Lost Roses

Lost Roses

by Martha Hall Kelly


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524796372
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 330
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



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 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Rhonda-Runner1 10 days 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.
Rachel_Denise01 10 days 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 2 days ago
Its like 400 pages but it wasnt outstanding. Kind of predictable and long winded but an enjoyable read ovetall.
rendezvous_with_reading 2 days 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 2 days 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 days 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 4 days 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 5 days 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 5 days 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.
LibMom 7 days ago
Martha Hall Kelly writes a riveting story which not only has a marvelous story line but is written in a way that draws in the reader. Each chapter of Lost Roses is told from the point of view of one of the three main characters--a wealthy American woman, her friend a Russian princess, and a Russian peasant. This rotating viewpoint allows Kelly to both further the story but also to provide information that helps to paint a fuller picture of what is happening. Many times information shared by one character would provide insight into something that happened to another character or would foreshadow a future event. As the characters had diverse backgrounds, Kelly was able to realistically portray both sides of the Russian revolution and how it was perceived by outsiders. This book is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and particularly anyone who enjoys reading about Russian history. I may just need to add a non-fiction book about the Russian revolution to my reading list to explore this topic further. Individuals familiar with Kelly's previous work Lilac Girls will enjoy this prequel. If like me, you hadn't read it yet you will wish to add it to your list as well. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book Lost Roses via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
JulieMT 7 days ago
“Lost Roses” is an ambitious book that will not disappoint! It is historical fiction at its finest-well researched and thoroughly engaging. “Lost Roses,” tells the story of three different women, Eliza a wealthy American, Sophya, a relative of the Tzar of Russia and Varinka, a Russian peasant. Through their interwoven lives the book tells the story of their challenges and survival during World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution. It is a gripping story and one that I read well into the night! I understand this book is the prequel to the author’s first book, “Lilac Girls”, which I haven’t read. As such I can say it is not necessary to have read “Lilac Girls” to enjoy “Lost Roses”. I can also say after having read this novel and enjoyed it so much I am looking forward to going back and reading Martha Hall Kelly's first novel! I was honored to have received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the Publisher, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine in exchange for an honest review.
RosemaryJ 8 days ago
The authenticity and realism of the story are its biggest strengths even though I personally have difficulty with alternating chapters told from 3 different POVs because I struggle remembering where each story left off. Note: graphic violence Author’s note was very interesting and most appreciated. This prequel to Lilac Girls will be followed by another prequel, with an ancestor during Civil War. Thanks to #NetGalley and #RandomHouse for an advanced digital copy.
TJReads 9 days ago
I have The Lilac Girls on my shelf and when I found out this was the prequel, I choose to read this one first, I was certainly not disappointed. I’m thinking I will enjoy the Lilac Girls all the more now. This is a historical fiction based upon true events and it kept my interest from the beginning to the end. It was easy to become fond of Sonya and Eliza, but Varinka’s story was a little hard to take. This story covers a part of WWI that I hadn’t read about before, Russia’s imperial dynasty falling and family to the Romanovs. I found the descriptions of the fighting and the hardships very well researched. I did feel a few coincidences a little hard to believe, but otherwise the story was very well told. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that loves historical fiction and I look extremely forward to The Lilac Girls. Highly recommend!!! I was given an advanced copy from Random House Publishing through Net Galley for my honest review, this one gets 5*****’s.
BTPlante 10 days ago
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House/Ballentine Books for the opportunity to read an uncorrected proof of this book. Martha Hall Kelly has done it again with this prequel to Lilac Girls. This story goes back one generation and introduces us to the mother (Eliza)of Caroline Ferriday. The story follows Eliza, her friend Sofya Streshnayva and a host of strong women as they navigate the beginnings of WWI. The story unfolds in New York, Russia and Paris. This book is definitely well placed in the historical fiction genre, however it is so much more than that. This book is the story of women - their strength, their loyalty, their devotion, their fortitude and their friendship with one another. It is a story of mothers and daughters, of sisters and of friends, both old and new. The characters are deep and well defined. The stories within the pages are taken from actual events. The reader is transported to another time and place and becomes part of the story. One feels every heart break and and every victory as if they were actually there. Kelly has once again created a masterpiece of epic proportions.
