Caitlin's Reviews > Russian Winter

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay
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's review
Jul 30, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, fiction, historical-fiction
Read from August 13 to December 27, 2010

**Note: I won this copy (an advanced reader's edition) from GoodReads as a First Reads giveaway. Also, if I could give half-stars I would...3.5 stars is my true rating!**

Finally, I have finished this novel! I've been working on it, on and off, since mid-August! I did wind up enjoying this tale of love, dance, and Soviet-era mistrust, although I felt that the beginning 50 to 100 pages did drag a bit, as they were so full of exposition and description. Kalotay's debut is a well-written and tenderly crafted piece of historical fiction. The author deftly alternates between two settings: post-WWII era Russia and present-day Boston. To me, Kalotay excels at making the reader care about her characters, who are almost all full of depth and emotion (though I will say that her main male character was ever so slightly less believable than the female characters in the story).

I do have a few critiques of the novel. Kalotay's vision of Soviet Moscow seems almost too romantic, and not realistic enough to me (I couldn't help but compare her descriptions to another historical novel I read recently, set in the same time period and place, "Child 44" by Tom Rob Smith...which was downright gritty and horrific by comparison!). Also, the ending was just way too abrupt, almost as if the author wasn't quite sure where was the best point to conclude the story.

Overall, I did like and enjoy this debut novel. I would recommend it to those readers who enjoy historical fiction with a healthy dose of romance and tenderness, or to those who love stories of ballet and dance.

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Reading Progress

08/16/2010 page 55
10/19/2010 page 129
27.0% "So far, I'm finding this one tough to get into...I'll keep reading it as I'm always (for some strange reason!) interested in stories that take place in Soviet-era Russia. We shall see..."
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