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The Chosen Maiden

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  456 ratings  ·  92 reviews
The passionate, sweeping story of Bronia, an extraordinary ballerina forever in the shadow of the legendary Nijinsky--Russia's greatest dancer and her older brother.

Born on the road to dancer parents, the Nijinsky children seem destined for the stage. Vaslav is an early prodigy, and through single-minded pursuit will grow into arguably the greatest--and most
ebook, 464 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by Doubleday Canada
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I won an advance copy of The Chosen Maiden through Goodreads Giveaways. Publishing date is Jan. 10, 2017.

Eva Stachniak has written what she describes as "an archival fantasy", her version of Bonislava Najinsky's fictional biography. As the sister of the ballet prodigy Vaslav Najinsky, she struggled for recognition in her own right as a woman and talent.

Although the factual matter was fascinating, it was spread quite thinly over Strachniak's creative process; Bronia narrates in primarily present
Apr 02, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
This is the 4th Eva Stachniak book I've read and the very first time I've ever stumbled across the Nijinsky siblings-brother and sister ballet dancers. I felt it to be an absorbing read that took me on a journey of family drama and the competitive world of the Russian ballet. Although I felt the transition between parts five and six a bit jarring, I felt this was the best kind of book to read on a long April evening.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
4.5 stars "The Chosen Maiden" is the story of Bronia Nijinsky, the sister of the famous ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. Although I am not an expert on ballet by any stretch, I do appreciate it and even for those of us who are only casual observers, Nijinsky's name stands above so many others in the dancing world. I had no idea before reading this book that not only did he have a sister but that she was a fantastic ballet dancer in her own right. Who says you can't learn anything from fiction?

Feb 26, 2017 added it
Are you a balletomane? I have always been utterly fascinated with ballet, especially classical ballet, and was immediately drawn to this title, a "fictional blend of facts and imagination", about the sister of the world renowned Vaslav Nijinsky -- Bronislava (Bronia) Nijinska.

Bronia lived and danced under the shadow of her more famous older brother, and they were the children of Polish parents who were dancers in Russia with the Lukovitch troupe. Both Bronia and Vaslav were prodigies and
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Chronicling the years 1894 to 1939, this story covers the Russian Revolution, WWI and the years leading up to WWII through the eyes of Bronislava Nijinska, a Polish-born Russian ballet dancer who worked her way up to teaching and choreographing across Europe. Always in the shadow of her dancing prodigy brother, Vaslav, Bronia works hard for her place in Russia’s Imperial Ballet School. But, it seems, no matter how much she longs for fame and the freedom to create her own unique style, Vaslav is ...more
Madame Mona Lisa
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about ballerina Bronislava Nijinska and her brother Vaslav Nijinsky. I probably enjoyed this book so much because my daughter does ballet and for years I've heard the names Nijinsky, Cecchetti, Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Mariinsky, and Ballet Russes but other than them being names I knew nothing else. My one complaint is that this is a long book and I think it could have been told in a lot less pages.
dnf on page 100. [terribly, terribly boring]
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Historical fiction This novel chronicles the life of Bronia Nijinski, the sister of the famous Vaslov Nijinski, the most accomplished and celebrated dancer of his time. She was also an anaccomplished ballerina, dance teacher, and choreographed many spectacular dances. She helped modernize dance. It covers the years betwen 1894 to 1939 which includes the Russian revolution, the the rise of communism, fascism, and WW1.
I was struck by her dedication to her brother, and to dance,and the many
This novel took me forever to finish. First receiving it earlier this year and starting it in September, I’m only now just finishing it. So many times I’d start and get further, only to get bored and want to move on to other projects. I found enjoyment in our main character and her life‘s journey. The author also does a great job in description. However, she let some aspects overweight others to the detriment of her overall work.

Bronia shines as the bright star to Stachniak’s work. Her
Some time ago Eva Stachniak set her sight on interesting women and proceeded to write novel after novel about female heroes. She chooses women that might not be well known (apart from Cathering the Great, of course) or that are forgotten or misrepresented in history books. Such was the case with the Countess Sophie Potocka, featured in Stachniak's second, brilliant novel entitled Garden of Venus. Now we get another fictional retelling of the female story, this time a story of Bronislawa ...more
Krystyna Lagowski
What a delight to get lost in the world of ballet, Russian history and the life of Bronislawa Nijinska in Eva Stachniak’s latest book, “The Chosen Maiden.” I simply didn’t want it to end. Ballet, it seems, is as much about taking sides and divided loyalties as it is about dance. In fact, it’s not just about dance, it’s about art.
Ms. Stachniak weaves an engrossing tale of Bronislawa, who was all too often in her famous brother Vaslav’s shadow. Yet Bronislawa was a gifted dancer, choreographer and
I received an ARC through Goodreads.
I didn't know about the Nijinsky dancers until I read this book. After reading, this I was prompted to look additional details about them.

