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Sashenka: A Novel
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Sashenka: A Novel

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,564 ratings  ·  230 reviews
In the bestselling tradition of Doctor Zhivago and Sophie's Choice, a sweeping epic of Russia from the last days of the Tsars to today's age of oligarchs -- by the prizewinning author of Young Stalin.

Winter 1916: St. Petersburg, Russia, is on the brink of revolution. Outside the Smolny Institute for Noble Girls, an English governess is waiting for her young charge to be
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ebook, 544 pages
Published November 11th 2008 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is an outstanding work from a serious scholar of Russian history. I'll be interested to try one of his nonfiction books. The author's knowledge of period details, mindsets, and customs really makes this novel stand out. There are so many fascinating little extras.
My summaries of the sections are deliberately vague, as I think it's essential to be in the dark about where the story is going for best enjoyment. All three of the parts are very nicely tied in with each other by the end of the no
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C.W.
I've always been obsessed with Russian history, in particular the events leading to the 1917 revolution that murdered the Tsar, his family, as well as countless others, setting the stage for Stalin and decades of untold horrors, which remained shrouded in secrecy and encoded dossiers until the collapse of the USSR.

In Simon Montefiore's sweeping novel, SASHENKA, we get an all-encompassing view of these pivotal, blood-soaked events through the eyes of the titular character - a wealthy Jewish girl
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Kate Furnivall
The background research is impressive but to me Sashenka herself feels like a man's creation of a woman - not totally convincing.
Liviu

I browsed several times this book - since I read the author's two well received books on Stalin - but until an online review captured my attention I did not think that I would read it since this is a book that combines superb characters, writing and period detail with some truly cheesy writing and passages that drone on, so a quick browse and even the short online excerpts available do not do it justice.

After finishing it I have to say that I truly did not expect to enjoy it and be moved by it
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Gretchen
If not for part three of this novel, this would have been a 1.5 star read. I don't want to give too much away (even using spoilers). Part three involves a young girl named Katinka who is hired by a woman to track down her biological parents who gave up their children in the days before Russia would officially enter into WWII. This plot would have been enough for an entire novel by itself. However, before the reader can get to the good stuff, they have to endure parts one and two. Part one descri ...more
Gabriela
I really couldn't put this book down. A delicate yet to the point style, at times filled with candid loving descriptions of a perfect family, then horrific telling with the most intricate and open details of terrors. It was a touching story, I was taken aback by the atrocities in the years of Terror in URSS. It really touched a sensitive cord and I plan to read more on the Stalin's Russia and the totalitarian system. So many lives broken apart, torn to pieces, changed forever.

The only thing tha
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Claire
Non riesco a dare più di due stelline. Addirittura era una sola dopo la prima parte, tremenda, con personaggi stereotipati al massimo: la protagonista, nobile di famiglia che lotta coi bolscevichi e se ne esce con frasi tipo "I love you dad, but we blosheviks don't have families", la madre ricca depravata, il tizio della polizia segreta che forse crede pure lui nel comunismo...
I dialoghi sono terribili, i personaggi invece di parlare come persone normali declamano e raccontano tutta la loro stor
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Ella Endif
Questo libro mi ha piacevolmente stupito.
E’ iniziato in sordina, scritto bene, preciso, fin troppo dettagliato nella descrizione storica (quella iniziale). Ammetto di aver avuto qualche difficoltà nella prima parte, quella introduttiva di una realtà che, l’ho capito solo ora che sono giunta alla fine, ho sempre considerato con profondo pregiudizio: la ferma convinzione negli ideali comunisti in Russia, quella che si può solo paragonare a qualche estremo fanatismo *religioso* (mi si passi l’incon
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Imogen
I loved this book!
Only recently have I become interested in modern history, and more specifically the Russian Revolution, and this book definitely helped to deepen my interest.
'Sashenka' is very well researched, and is the author's first novel as Montefiore normally writes historical books. This was a GREAT debut! The latter part of the book, though not AS enjoyable as the first two parts is still fantastic and provides a look into post-Stalinist Russia. It is set in a different decade from the
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Fuschia
Feb 20, 2009 Fuschia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: michael
Recommended to Fuschia by: author's other books
One of those books you keep thinking about for days after finishing. Heartbreaking and historically interesting. Once the action got moving in book 2 and 3 I couldn't put it down. Twists and turns galore.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I am setting this one aside 30-odd pages in for two main reasons:

1) Pacing within scenes seems off and characters not quite believable.

