Petrograd is on the eve of revolution. For Countess Sophia Orlova, the city of her childhood – the only home she has ever known – has become her deadly enemy. The mob are ready to get rid of anyone connected to the old regime, including Sophia.
When rebels threaten to shoot Sophia and her husband, they are saved by Nikolai, a fervent supporter of the revolution. Determined to help Nikolai’s cause, Sophia sets up a hospital wing in the house, nursing injured victims by his side.
Her kindness has captured Nikolai’s heart, but their burgeoning romance is forbidden. With battle lines drawn between the new and the old, both their lives are in danger…
Will their love be strong enough to overcome the horrors of war?
My thoughts: this was really interesting, I studied the Russian Revolution at school and have been fascinated by the country ever since. I’ve been to St Petersburg aka Petrograd, and it is a beautiful place. They’ve preserved many of the old historic buildings like the Winter Palace – which houses the Hermitage museum. Places Sophia would recognise, a real blend of the old and new. Which was what was happening in the novel. As Lenin and his Bolsheviks seized power during the First World War, taking Russia out of the international conflict and into its own civil war, the old – represented by the tsar and the countless princes and princesses in their palatial homes, and the new – Lenin and the rise of the working people, collide.
Nikolai is Sophia’s brother-in-law, but she falls for him the moment he saves her life and that of her husband Dmitry. The two brothers fall either side of the political divide but their relationship, complex as it is, means the Count and Countess survive. But Sophia is not simply the well dressed, spoilt woman she appears. She works as a nurse, caring for soldiers returned from the front. She volunteers to help care for Nikolai’s men and they bond.
Fleeing St Petersburg puts them in more danger and they have to keep running from the Red Army as it progresses across Russia. But despite her attempts to be a good wife and resist her feelings, Sophia can’t stop falling harder and harder for Nikolai. Will she swap sides and brothers?
Gripping, sweeping historical fiction with a heart wrenching love story at its centre.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.