Released: April 2014
Set in St Petersburg during the Russian Revolution in 1911, Vanora Bennett’s novel follows Inna Feldman as she flees the pogroms of Kiev, where she has been living with relatives, to live with more distant relatives in St Petersburg.
The beginning of the novel captures the fear and vulnerability of Inna as she travels alone via train to meet her cousin Yasha. He is living and working with the flamboyant Leman family in their violin-making workshop, but reluctantly welcomes her into his bohemian circle of friends when she turns up on his doorstep.
Seduced by Yasha’s wild streak and passionate involvement in the revolution, she finds herself falling for him and is happy for the first time since running from Kiev. Sadly, Inna’s newfound peace is quickly shattered as the city descends into anarchy and the revolution erupts on the streets.
By a stroke of luck, Inna is offered an escape from being caught up in the trouble of St Petersburg but she can only take one of the two men who have come to be so important in her life. She is forced to choose between her heart and her head – whether to take driven, passionate Yasha wrapped up in the revolution or Horace, an Englishman who works for Faberge and promises Inna security, respectability and a stable future.
This is a beautifully written and heart wrenching romance novel which explores the unstoppable fear felt by those living in Russia as the revolution exploded in 1911, a fitting setting for a decision which is more than just a matter of love – it’s a matter of survival. It’s a decision that will come as a surprise to all who read the book.
If you like this novel, you’ll love Vanora Bennett’s The White Russian.