It was certainly an interesting read, about the Nijinsky siblings in Russia, living through turbulent times, while trying to make their way through the fierce and competitive dance world. The story is told through Bronia, the younger sister of Vaslav.

The dynamics between Bronia and Vaslav were intense. Bronia tries so
Diane Bracuk
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Polish troupe travelling from one engagement to another, a brother and sister dancing team, and turn of the century Europe about to undergo a seismic shift with World War 1 and the Russian Revolution. So begins Eva Stachniak's beautifully written account of Bronia, younger sister of Russia’s legendary dancer Nijinsky.

Being of Polish descent, and a history buff, I am a huge fan of Stanchiak’s previous historical fiction novels, Empress of the Night and The Winter Palace. Indeed, those novels,
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of Bronislava Nijinska, the sister of the famous dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. He was a fabulous dancer, very famous and adored at his time. And Bronislava - Bronia - was also very talented and reached worldwide recognition as a choreographer. That‘s why I took the picture in front of the Zurich Opera House!
The book tells the story of Bronia‘s life, narrated from her point of view and focussing on her relationship with her brother, her family and work. It gives an insight on
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, giveaways
- 3.5/5. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via the Goodreads giveaway.

"The Chosen Maiden" tells the story of Bronia Nijinsky. The daughter of Polish dancers, Bronia grows up in Russia studying dance in the shadow of her prodigy brother, Vaslav Nijinsky. From childhood to adulthood, the author chronicles Bronia's life and the ways in which dance was ever present in both her personal and professional life.

The part that I enjoyed most about this book was the in-depth way in
Linda Edmonds cerullo
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful historical fiction based on the life of the brother and sister ballet artists Nijinsky. Chose this book as I knew nothing about either of them and wanted something fictional to sort of smooth the way to reading something more biography-based. I was not disappointed. As I do whenever I read a work of historical fiction, I googled the history of these two uniquely talented, but tortured artists to verify some parts of the book and was pleased to learn that the author kept very close to ...more
Caitlin Janke
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy through Goodreads FirstReads.
The Chosen Maiden is biography style fiction based on the real-life Ballerina Bronia Nijinsky. The author took all the information she could find and turned her life into an enjoyable novel that leads through her life. The story spans from her childhood into her adulthood and all that happens in-between. I loved that Eva Stachniak took the time to dig deep into Bronia’s life to make this novel as close to the true life while turning it into an
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
The book gives a look inside the gruelling, competitive world of the professional ballet world and centers around Bronia Nijinka and her more famous brother, Vaslav Nijinky. Much of the story is based on Bronia's actual journals (from pre World WarI to post World War II) ...and therein lies the 'story's' weakness: too often it feels like a simple recounting of everyday events, without a great deal of depth, feeling, and focus. Perhaps the fault lies in inadequate editing...but the superfluous
Katherine Pederson
I am quitting at page 233 (book is 409 pages). The story just goes on and on and on...same old same old. What could have been a very interesting and engaging novel got very boring. At this point, I don't even care what happens to Bronia, her insecurities, her hopes (are they even hers?), her almost spooky infatuation with her brother, her marriage (and she seems not to care about that either). I would like to find out how her mother fares, but...The information about the different ballet ...more
Lise Pomerleau
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I would have abandoned this book if I hadn't had to read it for book club. It's just too much incident-by-incident description, with no feeling or depth. I read The Winter Palace and felt much the same way. An amazing feat of historical research, but not literary in the sense that it does not build a world, peopled by real human beings. I felt no emotion at all and skimmed most of the last half. I also really dislike first-person, present tense in historical fiction. To me it creates no sense of ...more
Janet Wiebe
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had the good fortune of receiving an ARC of The Chosen Maiden through a Goodreads giveaway. I am happy to write a review for such an amazing book. It is not my first time reading Canadian author Eva Stachniak, I also enjoyed The Winter Palace. She is a talented, charismatic writer and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Bronia and the Nijinsky siblings. The story line was captivating and I especially enjoyed delving into the world of the Russian ballet. Family dynamics kept the story real and ...more
Carolyn Harris
I really enjoyed The Chosen Maiden - the novel is beautifully written and infused with fascinating characters and history. The family dynamics within the Nijinsky family are compelling as Bronia builds an unconventional career as a ballerina in the shadow of her famous and unstable brother Vaslav Nijinsky. Stachniak captures the history and culture of the times including the contrast between traditional Imperial Russian ballet and the Ballets Russes, the role of music and dance in raising morale ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an advanced reader's copy from Goodreads some time ago and just got around to reading this book. Overall, I enjoyed it even though I don't go in for a lot of historical fiction. It is the first time I read a work of fiction about ballet. The book was well-written and interesting, with lots of drama. I would have given it 5 stars except that I found that I got bogged down at times in detail and in keeping the large number of characters in this book straight (likely because the book ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Chosen Maiden tells the story of Bronislava Nijinsky. Her brother was the great Vaslav Nijinsky. We see her train in classical ballet from a young age. She tries her best to catch up with her brother and makes a measure of success for herself. Although she was not as celebrated as her brother, in many ways the fictional account by Eva Stachniak, opens eyes to the successes Bronia has made for herself and her family during a turbulent time in modern history.

