Misfit's Reviews > Emily

Emily by Cynthia Harrod Eagles
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Jun 26, 10

bookshelves: russia, russian-revolution, historical-fiction
Read from June 21 to 26, 2010

At fifteen, Emily Paget doesn't have many options to look forward to in life. Her father is the disgraced and disinherited second son of an earl and lives off his sister's charity. Emily is too well-born to take a career, yet too poor to attract a husband, although things start looking up when her Russian grandmother Natasha comes to England with the Russian Imperial court and takes a shine to Emily. Shortly after Natasha's departure, Emily receives a visit from the elderly Lady Hamilton (an old friend of the Kirovs) who swoops in like a fairy godmother and whisks her away to London and turns her into a proper young lady. While there, she and her friends become a wee bit too involved in the suffragette movement, but Emily eventually goes off to join her grandmother in St. Petersburg and just like Cinderella she marries her prince - but is he truly prince charming or was she deceived by Basil's drop dead good looks? And what about Basil's unhappily married brother-in-law Alexei Kirov? Are he and Emily destined to be soul mates? They sure do smoke off the pages at the first meeting......

First Basil then Alexei are off to serve in the Russian army and as the death toll at the Russian front rises to horrendous proportions, Emily is left in St. Petersburg desperately trying to hold what is left of the Alexei's family together and alive. But the real terror begins when the Bolsheviks gain control of the government upon Lenin's return to Russia. Is her English passport enough to get her safely out of Russia? What of Alexei's wife and children - children she loves as if they were her own? While a bit slow at the start with Emily's life in the English countryside and her social whirl whilst first in Russia, once the war broke out and the revolutionary fervor ran amok I had a hard time putting this one down. Lenin's Bolsheviks with their strong-arm tactics were terrifying, as well as a nail-biting escape from St. Petersburg that made the last 200 pages darn near unputdownable.

I've never read much on Russia's Revolution and the rise of communism, and it was fascinating *seeing* how it came about and I really enjoyed the drawing-room politics and debates between Alexei and his brother;

"And if one of your fanatical chums ever does succeed to the purple, whatever his title may be - tsar or president or chief co-ordinator of the people's revolution-you can bet your last rouble that he will out-ceasar Caesar in the most spectacular way."

"They only use the poor as their excuse for taking what someone else has. They say, `If only we were the ones with the power, we could make everything all right', but you try asking them how they plan to do it! They haven't an idea, any of them. They're so interested in the process of taking power, they haven't begun to think what they'd do with it."

Although Anna, Fleur and Emily are billed as a trilogy, there is sufficient passage of time between books that they can be read independently of each other. You might be slightly spoiled as to who ended up with whom (Fleur sure surprised me!), but other than that read them as your mood/interests lead you. This trilogy has been a grand ride and I'm sorry it's over and I have to move on and leave the Kirovs behind. Darn it. One minor nit to all three and a request to any publisher considering re-issuing these - please get an editor in there and fix the typos - while minor there are way too many of them. 4/5 stars.

****Minor spoiler ahead****

I know there are some readers who have issues with adultery in their books. To each his own, but if you are one of them this book is probably not for you.
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Reading Progress

06/21/2010 page 39
7.0% "No, the book takes place well after this but I found it on Wik and too gorgeous not to share.

"
06/21/2010 page 59
11.0% "Emily meets her Russian grandmother when she comes to England with Nicholas and Alexandra. I think I am going to like this one."
06/21/2010 page 83
16.0% "Emily gets a fairy godmother - and what a surprise. I am loving this - and so will Jill."
06/22/2010 page 130
25.0% "A family scandal. Uncle Westie has absconded with an American heiress."
06/22/2010 page 150
28.0% "Emily joins Aunt Natasha at her home just outside of Tsarskoye Selo

"
06/22/2010 page 159
30.0% "Emily goes Christmas shopping at Nevsky Prospekt in Petersburg.

"
06/22/2010 page 169
32.0% "*shudders* Emily meets Rasputin

" 14 comments
06/22/2010 page 189
36.0% "Just like Cinderalla, Emila is swept off her feet by the ever-so-handsome-prince. I suspect not all fairy tales will come true though."
06/23/2010 page 191
36.0% "Cinderella (Emily) marries her prince. Will the fairy tale come true to turn into the Brothers Grimm?"
06/23/2010 page 211
40.0% "Ooooh, Emily meets Alexei and her knees turns to jelly at first sight. Soul mates." 3 comments
06/23/2010 page 254
48.0% "Basil, Basil, Basil. You faithless bastard."
06/24/2010 page 313
59.0% "Well well well. I guess a quickie divorce isn't going to be so easy is it?"
06/24/2010 page 321
61.0% "I am really liking the debates re: the benefits of democracy vs communism.

"And if one of your fanatical chums ever does succeed to the purple, whatever his title may be - tsar or president or chief co-ordinator of the people's revolution-you can bet your last rouble that he will out-ceasar Caesar in the most spectacular way.""
06/24/2010 page 326
62.0% ""They only use the poor as their excuse for taking what someone else has. They say, 'If only we were the ones with the power, we could make everything all right', but you try asking them how they plan to do it! They haven't an idea, any of them. They're so interested in the process of taking power, they haven't begun to think what they'd do with it.""
06/25/2010 page 375
71.0% "Hmmm, Anna miscalculated her dates. Wonder if that indicates an interesting plot twist."
06/25/2010 page 375
71.0% "'Numbers start not to make sense after a while, but dead and wounded we've lost about a million and a half men. Perhaps another million taken prisonor. Half the army is gone.'" 7 comments
06/26/2010 page 441
84.0% "Almost everyone accepted the end of the imperial regime with relief, and in towns all over Russia, middle-class intellectuals took over the soviets and the zemtsva with well-received enthusiasm."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Jill (new)

Jill Misfit
<>

Yeah, yeah Misfit rub it in. My copy is still 2 to 3 weeks away.

Jill


Misfit Sorry, and I can't wait those ILL's have shorter loan times. I added the jacket blurb to the book description.


message 3: by Jill (last edited Jun 21, 2010 06:27PM) (new)

Jill Misfit
<>

You are a naughty tease, Misfit!

My only consolation is that last night I started 'To Defy a King' (at last - thankyou, local library) and am nearly a third way through.
So far it is very good and I would rate it right up there with 'The Greatest Knight'.

Jill



Misfit I know, that was mean of me wasn't it? TDAK will go very quickly I promise you. Must sign off and get back to Emily. It's her big coming out ball.....


message 5: by Jill (new)

Jill Misfit
I just love your review. And I can't wait to get this one to finish the trilogy.
But, I do have a problem with adultery in my books. I'm just going to have to overlook it just this once.

Jill


Misfit Jill wrote: "Misfit
I just love your review. And I can't wait to get this one to finish the trilogy.
But, I do have a problem with adultery in my books. I'm just going to have to overlook it just this once.

Jill"


Jill, I think you'll love it anyway. This was a good 'un.


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