Author: Kristin Hannah
Rating: 4/5 stars
1941. Leningrad, a once magical city besieged by war, cut off from aid, buried in snow. A city full of women desperate to save their children and themselves…
2000. Loss and old age have taken a terrible toll on Anya Whitson. At last, she will reach out to her estranged daughters. In a halting, uncertain voice, she begins to weave a fable about a beautiful Russian girl who lived in Leningrad a lifetime ago…
Nina and Meredith sit spellbound at their mother’s bedside, listening to a story that spans more than sixty years and moves from the terrors of war-torn Leningrad under siege to modern-day Alaska.
In a quest to uncover the truth behind the story, Nina and Meredith discover a secret so shocking, so impossible to believe, it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are.
This book. Where do I begin?
As mentioned in my Fridays Reads post, I almost DNF’d this book. The first 150 pages were depressing and repetitive. After that – it was a 5 star read for me. I felt like this book was a warm up for Hannah’s The Nightingale which is indisputably a 5 star read in my opinion. Nightingale did not have the drag that happened at the beginning of this book though.
At the start of this story, we meet Nina, Meredith, and Anya. Nina and Meredith are sisters, Anya is their mother. They don’t get along. You are shown just how much they don’t get along, BUT ARE SO VERY MUCH ALIKE, for 150 pages. I didn’t like any of them at the beginning. I hated picking up the book and reading how closed off these women were and how they were hurting those around them with their inability to process their emotions. I thought – “I don’t need this right now and this story isn’t going anywhere.” Because like I said – this went on for 150 pages. Cue me going to Goodreads and reading reviews. After reading “Hang in there! The second half makes up for the first half!” reviews, I decided to continue reading.
I am happy I did. Once we flashed back to Anya telling her story from Leningrad, I could not put the book down. I finished the rest of it in a day.
I cannot give this book 5 stars because of that beginning. I would recommend it and tell someone that if the beginning is getting to them with it’s negativity – just skip ahead to page 150 and don’t look back.