So thanks to Google I now know that today is Faberge’s birthday. Peter Carl Faberge is the jeweller behind those colorful, gold and gemstone ‘eggs’ from Russia. Faberge eggs are a very significant part of Russian history and a huge source of pride for the country. And they are so Beautiful. I remember seeing pictures of them in books, and probably little replicas in stores too. So I have been fascinated by them since I was little- way before I knew what they really were.
I cannot claim to know that much about the history of Faberge eggs or Russia, but I have read 5 books that gave me a little bit of info regarding Russian history, and almost all of them concern the fall of the last Tsar, Nicholas II. I think that this chapter of Russian history is a bit of an obssession for Americans!
First on my list (today anyway) is the one that blew me away at the end-The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander. The other one that is really good, also by Robert Alexander: Rasputin’s Daughter. Both of these novels delve into the fascinating, somewhat mysterious and troublesome world of the religious practices of the Royal Family at that time; particularly those of the Empress, Alexandra. Apparently she was very good friends with the infamous Russian “mystic” G. Rasputin.
Each of these novels are based, in part, on actual historical events and people, but also on speculation and rumor. These were very, very good books- kept me in suspense. They are both very memorable– and I’ve read A LOT of books! So, honestly, that’s saying something! The author put a lot of reasearch into these 2 novels, and in my experience historical fiction backed by good research produces some of the best stories/books.
I have also read the Russian classic Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. Very, very good- obviously it’s a classic for a reason. This novel was like reading a Jane Austen novel or Gone With The Wind because it creates a picture of what life was like at that time for different groups of people: rich or poor, man or woman, etc. It has great story lines, memorable characters, a few love stories, and passion. Passion, many different forms of it, is woven in throughout the novel. Very intelligent and informative novel- READ IT! You’ll be smarter. And smart is sexy. 😉
The last 2 on my list:
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Zoya by Danielle Steel
I thought they were pretty good, but definitly not as good as the others. However, I can respect that some people might actually prefer these- it just depends on what type of book, or style of writing one prefers.
Winter Garden is written better than Zoya, but both have an interesting plot, lots of family drama, and unimaginable heartbreak. Both mention a family heirloom Faberge egg- more so in Zoya. Actually… come to think of it, I’m not sure if Winter Garden mentions a Faberge egg… Oh, well- still a good book. A large portion of Winter Garden, if not half the book, is set in Russian during Lenin’s “reign of terror.” I cannot imagine living through something like that, and it’s hard to believe that real people actually did. The author gives a very detailed account of what life was like for many people in Russia during those ridiculously difficult times. During some chapters it was hard to put this book down!
Zoya is about a Russian countess who flees to the United States after narrowly escaping death during the Russian revolution. However, the majority of the book takes place in the U.S. and spans several decades as the heroine survives blow after harsh blow. She eventually gets back in touch with her royal Russian roots and finds peace at last.