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Russian Winter

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  7,851 Ratings  ·  1,170 Reviews
In a time of fear and danger, they were determined to live a life of beauty and grace . . .

When she decides to auction her remarkable jewelry collection, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi ballet, believes she has drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, the aged dancer finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events—both glorious and hear
Kindle Edition, 484 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jan 17, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our faculty had an interesting discussion about Russian Winter last week. All enjoyed it very much, some were disappointed in the end (no spoiler) just thought it ended too abruptly. Characters were well drawn and there was an interesting mix of types, all unique and human. One gets a real sense of the lack of privacy and constant prying of Soviet eyes on its citizens in the era of the late 40's and early 50's. Nina, Paulina and Vera also take us into the grueling and competitive world of the Bo ...more
Terry Regan
Jul 13, 2013 Terry Regan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unknown to most Americans, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin caused the great famine of the early 1930's resulting in the death of millions of his own people. By "liquidating the Kulaks as a class" Stalin may have eliminated the more prosperous and conservative farmers in the Ukraine, and it led to the establishment of collective farms and chaos in the countryside. The loss of over twenty million Soviet citizens during the "Great Patriotic War" combined with the massive physical destruction of th ...more
Dec 14, 2010 Eve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love novels that unfold the way Russian Winter by Daphne Kolatay did - shrouded in a mystery that's slowly, tantalizingly revealed through multiple narratives and flashbacks.

The story starts out simply enough: Nina, a former Bolshoi ballerina is putting up her jewels for auction. As Nina inventories her jewels, she also reluctantly inventories her life - setting in motion a painful remembrance of her past in communist Russia and who she left when she defected: her husband, the handsome poet;
Jul 15, 2016 Ivana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dosadna i neinspirativna knjiga, sa Danijela Stil atmosferom, koja iskače iz šablona sa delovima o Staljinovoj Rusiji i baletu, šteta što se autorka nije na tome fokusirala.
Recenzija je na blogu.

Jan 14, 2013 CJC rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well it seems I may be in the minority here but I did not love this book. It had so much potential! I appreciate that the author tried to tie the 2 stories together but the Boston bits ruined the rest of it.

In fairness much of what I didn’t like is personal preference. I hate the formula used here. Tell a little bit, just when it gets interesting, switch to something else. To me it feels like someone taunting ‘I know something you don’t know’, and all I can think is ‘fine if you don’t want to te
Mar 09, 2016 Dragana rated it liked it
2016 is the year where I decided to get back to historical fiction. I picked Russian Winter because a couple of my friends gave it 5 stars and I like to read books set in Russia.

+ Mystery behind Nina's weird behavior and the missing pendant kept me reading.

- Descriptions were functional and usually character related. I was missing the descriptions that add feeling and depth to the atmosphere.
- Story-line was not what I expected. I thought it would tell us how Nina became a prima-
Jan 21, 2014 C.W. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daphne Kalotay's novel RUSSIAN WINTER is a masterfully crafted novel of loss and redemption, set in an unusual historical time period and interweaving two connected stories. In present day Boston, famous Russian ballerina, Nina Revskaya, who defected from the Soviet Union at the height of her fame, is preparing to auction off her dazzling jewelry collection, including three beautiful amber pieces set in gold. Nina is now a recluse, crippled by arthritis and the weight of her mysterious past - a ...more
Sep 11, 2010 Felice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The cover got me. I had to stop and look. It's pretty isn't it? Even though there is nothing at all original about the art. The cover beckons but alas it does not fulfill. It's unfinished. It's the start of a beautiful cover and yet it's oddly blank. The flat clarity of the figure verses the worn depth of the background surface don't mesh. They fight each other instead of complimenting each other. Sadly that turned out to be a prophecy for the novel.

Russian Winter is a cradle to grave story of
Sep 09, 2010 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ballet lovers; those interested in Eastern European history
Recommended to Diane by: Goodreads
Shelves: library-books
This is one of those sagas that starts at present and weaves back and forth so that the past recollections eventually give us the answers to the beginning of the story.

Part of the enjoyment in the present-day story is that it is set in the City of Boston, particularly in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill. Having lived in Boston, and since the author lives in that area, all of the writing was accurate and very easy for me to imagine.

