Berkley Presents: The Last Russian Doll

Title:  The Last Russian Doll
Author:  Kristin Loesch
Format:  ERC
Length:  384 pages
Publisher:  Berkley Books 
Rating: 4 Stars 

A haunting, epic novel about betrayal, revenge, and redemption that follows three generations of Russian women, from the 1917 revolution to the last days of the Soviet Union, and the enduring love story at the center.

In a faraway kingdom, in a long-ago land...

...a young girl lived happily in Moscow with her family: a sister, a father, and an eccentric mother who liked to tell fairy tales and collect porcelain dolls.

One summer night, everything changed, and all that remained of that family were the girl and her mother.

Now, a decade later and studying at Oxford University, Rosie has an English name, a loving fiancé, and a promising future, but all she wants is to understand--and bury--the past. After her mother dies, Rosie returns to Russia, armed with little more than her mother’s strange folklore--and a single key.

What she uncovers is a devastating family history that spans the 1917 Revolution, the siege of Leningrad, Stalin’s purges, and beyond.

At the heart of this saga stands a young noblewoman, Tonya, as pretty as a porcelain doll, whose actions—and love for an idealistic man—will set off a sweeping story that reverberates across the century....

Please enjoy this excerpt from 
The Last Russian Doll 
In some faraway kingdom, in some long-ago land, there lived a young girl who looked just like her porcelain doll. The same rusty-gold hair. The same dark-wine eyes. The girl’s own mother could hardly tell them apart. But they were never apart , for the girl always held the doll at her side, to keep it from the clutches of her many, many siblings. The family lived in a dusky-pink house by the river, and in the evenings, the children liked to gather around the old stove and listen to their mother tell stories. Stories of kingdoms even farther away and lands even longer ago, when there had been kings and queens living in castles, stories of how those castles had been swept away into the midnight-black sea. The many , many siblings would drift away to sleep on these stories, and then the mother would take the girl and the doll into her lap and tell tales of the girl’s father. He’d had the same rusty-gold hair, the same dark-wine eyes, in some other faraway kingdom, in some other long-ago land. But one evening after supper, as the stove simmered and the samovar sang and the mother spoke and the children listened, there came the sound of footsteps outside the house. Stomp-stomp-stomp. There came a knock on the dusky-pink door. Rap-rap-rap.
My Thoughts 
The Last Russian Doll offers readersa very forthright journey through time.  As experienced by three generations of Russia. 
Starting with Rosie, her mother's stories, a mysterious key, and memories of the night that changed her life for ever.
Leading Rosie to the story of Tonya, and her love of a revolutionary...
And a web of secrets, stories, lore, and love that will answer the seeming unanswerable.  And tie everyone and everything together across time.

This is a very beautiful book. That takes a very close, and sometimes unflattering look at love.  Its costs, rewards, failings, successes, and consequences. 
Though we know this to be a work of Historical Fiction.  The incorporation of Russian lore into the story, gives a feel of magical realism.
That when combined with the mysterious aspect of the tale, make this a story that is truly a world apart. 

Reviewer's Note 
Many thanks to Berkley and Netgalley for providing the review copy upon which this honest review is based.

About Kristen
Kristen Loesch grew up in San Francisco. She holds a BA in History, as well as a Master’s degree in Slavonic Studies from the University of Cambridge. Her debut historical novel, THE LAST RUSSIAN DOLL, was shortlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award and longlisted for the Bath Novel Award under a different title. After a decade living in Europe, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children.

Buy The Book Here 

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