trutexan 10 days ago
I was so pleased to read some historical fiction that had me learning more about WWI and the hardships of the Russian people. It seems the first World War is often overshadowed by the second World War, so it was interesting to read some history that I am not that enlightened about. The story begins just prior to the start of the war and the fall of Russia’s Imperial dynasty. Readers follow the lives of three women and their unique experiences throughout the war. Eliza Ferriday, a New Yorker who has become close friends with Sofya Streshnayva, becomes alarmed when she no receives any letters from her. Sofya, being a cousin to the Romanov family is in danger because of the political fallout. Through Eliza’s search to find Sofya, she begins to help other Russian women who have managed to escape to the United States. In the meantime, Sofya has hired a young peasant girl to help watch after her child. Varinka, who worked in the family household, had some dangerous connections and also stood to benefit from the fall of the Imperial dynasty. From New York, to St. Petersburg, to France, readers will follow the lives of these women as they struggle to survive the fallout of the war. This is a very interesting story and I just may have enjoyed it more than Martha Hall Kelly’s first novel. I was pleased to learn that she is at work on a third novel that will cover the Civil War era. I’ll look forward to the opportunity to read that one as well. Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.
marongm8 10 days ago
Our community is very familiar with Martha Hall Kelly after the release of Lilac Girls and now here is a new historical fiction novel based on Caroline from Lilac Girls' mother Eliza. Eliza travels with Sofya who is a cousin of the infamous Romanov family. The adventures Eliza and Sofya get themselves into including meeting Varinka who later becomes their friend regardless of her dangerous past and the value she brings to seeing their future. Fans of Lilac Girls are sure to enjoy this novel and get the same satisfaction. This will definitely be considered for our historical fiction section at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
Lynne Ernst 10 days ago
A more complete view of the Romanovs and the Russian revolution. Story is told in 3 views.....1 cousin to the Tsar, Villager, and American friend of the Tsar. The different voices really worked for me. I was pulled into this crazy time in history. The Reds, The Whites, USA........really makes one stop and think and learn. What amazing writing by Martha Hall Kelly
PanglossMystic 10 days ago
Excellent novel about three young women: a White Russian struggling to survive the Communist Revolution, a Russian peasant struggling to find her way in a new world order, and an American socialite in New York City. The differences in the circumstances of these three women is vast, and it's amazing that they lived at the same time and that their lives intersect. I really enjoyed this novel. It moves quickly and keeps your attention until the end. I actually liked this novel much, much better than its sequel, Lilac Girls. Although a zillion books have been written about the Holocaust and World War II (the subject of Lilac Girls), stories of the Russian Revolution are just now being told here in the West. Well written, great characters, great plot!
MatteaLC 10 days ago
I thought Lilac Girls was one of my favorite books of 2018. Now, it seems that Lost Roses has taken the lead in 2019. A prequel of Lilac Girls, the story focus on three courageous women, one being Eliza Ferriday, the mother of Caroline, in Lilac Girls. It takes place at the start of WWI and the Bolshevik revolution and overthrow of the Tsar. We follow Eliza in NY, Sofya, a relative of the royal family and Varinka, apeasant, in Russia, as they all deal with the troubling times in their own stories. This is a story of tragic loss, struggle, violence and deep love. It will draw you in from the first words, spoken by Eliza. Martha Hall Kelly had a gem with her debut novel and has continued so with her second. She is a superb storyteller, bringing the lives of real women to us, in her unique way. My thanks to the author, #NetGalley and #Ballentine Book for the ARC for my honest review.
Anonymous 10 days ago
I adored Lilac girls which gave me high hopes for this novel. All I can say is Martha Hall Kelly did not disappoint! There are tons of amazing WWII novels, but less about WWI. I was drawn into this story and the characters from page one. I loved that I got to learn more about that time in history, while also following a great story that kept me wanting more. I loved Eliza and Sofya's friendship but my heart broke reading their stories and what they and their families went through. I went back and forth on Varinka. Part of me broke for what she had to go through, but the other part despised her for what she had done. Highly recommend this to anyone that loved Lilac Girls, and really just anyone! I received an advanced copy in exchange of an honest review.
ColoradoGirl71 10 days ago
I read “Lilac Girls” back in 2016 and loved it and I’ve been anxiously waiting for the next book from Martha Hall Kelly. Let me just say that she did not disappoint with this one. “Lost Roses” left my heart reeling, set against WWI and the Russian revolution. This book checks all my favorite boxes: historical fiction, richly drawn characters, and a compelling plot that kept me turning the pages. The author employs an alternating chapters technique with Eliza, an American socialite (and Caroline’s mother from “Lilac Girls”) and several characters in Russia – Varinka, a peasant girl, and Sofya and her family -- relatives to the Tsar. Eliza and Sofya are friends and their lives intersect, both in the US and in Russia. I’ve come to expect Martha Hall Kelly to firmly plant me in an historical time period and she does that so well again with this book. We see how the events in Europe affect Americans and what the Russian Revolution entails for both the upper classes and the peasants in Russia. I loved seeing the lineage for the strong American women -- the Woolsey women – and the background on how Caroline became such a philanthropist and advocate for women. The stories are so well told, but definitely heartbreaking in a few parts. Kudos to you Martha Hall Kelly for creating another masterpiece!
