Now, I’m hesitant about this one, and at the same time I’m desperate to read it.
It does seem that The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers makes no attempt to whitewash history, which I am thankful for.
Romanticising the Russian Empire is… Well, the Romanovs were really into cultural genocide (and actual murder) of all non-Russian ethnic groups of their realm. The repercussions of that are still being felt today. For some reason they always get a free pass when other historical empires do not.
Coming from one of those ethnic groups who had their language banned and their culture either suppressed or stolen, I’m a little touchy about it! Many famous Ukrainians’ (and others’) achievements have been appropriated – to this day some of the Empire’s most famous artists/composers/writers/dancers/etc. are called “Russian” when they were nothing of the sort.
And yet, author Kerri Turner knows her ballet. It’s so important for me – a former ballet dancer – that authors who tackle the topic know a lot about it!
Additionally, I’ve spent time in Saint Petersburg on several trips over the years.
In other words, I think this book looks fascinating, and it has some great reviews!
The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner
Petrograd, 1914. A country on a knife edge. The story of two people caught in the middle – with everything to lose… A stunning debut from a talented new Australian voice in historical fiction.
Valentina Yershova’s position in the Romanovs’ Imperial Russian Ballet is the only thing that keeps her from the clutches of poverty. With implacable determination, she has clawed her way through the ranks, relying not only on her talent but her alliances with influential men that grant them her body, but never her heart. Then Luka Zhirkov – the gifted son of a factory worker – joins the company, and suddenly everything she has built is put at risk.
For Luka, being accepted into the company fulfils a lifelong dream. But in the eyes of his proletariat father, it makes him a traitor. As civil war tightens its grip and the country starves, Luka is torn between his growing connection to Valentina and his guilt for their lavish way of life.
For the Imperial Russian Ballet has become the ultimate symbol of Romanov indulgence, and soon the lovers are forced to choose: their country, their art or each other…
A powerful novel of revolution, passion and just how much two people will sacrifice…