26 September 2023

The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers

Start the conversation

Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Kerri Turner, HQ Fiction, $29.99.

Turner is a fresh voice in historical romance and fans of this genre will delight in the wealth of detail contained in the book. Not only that, but also the way in which it summarises the spirit and facts of the period.

The Great War has begun and the setting is Petrograd, 1914. In a country that’s on a knife’s edge, there’s story of two people who get caught up in the midst of it with everything to lose.

Valentina Yershova’s position in the Romanovs’ Imperial Russian Ballet is the only thing that keeps her from the clutches of poverty. With implacable determination, she has clawed her way through the ranks, relying not only on her talent, but her alliances with influential men that grant them her body, but never her heart. Then Luka Zhirkov – the gifted son of a factory worker – joins the company, and suddenly everything she has built is put at risk. For Luka, being accepted into the company fulfils a lifelong dream. In the eyes of his proletariat father, it makes him a traitor. As civil war tightens its grip and the country starves, Luka is torn between his growing connection to Valentina and his guilt for their lavish way of life.

For the Imperial Russian Ballet has become the ultimate symbol of Romanov indulgence, and soon the lovers are forced to choose: their country, their art or each other.

Here’s a powerful novel of revolution, passion and just how much two people will sacrifice. It’s bold, illusory, unexpected and enjoyable … a pleasing debut novel.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.