Lost Roses

Lost Roses

by Martha Hall Kelly

Hardcover

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The perfect Mother’s Day gift! The million-copy bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. Now Lost Roses, set a generation earlier and also inspired by true events, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

“Not only a brilliant historical tale, but a love song to all the ways our friendships carry us through the worst of times.”Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

It is 1914, and the world has been on the brink of war so often, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia: the church with the interior covered in jeweled mosaics, the Rembrandts at the tsar’s Winter Palace, the famous ballet.

But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia’s imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortune-teller’s daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly stop coming, she fears the worst for her best friend. 

From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg and aristocratic countryside estates to the avenues of Paris where a society of fallen Russian émigrés live to the mansions of Long Island, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways. In her newest powerful tale told through female-driven perspectives, Martha Hall Kelly celebrates the unbreakable bonds of women’s friendship, especially during the darkest days of history.

Praise for Lost Roses

“A charming and vividly rendered historical novel . . . Based on true events, this prequel to Lilac Girls transports.”People

“Inspired by true events, just like its predecessor, and just as well-researched, Lost Roses is a remarkable story and another testament to female strength. This sweeping epic will thrill and delight fans of Lilac Girls and readers of historical fiction alike.”—PopSugar

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524796372
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 7,691
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Martha Hall Kelly is the New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls. She lives in Connecticut, where she spends her days filling legal pads with stories and reading World War II books. Lost Roses is her second novel.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Eliza

1914

It was a spring party like any other held in Southampton, with the usual games. Croquet. Badminton. Mild social cruelty. It took place at Mother’s house on Gin Lane, a sprawling white clapboard place surrounded by a swoop of tawny lawn, which eased down to meet the ocean. The Queen Anne cottage, known to most as Mitchell Cottage after Father’s people, stood with her sisters lined up along the treeless South Fork of Long Island, New York, like passengers on a ship deck facing out to sea.

If I paid more attention that day, maybe I could have predicted which of the boys who laughed over croquet wickets would soon die in the forests of Argonne or which women would exchange their ivory silk dresses for black crape. I wouldn’t have pointed to myself.

It was late May and too unseasonably cool near the ocean for a fete of any kind, but Mother insisted on sending our Russian friends, the Streshnayvas, off in style. I stood in the cool, wide living room at the back of the house. Like a steamship wheelhouse it provided the perfect view of the backyard through the picture window, the glass hazed with salt from the sea. It gave the scene a blurry look as guests drifted down the lawn to the dunes.

I felt two arms wrap around my waist and turned to find my eleven-­year-­old daughter, Caroline, already almost to my shoulder in height, her hair the color of summer hay and pulled back in a white ribbon. Her friend Betty Stockwell stood at her side, a complete opposite of Caroline, five inches shorter and already blossoming into a dark-­haired beauty. Though dressed in matching white dresses, they were as different as chalk and cheese.

Caroline held her arms fast around my waist. “We’re going to walk the beach. And Father says he’s sorry he dressed without your help this morning, but don’t deprive him of his Dubonnet.”

I smoothed one hand down her back. “Tell your father color-­blind men who insist on sneaking yellow socks into their wardrobes cannot be forgiven.”

Caroline smiled up at me. “You’re my favorite mother.”

She ran off across the lawn and down to the beach, past men who held on to their straw hats, their white flannel trousers flapping in the breeze. Ladies in canvas shoes and suits of cream linen over dainty lingerie shirtwaists turned their faces to the sun, back from places like Palm Beach, happy to feel northern breezes again. Mother’s suffragette friends, most outfitted in black taffeta and silk, lent dark contrast to the otherwise pale lawn, like strutting crows in golden flax.

Mother came and linked arms with me. “A bit chilly for a beach walk.” My seventy-­year-­old mother, Caroline Carson Woolsey Mitchell, referred to as “Carry” by her sisters, stood as tall as I did, six feet, a staunch New Englander sprung from ancient Yankee stock that had weathered as many heartaches as hurricanes.

