Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War” as Want to Read:
The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  26 reviews
October 1941. A small village outside Moscow. Serafima bids farewell to Vitya, a Soviet officer going to the front. With only moments left together, she places a cross around her beloved's neck and reluctantly releases him into a cruel world where nothing is certain, especially whether she will ever see him again. Days later Germans invade her village and take over her tin ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published March 3rd 2016 by iUniverse
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cruel Romance, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Cruel Romance

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  99 ratings  ·  26 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War
Sally Cronin
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A well written novel with central characters and events that will stay with you long after the book is finished.

The story is told with stark realism of life in a small village near Moscow and of the conflict on the Eastern Front, at a time when Russia and Germany were back and forth across each other’s border with devastating consequences. For all the horror, suffering and death of the men fighting on the front line, it was the women and children who ended up being brutalised, starved and revile
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked the cover; it indicates the genre of the novel (historical romantic). You will notice from the cover that the novel is a romantic historical novel, its set somewhere in middle Asia, and the spirit of war closely applied to the name of the novel and the costume of the man on the book cover. You will again recognize the only form of communication between them was by written messages or maybe a memoir of one of them. The cover was closely related to the story, the genre and translates the c ...more
Elizabeth Eckert
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel is extremely well written! I do not usually read war-type novels, though this novel kept my interest from page one! The characters, situations and events are so real and raw. I felt so many emotions as I followed Serafima. I cant speak to the accuracy of the history however, I can say the story was so well created I could have been reading a true-life account. I could almost hear them play the violin together!
I did NOT expect the ending at all!! I may have not liked everything that ha
Ellie Midwood
Have you ever read a book that was so good that you wished there was a movie about it? This is exactly what happened to me after I finished “The Cruel Romance.” The setting was so authentic, the characters so vivid and real, and the atmosphere so haunting and emotionally-charged that I couldn’t help but moan, “I wish I saw this on the big screen” from time to time! The story is set in the Eastern front, where too few historical fiction authors dare to go, unfortunately. Just this fact makes this ...more
Réal Laplaine
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War, by Marina Osipova, is an excellently written story that draws the reader through every page of this bitter love story, set in World War II and post-war Russia. It is the dramatic and realistic rendering of one young girl's journey, through German occupation, to post-war trauma and the fight to find relevance and happiness in life again. This is a haunting tale, beautifully scripted and laced with wonderfully composed metaphors and descriptive passages ...more
Lucy Alice (Author)
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book. I loved it, though 'loving' is the wrong word to use - it's a terrible story that I found in parts frustrating - how cruel humanity can be to each other and the fact that the 'kind of' happy ending was very hard won. It's a powerful story, very well told, and while I'm not sure how much us based on truth or how much is just fiction, there is truth in each post WW2 story and this one is beautifully told.


I'll admit that by the half-way mark I had a feeling of dre
Giselle Roeder
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is not easy to describe what this book is all about. I read it because I lived through the time (WWII) with similar circumstances. Cruel it was, and cruel parts of this book are hard to 'digest' for the reader who "had no idea." I found the beginning a bit superficial in luck for a better word - but once I was into it, I couldn't put it down. I rooted for the one character, I thought of what I would do, I hated the other, I wondered what would happen next, I wished this one or the other would ...more
Brianna York
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A tale of a dark time in human history replete with moments of brilliant beauty and time capsule historical details. A tale of loss and grief that teaches poignant lessons about the value of human life and the primacy of goodness and beauty if they are encouraged and allowed to bloom. A beautiful read.
D.G. Kaye
A cruel romance indeed. And as we all know, nothing is fair in love or war.

A fast paced, unputdownable engaging read from Osipova where she takes us into the troubled, and life of hardship of Serafima, a poor Russian girl, barely yet 18 years old. Serafima is caught in the midst of WWII and a sorrowful parting with her newly flourishing love with Victor who is heading off to the Russian front to join the war. Serafima vows to wait for him, both in virtue and in her heart. The author paints vivid
Literary Classics Book Awards & Reviews
Serafima is a young girl full of hope for her future. Vitya, a Soviet officer, is her heart's desire and he is soon off to war. Not long after Vitya's departure, two German soldiers occupy Serafima's home where she and her mother are forced into servitude. Now living in their barn, with scarcely enough food to survive, they must cook, clean and wash for their captors.

Despite the atrocities endured by Serafima and her mother, there are moments when the women experience an occasional kindness pro
David Samaras
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Cruel Romance

This is a wonderful book! The author created a mesmerizing tapestry of visual, tactile, emotional, beautiful, and terrifying images of Russia during WWII. The life and times of Serafima, a young Russian woman are heartrending, tragic, and utterly believable.
The reader will become completely immersed in her world. You will remember this book long after you finish reading it.
Krishnapriya Sunilkumar
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A cruel romance indeed

The story begins in a small village 80 miles from Moscow. This is a story of romance, strength,courage and faith. The aftermath of war on the life and dreams of the people is beautifully portrayed in the story of Serafima,Victor, Werter ,Anna Konstantinova, Ivan
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
beautifully written and expertly told. This is at times heartbreaking and an unconventional love story. Ossipova's vivid descriptions thrust you right into the war its hardships and the lives torn apart by circumstances beyond the characters control. A delightful read from start to finish.
Helen Hollick
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs

"The story and the way it is told has an authentic historical feeling and characters and plot are well thought out."
David Huntley
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
January 5, 2019


The author of this work of historical fiction Marina Osipova has by a stroke of extreme irony written its own review condensed into 3 words, “a cruel romance”.

