The Mirrored World: A Novelby Debra Dean
The critically acclaimed author of The Madonnas of Leningrad (“Elegant and poetic, the rare kind of book that you want to keep but you have to share” —Isabel Allende), Debra Dean returns with The Mirrored World, a breathtaking novel of love and madness set in 18th century Russia. Transporting readers to St. Petersburg during the/b>/b>
The critically acclaimed author of The Madonnas of Leningrad (“Elegant and poetic, the rare kind of book that you want to keep but you have to share” —Isabel Allende), Debra Dean returns with The Mirrored World, a breathtaking novel of love and madness set in 18th century Russia. Transporting readers to St. Petersburg during the reign of Catherine the Great, Dean brilliantly reconstructs and reimagines the life of St. Xenia, one of Russia’s most revered and mysterious holy figures, in a richly told and thought-provoking work of historical fiction that recounts the unlikely transformation of a young girl, a child of privilege, into a saint beloved by the poor.
What People are saying about this
“With evocative, rich prose and deep emotional resonance, Debra Dean delivers a compelling and captivating story that touches the soul. Truly a wonderful read.”
“Love affairs, rivalries, intrigues, prophecy, cross-dressing, madness, sorrow, poverty—THE MIRRORED WORLD is a litany of both the homely and the miraculous. Intimate and richly appointed, Debra Dean’s Imperial St. Petersburg is as sumptuous and enchanted as the Winter Palace.”
“THE MIRRORED WORLD explores the mysteries of love and grief and devotion. Against a vivid backdrop of eighteenth century St. Petersburg and Catherine the Great’s royal court, the woman who would become St. Xenia is brought fully to life. Is there a more imaginative, elegant storyteller than Debra Dean?”
Meet the Author
Debra Dean worked as an actor in New York theater for nearly a decade before opting for the life of a writer and teacher. She and her husband now live in Miami, where she teaches at the University at Miami. She is at work on her second novel.
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The Mirrored World imagines the world and life of St. Xenia, a historical figure known for serving the impoverished in St. Petersburg, Russia during the eighteenth century and endeavors to explain how she became the historical figure that she is known for today. The tale is told by Xenia's cousin Dasha and is enriched by historical details (and gossip) about the royal family and the quirky antics of the court during this time period. This is a sad interesting tale that I enjoyed quite a bit. It didn't have me tearing through the pages, but every time I opened this little book I found myself losing track of time as I became completely engrossed in the story. Dasha isn't the most interesting character but somehow the story is more interesting told from her point of view. The beauty of this book is the writing and how Ms. Dean manages to unveil a sad story in such an artistic manner. It's almost like a song, sad and poignant. My only complaint involves the description on the book cover. It tells the entire story. I like reading descriptions but this one goes too far. I'm not sure if it is for everyone, but if you enjoy historical fiction and great writing, give this one a try. Be prepared for a sad sad read though.
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A book that is narrated by Dasha, but centers around Xenia who in the middle of her life makes a drastic change and Dasha is there with a front row view. Starting from the very beginning, this short book took a quick trip through Xenia and Dasha's entire lives from a very young age through tragedy to older age.