“They’ll be fine, Mother.”

I squinted to see my Henry, Caroline, and Betty already walking down the beach, the skirt of Caroline’s white dress wind-­puffed, as if ready to fly her skyward.

“They have their shoes off?” Mother asked. “I do hope they come in soon.”

The wind stirred whitecaps on the ocean as the three walked, heads bowed.

Mother wrapped her arms warm about me. “What do they even talk about, Caroline and Henry?”

“Everything. Lost in their own world.”

The breeze grabbed Henry’s straw boater, leaving his auburn hair shining in the sun, and Caroline darted to pluck it from the surf.

“How lucky she is to have a father who dotes on her,” Mother said.

She was entirely right, as always. But would Caroline be up coughing again half the night from the sea air?

Henry waved from the beach, like a castaway stranded on a desert island.

I waved back. “Henry will burn with his fair skin.”

Mother waved to Henry. “The Irish are so delicate.”

“Half Irish, Mother.”

Mother patted my hand. “They’ll miss you.”

“I won’t be gone long.” Sofya and her family had been visiting from St. Petersburg for a month and I was due to travel back with them to St. Petersburg the next day.

“I do worry. Russia is so far. Saratoga is nice this time of year.”

“This may be my only chance to see Russia. The churches. The ballet—­”

“The starving peasants.”

“Keep your voice down, Mother.”

“They eliminated serfdom but the tsar’s poor are still enslaved.”

“I’ll go mad if I stay cooped up here. Caroline will be fine with Henry.”

“At least there’s no war on. For now.”

For those who read the papers thoroughly, reporters predicted conflict with Germany, but the world had been on the brink of war so many times, many New Yorkers treated the subject with only passing interest.

“Don’t worry, Mother.”

She hurried off and I stepped out onto the terrace, the salt wind in my hair, into a polite stew of conversation punctuated by great thuds of surf and the occasional knock of a croquet mallet. I pushed through the crowd, squeezing past smooth silks and cashmeres, in search of my friend Sofya.

Mother’s and Father’s friends split into two distinct camps. Though Father had been dead and gone for a few years, Mother still included his friends in any gathering. He was once head of the Republican Party for New York and his friends reflected that: fellow lawyers and their wives, financiers, and the occasional self-­made tycoon.

Mother’s friends were decidedly more lively: actors and painters, suffragettes of all shapes and sizes, and several members of the international set from far-­off places that Father’s friends only gossiped about: Nairobi. Bangkok. Massachusetts.

To find the Russian contingent, I simply listened for raised voices, since they were a refreshingly raucous bunch, prone to heated discussion in a mix of French, English, and their native tongue at any time of day. I passed the Streshnayvas’ physician, Dr. Vladimir Leonidovich Abushkin, a squat, balding man wearing a lynx coat over his morning suit, chest to chest with Mother’s physician, Dr. Forbes.

“I don’t care what they do in St. Petersburg,” Dr. Forbes said, his face drawn and heavily joweled from years of late-­night deathbed visits and baby deliveries. “If you want a healthy child born, Sofya should not be traveling. She needs bed rest and calcium.”

Dr. Abushkin threw back his head. “Ha. Calcium. We have two months before the birth. She’s sound as a roach.”

“But she is at high risk. Two miscarriages. Extended travel is risky.”

I found the Russians gathered on the far end of the back terrace, around my actor friends: silver-­haired E. H. Sothern, kneeling on bended knee, and his wife Julia Marlowe. Julia addressed them all from my bedroom window above as she and E.H. performed the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, one of their most famous.

“’Tis almost morning; I would have thee gone—­” Julia called out, one arm stretched over the crowd, my bedspread around her shoulders.

The Russians watched the little play, wearing serious expressions, while the rest of the party milled about, immune to the greatest American Shakespearean actor and actress of their day, having seen them perform often. One might ask how Julia and E.H. at forty-­eight and fifty-­four years old played the famously pubescent couple, but one only had to experience them onstage to be convinced of their talent.

