Monday, April 15, 2019

My Thoughts: Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40988979-lost-roses
Lost Roses
(Lilac Girls #2 Prequel)
by Martha Hall Kelly
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Publication Date: April 9th 2019
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 448
ISBN: 9781524796372
Genre: Adult Fiction | Historical
Source: Netgalley Review Copy

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The runaway bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. This sweeping new novel, set a generation earlier and also inspired by true events, features Caroline's mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

It is 1914 and the world has been on the brink of war so many times, many New Yorker's treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanov's. 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 emigre's 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. (Goodreads)


I have had a copy of Lilac Girls by Martha Kelly Hall sitting on my bookshelf for the longest, but have not yet had the opportunity to pick up the book. When I discovered Lost Roses, I knew I wanted to read both books as soon as possible. I had hoped to read Lilac Girls first, but then I discovered that Lost Roses was a prequel, so I decided to start with it. (I’m not sure if everyone should read the books this way, that is just the way that I decided to read them.) I am just thrilled to have finally read something by Martha, and I can’t wait to read more!

As I mentioned above, Lost Roses is the prequel to Lilac Girls, even though the story was written after Lilac Girls was published. I have to be completely honest and tell you that I have not read very many books set during World War I, and I actually have very little knowledge on anything other than the US parts of it. Lost Roses was set during that time period, and focuses mainly on the Russian aspects of the war. That made the storyline for this book very interesting for me, as I love learning something new, even when it is super hard to read about, (and some parts of this book were definitely hard to read). I had no idea that any of the stuff in this story had actually happened, and about it was definitely an eye-opening experience for me.

The story is told from three different viewpoints, by Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka. I’m not going to go into too many details about these women, but I will say that each one is fascinating in their own way, and each of them has an interesting story to tell. Sofya’s story is definitely the most heartbreaking to read, while Varinka’s story often frustrated me to no end. Eliza’s story felt completely different, yet still so relatable, and I do love her and her mother and daughter as well. (Her daughter, Caroline, is one of the main characters in Lilac Girls!)

Overall; I am so thrilled to have read Lost Roses, as I have wanted to read something by Martha Hall Kelly for the longest! I am now even more excited to read Lilac Girls, which I am hoping to get to as soon as I possibly can. I will also be on the lookout for more books by Martha in the future!

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