Angel on the Square (Angel on the Square, #1)
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Angel on the Square (St. Petersburg #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,399 ratings  ·  124 reviews
In the fall of 1914, safe behind palace walls, Katya Ivanova sees St. Petersburg as a magical place.The daughter of a lady-in-waiting to the Empress, Katya spends all her time with the Grand Duchesses; the royal family feels like her own. But outside the palace, a terrible war is sweeping through Europe, and Russia is beginning to crumble under the weight of a growing revo...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by HarperCollins (first published August 21st 2001)
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Jenny
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Georgia Herod
This is the first Whelan book I read--and I loved it. I enjoy young adult fiction. In this book and all others I've read--she creates strong female protagonists who overcome great adversity. They are dynamic, growing from beginning to end. Another feature of Whelan's writing is authenticity regarding setting, time frame, history, and culture. One aspect of the last which I very much enjoy is her use of words in the language of the land (for example, in this, as well as the successive books about...more
Devon
Jan 31, 2010 Devon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
This book was something different, kind of a treat for me, because it’s about World War I – not my comfort zone – but also about Russia, which is something I’ve been interested in lately.

It’s meant for children, as per usual, but the shallowness of this book was not a problem for me, really. I felt like the length was suitable for the story. I would’ve liked a little more of a follow up – checking in on Misha, especially, because he was so important to Katya, and, thus, to you as the reader. Bu...more
Linda Lipko
Continuing my journey to study Russian history, I found this book on one of my shelves and spent a pleasant rainy day reading this well written historical novel.

Combining fact with fiction, Angel on the Square is wonderful for many reasons, primarily because it does just what historical fiction should do, ie it opens the door to a glimpse of history and wets the appetite to search for more knowledge about the subject.

Twelve year old Katya Ivanova lived a life of splendor behind guilded palace wa...more
Richelle
I picked this book up because I really liked Homeless Bird, another book by the same author. This is a junior historical fiction book set in Russia during the time of the revolution. The main character, Katya, is born into an aristocratic family and is fiercely loyal to the Romanov family. Her opinion of them begins to be torn as she has opportunities to see how the majority of the Russian citizens live. Even though I know the main historical events of this period, the fictional characters' live...more
Rebecca
Wealthy, twelve-year-old Katya Ivanova and her mother have always lived a luxurious life in their mansion in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia. They spend their summers on their country estate, The Oaks, and Katya's mother is a close friend of Empress Alexandra. When the Empress invites Katya's mother to come live in the palace as a lady-in-waiting and to bring Katya along to be a companion to her youngest daughter, Anastasia, Katya is thrilled. She and Anastasia, or Stana as she is called, bec...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Well. It was interesting learning about the years immediately preceding Lenin - I never heard of Kerensky and will investigate wikipedia et al a bit. Probably a good book for young fans of historical fiction, but I'm neither, so though I'm glad I read it, I'm glad it's over. Um, specifically, it was exhausting to read of all the struggles, and the characters never fully resonated with me, but all the details of life, culture, and history were fascinating and not boggy.

