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Blood Red, Snow White

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  2,029 ratings  ·  313 reviews
There never was a story that was happy through and through.

When writer Arthur Ransome leaves his home in England and moves to Russia to work as a journalist, it is with little idea of the violent revolution about to erupt. Unwittingly, he finds himself at its center, tapped by the British to report back on the Bolsheviks even as he becomes dangerously romantically entangle
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Roaring Brook Press (first published July 6th 2007)
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Rebecca If you are looking for a novel with somewhat similar themes that is often taught to 8th graders, please try Jane Yolen's Briar Rose. If you are lookin…moreIf you are looking for a novel with somewhat similar themes that is often taught to 8th graders, please try Jane Yolen's Briar Rose. If you are looking for something for slightly younger readers, perhaps try Lois Lowry's Number the Stars. Both are award winning novels written about WWII and the Holocaust. The former is framed through the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.

I personally think Blood Red, Snow White it is appropriate for young adults depending on how you are teaching them. We seem to coddle our younger readers so much now for fear of "confusing" or "upsetting" them, but how else do you want them to grow up and mature? What better place than in class, where they can discuss and explore the meaning behind "adult" themes, language, scenes?

As a 12-13 year old I was assigned books like Watership Down and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. As a 13-14 year old in 9th grade I was reading All Quiet on the Western Front and Of Mice and Men. Have faith in your young students and realize that they do not need to be protected from Rasputin caught with no clothes on or the word "penis" - literature is there to challenge them to expand their understanding, not to protect them.

Edit: I can also remember many "traumatic"/emotionally difficult books of childhood (in addition to the two I already listed above: Where the Red Fern Grows/Old Yeller, Out of the Dust, Bridge to Terabithia, etc.) and some of those are the books that challenge you to grow as a person.(less)
Igenlode Wordsmith It's a fictionalised biography/autobiography/allegory- so while you probably don't need to be familiar with Arthur Ransome as an author, or his "Old P…moreIt's a fictionalised biography/autobiography/allegory- so while you probably don't need to be familiar with Arthur Ransome as an author, or his "Old Peter's Russian Tales" (far from being his best-known work), I think the book might seem rather odd without being acquainted with his literary style and his children's novels.
On the other hand, no, it isn't part of a series...(less)

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Average rating 3.62  · 
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Emily May
“Stories twist and turn and grow and meet and give birth to other stories. Here and there, one story touches another, and a familiar character, sometimes the hero, walks over the bridge from one story into another.”

I think we need to clear some things up about this book.

This is just my theory, but I'm pretty sure something like this happened: Due to the popularity of fairy tales and retellings in American YA, publishers have been scouting out the next bestseller - both among upcoming manuscr
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "charming, disarming, sweeping, romantic" stars !!!

10th Favorite Read of 2017 (tie)

This is one unique and delightful read. This semi-fictional book is about Arthur Ransome (an author and journalist) who was one of Britain's first spies and possible double agents with the Bolsheviks. This is also a love story of his deep feelings and bravery in the rescuing of the beautiful Evgeniya who also happened to be Trotsky's secretary. In the background we have his yearning for his estranged daughter
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-releases
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

Russia wakes from a long sleep and marches to St Petersburg to claim her birthright. Her awakening will mark the end for the Romanovs, and the dawn of a new era that changed the world. Arthur Ransome, a journalist and writer, was part of it all. He left his family in England a
Elle (ellexamines)
Blood Red Snow White is a book about Communist Russia, but above all, a book about ideological hatred. It is a book about how despising all communists and all British is always the wrong idea; people are people above all else.

It's an important message and important story, but somehow, I just ended underwhelmed. Let's talk about why.

Perhaps my biggest problem is missed expectations; the creativity and pull of the story is just not on par. Sedgwick's books get their power from being different; f
 Megan • Reading Books Like a Boss (book blog)

BLOOD RED SNOW WHITE is a set of three short stories and a fictionalized account of author Arthur Randsome's time in Russia during Russian Revolution. Sedgwick brings readers on a thrilling journey, detailing both sides of war between the Red and the White. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The writing is quite beautiful in parts, especially in A Russian Fairy Tale.
"Once upon a time beyond the sunrise, halfway to the moon, and so very far away it would make your feet weep
I was highly anticipating Blood Red, Snow White because it was going to be the first Sedgwick novel that I’d ever read. He is an author I am constantly hearing about, so I was very excited to read this book. And although I did enjoy it, I didn’t love it as much as I truly wanted to.

