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Publisher's Summary

From the mega-best-selling author of White Oleander and Paint It Black, a sweeping historical saga of the Russian Revolution, as seen through the eyes of one young woman

St. Petersburg, New Year's Eve, 1916. Marina Makarova is a young woman of privilege who aches to break free of the constraints of her genteel life, a life about to be violently upended by the vast forces of history. Swept up on these tides, Marina will join the marches for workers' rights, fall in love with a radical young poet, and betray everything she holds dear before being betrayed in turn.

As her country goes through almost unimaginable upheaval, Marina's own coming of age unfolds, marked by deep passion and devastating loss, and the private heroism of an ordinary woman living through extraordinary times. This is the epic, mesmerizing story of one indomitable woman's journey through some of the most dramatic events of the last century.

©2017 Janet Fitch (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Incandescent. Fitch has expertly drawn the world of Russia in 1916 in flurries of white, like an exquisite snow globe, and then nudged it to the edge of a precipice, until in one jarring push, it falls. It crashes and each brilliant shard lifts and swirls. Poets, artists, profiteers, soldiers, cult leaders, sadists, idealists, blood, sex, hope all piecing together in a new life, a new country. The brilliant Janet Fitch has written yet another powerful, kaleidoscopic novel." (Cynthia Bond, author of Ruby)
"Ambitious, vivid, engrossing. Fitch puts flesh and bones on one of the most tumultuous times in human history, a vast canvas filled with the rising up the oppressed, naïve hope, abrupt reversals, and crushing betrayals. The novel is a virtuoso rendition of the time, buoyed by Fitch's impeccable research and her bold, unforgettable prose." (Susan Sherman, author of If You Are There and The Little Russian)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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*****WOW*****

OK....so much to say....I think this is the wordiest review I have ever written...so here goes....

When I started writing this review, I had no idea there will be a sequel!!!!!
This was one very long and beautifully written and well researched book about the Russian revolution, which has been in the making for over 10 years, wow!!!!
It helped a lot that I was born and raised in Leningrad (I know it is St. Petersburg now, but I was born and raised in Leningrad), and all the neighborhoods are familiar to me, which felt like I was walking them again with this book.
The poetry, the beautiful poetry, the breathtaking poetry - not sure if it has the same soul when translated. I remember them all by memory, we all have the poetry imbedded in our memories since we are little little kids.
And the Russian words transliterated into English, were probably hard to read and get the full meaning, unless one is fluent in Russian.

So, with all above said, I had the privilege to enjoy the book immensely, and now I cannot wait for book 2 to be published! I wonder why that wasn't more heavily publicized.

I facilitate a few book clubs, and might add this one to the book list. I wonder if the ladies in my groups will love me or hate me for adding a very lengthy book, but I will take that chance.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • SydSavvy
  • PARIS, TX, United States
  • 12-08-17

Marina's Revolution, Indeed!

Nothing like a revolution springing its banks, while a somewhat pampered poetess and the men and women in her life try to navigate the flood waters. She believed she could so she did, or at least, she tried to and that's all
that matters.

I'm a Dr. Zhivago nut. Watched it over and over, read it in college, reread it a few years ago by audio. When I was a child, I understood the love and the tragedy. When in college, I picked up so much more on the politics. It was only when I listened again a few years ago that I realized the themes- the old Country vs the new country, and how Zhivago's loves reflected them, and the tragedies of each. Because I'm such a Dr. Z fan, I was a bit afraid to pick this up, especially with the billing being somewhat of a Dr. Z for women.

I'm not really sure it is, but the beauty of this book Is how it stands on its own, rather like The Count did in The Gentleman of Moscow. I don't think the symbolism is near as strong as in Dr. Z, but the depth of the journey is certainly present, the hopes, the loves, and the tragedies. The shattered lives, the growth, the twists and turns. It is amazing what humans will do to survive. This book showed me yet another top story of the Reds and beyond. Highly recommend.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Raw emotions through your guts...

Such emotional journey through history...gut wrenching. A classic. The best novel I read this year. Period.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A long but intriguing tale.

Loved Janet Fitch’s story telling and obviously well researched.
So many twists and turns for the heroine and in such a short space of time, I just found that the ending was a bit up in the sky, did the author get bored or do we have to wait for a sequel?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Janet Fitch is no female Zhivago!

I think my expectations were too high. I thought I was getting a literary novel but this was a historical romance novel with a bit of mysticism thrown in. Not bad as they go, but the reviews were misleading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant!!

Incredibly imagined!! Fitch is a master of surprise, story and scene! What a pleasure to listen to every word. It is erudite and enrapturing— I can only hope it will be made into a mini series of major movie!! I was spellbound throughout!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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It soooo left me hanging

It’s a long story I was in it to win it. Tho the book just kind of ended. Lots of unanswered questions. I wanted more. I was left hanging out there and nothing.

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bad ending

such a lengthy involved story that came to an abrupt lame ending. dissapointing after previous works from the author.

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More "Gone with the Wind" than "War and Peace"

Any additional comments?

I never write reviews, but I must say something about this book. I was expecting a “sweeping historical saga” and serious literary fiction, but I realized my mistake after the first tawdry sex scene. By the time we get to the cult and the abrupt ending (with no indication of a serial), I had spent 30 hours on the kind of book I would never pick up on my own.

What kept me going? I listen to a lot of Russia-related books, both fiction and non-fiction. This is the first Audible book on a Russian theme where the narrator actually knows Russian. Usually Russian novels and great non-fiction like Anne Appelbaum’s "Gulag" are ruined by horrendous mispronunciations that could be easily corrected. I kept listening to “Marina M.” partly just to enjoy Yelena Shmulenson’s authentic narration. Most of the books she has narrated seem similarly light, but I will listen to Svetlana Alexievich’s “The Unwomanly Face of War” just for Shmulenson’s narration. I hope Audible will use her for other Russia-related books.

As for the story, I’m not familiar with Janet Fitch. I did some research and found that she studied Russian history and loves Dostoevsky. References in the book to futurist poetry, Viktor Skhlovsky, and precise historical details might be lost on many readers, but they demonstrate a deep knowledge of Russian cultural history. Her specific descriptions of St. Petersburg are spot on. It’s just a shame that she wastes her talents following the pattern of Danielle Steele, rather than Dostoevsky.

Nonetheless, I will probably listen to the sequel. The naïve Marina of this volume is bound to become disillusioned with her revolution, if the author is faithful to the facts. I’m guessing she will end up in the Gulag.

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Fascinating but unsatisfying in the end

I enjoyed the writing and the story quite a bit, but I felt the ending was weak and unsatisfying. Still, it’s quite entertaining and you learn a lot about the early days of the Russian revolution. I just think the writer didn’t know what to do with her story by the end.

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  • Katharine (Kate) Carreaux
  • 12-20-17

chuck lit very sophomoric

waste of time unless you know nothing about the historic setting. the possibly a good bodice ripper upon the Volga

0 of 1 people found this review helpful