It is indeed a story of love, tragedy, malice, and severe cruelty, but with a very belated and unexpected redemption. The story is set in the mire of the conflict between Germany and Russia in the second world war.

Serafima is a young attractive seventeen-year-old Russian and illegitimate daughter
Píaras Cíonnaoíth
Author Marina Osipova weaves a compelling historical fiction, with fascinating twists and turns that will easily captivate the reader’s attention from the beginning. The author paints a heart-rending and passionate story of war and peace in a very vivid and convincing way. In addition, the characters are drawn with great credibility and conviction. It’s a relatively fast-paced novel that will keep you engaged from the first page to the last.

The book description gives a sneak preview; ‘October 1
Pamela Rae Stewart
Oh how I love this book....♥️

A book of so much pain and sorrow.
Yet a book where simple joys are appreciated.
Simple joys are hard to find....
A young love destroyed by war.
A tragic assault results in the greatest joy!
Cruel, savage hearts.
Kind, merciful, hearts.
New love.
Those who could not, would not acknowledge their crimes against others and only exalted themselves instead of becoming humble.
Those who sought to repair the damage they caused, at any cost.
Life is hard, people are hard in ord
Cindy Woods
Depressing story

I have to wonder at the title here "The Cruel Romance" as I only see any true romance depicted near the last portion of this book.

The desolate, hard life of Sarafima, a young Russian girl during WWII is particularly described after her village is taken over and enslaved by the German military. Her and her mother's home is confiscated by a cruel Nazi major and his military aide while the woman are forced to move into their barn and serve their captors. This is hard to stomach as t
Shirley McAllister
Cruelty of War

War is cruel. So many women suffered abuse from the occupying armies. Many of them were forced to comply, yet were persecuted by their towns people anyway.

Many in all countries following the war were accused of being spies for the other side. These unfortunate souls were sent to labor camps and concentration camps where many perished.

The story of Serafima , a Russian girl raped by a German soldier, giving birth to a child and then being persecuted by her friends and neighbors for b
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, so good.
This is one of those books that will make you feel every emotion. I found it very well written and easy to relate to the characters, to feel what they feel. What Serafima goes through is absolutely horrible. Even though I know those sorts of things (and far worse) happened during this turbulent time in history, it didn’t lessen the empathy I felt when reading about it. I was rooting for Serafima each step of the way and hoping she would eventually find some happiness. I won’t spoil
Billie Kowalewski
I took my time with this one because it became clear to me early on that this the kind of book you can't really read in one sitting. This story follows a young Russian girl and her mother during WW2 and the hardships that she dealt with during that time. This author has a gift for bringing such details into her story which really open up the image playing in your mind, providing a much more realistic feel and effect. I love reading stories set in different time periods and this author
C.A. King
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Warning - scenes of rape resulting in pregnancy.

I've become a fan of historical romance and this fits right in that category - although it had a different ending than I expected. The twist was a nice surprise. I have a ball of emotions rolling around inside still - I feel so much for Serafima. What she goes through is in tense and painful. Any author to move me like that has incredible writing skills!
Faith F.Griffin
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many broken hearts during war...

The story of the German and Russian people during war is painfully true. The poverty and hunger was so bad it took extremely strong willed people to survive. Not only were the conditions horrible the people were abused and used suffering from the enemy.
Thia Lynne
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story!

The harshness of the Russian winter and life in such a cruel place is portrayed with such emotional realism that I wanted to help everyone escape from such a cruel place. The coincidences seemed impossible but they were planned. The author had me mistrusting Victor from the start. What a story!
Larmie Fahrendorff
An interesting albeit a sad story

Like so many of the Russian classics I have read previously, this was dominated by hardship and sadness. More of a lady's novel, but still a very enjoyable story. Certainly commendable to anyone interested in this period novels.
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marina is a rare type of writer. This book is raw and basic. It takes you to this village in Russia, where you become part of Serafima. This young girl and her life is a very long and difficult road into happiness. No spoilers, but, I totally cried at the end!!!!
Marie Major
rated it it was amazing
Aug 04, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Jun 09, 2020
joseph hutchins
rated it really liked it
Aug 31, 2019
Bella Mastov
rated it it was amazing
Aug 20, 2020
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • When We Were Brave
  • Behind the Darkened Glass (Behind the Darkened Glass #1)
  • No Woman's Land (Women and the Holocaust, #2)
  • The Violin Maker's Daughter
  • The Occupation: Loyalties are pushed to the limits in this powerful wartime saga
  • The Wartime Nanny: A totally unputdownable World War 2 historical novel
  • A View Across the Rooftops
  • Sisters of War
  • Cry of the Heart: A World War II Novel
  • What Only We Know
  • The Child On Platform One: Inspired by the children who escaped the Holocaust
  • A Fight in Silence
  • The Girl I Left Behind
  • The Outcast Girls
  • Auschwitz Syndrome: A Holocaust Novel Based on a True Story (Women and the Holocaust, #3)
  • Under Darkening Skies
  • Surviving The Forest
  • Innocence Lost: A Childhood Stolen
See similar books…
Marina Osipova was born in East Germany into a military family and grew up in Russia where she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. She also has a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. In Russia, she worked first in a scientific-technical institute as a translator then in a Government Ministry in the office of in ...more

Related Articles

Let’s face it, 2020 is making us long for other timelines. Luckily, these 32 novels are ready to sweep you away to vastly different eras and...
169 likes · 145 comments