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The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Petrograd, 1914. A country on a knife-edge. The story of two people caught in the middle – with everything to lose…

A stunning debut from a talented new Australian voice in historical fiction.

Valentina Yershova's position in the Romanov's Imperial Russian Ballet is the only thing that keeps her from the clutches of poverty. With implacable determination, she has clawed her
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2019 by HQ Fiction
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  117 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Kylie D
This is the type of book I wish I could read all the time. Set against the backdrop of pre-revolution Russia, we get a look into the privileged lives of the dancers of the Tsars Imperial Ballet. Concentrating on famed soloist Valentina and up and coming corps dancer Luka, and their illicit love affair, we move from rehearsals, to performances and then to the dancers private downtime. Yet their affair seems to be doomed, as Valentina has a protector, Maxim, a man who has paid for her lifestyle, a ...more
It was 1914 in Petrograd and Luka Zhirkov was nervous as he walked into the rehearsal room. His lifelong dream had always been to dance. Now he’d been given the chance to dance with Romanov’s Imperial Russian Ballet and he knew that he could go far if he was accepted. His awe at the beauty and talent of Valentina Yershova when he first saw her was such that his desire to dance as her partner one day was foremost in his mind.

Valentina was one of the many who had a protector – a man who would own
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Set during the backdrop of WW1 Russia, the country is divided into two different halves. Those who have money and privilege and those who don't. With the war dragging on and becoming less and less popular this is a land that could explode with rage at any moment. Against this, we have Valentina Yershova and Luka Zhirkov who find themselves caught in the middle. Both having come from working-class backgrounds and are now performers in the prestigious Imperial Russian Ballet that is seen with disd ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Ballet, Russia, revolution and a tragic love story defines the debut novel by Australian author Kerri Turner. With aspirations of becoming a ballerina and earning an Associate Degree in dance, Kerri Turner has channelled her passion for both ballet and historical fiction into her novel, The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers. This is a grand story, with history and romance both competing for your undivided attention.

The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers begins
Sue Gerhardt Griffiths
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars


Wow, what a debut! A magnificent and superb page-turner. The last 100 pages had me in tears but it was those final 30 pages that had me sobbing. The entire story though is divine.

For anyone interested in the lives of real life Russian figures, ballet, WWI and the revolution.

Highly recommended.

Many thanks to Harlequin Australia for providing me with a free copy of The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers for an honest review.

Theresa Smith Writes
What a glorious cover this novel has! It caught my eye immediately and then the lure of history within the context of ballet and a revolution all sealed the deal for me. There were many elements present to make this story a great one but they didn’t quite all mesh together for me. The story itself was very much a surface tale, the romance between the two main characters overshadowing all else, and while I believe it was intended as a grand love story, there just wasn’t enough characterisation to ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Waiting had never been so hard.’

In 1913, Tsar Nicholas II celebrated the tercentenary of Romanov rule in Russia. He ruled over a huge empire which stretched from central Europe to the Pacific Ocean, and from the Arctic to the borders of Afghanistan. But there were many tensions in the empire. In 1914 when the Great War (World War I) broke out, Russia was not well prepared.

Against this backdrop, Ms Turner opens her novel in Petrograd in the autumn of 1914, where the Romanov’s Imperial Russian Ba
Leanne Lovegrove
I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the detail about the ballet. It's clear the author has intimate knowledge of the industry but this only makes the book more wonderful. The world of Russia at war is also vivid. It's always a pleasure to read about a period of history you know little about. The love affair of the two main characters is a slow burn but worth waiting for. A beautiful story that will stay with me.
Kerri Turner
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I’m the writer, so of course I love it. Now it belongs to the readers! Enjoy ❤ ...more
✰  BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰
ARC received via Netgalley for an honest review

The Last Of the Romanov Dancers is story set in the back ground of pre-revolution Russia.

Kerri Turner's debut sets real life figures amongst fictional characters in the Imperial Ballet, where ambition walks and money talks.