ETA - upon further investig...more
Arabella  Adrienne
"Angel on the Square" is an incredibely good book. It takes place in 1913-1918, and Katya Ivanovna is a 13 year old girl who is the daughter of an aristocrat. Her life changes when her mother is accepted as a Lady-in-Waiting to the Empress of Russia, Tsarina Alexandra. Katya and her mother move into the palace with the Imperial Family, which consists of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, Grand Duchess Olga, Grand Duchess Tatiana, Grand Duchess Maria, Grand Duchess Anastasia, and Tsarevich Alex...more
Erika
Written for a 5th grade level, it is enjoyable for adults as well. Gloria Whelan has beautiful control of language. I got my paperback copy at a garage sale, so I could (with a clear conscience) underline and star turns of phrase that I wanted to go back to and savor again. Her words are artistry, and although she uses conspicuous metaphors and sometimes uses cliched idioms, somehow the language is not contrived; it is new and alive. Angel on the Square is about Katya, the daughter of a countess...more
Ciarra fields
Feb 23, 2009 Ciarra fields is currently reading it
I'm not really far into my book yet i think it is a pretty good book so far. Well my book is about emporers and rulers of kingdoms and i dont really thgink it goes into a lot of detail about some of the characters but other than that itg is an aweesome book. I would oly suggest it to people who dont like detail because it doesnt have much in it. Also, if you like kingdoms/palaces and snobby annoying people to go along with it than this is the perfect book for you.
Richard (Rick)
My family really likes Whelan's other book, "Homeless Bird." This one wasn't as good as Homeless Bird, but was still enjoyable. It's about an aristocrat girl and friend of the royal family whose life changes during the Russian overthrow of the royal family. My 8-year-old daughter loved it. It's appropriate for all ages, although maybe a little unsettling or sad for sensitive young readers.
Magda
I started with the second book in the series, but very much enjoyed this first book. I think any of the three I have read so far can be read as a stand-alone, but they are so good you naturally want to read all of them.
Maggie Desmond-O'Brien
How do you describe the magnetism some books have when you're half-asleep at eleven p.m. looking for something to read? This book appeared on my bedside table one day, probably rescued from 10-year-old sister and 6-year-old brother's perpetual room cleaning, and somehow "I'll read a page or two" turned into the whole book. Go figure.

It's a book we were supposed to study in our homeschool group one summer, only I moved. Somehow I still ended up with a copy, and with my friends back at my old home...more
Audrey
This is another effortlessly engaging piece of historical fiction by one of my favorite young adult authors. Whelan has such a talent for bringing together time, place, characters, and thought-provoking content in a way that is both richly informative and easy to read.

The main focus of this book is not so much the characters, but Russia itself during this pivotal time in its history. Through the eyes of Katya, it covers the many different sides of what led to the downfall of the imperial regime...more
Ashe
Wow. Just wow!

My teacher assigned this book to us and I confess, I would not have picked up this book if it hadn't been for him. We've all heard many times that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover but there's this part of me that just dies when I see a great book with a fantastic plot yet donned in such a bland cover.

This isn't the type of book that hooks you in from the beginning. The main character being an ignorant, slightly contemptuous child didn't help that either. But it IS one of thos...more
Naomi Kenorak
The series is so engaging that you hardly realize how much you are learning about Russian history in the process. The books are probably aimed at the middle-school and up read-alone crowd; however, I read this book aloud when my children were still in elementary school. The historical themes definitely warrant (and encourage) discussion and the real-life tragedy may be too intense for some kids.

