, not on a bestseller list, but completely by accident! Solid story, great narration and historical accuracy wound up nice and tight, just like a good ballerina!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Read this review; Sophisticated and wonderful!

I don't understand the bad reviews. This book has everything, the sophistication and action of "White Nights" defecting Russian dancers, the horror of Stalin's purges in the '50s, the excitement of a jewelry auction, a mystery and expatriot academe all thrown into a tight heartbreaking love story on many levels. Don't miss it. The narrator was wonderful, Russian, Finish, American, French, and a little East Indian, really great listen. Truly great!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Atmospheric

Fully engaging. Pulls you into the lives of the characters on all the various levels. I was informed and entertained.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Booooooooooring

When I was in high school, I distinctly remember studying the novel (Huck Finn!) and learning that it takes three things to make a novel - plot, conflict and character. The last one must somehow be transformed by the first two. Well, this author - and her publisher, her very willing accomplice here - must have been absent that day. They had to include the words "A Novel" in the title so you would not confuse it with a grocery list. I gave up on this book 8 hours in - 8 HOURS - because in that entire time we still had no PLOT. We had a situation - famous ballerina gives up jewels for a mysterious reason - and 8 hours in that's still ALL WE HAD. I think only readers who are just mad for stories (and I use that word loosely here) about ballerinas or Soviet Russia should get this book. I found it to be a major snoozefest. The only reason I gave it 2 stars was the narrator's performance, which was very good.

6 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Ballerina

Would you listen to Russian Winter again? Why?

I bought this book to read for my book club. I would not have picked it without prompting. I found the story compelling, but not enough to read it again.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Russian Winter?

When she fell in love, and then her belief that he had betrayed her.

What does Kathleen Gati bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I found the narrator very easy to listen to. She brought the book alive. I'm not sure I would have finished the book, otherwise.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Slow Moving & Unengaging

As a ballet dancer, I was very excited to listen to this book. It was awful, though - the narrator's voice was extremely boring to listen to and grated on my nerves (as did her English-speaking Russian accents). I didn't finish it, but rather scanned a paper copy for the last 200 pages or so. I found that I didn't know who characters were (and honestly didn't care), didn't like the characters, and felt totally unengaged the entire time. There wasn't nearly enough ballet information, either (for a Bolshoi prima ballerina, we got absolutely no insight into the true ballet world). As I scanned the end, there were some interesting developments, but I still feel like I don't understand the main "mysteries" of the story. Perhaps this book is better read than listened to.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

I listened for about two hours, total. I just could not relate to any of the characters. Something about the narrator didn't work for me, either. I think she had a hard time making each of the characters sound different.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful