Midnight in St Petersburg – Vanora Bennett

Posted: July 13, 2013 in general fiction, Review
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midnight in saint petersbergInna Feldman is left alone in Southern Russia in 1911 when the distant cousins she was boarding with flee the unrest for the safety of Palestine.  It’s not safe for Jewish people in her city anymore, with mutterings about pogroms.  She flees north using stolen papers, her destination St Petersburg where the son of her relatives lives.  She manages to avoid the scrutiny of the police with the assistance of a pilgrim she met on the train, Father Grigory.

Yasha is a violin maker who lives and works with the kindly Leman family.  They warm to Inna and invite her to stay, causing Yasha to feel jealous and resentful.  Yasha is involved with politics, wanting Jews to stay and fight instead of fleeing to escape persecution.  Inna goes to see Father Grigory in the hope he can help her get false identification papers and meets Horace Wallick, an Englishman who works for Faberge painting the delicate eggs.

Falling for both, Inna faces an impossible choice as the unrest grows stronger and soon she needs to flee and decide which man to choose.

This is a good read with a well laid out plot and strong characters.  The descriptions of the unrest of Russia before the revolution were vivid and it    was sobering to realize what life was like then.  I liked Inna’s strength but she began to frustrate me with her indecision and changing opinions.  The growing up of Yasha as he moved from naive political ideas to facing reality to protect those he loved was interesting to follow.  Horace Wallick was based on the author’s great-uncle, who worked for Faberge in Russia.

Century

Supplied by Random House

Reviewed by Jan

 

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