Julia finished the scene to enthusiastic applause and Russian hurrahs from the Streshnayvas. They were a jolly group out there on the terrace. Ivan, the patriarch, cousin to tsar Nicholas II, stood and surveyed the pounding surf, his shirtsleeves fluttering. A kind, trim man with a certain European flair, Ivan had met Henry years ago when my husband was a young fur buyer for Poor Brothers Dry Goods and Ivan represented the Russian trade board.

Ivan’s second wife, the countess, stood with a decidedly pregnant Sofya and her soldier husband, Afon, and described at length how she sent her personal linen from Russia to Paris to be laundered.

Most guests were well-­mannered enough not to gaze openmouthed, but the aging Russian beauty was a sight to behold, dressed in last year’s French couture and festooned with sable stole, ropes of pearls, and diamonds the size of which had never been seen before the dinner hour in Southampton.

Sofya caught my eye, smiled, and raised an eyebrow. Pregnancy suited her; it left her with a respectable expectant figure, unlike my own before I delivered Caroline and looked as if I carried a Shetland pony.

The countess ignored the brewing fight between the doctors and pulled a housemaid aside. “Fetch me a soda water, would you, and do remember the ice?”

The maid rushed off and the countess lit one hand on Sofya’s shoulder. “You really must sit. Think of your miracle child and how long you’ve waited, dear. And do stop eating or Afon won’t touch you after the baby is born.”

Sofya shook off the countess’s arm. “Please, Agnessa, you’ve asked for two soda waters already and left them untouched.”

“Americans have ice cubes to spare, dear.”