2) Holy male gaze, Batman! Literally the first thing we learn about the (16-year-old) protagonist is her breast size. They are, in case you wanted to know (I didn't), "the fullest breasts in her class." As we are told from her own POV. Meanwhile her governess is off ogling the headmistress, or so I presume by the fact that when the author writes from said governe
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Marvin
My freshmen year of college, after my first semester, I took a "Winter Term" one-month, concentrated course titled "The Russian Revolution through Literature" with 4 bright, upper-class history majors (I was not a history major). It was one of the best courses I ever took. We read Pasternak, Sholokov, and others and talked & wrote about them. Montefiore, primarily a historian who has written nonfiction works about the Stalinist era in Russian history, has clearly read those novels, too, with ...more
Tara Chevrestt
Feb 19, 2010 Tara Chevrestt rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tara by: Irene
This is novel about revolution, espionage, and sex. Sashenka is a very young, impressionable teenager in the beginning who gets involved in the revolution (NOT on the governments side.) Her parents are rich, spoiled people. Her mother is a drug and sex addict (Oops. We are supposed to say hyper sexual disorder now! LOL) and while her mother is attending orgies, Sashenka's father is doing the nanny. Sashenka uses her womanly wiles to lure a government offical into giving her information and he ru ...more
Ilaria
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wintergal
It's totally unconvincing for a native Russian-speaker, ridiculous in parts. The book is so full of discrepansies and silly details the author got simply wrong! I was astounded to read in the Acknowledgements that he thanked his teacher of Russian who read the text for mistakes. Well, she did a poor job of it.
For all those readers who are interested in this period of Soviet history - revolution, stalin repressions, concentration camps, I would suggerst to read a truly amazing memoir of a surviva
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Miki Garrison
I ordered this book really looking forward to it. After all, it had a lot going for it that promised a good read -- Russian history, a young adult diving into political conspiracy, love stories, etc. Reading the cover flap had me all excited.

Reading the actual book, though, was a let down. The beginning of the book jumps every few pages to a different set of characters, almost all dialogue with very little description or action, not spending enough time with any of characters for me to really f
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Miss Jane
I picked this one up because I read a good review in the paper. I wasn't as impressed as the reviewer was.

Sashenka (I do love that nickname), is a young girl in Russia before the revolution. She gets involved with the revolutionaries and delivers messages for them, writes articles under an assumed name, etc. After the revolution, she and her husband are important Party members, with two kids, a nice dacha and even an American refrigerator.

But then Sashenka does a VERY STUPID THING and gets the
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Giada
Libro veramente emozionante. Può risultare noioso all'inizio a causa del tema trattato.
Ma piano piano, si entra nella storia e nella vita di Sasenka fino a farla diventare una sorella, con cui piangi, ridi e ti arrabbi quando sbaglia. é uno di quei libri che appena ci ripenso mi emoziono e corro a rileggerlo, che mi fa piangere solo al ricordo.
Brenda
Historically interesting depiction of a terrible brutal time in Russia. Some characters (Sashenka's mother, lover)were less convincing than others but this is a compelling read. Just a few chapters in, it was apparent that horrendous things were about to happen to Sashenka's family, but I was hooked by then and couln't put the book down.
Amber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carl Nelson
"Sashenka" starts out slowly, then becomes a taut tale of survival, and then ends as a historical mystery page-turner. The first part, set in St. Petersburg in 1917, tells of young revolutionary Sashenka at the fall of Tsarist Russia. Sashenka's silly idealism made this the weakest part of the book for me and it was interesting largely for its vivid depiction of the city and times. The second part is set in Moscow in 1939. Sashenka is the perfect Communist Party wife and mother, and it begins to ...more
Roberta
Questo libro, già molto bello nelle sue due prime parti, con la terza si è guadagnato la quinta stelletta, emblema dell'eccellenza.

