Katie's Reviews > Russian Winter

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay
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's review
Dec 01, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: adult-fiction, historical-fiction
Read from December 01 to 09, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Nina Revskaya was once a great star at the Bolshoi Ballet in communist Russia. Now, she lives in Boston, her nurse Cynthia her only regular human contact. When Nina decides to sell off her valuable jewelry, memories of her past rush back. She recalls her romance and marriage with Viktor Elsin, a famous Russian poet, fellow dancer Vera, and friendship to Gersh.

Grigori Solodin is alarmed when he sees Nina Revskaya is auctioning off her jewels. After all, he is closely connected to Nina, although she has refused to see him over the years. He anonymously donates an amber necklace that matches a set Nina Revskaya is auctioning off, with hopes she will want to talk to him. However, Nina still refuses to see him. Drew, the woman in charge of the auction, finds Nina and Grigori both intriguing, especially Grigori.

We learn that Gersh, a composer, falls out of favor with the communist party. He is arrested and sent to labor camp. Vera, Nina's best friend, misses him and writes him letters. When Nina's mother falls ill, Nina cares for her, leaving Vera and Viktor alone together for many months. When Nina and Vera get in an argument, they stop speaking and Nina takes little notice when Vera is absent from the ballet for several months. When she gets a phone call from a hospital saying Viktor is Vera's emergency contact and must come quickly, Nina visits her best friend. She in the maternity ward, having just given birth to a baby boy. Nina is startled but thinks nothing of it. Vera dies and when Nina goes through her things, she finds the amber earrings and bracelet she mistakenly found in Viktor's possession. Nina puts the pieces together and realizes Viktor and Vera had an affair and the baby is her husband's. She decides to leave Russia and escapes without another word to her husband (who is later arrested and dies in a labor camp).

The baby is Grigori which explains why Nina never wanted to see him. However, what Nina and Grigori dont' know but discover is that the amber jewelry belonged to Gersh, Grigori's actual father. Grigori found the matching amber necklace in a bag given to him by his adopted parents, the only known possessions of his birth mother, Vera. Grigori believed he was Nina and Viktor's child but was mistaken.

I loved this story. It was beautifully written and I was swept up in all of the story lines.

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