March 2009 Debut of the Month.
A big, sweeping, romantic adventure of half a century of turbulent Russian history beautifully told. It pulls at the heart strings while informing, it forces you through the pages and remains with you long after. Revolution, passion, betrayal, full of hope and horror, the agony and the triumph of a bitter period, it is a very fine work indeed, recommended to both genders of any age. The author, after all, is a renowned historian and this is his first novel. Magnificent.
Winter, 1916: In St Petersburg, Russia on the brink of revolution. Outside the Smolny Institute for Noble Young Ladies, an English governess is waiting for her young charge to be released from school. But so are the Tsar’s secret police…
Beautiful and headstrong, Sashenka Zeitlin is just sixteen. As her mother parties with Rasputin and her dissolute friends, Sashenka slips into the frozen night to play her part in a dangerous game of conspiracy and seduction.
Twenty years on, Sashenka has a powerful husband with whom she has two children. Around her people are disappearing, but her own family is safe. But she's about to embark on a forbidden love affair which will have devastating consequences.
Sashenka's story lies hidden for half a century, until a young historian goes deep into Stalin's private archives and uncovers a heart-breaking tale of passion and betrayal, savage cruelty and unexpected heroism - and one woman forced to make an unbearable choice.
Closing date: 03/07/2018
'The perfect mixture of history and clever storytelling, with wonderful female characters and a seriousness of purpose that stands out. Gripping from start to finish.' KATE MOSSE, Author of Labyrinth and Sepulchre
'An absolutely rollicking tale which also manages to convey an authentic period atmosphere. Very colourful, very evocative, very readable, and very very real.' JOANNE HARRIS
'What is striking is how he has thrown himself heart and soul into the romance and emotion of his drama. The novel throbs with sex, maternal feeling, revolutionary fervour and terror … Terrific stuff' SUNDAY TIMES
'Agile plotting, vivid characterisation and the exuberant spectacle of a well-informed author enjoying a flourish of serious frivolity - convoluted plot twists, astonishing coincidences, tear-jerking family separations and all - combine to make Sashenka an addictive page-turner with an elegant, steely edge of verisimilitude.'SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Publication date: 12/03/2009
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
|Publication date:||12th March 2009|
|Publisher:||Transworld Publishers Ltd|
|Genres:||Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Sagas and Romance,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Simon Montefiore’s ancestors escaped from the Tsarist Empire at the turn of the century, and sparked his lifelong interest in Russia. As a correspondent in the early 1990s, he covered the wars and turbulence of the fall of the Soviet Union - from Georgia and Chechnya to Moscow and St Petersburg. As a historian, he has spent the last ten years researching the Russian archives. The personal stories he found there and his interviews with families helped inspire this novel. His history books, Catherine the Great & Potemkin and Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar have been ...More About Simon Montefiore