Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly Blog Tour
“I’m not here to shame you, but to help you understand. To ask for your patience and a drop of the milk of humankindness. Yes, change is hard. Hearing Russian spoken at The Tavern may feel wrong to you, but for God’s sake rise above it, dear friends. Extend the same hand others gave your forebears…. Archie, people talked when your grandmother wore her Dutch cap to church each Sunday. Said she wasn’t trying hard enough to fit in. Priscilla, your father refused to speak a word of English, when he first came, only pointed his cane at what he wanted at Hildreth’s. Electra, you’re right, these Russian women are not our kind. They’re our salvation. For if we stick to just ‘our kind’ we’ll simply exist in this insular, petty world. A world that may be safe and predictable but with the life wrung out of it. Hang on to your grudges, if you must. Stoke your fear. Call in the authorities. But I will support these good people to my dying day, and if the police drag them out of here, I swear to the Almighty, they will have to take me, too.”
I live for strong, female leads so I had very high hopes for Eliza Woolsey MItchell, one of the main characters in this novel. I have not read Kelly’s smash hit, The Lilac Girls, which I thought would work in my favor since this book has been described as the prequel to her successful debut. The Lost Roses follows the lives of three women - Eliza who lives in America, Sofya who is a Russian aristocrat and cousin to the Romanovs, and Varinka who is a Russian peasant struggling to make ends meet. When the Russian Revolution shows up on Sofya’s doorstep, a decision she makes will forever connect and impact the lives of all three women.
I am a huge fan of historical fiction and I have always been fascinated with the story of the Romanovs, so I appreciate the research that the author did to craft her story. Kelly’s writing is vivid and her descriptions of the towns, the despair of the people and the complete lack of compassion and reality displayed by the Russian elite was very well done. However, I had trouble connecting with the characters and the first half of the book moved very slowly. Things pick up when Varinka and Sofya make their escape to Paris, and I was very interested to see how both of their stories played out. If you enjoy period pieces with a heavy emphasis on historical setting, then this book is for you. Many thanks to Ballantine Books for providing me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The Lost Roses releases on April 9th.
For more information on the author, please click here.