May 2010


 Russia is a country that captures the romantic's heart unlike few other places in the world. For a land so amazing, with a history so complex and tragic, Simon Sebag Montefiore's 2008 epic Sashenka presents three parts of Russia's story - the ballrooms of Nicholas II's Russian Empire, the cold, windowless cells of Stalin's Soviet Union, and the uneasy freedom of Yeltsin's Russian Federation. Through it all, the titular Sashenka - first a precocious young girl, then a woman dedicated to the Communist Party and her two children, and finally a ghost reaching out through history - remains a powerful, believable, and amazing character.