It did take me a little while to get into this book, and I did consider DNFing at one stage, however I think that had more to do with me and end of year burn out rather than the book. Once I got past that stage I couldn't wait to
Hayley (meet_me_at_the_library)
Oh my goodness, what a stunning debut novel! It’s no secret that I love historical fiction—even more so when it centres around actual people or events—so this book was right up my alley. I really loved the author’s note included at the end of the book explaining which parts of the story are fact and which are fiction. The story centres around a group of Imperial Russian Ballet dancers in the years leading up to the 1917 revolution. It’s beautifully written, meticulously detailed and culturally r ...more
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers is a powerful and passionate novel full of history and research into the Imperial Russian Ballet.

It is beautifully written and a must-read for ballet lovers and readers who enjoy historical fiction. The dancers really do dance off the page!

It was imaginative and I loved the references to all the famous Russian ballets, the exquisite brooches and jewellery, swans and so much more...

Pirouette your way into this one and enjoy The Last of The Romanov Dancers by
Julia Knapman
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It will be a long time before this book fades from my mind. The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers draws you into the dying days of Imperial Russia, where Valentina, an ambitious ballerina doggedly clawing her way up the social ladder, meets pure-hearted Luka, a gifted dancer who makes her question everything she thought she believed in. Kerri Turner brings to life the chaos of the Russian Revolution, the obscene wealth and dire poverty of the classes, where the splendour of ballet offers both sol ...more
Johanna Baker
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rich tapestry of dance and decadence layered over the desperate backdrop of pre-revolution Russia, Kerri Turner’s debut is an incredible journey into the complexities of love, class and a country on the brink of an uprising. THE LAST DAYS OF THE ROMANOV DANCERS is passion and freedom and justice and obsession, it is chasing after your dreams and watching the world burn around you. Meticulously researched, this is one book you will not regret picking up.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last of the Romanov Dancers is the debut novel by Aussie author Kerri Turner and is a good combination of fact and fiction on a well versed topic but with a fresh twist. An intriguing historical venture into Russian ballet during the dying days of the Romanov rule.

Full review at:
Fiction Aficionado
Though I am both a ballet lover and a history lover, I have a limited knowledge of Russian history. What an engaging, albeit bittersweet, introduction this book was to the subject! Valentina and Luka may have been fictional characters, but their story was very much rooted in the social and political unrest in the years leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, with the Romanovs, Rasputin, and even Mathilde Kschessinska, the prima ballerina assoluta of the Imperial Russian Ballet, all making ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads, arcs
The Last Of the Romanov Dancers is set in 1914, in the background of the Russia pre-revolution.

We follow Valentina Yershova, an ambitious ballerina, who’s position in Romanov’s Imperial ballet keeps her from poverty. She is also one of the many women in this story who have a protector, a man who pays her way in the company and the lifestyle she lives, in exchange for her body.

We also follow Luka, the son of a factory worker, who’s dream it has always been to dance.

While this book is not the genr
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers is a stunning historical fiction story that encapsulates the time, location, and mood of Russia during WWI through the eyes of Valentina Yershova and Luka Zhirkov, dancers in the Romanov Imperial Ballet Company.

Turner's knowledge of ballet is impeccable as his her ability to delicately weave the tumultuous and often fragile waves of human nature and emotion that occurred in the face of class division, familial disapproval, and the pressures of giving one's bo
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers is a sweeping tale of love, ballet and class set against Petrograd (St Petersburg) from 1914-1917. As Turner's debut, it shines with life and passion, and I stayed up way too late to devour it in one sitting.

