Author: Debra Dean
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publish Date: August 28, 2012
Source: TLC Book Tours
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction fan.
From Goodreads.com: "Born to a Russian family of lower nobility, Xenia, an eccentric dreamer who cares little for social conventions, falls in love with Andrei, a charismatic soldier and singer in the Empress's Imperial choir. Though husband and wife adore each other, their happiness is overshadowed by the absurd demands of life at the royal court and by Xenia's growing obsession with having a child—a desperate need that is at last fulfilled with the birth of her daughter. But then a tragic vision comes true, and a shattered Xenia descends into grief, undergoing a profound transformation that alters the course of her life. Turning away from family and friends, she begins giving all her money and possessions to the poor. Then, one day, she mysteriously vanishes.
Years later, dressed in the tatters of her husband's military uniform and answering only to his name, Xenia is discovered tending the paupers of St. Petersburg's slums. Revered as a soothsayer and a blessed healer to the downtrodden, she is feared by the royal court and its new Empress, Catherine, who perceives her deeds as a rebuke to their lavish excesses. In this evocative and elegantly written tale, Dean reimagines the intriguing life of Xenia of St. Petersburg, a patron saint of her city and one of Russia's most mysterious and beloved holy figures. This is an exploration of the blessings of loyal friendship, the limits of reason, and the true costs of loving deeply."
My Two Cents:
"The Mirrored World" is the story of Xenia of St. Petersburg, the patron saint of her city. She is a saint that I was not familiar with so her story was brand new to me. Between this story and the book being set in Russia, I was intrigued by this story.
Xenia's story is told through the eyes of Dasha, Xenia's friend and confidante. I almost wish that we got to see Xenia's story from a little bit closer angle especially during the latter part of her life when she really begins her alms-giving. Dasha can only observe what is going on with Xenia but cannot really explain why Xenia is doing what she is doing. Yes, she is distraught over the loss of her husband but was there something more that led her to give to the poor and to make so many sacrifices? I definitely wanted to know more about that.
I absolutely loved the setting. Russia, especially Imperial Russia, is absolutely fascinating to me. I really liked that we got to see some of the inner workings of court life. Dean really makes the setting itself come to life.
I wish that there were some more indicators of time throughout the book. It was really difficult to keep track as to when various events were happening and how much time there was between all of the major events of the book. Overall though, the writing in this book was good and engaging.
Follow the Rest of the Tour:
Tuesday, July 16th: Dreaming in Books
Wednesday, July 17th: Bibliophilia, Please!
Thursday, July 18th: A Bookish Affair
Saturday, July 20th: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, July 23rd: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, July 24th: Peppermint PhD
Monday, July 29th: A Reader of Fictions
Tuesday, July 30th: A Patchwork of Books
Wednesday, July 31st: Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, August 1st: guiltless reading
Thursday, August 8th: Worsdmithonia
Friday, August 9th: Drey’s Library