This novel is told in a fairytale writing style. In the beginning, I was in awe of it. I thought it added a sense of magic to the entire story, and it worked well with the symbolism that was in place for the Russian R
3.5 stars

I'm on a bit of a Russian Revolution kick, spurred by The Gentleman in Moscow. Blood Red, Snow White was a beautiful way to follow up and to enhance my understanding of yet another piece of the Bolshevik puzzle. This book is beautifully written; I have not read any of Marcus Sedgwick's previous work, but I thought that the opening chapters were dreamily penned, compellingly told, and beautifully rendered. The imagery (particularly of the slumbering bear in the forest rousing to a war cr
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, historical
Wow. I have to say that this was one of the best historical fictions that I have ever read. The author is absolutely fantastic in the way that he manages to weave such a gripping story while still making it completely historically accurate. I loved the style of writing as well and the way it changed, as though the narrator was speaking right out of the book and reading it to me, in the first third of the book, but then the style was slowly altered until the story was being told from Arthur Ranso ...more
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sedgwick's authorial voice is nothing short of sensational, the fairytale quality running under his retelling the bloody Russian Revolutions through the eyes of Arthur Ransome. The novel is split into three parts, and Sedgwick jumps between stories until they lace into one another and never once lose pace or connection with the reader. It is an exceptional piece of writing, and reminded me strongly of other quasi-factual works such as The General in his Labyrinth, The Red Necklace and The Book T ...more
Brittany (Brittany's Book Rambles)
DNF at 25%--my standard policy for DNFing a book.

While I enjoyed the writing style and the premise, it didn't hold my attention. In the beginning, it seemed as if the reader was going to get a Russian fairy tale but it's less fairy tale and more of a Russian history lesson. I kept waiting for the story to take off but up to the point that I read, it didn't. I found the characters, the ones not based on real people, to be confusing and superfluous. Maybe I'll try again at a different time but for
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight
This book was such a gem. It's historical fiction, yes, but so much of it is just plain authentically historical, with some fictional bits. So if you are going into this expecting a fairytale, this isn't one. In fact, the protagonist is a real person , an author in fact. But the fictional and fairytale bits brought the story together so well for me, and made it so appealing!

The story
Oct 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, arc
Checkout my full review + giveaway on my blog! http://omgbooksandmorebooks.blogspot....

It was a tough book to get through. I normally love historical fiction but this one was hard to get through. I'll admit, I solely requested this book just for the cover. It's great right? I enjoyed the 3 novellas that made up the story, the first one being my favorite. Each gives an insight of Russia during the Russian Revolution told by different perspectives.

I thought this book would be more about Russian f
I'm going to be honest, I thought this was a completely different book from the title and cover. So color me a little shocked when I read the description right before starting the book and found out it was more historical fiction set in Russia. And while this book wasn't my normal cup of tea, I found myself completely sucked into the beginning. This wasn't my first Sedgwick book, but it had been awhile since I read him and I had forgotten how different his writing is. He has a way of putting you ...more
Aj Sterkel
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
The Good: You could probably argue that Russia has the most interesting history of any country on Earth. It’s full of unruly monarchs, revolution, corruption, secrets, scandals, and whatever the heck Rasputin was. Blood Red, Snow White is a fictionalization of real events that took place around the Russian Revolution. The main character, Arthur Ransome, was a real journalist and children’s book author who got roped into spying for Russia and England. His story is strange and harrowing. He’s a pa ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Let me tell you a fairy tale.
I used to tell stories like this all the time; it used to be so important. It even saved my life once. Now let me see, how do fairy tales begin?"

My first Sedgwick novel was back in June 2015. Like this one, it was historical fiction, but was set in WWI in England. I was gripped by the first few chapters, and soon found myself finishing it in two sittings around two days. I adored the story, the writing style, and the voices of the characters. It was a 5
Like all fairy tales, this story is told in three parts. The main story is the adventures of Arthur Ransome, yes that Ransome, in Russia during the revolution. The first part of the novel is told like a fairy tale. In fact, Sedgwick captures the tone and feeling of Old Peter's Tales. The second is told in third person, and the last section is told by Ransome himself.

Sedgwick includes some interesting things in the appendix.

While the book does get classified as fantasy, it is fantasy more in tone
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it
What I enjoy most about Marcus Sedgwick novels are how unusual they are and how different they are from one another. It took a bit of time for me to warm up to this one. While it's definitely interesting to learn more about Arthur Ransome, I just found the storytelling style a touch dry. ...more

“You have life written all over you. Some people bear tragedy on their faces; loss, death, whatever it might be. But you have life.”


When writer Arthur Ransome leaves an unhappy marriage in England to become a journalist in Tsarist Russia, he has little idea of the violent revolution about to erupt. What's worse, as the Bolsheviks continue to gain power, and his homeland presses him for intel, Arthur falls in love with Trotsky's secretary.