rlhendrick 10 days ago
Thank you Martha Hall Kelly, Random House-Ballantine and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy of Lost Roses. Lost Roses is a prequel to The Lilac Girls. Lilac Girls is on my list of all time favorite books and I was so looking forward to reading Lost Roses. It was not a disappointment. Kelly's writing makes you slow down and savor every word. This is the story of Eliza Farraday, the mother of Caroline Farraday from Lilac Girls. It also is the story of Eliza's best friend Sofya and Varinka, the "nanny" for Sofya's son, who becomes someone dangerous to Sofya and her family. Each chapter focuses on one of these three interesting women. WWI breaks out and Sofya and Varinka are right in the cross hairs of the violence and horror of war. Eliza is in New York but makes sure to do everything she can to help Sofya and the other women of Russia. The story moves from New York to Russia and then to Paris. As the three women find themselves in Paris, although separately, their lives and happiness depend on what happens in Paris. Although I still like Lilac Girls better, this story was no disappointment and I can't wait to read the next installment of this family, as previewed by the author, as being about Eliza's mother during the Civil War. These characters (and real people) stay with you long after the last page.
Patsy-S 10 days ago
Lost Roses is a prequel to the wonderful Lilac Girls. Both are historical fiction novels by Martha Hall Kelly. Lost Roses centers on three very different women during the Russian Revolution and the First World War. These women are from different countries and have vastly different backgrounds but their lives become intertwined. You see excess wealth and devastating poverty. You travel the globe from the United State to Russia to Europe. I felt like a time traveler witnessing this time from three very different perspectives. I think you will enjoy the travels as much as I did. Then if you have not read Lilac Girls, I suggest you read it to see how someone from the next generation experiences the next World War. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy from netgalley. It did not influence my review since I already loved this author and Lilac Girls.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Lost Roses is a beautiful story set during World War I, and skillfully ties together the stories of three women from very different situations in life, whose lives become intertwined through the war and the struggle of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. I love that this story is inspired by true events! Sofya Streshnayva is part of a well-off Russian family - they are cousins of the Romanovs, and her father has a very important job handling finances. As the situation in Russia goes from bad to worse to treacherous for the wealthy, with the rise of the "Reds" in the Bolshevik Revolution, Sofya and her family must flee their home for their estate far out in the country, hoping against hope that revolutionaries do not discover them there while her father works to acquire documents so they may flee further to Paris. Her husband is an officer in the Russian army, and they have a beautiful baby son, Max. Eliza Ferriday is a Manhattan socialite, and good friends with Sofya. During a visit to St. Petersburg with Sofya she had urged the family to flee much earlier, pleading with the family who from inside the conflicted country, seemed unaware of the imminent danger that was rapidly coming their way. When, back in New York, Eliza one day stops hearing from Sofya as she had regularly for so long, she fears the worst and begins a months-to-years long mission to help fleeing "White Russians" who have come to America and to locate her dear friend. Varinka comes into the story as the daughter of a fortuneteller deep in the woods near Sofya's country estate. Her family is very poor, and she cannot find work in town - no one will hire her because her father's apprentice lives with she and her mother even after her father's death - surely that means the girl must be "soiled." However, after Sofya and her family move back into the country estate, Sofya needs a new nanny for her sweet son, and Varinka eagerly accepts the position. This story gets so much more complex even than what I've just laid out; but the stories of all three women here come together so beautifully, and in ways that will both warm and break your heart. Their stories are compelling and just pull you in, leaving you dying to know what happens next! This is a story of three strong women and their determination to survive and overcome. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
joansreviews 10 days ago
Lost Roses is the much-anticipated prequel to the bestseller, Lilac Girls. This time around the novel is set just before the start of WWI and continues to 1921. This is an epic tale of three women caught up in the catastrophic events of the war and the Russian Revolution. Eliza Ferriday is a New York socialite, her best friend Sofya Streshnayva is a Russian aristocrat and a cousin to the tsar, and Varinka is a Russian peasant girl, hired as a servant by Sofya’s family. Eliza’s visit to Russia is cut short with the outbreak of WWI and she feels “disturbed”, leaving her friend Sofya behind as she returns to her safe home in New York. Meanwhile Sofya and her family move to their house in the countryside hoping to escape the unrest in the city, but soon find themselves caught up in the Bolshevik uprising. They hire Varinka as a servant, but Varinka, keeping her own dangerous secrets, brings further danger to the family. From New York to Russia to Paris, Kelly’s exquisite novel is painstakingly researched, and the characters are richly drawn. The reader will find themselves riveted by these tragic world events, quickly turning the pages to find out the fate of each of the women. Their remarkable strength and courage shines throughout as their lives are torn apart. A great history lesson in the form of truly compelling work of fiction. Though this book is a prequel to Lilac Girls, the story can be read as a stand alone novel. This will be a great read for book clubs and book lovers alike. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for eARC.