The first book, Angel on the Square, follows a girl whose mother becomes a lady-in-waiting to the last...more
Samantha
The novel, Angel on The Square was a fantastic novel. Gloria Whealan did a wonderful job in painting a picture in the readers mind, what 1914 would look like in Russia. I would definitely recommend this book to all of my classmates, and I defiantly would like to read the rest of the series. The book was very informational and it was interesting that the narrator was not Anastasia unlike many other Russian revolution era novels.
Cathy
Angel on the Square introduces readers to Katya Ivanova, a 13-year-old living in St. Petersburg during the Russian Revolution. Her mother is a lady-in-waiting to the Empress, and Katya's life in the imperial palace is lush -- and safe. The rest of Russia, however, is in turmoil as revolutionary ideas inflame the populace, and Katya is torn. She initially does not want to hear of fighting and disruption, but she slowly begins to understand the pleas of the poor. Katya begins to think outside the...more
Martha Valasek
This is a prequel to The Impossible Journey. After reading it, and learning about that part of Russian history, I was intrigue enough to read about the first part of this story. The main character's mother was a ladies' maid for the czar's wife. This is a historical fiction about that troubled time in Russian history.
Kari Hustad
I really liked the story. It's a great way to present so much history. I read this for a book project and I was really surprised by how good it was. The cover looks like some sort of art my grandmother would have in her Russian art museum of a house, so I didn't really know what to expect besides something I wouldn't really like. Russia was not something I was super interested in before I started this. Now I'm really curious about that time period in Russia, particularly about the Romanovs. I th...more
Kewpie
Katya lived in Imperial Russa in 1913. She was of the noble class. Her mother was a lady in waiting to Empress Alexandra. They lived within the palace walls in amazing oppulance. Her life was one of luxury and she barely understood the complaints of the working poor. She was not aware how tired, hungry and angry the peasants were. As the revolution begins, her life becomes daily more affected by it until she lives in poverty and fears for her life. Whelan's writing is excellent and she creates a...more
Mimi
Very well done YA Historical Fiction about the Russian Revolution, the author did a great job of addressing the issues at an appropriate level. I know that this is the first of four books, and I will definitely be looking for the next ones. A couple of minor quibbles: the author didn't always have a handle on Orthodoxy (she describes fasting on a Feast Day, and has the Paschal procession out of place in the service), and some odd punctuation here and there. Otherwise, just a great book, and defi...more
Luke Held
This story provided a decent narrative context for the Russian Revolution as seen through the aristocracy. The protagonist was a young girl in the household of the Tsar. She was exposed to the revolutionary side through a cousin which provided glimpses into the lives of the poor in Russia which lead to the revolution.

Overall, it was pretty good giving life to history.
Maya
It was an okay book. It was very engaging at times but it got to be a bit boring.
Chrissie
A good informative book for children curious about the Russian Revolution. I haven't given it more stars because the emotional relationship between Katya and Misha does not ring true. For this reason these two central characters seem flat, hollow, merely story book characters. Their feelings for each other are not honestly explored in the text. At the book's end, the plot has them going off together to St. Petersburg, almost as a couple! The book IS very good for its simple and clear presentatio...more
Emily
In 1913 Russia, 11-year-old Katya’s mother is invited to be a Lady-in-Waiting to the Empress. Katya and her mother move in with the tsar and his family, and Katya becomes close friends with the duchess Anastasia. I have to admit, I was disappointed in this book. I wanted to learn more history, and while seeing the events of history from the point of view of the Tsar’s family is interesting, I didn’t get what I was looking for. But it’s all very intangible, I can’t really put my finger on what I...more
Jules Brugel
A wonderfully written story, historically accurate.
Shae
Written from the perspective of a lady in waiting's daughter in the Tzar's court, I enjoyed this book for it's Russian setting. It would work well as a historical novel in a Russian/world history school unit with lots of commentary on class conflicts. It was more of a children's novel for me, even for all the of heavier themes, and the writing just a tad dull. There is a companion novel to this one, but I do not think I will read it unless I find myself using this book in a school setting.
Julie
This is a great young adult historical fiction novel. Whelan does a fantastic job of portraying so many important ideas about the Russian Revolution: the contrast between the Tsar and his family personally and politically, the tension between the aristocrats and peasants, the desire of the wealthy to close their eyes to poverty and how that inspired (and really, in many ways, forced) the people to revolt. The characters are well-developed and the writing is good, as well.
Claire
Siobhan's review: I thought it was pretty good. Occasionally it did get a little boring. I wished the author had given more description(s) about what life was really like in the royal family.

Emma's review: I thought that this book was just okay. There were times when the book was so intriguing and I thought that this was the best book ever. But then it would quickly get boring and I would regret what I had thought about the book.
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Gloria Whelan is the best-selling author of many novels for young readers, including Homeless Bird, winner of the National Book Award; Friutlands: Louisa May Alcott Made Perfect; Angel on the Square and its companion, The Impossible Journey; Once on this Island, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award; Farewell to the Island; and Return to the Island. She lives with her husband, Joseph, in the woods...more
More about Gloria Whelan...
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“It is hard to give up what you know for what you don’t know.” 9 likes
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