Lost Roses

Lost Roses

A Novel

Book - 2019
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"It is 1914 and the world has been on the brink of war so many times, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia. But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia's Imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortuneteller's daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya's letters suddenly stop coming she fears the worst for her best friend. From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg to the avenues of Paris and the society of fallen Russian emigres who live there, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways, taking readers on a breathtaking ride through a momentous time in history"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781524796372
Characteristics: 432 pages ; 25 cm

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DT_kcls
May 26, 2019

I didn't feel as connected to 'Lost Roses' as I did to 'Lilac Girls' but that may be because I've read so much historical fiction about the Nazi death camps and World War II, whereas I knew little of the Russian Revolution.

I can't say 'Lost Roses' was a quick read for me. It did take a bit for me to get engaged with the story, however I think the title is brilliant and made more so by the way the author wove several references of the 'old' rose (flower) culture to the royal women lost in circumstances for which they are unprepared, and don't understand, and for the loss of the Russia they knew and loved before the revolution.

The one character whose story was the most baffling was the peasant girl, Varinka. While we easily know what the drive was behind the other women, Sofya, and Eliza, Varinka's story was muddled and very elusive until the very end, and frankly, even though her behavior was a mess of contradictions throughout the book, the explanation was even more unsatisfying.

As with 'Lilac Girls', Martha Hall Kelly does a magnificent job of drawing us into the horrors of the time, the lives of those affected, of those who perpetrated the horrors (to some extent) and the outside world which had a difficult time understanding it all, not seeing how it would change their world view as well.

I found it fascinating that in the 'Author's Note" Martha Hall Kelly mentions her next step backward in history with the strong, determined Woolsey women is to the Civil War, which loosely reminds me of Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles, only in reverse.

j
Jacqua4030
May 13, 2019

Best seller du NYT. Prequel de ''Lilac Girls''

z
Zoelexi777
Apr 29, 2019

The Lilac Girls was a fabulous read and so was this new novel by Martha Kelly. The main characters are from very different backgrounds. It takes the reader through the lives of women trying to survive WW1 and the Russian Revolution. I found it hard to put down. Excellent read.

b
barn47
Apr 27, 2019

Prequel to The Lilac Girls - also on my for later shelf

DCLadults Apr 24, 2019

A New & Noteworthy pick. This prequel to the bestselling "Lilac Girls" takes you from New York City to St. Petersburg to Paris at the brink of WWI.

t
TheresaAJ
Apr 22, 2019

Although this is a prequel to The Lilac Girls, it is a standalone book. It tells the story of the Russian Revolution from 1914-1919 through the eyes of three women. Sofia Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs, is a friend with Eliza Ferriday in New York City. Varinka is a peasant girl who lives near Sofia's family estate. When Sofia and Eliza become separated by World War I and the fall of the tsars, the novel follows the fate of the three women through a tumultuous era. Kelly does an excellent job of detailing the experiences of three very different individuals during a catastrophic event. She was particularly skilled at condensing time so that the novel isn't bogged down in the not so interesting times and places.

a
abbydog2
Apr 17, 2019

I loved Lilac Girls and looked forward to the prequel. I appreciate the fact that the author conducts painstaking research for her books. I knew little about WWI and found it horrifying. The characters who are the featured in this book are well developed. However, the book would have been just as good in far fewer pages. Way too much unnecessary detail. In my mind it does not come close to the excellence of Lilac Girls. But it is well worth the read.

d
darladoodles
Apr 04, 2019

I must confess, I have not yet read "Lilac Girls." After finishing this book I am determined to move Lilac up on my TBR list. Martha Hall Kelly has a gift for writing about history. In her narrative she uses alternating viewpoints (Eliza, Sonya and Varinka) as well as inserting cliffhangers at the end of the chapters. You are compelled to keep reading to see what happens to that character, of course. I do believe Sonya was my favorite character. Loved the roses and flower references strewn throughout. As I could tell from the end notes there was extensive research done and this book was based on a real Eliza while Sonya and Varinka were composites. I am wondering why there was no reference to the Spanish Flu by any of our three characters? This will be popular with the book groups!

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