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Lost Roses 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Its like 400 pages but it wasnt outstanding. Kind of predictable and long winded but an enjoyable read ovetall.
Rhonda-Runner1 3 months ago
This book started off slow at first but then all of a sudden it grabbed me and I did not want to put it down. The story begins in 1912 when Sofya and her sister Luba are spending time with Eliza Ferriday, Sofya's longtime friend and cousin while their father is honeymooning with their new stepmother, Agnessa. The story then moves to 1914 when the Russian Revolution begins. Each chapter features either Eliza, Sofya, or Varinka, a peasant girl who becomes nanny to Sofya's son Max, while the story travels between the United States, Russia and Paris. Numerous characters and subplots make this a fascinating read with the story ending in 1920. If you loved the Lilac Girls as I did, you will certainly love this book. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this wonderful book.
Anonymous 27 days ago
a+good+book+
Anonymous 14 days ago
+I+read+this+per+Barnes+and+Noble%27s+book+club.+It%27s+a+good+read%2C+and+has+piqued+my+interest+in+the+Russian+revolution.+The+author+did+well+in+highlighting+the+difficulties+that+%27white+Russians%27+faced+during+this+time+without+making+the+book+depressing.+Overall%2C+it%27s+well+worth+reading%2C+and+I+look+forward+to+her+next+book.
Anonymous 25 days ago
enjoyed+this+book
Rachel_Denise01 3 months ago
Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly is honestly the best novel I have read so far this year. It is the prequel to Lilac Girls focussing on Caroline’s mother Eliza. The narrative switches between Eliza, Sofya a friend and relative of the last Tsar Nicholas II, and Varinka - a younger peasant female. Their lives are interwoven in the most delightfully fullfilling and harrowing ways. This book kept me engaged, brought tears to my eyes, and kept me on the edge of my seat. I will not give out any more, as the plot is too amazing to risk giving away. Ms. Kelly is an amazing author. Lilac Girls is a winner, and so is this piece of art. You have to read this, please! I give this 5/5.
Anonymous 21 hours ago
Predictable plot. Unnecessarily prolonged prose only prolongs agony. Save your money.
BMedvid 6 days ago
I received a free advance copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for a review. “ She nodded toward the plant on my nightstand, its two white buds now flowered. “Your rose.” She stood, leaned down, and breathed in its scent. “Mr Gardener’s antique.” “When I went back to the house I found it in Agnessa’s ruined hothouse. Kept it alive since I left Russia.” … “Poor lost roses. Like us, I suppose.” Lost Roses follows the lives of three women, Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka, throughout the years 1914 – 1920 and the impact that World War I has on them. This novel is a prequel, of sorts, to Lilac Girls in that it focuses on the life of Eliza Ferriday, who is Caroline Ferriday’s mother. Caroline, the main heroine of Lilac Girls, appears as a young teenager in this novel. Like Lilac Girls, this novel is inspired by real and actual events. The format/structure of the two novels is similar in that the chapters alternate between the stories of the three main characters. The two novels also share a number of locales, including: the Ferriday’s Paris apartment, their summer home in South Hampton, their country home - The Hay, and their New York City apartment. Instead of the atrocities occurring in Germany, this story tells of the horrors befalling the upper class in Russia as Tsar Nicholas is overthrown. Ms. Kelly continues to focus her stories on strong, formidable women. Sofya faces almost insurmountable hardships with grit and determination. The lost rose, referenced in the title, is very apropos of her journey. Eliza is a woman before her time. What she is able to accomplish as a widowed, society woman in NYC is admirable. This novel clearly shows that sacrificing, doing your Christian duty, and helping everyone is a not just preached but lived daily in the Ferriday family. The way the Ferriday’s rally to help Russian émigrés would provide book clubs considerable fodder for discussion, especially in light of current affairs in the US. I found Varinka to be an interesting, aggravating and maddening character. I thought her change from being oppressed to oppressor would also provide content for a lively discussion Hers was the story I found disappointing. I wished there had been more illumination of her story resolution, as well as Taras’ and Radimir’s story. This is a well-researched historical novel. I quite enjoyed reading the Author’s Note and discovering the amount of studying and traveling that the author did in order to write this book. Her knowledge added an authenticity to the character’s voices as well as made both Paris and Russia come alive. Russia and its culture during the early 1900s almost become another character in this story. I found myself wanting to see pictures of the beadwork, crafts, linens, dolls, and fashions described in detail throughout the book. Unlike Lilac Girls, this book started slowly. It did not fully grab my attention until about halfway through it. However, once it grabbed my attention, it was hard to put down. I read Lilac Girls first and loved it. In comparison, I did not like this book as much, but it was still a good story and I am glad I read it. If I had read this one first, I doubt I would have been disappointed at all. One does not need to read these two novels in any particular order. I will also be reading Kelly’s next novel, which continues the story of strong female characters in the Ferriday family.
