The House of Special Purpose

Other Pr. Apr. 2013. 480p. ISBN 9781590515983. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781590515990. F
Boyne's (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) latest novel intertwines two love stories with a huge swath of history. A devoted elderly couple, Russian émigrés Georgy and Zoya Jachmenev, reside in late 20th-century London. Zoya is dying of cancer, and as the narrative slips back and forth in time, Georgy, in the more poignant and realistic parts of the novel, recalls his past: the couple's travels to Paris and London, his mysterious work as a translator during the war, and the loss of their daughter. A more remarkable past is also made evident: as a young man, he saved Tsar Nicholas II's brother from an assassin, a twist of fate that catapulted Georgy from his humble village into the tsar's household in the months before the Bolshevik Revolution. While a bodyguard for the tsar's hemophiliac son, he fell in love with Grand Duchess Anastasia. As the reader is swept up in the historical narrative, then yanked back to the more sedate and tragic experiences in London, a question slowly materializes: could Zoya possibly be…? Read it to find out.
VERDICT A great book for historical fiction lovers and those who love books about tsarist Russia.
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