The Jewel of St. Petersburg
Berkley, Aug 3 2010, $15.00
In 1910 Valentina Ivanova is considered The Jewel of St. Petersburg aristocratic society. However, she does not want to be the top diamond as she is uninterested in being the image of the young paragon. Instead Valentina wants to become a nurse and prefers not to wed the chosen Count selected for her.
When she meets visiting Danish engineer Jen Friis, she falls in love, but her parents reject the non-Russian working class outsider. As the embittered squabble between the Duma and the Tsar heats up with the Bolsheviks fomenting more trouble, Valentina must choose between the people she love; her younger sister who needs had and her parents vs. Jen who wants to take her and their love child back to Denmark.
This prequel to Valentina Ivanova’s later tale in The Russian Concubine and her daughter’s saga as the Girl From Junchow describes her early days before the Revolution with a deep vivid look at a teetering tsarist Russia. The story line brings out the era while the love story of the Dane and the Russia is beautifully depicted as she as the title character who struggles with heart wrenching choices at a time her world is collapsing. This is a wonderful historical fiction novel.