Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay
When Nina Revskaya puts her remarkable jewelry collection up for auction, the former Bolshoi Ballet star finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland, and of the events, both glorious and heartbreaking, that changed her life half a century earlier. It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of dance and fell in love, and where, faced with Stalinist aggression, a terrible discovery incited a deadly act of betrayal—and an ingenious escape to the West.
Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime. But now Drew Brooks, an inquisitive associate at a Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a professor who believes Nina’s jewels hold the key to unlocking his past, begin to unravel her story—setting in motion a series of revelations that will have life-altering consequences for them all. (Goodreads)
Former ballerina Nina Revskaya has decided to auction off her jewelry collection. Once a prima ballerina for the Bolshoi Ballet now she is confined to a wheelchair.Growing up in Soviet Russia under Stalin, she has learned to keep her secret and thought to herself and doesn’t like to speak of her past.
Then an anonymous donor gives the auction an Amber necklace, a piece that seems to match Nina’s jewelry. The donor is Grigori Solodin who got the necklace from his adoptive parents. He thinks Nina is the key for solving who his parents is, but Nina isn’t cooperating and refuses speaking to him. Drew Brooks is the representative from the auction house and she’s trying to learn more of Russia because her grandfather came from there. Drew and Grigori tries to find out where the necklace came from and getting to know each other.
I had so much trouble writing this review and I’m still not quite sure what to think of the book.
I liked it when I first started it, then I didn’t like it, then it was better again and then not so good. It just kept changing. There was few times I thought of giving up and the only reason I didn’t was because this was for review. And I can’t really point what the problem was. Maybe because besides Nina I just didn’t connect with the characters.
I liked Nina and the best parts was the scenes in the past with her. It would have been pretty scary living in Stalin’s Russia! But I didn’t find Grigori and Drew interesting enough and present day Nina was just mean. And the switches of povs got on my nerves pretty soon. It changed multiple times in one chapter – between characters and between times. Just made my head hurt and annoyed.
Didn’t like the ending either; it just ended suddenly and I felt like “Is this it?” And so many things were left unanswering.
Can’t help but feel disappointed and I really wanted to like this. It had very interesting topic but it just couldn’t carry it through. I was going between giving this 2 or 3 but since I thought of giving up I’m going with 2. But because I liked the past times I’ll give extra half points.
Published: Harper Perennial (2011)