Another draw for me is that it is a story of the ballet, which I love
Sarah Smiley
Nov 28, 2010 Sarah Smiley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was hooked on this book by page 80. If you like the arts, ballet, Russian history or all three you will love this book. The book takes place in post-war Russia but the narration switches between history and modern day as the author weaves three main characters' lives together. I found this book to be profound and, while a work of fiction, is probably very close to lives other post-war Soviets lived. I loved the little nuggets of ballet terminology and I thought the lot descriptions in between ...more
I enjoyed this story, the way the author was able to weave at least two of the main characters' stories together so artfully--Drew is more tangential to my mind, though I was gunning for her (and her intended) from early on. Her story, though, isn't as compelling by far as Grigori's and Nina's. However, a good story, and I learned a vast amount about Soviet Russia, jewels, and the ballet. I watched Black Swan during the reading of this novel, and the two worked strangely well together.
Gaby Franz
Bueno, se me hace difícil hablar de esta novela. la trama es muy interesante y muy bien pensada, pero la forma de narrar es algo desquiciante, al menos para mi. Hay dos lineas de tiempo, el presente y el pasado.
Cuando se narra algo del pasado la autora lo escribe en presente.Cuando se narra algo del presente la autora lo escribe en pasado. Esta "genialidad" me ha sacado de mis casillas en más de una ocasión y con ganas de tirar el libro y no seguir hasta el final. Como dije, las ganas de saber c
Jun 08, 2011 Kristin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars
I was all set to love this book as it had a lovely cover, an intriguing title, perfect setting and history but boy did it disappoint! Failed completely in the character department. I despised every relationship in this novel except maybe that of Nina and her caregiver Cynthia. I hate it when the whole crux of a book relies on minor characters who suddenly become very important at the end when you never even cared about them much anyway. Also, Nina was just SO oblivious and stupid that I
May 01, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
I enjoyed both the present and past time scales of this story and loved the insight into the world of ballet, and of life in Russia in the years after the Second World War.
There was also an intriguing mystery, and some excellent characters, so all in all, a very enjoyable read.
Sep 05, 2010 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone and book clubs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 07, 2010 Rusty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A famous ballerina is selling her jewelry to benefit the Boston ballet. Nina Revskya is ill, in pain, and confined to a wheelchair. However, her decision to auction her jewels opens past memories that she would prefer to forget. The novel moves back and forth between her past and the present. The present is likewise divided between Nina's thoughts and emotions and that of the young woman, Drew Brooks, who is researching and evaluating the collection plus the reactions of a professor, Grigori Sol ...more
Holly Weiss
Why is the pendant worn backwards...and which woman wears it?

The cover of Russian Winter beguiled me, but did not answer the many questions that hammered at my brain as Nina’s story unfolded. I paid diligent attention to the carefully spun-out clues in the novel and was spellbound until the end. Sometimes we savor a book—read a bit, then put it away until tomorrow so that it may be pondered. Not so with Russian Winter. I was swept away and contentedly disconnected from the rest of my life for th
Sep 11, 2012 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book took me a long time to read. About half way through I kept asking myself why do I continue reading when I'm not particularly enjoying the story that much. I think because a friend loaned it to me, and she really enjoyed this book that I wanted to give it an honest to goodness effort, and be able to talk with her about it. Well, I plodded through, and now I am happy to say that I am finished and can move on to something I enjoy a little more.

The story goes back and forth between time pe
Feb 17, 2011 Dem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
This book is a magnificent historical fiction novel set in Russia. I didn't want to put this book down. I was really drawn in by the histroy and glamor, the characters were very real and I found the writing clear, concise and easy to follow, I really recommend this book, its a real page turner.
Mar 05, 2015 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed "Russian Winter"!

Nina is a ballerina who rises to fame in the mid-fifties in Russia. Her story is contrasted along with that of her close childhood friend Vera, who begins ballet school together with Nina. Vera's story is a tragic one. While still young, Vera's grandmother became her 'family', since her parents were 'sent away' (for unknown reasons), and never seen again.

As Nina's ballet career progresses, Vera begins a relationship with Nina's husband's good friend Gersh, (a Je
switterbug (Betsey)
Daphne Kalotay imbues the crowd-pleasing qualities of commercial fiction with a soft and sensuous literary touch in this novel of exile and family, love and betrayal. From the Stalinist aggression of Russia to the peaceful, snowy streets of Boston, the reader is taken on a page-turning journey of professional ballet, fancy jewels, and ethereal poetry. This is an historical romance written by a scholar to appeal to readers seeking a satisfying escape.

As the novel opens in contemporary Boston, Dre
Este foi um daqueles livros que me chamaram a atenção pela capa, que acho belíssima. Juntando isso à sinopse, pareceu-me ter todos os ingredientes para se poder tornar uma boa leitura. Felizmente, o meu instinto estava certo.

Inverno Russo atravessa mais do que um tempo ou local. Inicia-se em Boston, já no século XXI, cidade onde Nina Revskaya passa os últimos anos da sua vida. Outrora uma bailarina russa muito famosa, Nina vive quase isolada do mundo, assolada pelas recordações. A decisão de lei
Russian Winter is an engrossing fiction novel from Daphne Kalotay that combines personal history with notorious events in human history. Flashbacks from Stalin-era Russia combine with the modern life of a Russian defector, Nina Revskaya, once famous as a Bolshoi ballerina. As she enters her final years, she decides to have a Sotheby's-style auction house sell her gems...purportedly to donate the funds to the Arts. However, it soon becomes clear that she has more personal reasons to divest of the ...more
Feb 01, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story begins in Boston.