Anonymous 6 days ago
When I found out that Martha Hall Kelly was writing this book and that it was a prequel to Lilac Girls, I couldn't wait to read it. Lilac Girls is one of my favorite reads, so I had high hopes for Lost Roses. Since Caroline was a main character in Lilac Girls, I looked forward to reading more about her mother, Eliza, and other Ferriday family members in this prequel. This is a World War I historical fiction novel following the lives of three main characters: Eliza, Sofya and Varinka. The timeline of the novel begins in 1912. Eliza and Sofya are best friends, living on two different continents, who come from privileged families with Sofya being a cousin to the Tsar. The two women are very close and face many hardship over the span of 9 years. After returning from a trip to St. Petersburg with Sofya and after Germany declares war on France, Eliza is determined to connect with her daughter after a devastating death and, by helping high society refugee women immigrating to the United States from Russia, hopes to find out information about the safety and well-being of her best friend from people that may have known Sofya. She stands up for herself and for those she befriends. In Russia, Sofya tries to protect her family and fights to get her son back after her family's country estate is overrun by former prisoners and then people from the village who feel they are due their keep from the wealthiest citizens of Russia. After Sofya's son is taken, Sofya shows an immense amount of strength during her fight to reunite with him. After she travels to Paris to find her son, she also helps out refugee women and children, many of them from high society, that find themselves struggling to care for their families while trying to avoid deportation back to a Russia that is no longer how they knew it to be. Varinka and her mom come from the poorly side of things and have a cruel arrangement with a man named Taras that was established prior to Varinka's father dying Each woman shows strength, courage, and resilience during their own hardships. I gave is book 4 stars. I don't read many novels that are focused on World War I as my genre is more World War II. That being said, I did not fall in love with it like I did Lilac Girls. The story line dragged on at times and I found I couldn't concentrate on the character or the event. I did like the parallel of how Eliza was helping/supporting refugee women in the United States while Sofya was helping/supporting refugee women in France and how that ended up being connected. I found it interesting how Eliza was supporting a "business" that was mistreating women. Meanwhile, the money from the goods sold that were made by those mistreated women were helping the Russian immigrants in New York. Maybe I read too much into that and that was not the case. I was surprised at how well these women of privilege could adapt to their situation. It was a little hard to believe that Sofya could last a year traveling by herself with only a horse and a cart from Russia to France. The storyline up until that point never really had her doing anything truly domestic, so the idea of her roughing it, providing for and protecting herself was hard to imagine. I do look forward to reading her next book focused on the same Ferriday family during the Civil War.
2851923 7 days ago
This story is well written but it insults readers' intelligence in it's predictability.
Anonymous 7 days ago
Not a very gripping story. Must suspend your disbelief for part of it. But the history within the story was good.
Nycol 16 days ago
Lost Roses is a beautifully written work of historical fiction by Martha Hall Kelly. It’s the prequel to The Lilac Girls. The story is told from three points of view that followed friends, Eliza Ferriday (a New Yorker), and Sofya Streshnayva (from Russia) during turbulent war-torn times in Russia. The story also follows the story of Varinka who is interwoven within the paths of these two friends in epic ways. What a tale about staggering injustice, unwavering friendships, death, murder and the resilience of the human spirit even under the most unbearable of circumstances. Lost Roses will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see how the story turns out. Great characterizations, well-developed characters, and brilliant prose all set to a heart-wrenching period of time where you’ll find yourself yelling at some characters and wanting to embrace others. Lost Roses is brilliantly done and an instant FAV! I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
NanceeMarchinowski 17 days ago
A prequel to the beautifully written Lilac Girls, Lost Roses is a deeply touching read as well. The story begins with Eliza Ferriday, mother of the main character in Lilac Girls. Her story and the tales of two other young women are described as WWI touches the lives of each of them. The book is told in the first person by the women who star in this novel, and their lives are interwoven through tragic circumstances. I wasn't at all disappointed in this segment of the series, and look forward to the next in the series, to focus upon the Woolsey women in the Civil War. Highly recommend!
CynB 21 days ago
