Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly is the prequel to bestseller Lilac Girls. I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of this novel thanks to Ballantine Books, Random House, Suzy Approved Book Tours and Martha Hall Kelly. I was really excited to delve into this one because Lilac Girls is one of my all-time favorite books.
This prequel installment again follows three women except this time we get to know Eliza Ferriday (for Lilac Girls fans - Caroline's mother.) Eliza is introduced as a young woman living in New York high society married to her husband Henry with their young daughter Caroline. Her dear friend Sofya Streshnayva, cousin to the tsar's family the Romanovs, spent many summers living with her in Paris during boarding school where the two became close. As unrest begins to develop in Russia, Eliza begins to worry about her friend who has since returned to Russia.
In Russia, as revolution against the aristocratic society begins to intensify, Sofya and her family begin fearing for their safety so they retreat to their family home in Malinov. Soon the Bolsheviks claim St. Petersburg and dethrone the tsar. Every luxury and protection Sofya has ever known is quickly stripped away as she fights to stay alive. Eliza, back in New York, grows increasingly uneasy with worry about Sofya and vows to do whatever it takes to rescue these Russian women from the hands of the Reds.
In Malinov we also meet Varinka, a village girl who is living with her mother and Taras. Taras is a young man they took in long ago who has recently been released from prison and returned to them. Taras provides them with food and protection but Varinka must repay him in the most sinister of ways. Varinka and Sofya's lives intersect as they both do what they each think is necessary to survive...
I loved this second installment. I love Martha Hall Kelly's writing and character development so much. She writes female characters that are so multidimensional that you begin to understand their motivations for every decision that they make. Even when one of the women makes a choice to do something that makes your heart scream, you understand how they arrived at that choice and why. I love that about these characters. They are flawed and unapologetic about it. Eliza, Sofya and Varinka all make choices and do what they need to in order to survive based on each of their individual circumstances. I so enjoyed going on this journey with them and know that you will to. Readers of historical fiction will love this novel when it hits shelves April 9, 2019.
About The Author:
Martha is a native New Englander who lives in Connecticut and Martha's Vineyard. She worked as an advertising copywriter for many years, raised three wonderful children who are now mostly out of the nest and Lilac Girls is her first novel. She has been hard at work on the prequel to Lilac Girls, Lost Roses, which features Caroline's mother Eliza Ferriday and her fight to save a group of Russian women, former aristocrats who lost everything in the Russian Revolution. Lost Roses publishes April 9, 2019. You'll find more info about both books on Martha's website: https://bit.ly/2C8CXxa and on Pinterest.
All opinions are my own. Thank you to Suzy Approved Book Tours for including me on this blog tour.