📖 Novel of the Week: Sašenka by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Risultati immagini per sasenka simon montefiore
This novel runs through 3 historical periods that are really important in Russian history: Russian Revolution in 1917, the Stalinist period in 1939 and the end of the Comunist and URSS era in 1994, it's written in third person, from the protagonist's point of view.

Sašenka Zejtlin is a wealthy young girl from Saint Petersbourg, who has been converted to the Bolshevik cause from her uncle, Mendel’. In 1916/17 she becomes an important asset to the Bolshevik party and makes a valuable contribution to the fall of the Tsar.

13 years later, in 1939, Sašenka lives in Moscow, is married with Ivan "Vanja" Palitsyn, a NKVD agent, and has two children, who adore her. She's the director of an housewife themed magazine and truly belives she could never be happier.
Then she meets Benja Golden, a famous writer, and all her convictions about feelings goes straight out of the window...but even a single wrong choice will set Sašenka's world upside down and she and all her family will be in danger.

London/Moscow - 1994
Ekaterina "Katinka" Vinskij, a talented and smart historian, gets assigned with a genealogy research by Paša Getman, a powerful Russian man, who lives in London with his mother, Roza Getman. Katinka is requested to find Roza's mother. She always knew she was adopted, but now she wants to know the entire truth about it...and gives Katinka a name to start with: Hercules Sativon. 
Katinka goes back in Moscow and, as her search goes on, also back in time...

What I liked 👍
The characters are so "true", so real: they have their merits and defects, they're either brave and conditionable...you can sense their humanity, and I think this is the goal any author wants to achieve.
The story is addictive, both the pricipal and the sides ones; it's ruthless and forthright, it covers 3 generations of a single family and everyone related to them. Plus the plot twists are insanely good!

What I did not like 👎

Few of the descriptions were nearly incomprehensible because the author uses terms in Russian or yiddish (the family is hebrew) and those distract the attention, even if I understand they were put there with the porpuse of giving authenticity to the story...And probably it would be more easy to understand some historical facts if I had a degree in Russian XX century history. The epilogue is way to long, some addictions and characters could have been easily left apart.

I like "One Night in Winter" more, even if it's set in almost in the same historical period as "Sašenka ", but this doesn't mean I won't suggest the reading! Mr. Montefiore confirms himself as a great novelist as well as a superb historian. On the cover is said this is a love story, well...it's not just romantic love, but parents love for their children as well as patriotic love for your Country and endless trust in those who rule it.

My final comment would be: READ IT. You won't regret it.

My vote: 8¾/10

One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore - my review HERE

Photo credits: /cramptonillustration.blogspot.it redbubble.com

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