Midnight in St. Petersburg, Vanora Bennett

Set in St Petersburg during the Russian Revolution, a sweeping novel of love and loss as one woman fights for her own personal survival – and for the man she loves. By the acclaimed author of Blood Royal and Queen of Silks.

St Petersburg,1911: Inna Feldman has fled the pogroms of her native Kiev to take refuge with distant relatives in Russia’s capital city.

Welcomed into the flamboyant Leman family, she is apprenticed into their violin-making workshop, and feels instantly at home in their bohemian circle of friends.

But revolution is in the air and, as society begins to fracture, she is forced to choose between following her heart or her head.

Her brooding cousin, Yasha is wild, destructive and bent on rebellion. While Horace, the Englishman who works for Fabergé, promises security and respectability.

As the city descends into anarchy and blood-letting, Inna is offered a chance to escape. But which man will she choose to take with her? And is she already too late?

Publisher: Random House, April 2014

Reviewer: Nadine Matheson

I would not usually reach for a book from the historical romance shelf but this was a wonderfully, rich, deep and meaningful saga that covers not only love but the complex themes of family and politics set against the backdrop of the Russian revolution.

Midnight in St Petersburg is an epic tale that begins when the main character Inna runs away her home city of Kiev after she witnesses the murder of the Russian Prime Minister. Using stolen travel documents she escapes to St Petersburg where she finds herself on the doorstep of her distant relatives the Lemans. Upon arriving at the Lemans home she is immediately attracted to her cousin Yasha and the feeling is mutual. Yasha is a revolutionary and is embroiled in the dangerous politics that is sweeping the country. However, Inna also meets Horace, an Englishman who works for Faberge who also falls for Inna after hearing her play the violin. It soon becomes clear that Inna has to make a decision. Does she follow her heart and choose, Yasha, the passionate revolutionary who walks a thin and dangerous line or does she follow her head and choose Horace, who can offer her safety.

The driving force of this book is the theme of survival. However, the romanticism, passion, despair and desire of this love triangle can be summed in my favourite line in ‘Midnight in St Petersburg.’ ‘He could not give her a jewel.’ Even after reading this line, Inna kept me guessing until I had reached the last page

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As you turn the pages you move seamlessly through the characters lives and the history of Russia. This is a beautiful and well-written book and I would recommend that you don’t close the book once you reach the acknowledgement page. In the acknowledgement Vanora Bennett tells a story that give us a beautiful ending to a Midnight in St Petersburg.





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