Lost Roses

Random. Apr. 2019. 448p. ISBN 9781524796372. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781524796389. F
Kelly's prequel to her hugely successful Lilac Girls again tells the story of three women tested by dramatic historical events. This time the chaos of the Russian Revolution takes center stage as Sofya, a Russian aristocrat, fights to survive and to recover her missing child while her friend Eliza Ferriday (mother of Lilac Girls' Caroline) strives to discover Sofya's fate while welcoming other desperate Russian refugees to the United States. Meanwhile, peasant girl Varinka is closely connected to those committing terrible deeds in the name of revolution. Sofya has by far the most compelling story line, and some readers may get restless when reading about Eliza's relatively low-stakes activities. Varinka's tale largely feels like a missed opportunity for a more nuanced exploration of the forces behind the 1917 uprising, as the revolutionaries we get to know best through her are unquestionably irredeemable creeps.
VERDICT Overall, this novel builds to an emotionally satisfying conclusion, and readers who loved Lilac Girls will likely be keen to learn more about the Ferridays. Also suggest to fans of recent Russian historical fiction hits such as Amor Towles's A Gentleman in Moscow and C.W. Gortner's The Romanov Empress. [See Prepub Alert, 10/29/18; an editor's pick, LJ 2/19.]

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