Lost Roses - Martha Hall Kelly

Goodreads Book Blurb:

The runaway bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the world to the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. Now, a generation earlier, this sweeping new novel featuring Caroline’s mother, Eliza, follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

It is 1914 and the world has been on the brink of war so many times, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia: the church with the interior covered in jeweled mosaics, the Rembrandts at the Tsar’s Winter Palace, the famous ballet. But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia’s Imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their estate outside the city. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortuneteller’s daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their home. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly stop coming she fears the worst for her best friend.

From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg and aristocratic estates of the countryside to the avenues of Paris and the society of fallen Russian émigrés there to the mansions of Long Island, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways, taking readers on a breathtaking ride through a momentous time in history.

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My Review:

not my cup of tea:
2/5

I’m sad to say that after Lilac Girls, Lost Roses was a disappointment. I didn’t care as much for the characters in this book – they were all too selfish and unlikeable. Of the three main characters, two were rich girls who were so caught up in their entitlement they were almost unable to help themselves, and one was a poor girl who seemed to be trapped in an immature state, unable to show any growth or change. It’s a miracle they made it through, considering they never seemed to make a conscious decision and just kept stumbling into what they should do next. There was just no growth or character development, and despite going through terrible events, they all seem to have come out the other end unchanged. I knew it would be hard to live up to Lilac Girls, but this was a letdown for me.

Now, if Luba had been a POV character, that would’ve been an entirely different story. She was the only one who seemed to have any fight or intelligence. She was always making plans and thinking ahead, and taking action. It was nice to have at least one character who did something rather than just letting things happen to them. I would’ve been happy with the whole story through her eyes.

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