Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay (CLOSED)

First line: The afternoon was so cold, so relentlessly gray, few pedestrians passed the long island of trees dividing Commonwealth Avenue, and even little dogs, shunted along impatiently, wore thermal coats and offered expressions.

From the back cover: When Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi Ballet, decides to auction her jewellery collection, she believes she has finally drawn a curtain on her past. Instead she is overwhelmed by memories of her life a half-century before.

It was in Russia that she fell in love - and where, spurred by Stalinist aggression, a terrible discovery led to a deadly act of betrayal.

Now living in Boston, Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime. But two people will not let the past rest: Drew Brooks, an inquisitive young associate at the auction house; and Grigori Solodin, a professor who believes the jewels may hold the key to his past. Together these unlikely partners unravel a literary mystery whose answers hold life-altering consequences for them all.

My thoughts: I loved this story...I have always been intrigued by Russian history and this novel leaves you with a little taste of that. It moves seamlessly back and forth between modern-day Boston and post-World War II Russia, with a love story and mystery thrown in. The past story is told from Nina's eyes, the present from Nina, Drew, and Grigori and the mystery and secrets unfold in pieces.

Russian Winter is a tale about life, love, struggle, betrayal, and the determination of the human spirit. There are two main stories at work here: Nina's life in Stalinist Russia just after World War II as a dancer for the Bolshoi Ballet, and Gregori Solodin's struggle to find out about his past in twenty-first century Boston. We also see Nina as an old woman in Massachusetts, preparing to sell her jewellery collection, and learn of Drew Brooks, a young woman from the auction house who is looking for answers to the jewels' secrets. 

Throughout the book, Daphne Kalotay gives little clues in either the past or present and then quickly changes back to the other timeframe - a writing style that I have come to really enjoy. I also found the glimpses into the life of a ballerina to be fascinating. As a debut novel, Russian Winter is an intense, emotional read and I look forward to seeing what comes next from this amazing author.

I received a complimentary copy of Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay to review from Sarah at Random House Group, London.

Giveaway Information:

Thanks to Sarah at Random House Group, London, I have five copies of Russian Winter to give away to my readers.  Giveaway is international.

To enter please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway).

- +3 additional entries become a follower of Always With a Book. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries (just leave the name you follow under). 

- +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook. 
All entries can be in one comment.

Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!



  1. Thank you. I would love to win.
    I am a follower +3
    shared on facebook +1
    kaiminani at gmail dot com +1

  2. No need to enter my name. Just wanted to say I really enjoyed this book!

  3. Would love to read a copy of this.
    I am following as Renee G on GFC +3
    rsgrandinetti@yahoo(DOT)com +1

  4. Thank you for sharing. I follow you on GFC


    1. I would love to read this!

      3+ I'm a follower
      1+ tweeted
      1+ posted on fb


  5. It would be just great to get a copy of this book. Please enter my name in the draw.
    Longtime follower by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
    I Tweeted about the giveaway:!/carlrscott/status/184444654769541121

  6. Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. I am Ukranian and love to read stories of Russia. I would love to read this book.
    +3 I follow by google as Marjorie/cenya2
    +1 I shared on facebook under Marjorie Roy.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  8. I'd love to win this. I checked it out of the library to review it and I want to be able to reread it!

    je2kids(at)gmail(dot) +1

    I follow in Google Reader +3

  9. Please enter me in the giveaway. I follow you by email. I have been aching to read this book. After reading "The Winter Palace" I am Russia-obsessed!


  10. This sounds like a book I would like.

  11. I've been wanting to read this book for awhile now. Maybe because it is set in Boston but I also am intrigued by those Russians. Thanks for hosting a giveaway. Bkclubcare [at] gmail.

  12. Thanks for the giveaway! Books about Russia in the old days really appeal to me.

    jh303015 at gmail dot com

  13. great giveaway

    am a follower as Paula Mitchell


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