Was interested in the resources
Linda Smatzny
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best kind of historical fiction - you learn while reading about a subject and era you know nothing or little about. The book is about Bronia Nijinsky but also covers her famous brother, Vaslav Nijinsky. Both sister and brother were ballet dancers but Vaslav was the more famous dancer known for his leaps and his decision to try some that was not classical ballet . Bronia was very much taken with the modern idea of dance as opposed to classical ballet. The story begins in 1894 and ends on a ...more
Emily Lynne
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review. This was a beautifully written, poetic story of a 20th century dancer, touching on the challenge of being a woman and an innovator during her lifetime. A moving saga of her personal and professional life, this book gave me such vivid images of what life must have been like in Russia and Europe at the turn of the 20th century and into the war-years. I was surprised at the way the book ended, ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, historical
This is the story of Bronia Nijinsky, the sister of famous ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. She too was a dancer and choreographer, but less well-known, partly because Vaslav was outstanding, but also due to gender prejudice. The novel is an engrossing read, filled with lots of historical detail. Although Bronia lived through major world events (the early part of the 20th century), these are pushed to the background as Bronia dedicates her life to her art. It is a fascinating look into the world ...more
Katherine Krige
May 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Eva Stachniak is a talented writer. Her prose is lovely, but I have to admit I found the story moved along slowly. Is that because it is based on true events? Life can be exciting, but also holds moments that are quiet. Is the book meant to reflect that? Can we ever truly capture a whole life in the pages of a book, when life itself takes far longer to unfurl than the equivalent matter of hours spent to read about it? Regardless, the story of Bronia and her life on the international ballet stage ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I kept asking myself who this story was really about. Bronia is the Chosen Maiden, but I felt in so many ways this story was about Vaslav or Mamusia. It seemed to linger too long in some parts (Kiev) and cut short the answers to more interesting questions (Vaslav's marriage, Vaslav's madness, Bronia and Kolya's relationship, etc.). I think there's a juicy story in the middle of all the drawn out narrative that could've emerged, though it would've required some painful editing and focus on a part ...more
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Greatly enjoyed this novel based off the life and personal memoirs of La Nijinska. Depicts not only the gruelling and disciplined life of a ballet dancer from childhood, but living through WWI. Her life is fascinating and full of historical detail. There are definitely some heart wrenching moments that just got me. But I loved the artistic intent and determination as well as the pursuit of creative freedom.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Apr 23, 2017 05:44PM  

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Eva Stachniak was born in Wrocław, Poland. She moved to Canada in 1981 and has worked for Radio Canada International and Sheridan College, where she taught English and humanities. Her debut novel, Necessary Lies, won the in Canada First Novel Award in 2000. Her first novel of Catherine the Great, The Winter Palace, has been included in the Washington Post 2011 list of most notable ...more
“I have to keep busy,” she says, dismissing my concern. She wants to be so tired in the evening that she will fall asleep without thinking. “Not to give vultures a chance,” she says, meaning the circling thoughts, their sharp beaks.” 0 likes
“Talent breeds resentment; brilliance attracts envy. Lesser souls seek comfort in bringing down those who are admitted into the company of gods. Envy rules the human heart. Only the strong can hope to survive.” 0 likes
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