Siamo in Russia ad inizio Novecento, Sasenka è una giovane di buona famiglia abituata ai lussi e a una vita più che agiata, ma insofferente nei confronti del lassismo morale della bellissima madre e dell'affetto distaccato del ricchissimo padre. Essi non riescono a farla sentire amata e forse è anche per questo che un'estate lo zio Mendel, comunista della prima ora,
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Doris
Good ironic use of social realism - for those who know how to recognise it. I thought it was hilarious how Montefiore used the techniques so quitnessentially Soviet to describe the sumptuous life of the Russian elite before the revolution. I read a review of... well, someone - and in that review Montefiore was accused of name-dropping (Russo-Balt car this, English cookies that) - but you see, this is why it is so incredibly amusing that Montefiore echoes the style of a classical (read: generic) ...more
nat
Oct 07, 2010 nat rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Helvry Sinaga, Jimmy, Iyut
Ini adalah sebuah novel yang intim tentang keluarga.
Begitulah Simon Montefiere menggambarkannya. Namun aku mendapatkan gambaran sejarah serta keunikan perjuangan kaum Bolshevik di Rusia, kurun waktu awal abad 19, yang berpuncak di October Coup. Suasana revolusinya begitu terasa di awal novel, bagaimana sosok Sashenka alias Alexandra Samuilnova alias Kamerad Rubah Salju memulai perjuangannya di usia remaja. Sashenka mengenal idealisme yang dianutnya dari seorang paman bernama Mendel, kemudian me
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Emma
This book has gone on to my all time favourite lists. I cried I laughed I loved all through this book. I studied the history of Russia for A Level's two years ago now. From the Tsarist regime to the eventual rise and fall of Stalin. This book made everything I learnt from the Bolshevik uprising to the reign of Stalin and the Purges/Great Terror feel so much more real. Granted we learnt of these things and there was historic accounts of it, but this ficitonal piece of writing, although not a true ...more
J.A.
Simon Montefiore, the author who gave us Young Stalin, now gives us a fictional female revolutionary, Sashenka. Sashenka is perfectly positioned in history - the teenage daughter of a Jewish oil baron in Petrograd, she joins the Bolshevik party prior to the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. After the October Revolution she takes dictation from Lenin, marries a party stalwart, and hosts a May Day party at their dacha attended by Stalin and Beria. Sashenka leads an exemplary proletarian life, editin ...more
Amanda
The first third to half of the book is really hard to get into. Was not a book that I had trouble putting down. It was highly detailed and seemed to drag on. Then the story picks up steam and it gets interesting. By the end of the story you realize that the detail in the beginning was necessary to build the characters and the plot. I felt like the author's writing left a lot to be desired. I agree with other reviews which said that the heroine, Sashenka, is a man's creation of a female character ...more
Shani
this was a crazy good read. the many layers of characters ans the interwoven lives and the characters that almost redeemed themselves but didn't quite made the ridiculous story utterly believable as it was a true representation of the human condition as no one is wholly bad or good. for me as an avid historian and passion for russia the thrill of the chase in the latter part of the novel was so exciting and ultimately what I love so much about history. if u begin reading this and find it slow pe ...more
Sarah
Although I feel that some scenes towards the end were too coincidental to be believable and rushed to add extra twists, I really enjoyed the book as a whole. I enjoyed the subject: the private lives of two devoted Communists destroyed by the Party, and the aftermath told over several generations. It gives you a personal view of the lives people led under the Stalin Era. The fear, betrayal, torture. I read Stalin's Biography right before this one and it gave me a better idea of how to discern his ...more
Candace
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Entertaining, but shallow and nothing new 1 11 Dec 26, 2013 05:13PM  
is fiction more powerful than fact? 2 32 Mar 07, 2013 10:57AM  
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Simon Sebag Montefiore is the author of the prize winning books Jerusalem: the Biography' and Young Stalin and the novels Sashenka and now One Night in Winter. His books are published in over 40 languages and are worldwide bestsellers. He read history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, where he received his Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD).

The novel One Night in Winter is out now i
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More about Simon Sebag Montefiore...
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar Jerusalem: The Biography Young Stalin One Night in Winter: A Novel Speeches That Changed the World

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