Winter, 1916. In St Petersburg, snow is falling in a country on the brink of revolution.
Beautiful and headstrong, Sashenka Zeitlin is just sixteen.
As her mother parties with Rasputin and her dissolute friends, Sashenka slips into the frozen night to play her role in a dangerous game of conspiracy and seduction.
Twenty years on, Sashenka has a powerful husband and two children.
Around her people are disappearing but her own family is safe.
But she's about to embark on a forbidden love affair which will have devastating consequences.
Sashenka's story lies hidden for half a century, until a young historian goes deep into Stalin's private archives and uncovers a heart-breaking story of passion and betrayal, savage cruelty and unexpected heroism - and one woman forced to make an unbearable choice ...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 640 pages
- Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
- Publication Date: 12/03/2009
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780552154574
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Review by gollywollypogs
Poor little rich girl, Sashenka becomes a Bolshevik and is swept up in the revolution of 1917. As the new regime is established and the years progress, Sashenka becomes the model Soviet citizen, proud of her own and her comrades achievements, and blind to the appalling atrocities of Stalin's reign. Indeed she herself is now enjoying the privileges which her loyalty has earned. One feels irked at Sashenka's smug acceptance of this way of life, but then - one small mistake and her world lies in ruins. The true scale of the terror of Stalin's Russia becomes apparent - the slightest weakness, without political motivation, propels an entire family into a hellish new world. The intensity of the dog eats dog betrayal and counter betrayal is gripping, and the glimpses of true bravery from those who risked everything to help are inspiring. A vibrant and very affecting read.