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The White Russian

3.07  ·  Rating details ·  357 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Evie, a rebellious young American leaves New York in search of art and adventure in jazz-age Paris, where her grandmother lives. But on arrival, her grandmother’s sudden death leaves Evie compelled to carry out her dying wish: to find a man from her past called Zhenya.

The quest leads Evie deep into the heart of the Russian émigré community of Paris. With the world on the b
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 5th 2014 by Century (first published April 24th 2014)
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Catherine Fitzpatrick
I discovered this book in the library when I had just finished "Smiley's People" which had bits about Russian emigres and I was pining for a similar book because my library didn't have ANY Le Carre novels and I had waited weeks to order even "Smiley's People" from inter-library loan. I thought of re-reading Berberova's "The Italics Are Mine" which would have filled that yen but I wasn't ready for that yet. ANYWAY, this book filled that yen -- it has everything you could want in a Paris Russian e ...more
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The reason I wanted to read The White Russian is because I enjoyed reading Midnight in St Petersburg by Vanora Bennett.
I found I was so engaged in reading The White Russian I was just turning pages after pages. It is such a beautiful novel I just got completely lost into it.
The White Russian is set into four parts.
Evie did not know her grandmother until she turned eighteen.Out of the blue Evie's mother gets a letter from Evies grandmother in Paris offering to pay for her to go to college. Ev
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First of all, I don't like romance novels. Second of all, I don't particularly enjoy historical fiction. Third of all, this book was both. The writing was confusing, switching between first person and third person. The characters weren't well rounded. The good part about this novel was the setting descriptions. A+++ for that, Vanora Bennett! If you don't read a book just for the setting descriptions, do not read this book.
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Despite the inclusion of some very real people, focus was on the fictional characters and they were unfortunately tedious and 2 dimensional. I was especially disappointed in the love story as it seemed to come out of nowhere. Long lost relatives were also part of the theme and that was also quite annoying and soap opera-ish.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book so much, but I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

It has all the makings of a good book : coming of age, conflict, love and Paris. It wasn't engaging. I am, however, considering reading some of her other novels.
Victoria Peipert
I really looked forward to this book based on the summary. But even just a few pages in I could not get past the contemporary language being used to try and tell a story based in the early 20th century. That really killed it for me and I couldn't fully get into the plot with this superficial layer holding back the authenticity. I did like the concept of the plot but when doing historical fiction the writing style is so important.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy reading historical fiction. This was especially interesting because so much of it was based on fact.
Emily Finke
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Eh. The idea was interesting, but I don't think some of the storylines were as well executed as they could have been.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked the setting and the story of the Russian émigrés but the romance seemed forced and out of place. I felt like this book jumped around a lot and was lacking some narrative flow.
Christine Grant
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: hsw-recommended
I enjoyed this book about Russians in Paris after World War II. There was a big build up throughout the book but the end came quickly with many loose ends tied up neatly which felt false.
Karla Winick-Ford
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was really good. A page turner. I couldn't wait to get to the end. When I did, I wept. Worth reading.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
took too long to get the plot moving.
Nov 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
A mix of suspense, romance and history of the White Russian movement in Paris all combine for an engaging, fast-paced read.
Rose Ann
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Maybe I would have liked this book better, and perhaps it would have engaged me, if I hadn't just finished "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles. Going from Towles' masterwork to this rather pedestrian book was a real letdown."The White Russian" simply didn't create the desire for me to go beyond the 1st 50 pages. The writer was simply not that adept.
Karen Sofarin
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This book took me along time to get into and want to keep reading about the characters. Did like it by the end.
Jennifer Freeman
Feb 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
I could not finish book! Read about 70 pages and had a hard time with this authors's writing style. Hard to follow. Was disappointed because I thought it had great potential!
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
What I liked: Very well written. characters were strong and had interesting personalities. the political tension can really be felt. Romance between characters although sudden was very sweet and realistic. Thoroughly researched. I learned a lot about the political issues at the time.

What I did not like: Conflict between characters seemed to be resolved randomly and suddenly especially between the main character and her mom. It was frustrating to see the main character try and figure out what he
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed Vanora Bennett's books in the past so was pleased to see this one in my local library. I hadn't realised before reading this just how many 'White' Russians settled in Paris after the revolution and pre-World War II. It was a love story between an American girl who was trying to escape her stifling family at home, and a Russian working as a taxi driver (as so many of them did apparently). His adopted father was the leader of the White Russians in exile who was threatened with abducti ...more
Katie George
Although I enjoyed The White Russian overall, I had trouble getting into it at the beginning because of the way the narration kept jumping back and forth between the characters. I found it difficult to understand and follow what was going on.

I did enjoy reading about the political difficulties that the White Russians, or the Russians who had to leave Russia following the First World War and the onset of communism and the Soviet Union, struggled with during this time.
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of historical fiction. This was a new setting I've never read or thought about. The White Russians that migrated to France were looked on as lesser beings. I found it wonderful that the American girl, Evie, could open her heart to them and be concerned about their plight.

I really enjoyed this book. I kept wanting to come back to it if I set it down. Romance, mystery, and a coming of age. I highly recommend this book.
Dec 15, 2016 rated it liked it
The book was interesting as it covered a piece of history I knew nothing about. It could have been a fascinating book in the right hands; the real life people it fictionalizes were fascinating. The trouble is that the characters just don't seem real and the romance unbelievable. It was a pleasant enough read and one that makes me interested in reading a better book about the White Russians.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had what I thought could be a very interesting story line then fell flat. The potential in 1937 Paris for drama, is huge and yet there was very little about the actual political scene just rumours. The art world was hinted at; Picasso, Chagall, and then the reader is left hanging. It's really just a bit of fluff love story.
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this historical fiction very much even though it is not my preferred genre. I have never read anything by Vanora Bennett. You will fall in love with the main character as she strives to find out more about her grandmother. I recommend this as a good read.
Margaret Stickland
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
After reading Midnight in St Petersburg, awhile back I looked for another by Vanora Bennett. The White Russian was just as lovely a read . However I liked Midnight in St Petersburg better. Having said that the characters gin this read were just as engaging.
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it
As a lover of Russian themed writing, I liked the theme and storytelling. Elements could be added to elevate the storyline, ie to communicate back to family during her stay in Paris, but I thought it was still worthy of : atars.
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
The story was a little predictable and problems were too easily solved. The problems of the not realistic enough. I enjoyed reading about the problems of the White Russians who had to adjust their lifestyles, in a new country
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Plot too contrived. Don't think Bennett researched her American background too thoroughly. Thanksgiving in December?
Marci -  Serendipitous Readings
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, e-books
the back story is really interesting. I enjoyed this book very much.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 May 11, 2015 10:45AM  
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I became a journalist almost by accident. Having learned Russian and been hired after university by Reuters (to my own surprise and the slight dismay of traditionally-minded editors who weren’t sure a Guardian-reading blonde female would be tough enough for the job), I was then catapulted into the adrenaline-charged realm of conflict reporting. While on a trainee assignment in Paris, I fell in wit ...more