Russian Winter

2010

Russian Winter is a novel about jewels, ballet, love, betrayal, and secrets. It centers on Russian ballerina Nina Revskaya, The Butterfly, a star of the Bolshoi Ballet in communist Russia. The tale weaves back and forth from her life in Russia to present day America, where she is auctioning all of her jewels. Drew Brooks, an associate director at the auction house, finds herself unusually intrigued by the unknown backstory on the jewels (a backstory that Nina is not eager to share), and when Russian professor Gregori Solodin donates an amber necklace that belongs to a suite of The Butterfly's jewels, they begin to unravel the mystery that surrounds them, a mystery that has great personal meaning for Solodin. Kalotay beautifully captures life behind-the-scenes in the ballet world as well as the fear and uncertainty of the Stalinist regime. I will admit that I found this book a little hard to get into, but I am glad I persevered. Once it takes off it is a haunting tale of humanity at its best and worst.

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