I didn't know this before picking up Blood Red Snow
Suze Lavender
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Arthur Ransome is a British author. Because he isn't happy with his wife he wants to get away from her as far as possible and decides to travel to Russia. He taught himself the language, so it seems like a natural choice to find out more about the country. This is his introduction to journalism. It's a time of unrest in Russia and the English newspapers need someone to report about it. Through his work Arthur makes important friends among the Bolsheviks and he even falls in love with Trotsky's s ...more
First sentence: The years slip away.

Premise/plot: Set during the Russian Revolution, Blood Red Snow White is narrated by Arthur Ransome, children's book writer and journalist. Though a fictionalized account it does have a historical basis. The writing is lyrical.

My thoughts: What a book!!!! This one should not be forgotten when Cybils comes around again next year. I love the writing. It is beautiful and amazing. The story itself is compelling; the details are fascinating.

The title brings to mind
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Revolutionary Russia, and Arthur Ransome as spy... what's not to LOVE... but what a clunky and disjointed mix of styles. It's a "Concept". Ugh. First, allegory and fairytale prose in Part I, then pseudo-mysterious present-tense in Part II, and then past-tense spy novel Part III. I just wish he'd stuck with the story, and used the fairy-tale pieces to knit it together a little more artfully--and less "art-ey". Could have been great. Interesting reading about Ransome, though, and the beginnings of ...more
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't know what the story was I thought it would be. A snow white re-telling maybe? The blood, the rose....this is definitely a case where I should have read the synopsis.

But I did like this one. History abounds on an area and culture and time I know very little of. The story of Arthur was a new one and I did enjoy it. But the story telling, at first, is more fairy tale. it takes you through a bear and a forest and through quite a few timelines and tales.

But it slowly morph, so stick with it,
I bought this book because of the gorgeous cover, and the fact that it was about Russia. I didn't know it followed the lifeline of a historical figure until I finished it. I thought the characters stayed a bit flat, and it took me a while to get 'into' it. Nevertheless, it was a good read a nice way to read about the Russian Revolution.

Favourite quote: "He lived, and now, being a character in a book who has survived to the final page, he lives forever." (p. 202)
Alex M.
I was expecting something different based on the aspect. I know, I know - ''never judge a book by its cover'' but I couldn't help it. The cover was fabulous, the pages had a vintage touch and the text was red = love. Furthermore, the beginning was super fairy tale-ish with beautiful writing and a style that induced a dreamy mood.

I know this is a historical fiction BUT I was still expecting more fantasy to it. I felt as if the first half of the book was in a story and the second in another. At p
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not a biography this is a case of truth being as fantastic as fiction as we follow journalist and author Arthur Ransome through Russia at an incredible time in it’s history. As ever Marcus Sedgwick’s writing is wonderful.
Ashlyn cherry
Feb 10, 2021 rated it did not like it
I’m sorry to the people that like is book , I can’t get into it I really don’t like the way he writes
Ringo The Cat
By his own admission, “a sense of place” is what often inspires Marcus Sedgwick’s storytelling. Combined with Sedgwick’s almost gothic flair and often Unheimlich and atmospheric way of writing, this has resulted in a couple of gems. In Revolver, for instance, that setting is the Arctic, suitably evoked in an almost claustrophobic way. The 2007 novel, Blood Red Snow White, is quintessential Sedgwick too: a unique setting (Russia during the Russian Revolution) and a mesmerizing style (especially i ...more
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well. I absolutely adored this book.

I'm just going to say a couple of things first - it seems that some people are or were under the allusion that this is fantasy/a retelling, even though the blurb makes no such claims. This is straightforward historical fiction, much of it not even all that fictional, and that is just what I expected it to be. As for the title, Blood Red = communists, Snow White = tsarists. This is not any sort of Snow White retelling or similar.
If you're looking for high fan
Aug 18, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Don't read this book; it is really bad.

It's a stylistic disaster; it is divided into three parts, the first of which is a confused mish-mash of inter-related "fairy-tales". It mixes up Russian history with ideas from Arthur Ransome's book about - Russian fairy-tales! This, I think, is supposed to be clever, because the book is a fictionalised tale of Arthur Ransome's time living in Russia, before, during and after the revolution that brought Lenin to power. In fact it's just an incoherent mess.
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
What happens in a fairy tale is no more or less in anyone's control that what happens in life.

OK folks, do not be fooled by either the cover or the above quote. What lies in between the pages Blood Red, Snow White is not a fairy tale. Had I adjusted my reading stance properly from this Soviet-era thriller could easily have been a 3 star.

Blood Red, Snow White actually is the very real historical events of the rise of the Bolsheviks in Russia and the fall of the Romanovs during the early 20th ce
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Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The most recent of these nominations rekindled a fascination with Poe that has borne fruit here in (in The Restless Dead, 2007) the form of "The Hea ...more

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