Valentina Yershova's career in the Imperial Russian Ballet takes a twist when her patron trades her to another man, who promises her the dream role of Odette, but whose behaviour is far from gentlemanly (note some (not very explicit) domestic violence tri
Elisa Hordon
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
oh wow was my first thought upon finishing this book. The last days of the Romanov dancers was a big hit for me, Kerri Turner did a masterful job of bringing a bygone era to life and making me feel like I was really there it was just a truly beautiful story and one I will re-read and cherish for years to come.
Gillian Muller
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book totally transported me to an era I never knew, but made me feel I was there in the midst of it! Beautifully written, superbly researched, and emotionally engaging. I usualy take forever to finish a book, but I struggled to put this one down. I could picture this being a movie! Loved it.
This promised so much with the beautiful cover and the storyline but it fell a bit flat for me.
bella ϟ  [ bella farren ]
Jan 13, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: books-i-own

I have legitimate heart eyes over this cover, it hit me in my soft spot for Russian architecture

Nicki Markus
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-historical
The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers is a sweeping story that offers a tantalising view of the revolution through the eyes of people caught between the two camps. I particularly loved the way Turner brought the world of the ballet to life; it's easy to tell that she is a dancer herself from her lovely descriptions during those scenes. The love story didn't always work for me. I had trouble seeing Luka and Valentina as a workable couple at times. They didn't feel a natural 'fit' to me. But in all ...more
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually write reviews before a book is published but I absolutely loved this.
I felt completely taken to early 20th century Russia and the ballet. I loved the complexity of the characters and the detail was fabulous. I honestly can't wait to get my hands on a finished copy for my own collection.
I absolutely look forward to what Kerri Turner does next.
Jennifer Larmar
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love Amidst the Footlights of a World About to Be Lost Forever

This debut novel by Australian author Kerri Turner is beautifully crafted with descriptive passages that take you right into the exquisite palaces of the Romanov dynasty and through a Russia of old where opulence and splendour walked side by side with desperate need and poverty. And then, with a cruel twist of fate, readers find themselves being hurtled into those terrible few months when that untouchable world of Russia’s rich and fa
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Firstly, I should say that for those who don’t know me I have a massive fascination with Revolutionary Russia, particularly from the perspective of the upper classes and nobility (I blame my family history). In another life I would have also chosen to have continued ballet seriously over gymnastics throughout my childhood and adolescence, so I was already bias picking up this book simply because of where it was set. On the other hand, because I wanted to love it so much I had very high expectati ...more
Rebecca Bowyer
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers, by Kerri Turner, is a wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable story to read.

I’m a sucker for anything set in Russia. I devoured Paullina Simons’ The Bronze Horseman series, with Tatiana and Alexander and have read my way through plenty of Russian literature, including Anna Karenina and Crime and Punishment.

I’m also drawn to any story related to ballet – partly a hangover from my childhood obsession with the book, Veronica at the Wells, and partly because I’m endl
Tara Calaby
The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers is set in Russia between 1914 and 1920, which means that it documents not just the end of the Imperial Russian Ballet, but also the end of the Romanovs themselves. It was a period of great upheaval for Russia, and for all those affected by the Great War, but Kerri Turner manages to create a narrow focus for a reader’s attention so that the weight of historical detail doesn’t become too overwhelming.

Her two main characters are Luka—a newcomer to the Imperial
Jacquie South
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m being a little generous giving this 4 stars - to me it is probably actually closer to 3 1/2 ⭐.
The story itself had a lot of potential. I was interested to read about this period of Russian history, and bringing it to life through the lens of the ballet world was different and interesting. The fact that the writer is knowledgeable about ballet is evident in her descriptions of the art form, and overall the novel is extremely well researched. Definitely 4 ⭐ in that department.
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book versions 1 1 Mar 03, 2019 04:50PM  
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The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers, my debut historical fiction novel, is out now. A second historical fiction novel is scheduled for release in early 2020.

In 2017 I signed with literary agent Haylee Nash of The Nash Agency. In prior years, my short stories have been published by Reflex Fiction, Boolarong Press, Catchfire Press, Stringybark, Underground Writers, and as part of the Dangerous Wome