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Sashenka

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3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  2,614 Ratings  ·  318 Reviews
Winter, 1916: In St Petersburg, Russia on the brink of revolution. Outside the Smolny Institute for Noble Young Ladies, an English governess is waiting for her young charge to be released from school. But so are the Tsar’s secret police… Beautiful and headstrong, Sashenka Zeitlin is just sixteen. As her mother parties with Rasputin and her dissolute friends, Sashenka slips ...more
Kindle Edition, 539 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2008)
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MravaWishes It is a fictional book, but in the plot it contains some events that really occured in Russian history.
But basically, this book is about fictional…more
It is a fictional book, but in the plot it contains some events that really occured in Russian history.
But basically, this book is about fictional characters.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
...more
Mihai
Feb 13, 2016 Mihai rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O carte remarcabilă ce descrie viaţa cutremurătoare a mai multe persoane, jertfe a unor jocuri politice din perioada Leninistă şi Stalinistă.Autorul, Simon Sebag Montefiore prin cartea sa a descris minuţios soarta oamenilor vinovaţi şi nevinovaţi, dar cu preponderenţă a celor nevinovaţi care au fost multilaţi şi cruzi bătuţi de cei din KGB.Saşenka, Ivan Paliţîn şi copii lor au fost cei care au avut o soartă cutremurătoare.Roza (Volia, cunoscută sub numele de alint Fulguleţ) şi doctorul Valentin ...more
Kate Furnivall
The background research is impressive but to me Sashenka herself feels like a man's creation of a woman - not totally convincing.
C.W.
Oct 15, 2014 C.W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jderu Marius
Sep 11, 2015 Jderu Marius rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Foarte buna cartea, subiect, constructie narativa, personaje bine conturate, actiune si suspans cu iz detectivistic.
Cristina
Nov 29, 2015 Cristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un must read.
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
...more
Imogen
Mar 08, 2009 Imogen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
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
...more
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
...more
Marvin
Aug 13, 2009 Marvin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gabriela
Dec 14, 2010 Gabriela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-shelf-en
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
...more
Hadrian
Mar 05, 2012 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A renowned biographer/historian writes a fairly gripping novel. Thick with historical detail - I almost lost sight of the characters, especially in the beginning, sometimes for the background details and the scenery. He even got a hand soap reference right!

Lots of treats for the Russian history buff - all the little details are there. One wonders how the average reader would be put off by them, however.

I won't venture into the plot in too much detail. But it can be assumed that a novel which tak
...more
Ella Endif
Aug 02, 2012 Ella Endif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
...more
Tara Chevrestt
Feb 04, 2010 Tara Chevrestt rated it liked it  ·  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
Miss Jane
Jan 18, 2009 Miss Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
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
...more
Fuschia
Jan 17, 2009 Fuschia rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Geeky Bookers - Ilaria
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Emma
Feb 17, 2009 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aura
Aug 26, 2015 Aura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Se vede că această carte a fost scrisă de un istoric, căci este foarte bine documentată. Așa cum spune autorul la sfârșit, cartea a fost scrisă pe baza numeroaselor povești pe care le-a descoperit în arhive în anii de cercetare a istoriei Rusiei. Și-a dorit să scrie o carte despre o familie obișnuită și despre cum a făcut ea față tragediilor din Rusia secolului XX, dorindu-și să trezească interesul pt acea perioadă celor care în mod normal nu ar citi cărți de istorie. Eu spun că i-a ieșit.
Prime
...more
Wintergal
Nov 10, 2011 Wintergal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Barbara
May 04, 2015 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Sort of Anna Karenina meets modern post-Soviet modernism all wrapped up in one sweeping story. Well written and very interesting as it virtually encompasses everything from pre Russian Revolution to the embracing of communism and the rise of Lenin and Stalin to the 1990's and the consequences of the times and troubles faced by the country. Interesting to see the parallels in our heroine's story and the country. Very well written! Fans of Russian history and historical fiction will enjo ...more
Brenda
Jan 25, 2009 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Giada
Jul 30, 2011 Giada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Patrycja
Apr 17, 2015 Patrycja rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Są takie książki, którym się daje szanse do końca. A po zakończeniu pyta się nerwowo: po co ja to czytałam???
Roberta
Sep 16, 2011 Roberta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, storico
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,
...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
Carl Nelson
Jun 14, 2012 Carl Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
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Entertaining, but shallow and nothing new 1 19 Dec 26, 2013 05:13PM  
is fiction more powerful than fact? 2 34 Mar 07, 2013 10:57AM  
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Simon Sebag Montefiore is the author of the global bestsellers 'The Romanovs' and 'Jerusalem: the Biography,' 'Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar' and Young Stalin and the novels Sashenka and now One Night in Winter. His books are published in over 45 languages and are worldwide bestsellers. He has won prizes in both non-fiction and fiction. He read history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge ...more
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“I’m a Russian. Without the Motherland, I’d be nothing.” 1 likes
“No, that’s not the style of these people,’ explained Maxy. ‘You shouldn’t think of these Bolsheviks as modern politicians. They were religious fanatics. Their Marxism was fanatical; their fervour was semi-Islamic; and they saw themselves as members of a secret military-religious order like the medieval Crusaders or the Knights Templar. They were ruthless, amoral and paranoid. They believed that millions would have to die to create their perfect world. Family, love and friendship were nothing compared to the holy grail. People died of gossip at Stalin’s court. For a man like Satinov, secrecy was everything.” 0 likes
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