LIBRARY JOURNAL: "Readers of Tolstoy, Boris Pasternak, and Margaret Mitchell will thrill…"

Marking the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution comes Fitch’s third adult novel. Can it achieve the blockbuster status of her White Oleander and Paint It Black? Teenager Marina Makarova is blessed with privilege and a talent for writing poetry. She hangs with literary futurists in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) and buys into their views of the failing tsarist regime. As successive governments crumble and the German war machine advances, she lives in the heart of the city’s collapse. Her survival instincts pushed to just short of death, she finds her inner shapeshifter and wriggles out of trouble to fight another day.

In the sweep and heft of her tribute to St. Petersburg’s suffering during the years 1916–19, Fitch captures the epic grandeur of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, situating her characters in the pages of authentic history. Yet she also infuses her protagonists with transgressive sexual energy ... vividly portraying 16-year-old Marina’s sexual awakenings as she falls in and out of love.

As a college student, Fitch concentrated on Russian studies, and she treats the facts with a historian’s respect. Especially well done is the story line dealing with the vicious Cheka, the Soviet secret police. VERDICT: Readers of Tolstoy, Boris Pasternak, and Margaret Mitchell will thrill to this narrative of women in love during the cataclysm of war.
— Barbara Conaty, Library Journal
Barbara Conaty, Library Journal
July 1, 2017