Nina Revskaya was elderly and frail, but once she had been a prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet. She had decided to auction her jewellery collection to raise funds for the Boston Ballet Foundation, and that was stirring up memories.

Memories of life of Russia, of the days when she rose to success, when she fell in love and married the poet, Viktor Elsin. Many memories she would rather forget, and memories she did certainly not want to share.

Young associate Drew Bro
Jun 24, 2012 Filipa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Este livro foi daqueles que comprei por impulso, ou seja, comprei porque gostei da capa. Eu sei que não devemos julgar um livro pela capa, mas os olhos também comem. No entanto, eu adoro ballet e a Rússia, portanto este livro pareceu o indicado para mim.

No início, fiquei bastante confusa com as mudanças de personagem e de espaço. Neste livro seguimos a história de três personagens: Nina, Grigori e Drew. Nina é a bailarina, e vemos a vida dela como bailarin
Sep 07, 2010 LemonLinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kalotay in her debut novel spins for us a beautiful story with great characters, past and present. It is a story which enhances our senses through a pursuit of excellence in the ballet, in poetry and in music. Yet juxtaposed over such beauty is also a story where the Stalinist years of oppression cloaked the Russian people with hunger, anxiety and a need to blend in with the masses rather than to excel. And in this novel the fear of revealing too much of one's self leads to wrong conclusions and ...more
May 01, 2011 Staci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Staci by: TLC Book Tour
Shelves: 2011-reads
My Thoughts: I was pulled into this story from the very first chapter. The whole premise of the book intrigued me from the beginning and I have to say that the author delivered a stellar read. I especially enjoyed how the author weaved Nina's past into her present. It came together cohesively and really added that extra special layer to this story. The jewels had me mesmerized and I often found my mind wandering as to what they looked like and feeling a sort of attachment to them. Strange, huh? ...more
Marija Atanasova
Просечна, анемична книга, една од оние за кои не би сакале да напишете мислење, да не е впрочем, причината поради која сте решиле да отворите портфолио со краток коментар за секоја прочитана книга.Идејата потекнува баш од, и за овој тип книги- кои се читаат лесно, се паметат бегло недела-две и се забораваат брзо, лесно коа два и два.Книги кои не се истакнуваат ни по добро, ни по лошо, наменети за во автобус или плажа, книги кои да се актери би биле статисти.
Дафне Калотеј, веројатно е една фина
Aug 03, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got a free ARC of this book from the publisher. Thanks!
I stayed up late to finish this book on a work night, a sure sign of a great read. This novel shuttles back and forth between the present (well, 2003) and the Soviet Union in the early 1950s. In the present, former ballerina Nina Revskaya decides to sell her jewelry collection, which sets into motion a mystery plot and a love story. In the past, we learn about Nina's rise from ballet student to prima ballerina. But most compellingly, we re
Catherine Shattuck
Having lived briefly in Russia, I was, after many many years, interested in reading about it. This is one of maybe two books I've ever read that was set in Russia but not written by one of The Great Russian Writers of the 19th or 20th centuries. While I don't think there's anything special in the writing itself, or even in the story (a bit of a mystery that links an aging ballerina who defected in the 1950s with a professor of Russian language and literature in the US; a story that felt mildly p ...more
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Retro Chapter Chi...: November 2014: Russian Winter 44 32 Dec 05, 2014 10:41AM  
Retro Chapter Chi...: On Soviet History: Russian Winter 6 10 Nov 11, 2014 01:46PM  
*Best Sellers* Bo...: Russian Winter: Are You A Fan Of Russian Fiction? 10 16 Jan 25, 2014 11:34AM  
Coffee Talk: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay 32 57 Jan 09, 2013 09:53PM  
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Daphne Kalotay grew up in New Jersey, where her parents had relocated from Ontario; her mother is Canadian, while her father came from Hungary to Canada as a teen. Daphne attended Vassar College, majoring in psychology, before moving to Boston to attend Boston University's graduate program in fiction writing. She stayed on at BU to study with Saul Bellow as part of the University Professors progra ...more
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“...She looked at the people around her and felt not just that she was surrounded by strangers, but that she herself was strange, somehow, that something kept her from ever fully bridging the gap between who she was and who all these other people, making their way through the very same day, were.” 40 likes
“It wasn't that she didn't believe in love; but she no longer believed in it for herself.” 29 likes
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