From the author of the National Book Award-winning novel Homeless Bird comes “an absorbing saga”* about a young heroine coming of age in the tumultuous years leading up to the Russian revolution.
Gripping, accessible historical fiction that's perfect for schools and classrooms, as well as for fans of Ruta Sepetys and Elizabeth Wein.
In the fall of 1914, safe behind palace walls, Katya Ivanova sees St. Petersburg as a magical place.
The daughter of a lady in waiting to the Empress, Katya spends all her time with the Grand Duchesses, and the royal family feels like her own. But outside the palace, a terrible war is sweeping through Europe, and Russia is beginning to crumble under the weight of a growing revolution.
Now, as Katya’s once-certain future begins to dissolve, she must seek to understand what is happening to her beloved country and, for the first time in her life, take charge of her own destiny.
With her trademark lyricism, spare prose, and strong young heroine, award-winning author Gloria Whelan has again taken a chapter from history and transformed it into compelling historical fiction.
Whelan (Homeless Bird) shows both sides of the Russian revolution in a sympathetic light in this absorbing saga of an aristocratic girl. The novel opens in 1913, just before Katya goes to live with Tsar Nikolai II, when her widowed mother becomes lady-in-waiting to the Empress. The royal couple and their children are like a second family to Katya. Still, the heroine cannot completely support the tsar's treatment of his people. Guided by her revolutionist friend, Misha, she witnesses the exploitation of workers in the city. Later, her exposure to country peasants forces her to realize that her own noble family is partially responsible for the peasants' suffering. On the other hand, Katya does not condone the violent reaction to oppression that is sweeping across her beloved country. Tracing each stage of Katya's enlightenment through intimate first-person narrative, Whelan brings immediacy to the historical events, offering well-rounded depictions of characters and vivid descriptions of their surroundings. The author sharply contrasts the luxurious conditions Katya enjoys in her early adolescence with the meagerness of her life five years later at the revolution's end. The book's uncomplicated language and sensitive treatment of political issues make it an excellent, vibrant introduction to the cause and effects of Tsar Nikolai's fall. Ages 10-up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I <3 this book. Really good, and I don't have to worry about missing pages like the book my teacher gave me (I'm reading this in class but I read it on my iPad instead)
I grew up on Disney and other animated movies. I watched the animated Anastasia and thought that that was how the story went about. This book and history lessons taught me otherwise. :)
Absolute great book