Lost Roses, by Martha Hall Kelly, is a prequel to Lilac Girls. Set during the period just before and during WWI, it is the story of Eliza Ferriday, Caroline’s mother. Eliza is wealthy, privileged and friends with a cousin of the ill-fated Romanov family, Sofya. A peasant, Varinka, is sent to work in Sofya’s home. It is these three women whose experiences drive the story. Much of the first part of this novel tried my patience as it focused on the hardships of the Russian aristocracy as the people rebelled against the Tsar. Frankly, the Romanovs and the aristocracy never struck me as the aggrieved in this struggle. Nonetheless, war is always horrific, dehumanizing and brutal. Seeing it through the eyes of Sofya helped me to understand the human suffering inflicted on the individuals, regardless of their politics. Martha Hall Kelly is a gifted writer whose characters are very authentic, and the book is meticulously researched. The Ferriday family is tenacious in their commitment to their causes, and I look forward to reading more about them. I highly recommend this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for giving me the opportunity to read an electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Mermer 21 days ago
A good Historical story about WWI and how the Russian people were treated and what the they had to endure. Even after the war. Read a lot about WWII this was a good incite to what happened in WWI. Great drama,angst,emotions and history. If you like History and want to know what happened During and after WWI you have to read. Really learned something I didn't know. Voluntarily reviewed.
Anonymous 26 days ago
A real page-turner, "Winds of War" type of saga. Good story and characters and fascinating about the era. Could have done with it being a bit less graphic in places but apart from that I appreciated this book. Excellent writer for the heartwarming and heartbreaking aspects of people's relationships and life stories. Makes you think about what people went through in wars and how much previous generations struggled compared to this one.
FrancescaFB 26 days ago
Just as amazing as LILAC GIRLS!! A must read for any historical fiction fan!!
booklover6460 27 days ago
The prequel to Lilac Girls was an interesting read. It was a little slow start for me, but I finally was sucked into the story and could not put it down. I love Martha Hall Kelly’s historical fiction and am looking forward to her next book. I’m already anxiously waiting for the opportunity to devour the next Woolsey tale. What a captivating story of life during the Bolshevik revolution. You will travel from the US to Russia to Paris…entrenched in the horrors of the Great War and the lives affected by war, atrocities, and many dangers. There are moments of holding your breath as you wait to discover what will happen next. There are many threads woven throughout the pages…love, loss, loyalty, faith, hope, altruism, danger, selfishness. I am not as familiar with the First World War but the author does a great job of making you experience the emotions from the various corners of the world. The chapters of this book are presented from the viewpoint of three main characters. And the stories flow smoothly as you discover the richly drawn aspects of their lives and how they end up colliding in an astonishing way. You will be cheering on some of the characters while wishing others would meet with an unfortunate ending. Either way, you will be deeply invested in the story. Thank you to NetGalley, Martha Hall Kelly, and Random House for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous 28 days ago
Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine Books for an ARC of Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly. I so looked forward to reading this book because The Lilac Girls was a 5 star read for me. Absolutely loved it. If I am to be completely honest I just can’t get into a rhythm in Lost Roses. I am not connecting with the characters and am 35 percent through the book. I am definitely in the minority on this one so I hope if you are reading this you will give it a try. Maybe it is just my state of mind and I will come back to it at another time.
rendezvous_with_reading 3 months ago
Thank you Ballantine / Random House for this free copy to review! The chapters alternate in narration between Eliza, Sofya and Varinka offering three unique perspectives. Eliza sees the war from the safe distance of American shores, only able to grasp the horror of it from the White Russians she helps. Sofya's comfortable life is turned upside down by revolutionaries who want to do away with anyone of privilege connected to the Tsar. Varinka and her mother live under the control of a cruel revolutionary, who wants to use Varinka's position to get to the Streshnayva family. I flew through this novel because I found the narration and the history covered so interesting and relevant. Though its not necessary, I am glad I read Lilac Girls first and recently, as many characters cross over. Caroline Ferriday from LG, is a young, impressionable girl in this novel and its easy to see she gets her indomitable spirit from her mother Eliza. And in this novel, we meet Eliza's mother, Carry Woolsey, which sets the stage for the author's next prequel. I would judge this novel to not be as graphic in description as LG, but its clear the author has done her research and gives a fair view of the Bolsheviks' campaign of terror. I find this family of Ferriday women to be very inspiring and motivating and I'm so glad their heroic acts are being told.
iggyebab 3 months ago
