Russian Winter is a book that I received from the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Program. The cover art is gorgeous, and intially drew me in. It features a woman, standing with her back facing us, wearing an amazing amber pendant.
The book tells the story of Nina Revskaya, a prima ballet dancer living in Stalin Russia, her husband and renowned poet, Viktor Elsin. Nina dances with her best friend, Vera, who is in love with Viktor's best friend, composer Gersh. All four are trying to live and love, but in Stalin Russia, that is no easy feat.
Also playing in the story, in present day Chicago, are two people trying to connect the dots. Drew Brooks is trying to pry information out of Nina about the jewels she is auctioning. Grigori Solodin is seeking answers to his past, and the necklace that was his birth mother's, which seem to match Nina's amber set.
This book goes back in forth between present day and Stalin Russia.
When Nina and Viktor marry, they live with Viktor's elitist mother, who loves anyone more than Nina. Gersh is forced to marry an ex-girlfriend to stay in line with party values. But even this proves not to be enough to keep Gersh from labor camps.
In Chicago, Drew and Grigori form a team, trying to pursuade Nina to reveal the mystery of her past and of the jewels past.
This book was riveting. I loved it. It had all a great story needs; mystery, love, oppression, and the need to understand the past. At any time while reading this book, I had two to three theories about how all these stories connect. Kalotay leaves nothing out, while keeping the mystery alive.
This is a wonderful book and if you get the chance, read it. You won't be disappointed.