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The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  475 ratings  ·  110 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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Average rating 3.76  · 
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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
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner. (2019).

Valentina has escaped poverty by being a dancer in the Romanovs' Imperial Russian Ballet. She has clawed her way through the ranks with not just her talent, but her alliances with influential men that grant them her body but not her heart. Then Luka, a factory worker's son, joins the company and everything she has built is put at risk.
In the eyes of his father, Luka is a tra
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
Deborah Ideiosepius
This was quite a fascinating book for me; set, as the title suggests, in Russia just before the Tsarist family, the Romanovs fell and the country succumbed to internal strife and revolution. Mostly set between between 1914 and 1917, the story goes between the two viewpoints of dancers in the Imperial Russian Ballet.

Valentina Yershova is one of the prime ballerinas in the troupe, she is not at the top yet but she is working toward it. Coming from a poor background, she would never have made it a
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
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
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, aww2019
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
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
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 ❤️
Karen ⊰✿
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, uno_2019
This is a unique WWI story as it is much more about Ballet and the romance between dancers Luka and Valentina than the war. As a historical fiction fan, with a love of Russian history, I loved being immersed into the time period and imagining what it must have been like for these dancers who could be loved and lavished one moment and then have their contract cancelled and sent into poverty the next. Talent was important, but so was your connections and for some female dancers, "protectors" (who ...more
Tracey (Life and Literature)
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers is a story of love, and life set amongst the Russian ballet amidst the horrors of war and uprising. Having not read a whole lot of historical fiction, it was that, and the stunning cover which drew me to this book. And I loved every minute of it!

The story centres around Valentina Yershova and Luka Zhirkov, both dancers in the Romanov Imperial Russian Ballet. Both having lived with poverty, Valentina was determined to build a better life for herself, utilisin
✰  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
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.
Jeanette Lewis
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a lovely holiday read of an unlikely romance between a young male dancer Luka and a lead star of the Imperial Russian Ballet, Valentina. The author has included historical events, the war between Russia and Germany, the Tsar leaving his country's affairs to be taken over by "the mad monk Rasputin", advisor to the Tsarina Alexandra. The suppression of the poor and the eventual murder of Rasputin followed by the Russian revolution and the killings of the Tsar and his family are mentioned a ...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
Karen Brooks
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This absorbing book took me completely by surprise. Not only is it a skilfully told story of a time in Russian history (the final years of the decadent Romanovs, and the rising rebellion among the workers as dissatisfaction and real anger towards the ruling classes, economic instability, food shortages, dreadful working conditions and war, grew worse), using two ballet dancers employed by the elite Imperial Russian Ballet as foils, it’s also a tragic tale of class difference, and the lengths tho ...more
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
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:
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.
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
Shelves: first-reads, gifted
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
Danielle {halfdesertedstreets}
3.5 stars.

A very readable historical romance set in a time and space just perfect for winter reading. The peek into the world of an early 20th century ballet corps in Russia was fascinating and rich, and I appreciated the nuanced and varied characters who sometimes did the wrong things for the right reasons.

I also loved all the social and political tension and the moments when we got to catch a glimpse of the ever-mysterious and fascinating Romanovs.

A lovely debut.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia
Almost 3 stars despite the interesting setting but I didn't warm to the characters and it was a rather bland romance.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow, just wow!

Such a beautiful novel, I love it soo much!

I found this book in my local library’s ebook service randomly and I just borrowed it because I was thinking ‘why not’.

With all the exams I have, I had to stop reading the series I was reading (Percy Jackson & Outlander) and had to find a stand alone that would be an easy read but also a fulfilling read for me. I’m glad that I found all of these in this book.

As you can see, I finished this book in a day, in less than 5 hours. It is very ea
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers, is rather obviously, about the famed ballet dancers of the Romanov era, set during the tumultuous last days of Tsarist Russia. For some reason, I really enjoy books on dancing despite never having danced in my life, and combining that appreciation with my adoration of Russian history, I rather enjoyed this book.

We get the chance to dissect the lives of Valentina and Luka, while also getting a very accurate taste of what Russian life was like in the early twe
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Author of The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers (2019) and The Daughter of Victory Lights (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 Women Project.

My author influences include (but are not limited t

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