There are books that will completely change your world. Reconfigure everything that you think, believe and feel and make the whole world slot into a new form. That’s what this book was for me. When I bought this book, when I first started reading it, I was fully expecting an intriguing tale. One that would be about some amazingly strong women in the past. But not anything beyond a really good read. I was wrong. I felt like my entire reality was shattered and then remade as I read this.
I can’t believe that I’ve waited so long to read this book! It’s been on my shelf for so long and I’ve always wanted to read it (even before I bought it), but I just never seemed to have the time… or the inclination. And now I really, really, really don’t know why I took so long. This story was amazing, and heart-wrenching and just so damn knock-your-socks-off that I can’t stop thinking about it.
I really, really couldn’t get into this. Generally, when I’m reading a classic, it takes me quite a while since I need to be in the right mood for the lyricality of the wording. But, even when I was enjoying the prose in this, I really wasn’t being drawn in by the storyline. I don’t know if it was moving too slowly, or was a little too boring, or just in general not my style of storyline, but I just couldn’t get into it.
This story is one of those that hits you right in the gut. And will probably stay with you forever. I know this because I can remember reading it about ten years ago. And although I could remember the amazing intensity of the story, and the vague storyline, I couldn’t remember enough to find this book again. Fast forward the ten years, I bought a Khaled Hosseini boxset on a whim. Picked up one of the books, and lo and behold, it’s the book I’ve spent ages searching for!
I had no idea what to expect from this book. I simply bought it because I needed a political memoir to complete the Popsugar reading challenge. I don’t like politics. I have no interest in conspiracies. And I’m an Aussie. So most of our politicians… well, lately, I don’t even know who’s in power anymore (but that’s a whole OTHER conversation). And, really, Barack Obama was one of the few politicians who doesn’t make me mad or annoyed. And, man am I glad that I picked this up.
I don’t know much about the history of Soviet Russia, the Cuban Missile Crisis. Or generally much European history at all. So it was really fun and interesting reading a tale based on this period in our global past. The fact that it had a strong, female protagonist and a psychic mystery to boot.
This book isn’t the kind that I normally read. That’s not to say that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it. But it is certainly a different way to spend a few days. And it was definitely an education. One that I will probably repeat at some point in the future. I get the feeling that this novel is one that will reveal hidden gems with each and every re-reading. And when I’m in a more reflective mood, there are going to be some amazing gems that reveal themselves.
I really enjoy stories that are based around actual moments in history. However, I’m not one who tends to read up much on history – probably because in high school we did a lot of American history and ANZAC history, but nothing about our Indigenous Australians, and many, many things that they basically try to pretend didn’t happen. But I digress… this short story (and apparently greater series) is set in Communist Russia. A period of history that I know next to nothing about. And now want to know even more of.
I loved Rejected Princesses. I loved this. There are no other words for my feelings when it comes to this book. Finally, finally there are some great books out there on the many women in history! The fact that this is one about women who are mothers and also completely kick ass makes it much better. It’s a reminder that we can be mothers as well as politicians, doctors, just women of power and change in general. I actually can’t wait to show these books to my future (theoretical) children – to show them the many different things that they can become. And even the women who have helped to pave the way for this.
An Austrian princess, a millionaire and an opera, what better setting and couple for a romance? The fact that it is based in Venice in 1922 and features some of the most enchanting imagery I’ve read in a while? It’s just beautiful. This is such a heart-warmingly sweet story that I finished it inside a day. Actually, I refused to do any of the work that I have piling up simply because I wanted to bury myself in the beauty and the romance of this tale.