**I received an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.** I read The Lilac Girls a few years ago and was completely enthralled with these women who had lived through so much and survived. Knowing that the characters were based on real people made the story that much more moving. When I learned that the author was writing a prequel about Caroline Ferriday’s mother, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. This author’s research shows in every aspect of this story. I am not as familiar with WWI in Russia, but feel like I have a different understanding after finishing this book. The Ferriday women are compelling women and seeing how Caroline experienced WWI through her mother’s friends explains how she is so passionate about helping the Jewish women in WW II. The Women who escape Russia during the revolution are very well written. The stories are are heartbreaking and yet highlight a strong desire to survive. They all find themselves in horrific circumstances and yet they keep moving forward determined to live. Although I didn’t find this book as compelling as her prior book, it is well written and researched and has given me the bug to look into WWI further.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Without hesitation, this title is one of my most anticipated reads of 2019! I had been late to the Lilac Girls party, only reading it last year, so when I heard that this prequel of sorts was coming out, I had been thrilled to have been late so that I didn't have as long to wait as everyone else! Unfortunately, I think maybe I had set my hopes too high, because I have to admit... I struggled to finish this one. Set mainly during WWI, Caroline's mother, Eliza, is one of the central characters, along with her friend, Sofya, a relation to the tsar, and then Varinka, a young woman from the other end of the social spectrum who ends up working as a nanny for Sofya's young son, Max. The plot relies more on its characters than action - which wouldn't have been as much of a hardship were any of these young woman sympathetic or even likable. I couldn't connect with any of them. And the slow pacing, with each character more often than not one step away from the more interesting action made this a book that was frankly easy to put down. I felt totally disconnected from them, and thus incredible disappointed with this one. None of the characters ever feel developed enough for their motivations to even feel reasonable, let alone understandable. Not to mention more than a few things happen that are frankly implausible... Without that emotional connection, it's hard to really ever feel absorbed in this story. Though it is obvious that Kelly did her research here, too, and there are many horrific and doubtless true stories relayed, they are all kept at arm's length for the most part, and though I finished the book, I have to admit that there were several moments when.I seriously considered making this my second book of 2019 to completely bail on unfinished... My thanks to NetGalley who fulfilled my sincere desire to read this one - I only wish that I had enjoyed it more!
deniseadelek 3 months ago
Lost Roses, similarly to Lilac Girls before it, had me desperate to travel to every location described in the book. In the height of the Russian Revolution, the story unfolds in New York, Russia and Paris. Told through three narrators, the story unfolds beautifully, leaving your emotions and your heart on the line. A world on the cusp of war brings Eliza Ferriday together with a cousin of the Russian tsar, Sofya Streshnayva. The two are fast friends, but lose touch with each other when Sofya has to flee back to a crumbling Russia. Introduced into the mix is a local Russian girl, Varinka, who is brought into the Streshnayva household to care for Sofya’s young son. The three women’s lives unfold separately but delicately intertwined over the course of the revolution. What I liked the most about Lost Roses was the strong and fierce female characters throughout. In all three stories, the women persevered through their own wherewithal and courage. The Ferriday-Woolsey women, in particular, deserve a much bigger mention in American history! Like any good reader, I was attached to these characters from page one of Lilac Girls, and was happy to read in the Author’s Note that we’ll be going back to the Civil War in a third story.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I received a free ARC of this book from netgalley.com. This book started a little slow, but then the horror of WWI in Russia set in and I missed the calm beauty of the beginning of the book. I read a lot of WWII historical fiction, but I haven't read as much from WWI so this was a fast introduction to me. It was tough to side with the peasants or the royalty in this war because both had been degraded so much over the years. The book showcases the atrocities committed against the Russian royals, but it also hints at the decades of impoverishment on the common people in Russia. Another great read from this author! 2 likes
Fredreeca2001 3 months ago
Eliza is visiting Sophya’s family in Russia. Then the imperial dyansty starts to crumble. Eliza makes it home but Sophya and her family are trapped. They make it to their country estate. This does not offer the safety they expect. Sofya’s life during the revolution was almost too dreadful to take. I don’t want to give anything away…so you must read this to find out. Then there is Varinka. She has her own calamity. And you don’t realize how deep her trauma is until the end of the book. She is a tragedy walking. And Eliza. She is the savior in this story. She and Sofya are friends and Eliza is determined to find her. Give me a book about the Russian revolution and I am riveted. This one did not disappoint. However, I did feel it is a little too long. It also has a good many characters to keep up with. However, each character has their own story. I just couldn’t help my heart breaking over what these people went through. No author can take you to the depths of your feelings like Martha Hall Kelly.