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About the Book

In present-day Boston, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Russian ballet, has decided to auction her jewellery collection and donate the proceeds to the Boston Ballet Foundation. It is a mysterious gesture that has piqued the interest of two particular individuals: a rising associate director at the auction house, Drew Brooks, who seeks to unravel the provenance of the pieces; and a professor and Russian translator at the nearby university, Grigori Solodin, who believes the jewels might hold the key to his past.

The stakes are raised when an anonymous individual donates a necklace that perfectly matches the bracelet and earrings in Nina’s collection, claiming the pieces belong together. It is this donation that will bring Drew and Grigori together in unexpected ways to uncover the story behind Nina’s fabulous jewels—a bounty said to have been smuggled out of Stalinist Russia when she defected from the country in the early 1950s.

It was there, in Russia, that Nina first learned to dance, fell in love with the handsome poet Viktor Elsin, and struggled with the choice to pursue her craft or begin a family. Nina and her circle of free-thinking artist friends lived in constant fear of Stalin’s disapproval, of arrest and torture by the secret police for unpatriotic behaviour and so-called crimes against the state. Yet when their circle was broken by just such an arrest, a devastating misunderstanding parted the four friends and lovers forever.

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Critical Praise

“Stories within stories start to emerge, as if from a nest of stacking dolls. . . . [A] highly readable saga.” —Independent (UK)

“A satisfying mystery with a finely drawn plot. The secrets at the heart of the novel are treated as delicately, and guarded as carefully, as the precious stones at the story’s centre, and only revealed at the novel’s satisfying end.” —Times Literary Supplement (London)

“Intelligent, moving, and flitting seamlessly between the artistic salons of Soviet Russia and the Boston of today.” —The Guardian

“An auspicious first novel, elegantly written and without a false note.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Sure and suspenseful artistry. . . . The several stories draw together in a conclusion that is surprising, fitting, and satisfying.” —Boston Globe

“Part romance, part mystery, this elegant debut captures the danger-and refuge-of love in Stalin’s era.” —Good Housekeeping

“Engaging and affecting. It could well be the debut novel of the year.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“Warning: You will be awake until 4 a.m. reading Daphne Kalotay’s novel, Russian Winter, a work that near seamlessly marries political terror, romance, and questions about love, art, truth, and the risks we are willing to take to protect them. . . . [She] is a spectacular writer.” —The Oregonian (Portland)

“Kalotay has created appealing, well-rounded characters in well-researched settings. . . . This is a briskly paced, fresh, and engaging first novel dealing with the pain of loss and the power of love.” —Booklist

“An exceptional debut novel. . . . Delving into Nina’s life with the Bolshoi Ballet, her life among the Soviet Union’s artist community and her escape from the Stalinist regime add glamour and historical flavor to this novel of secrets, intrigue, and wonderfully described priceless gems.” —USA Today

“Kalotay makes a powerful debut. . . . Entrancing. . . thanks to a skillful depiction of artistic life behind the Iron Curtain and intriguing glimpses into auction house operations.” —Publishers Weekly

“Fascinating information and insight about ballet, jewels, music, art and politics. . . . A final riptide of revelations leaves the reader profoundly moved.” —Washington Post

“Daphne Kalotay captivates in a soaring debut novel. An elegant, compelling puzzle of family, memory and solitude that brings to life modern-day Boston and postwar Russia through a profound love story. Graceful, moving and unexpected.” —Matthew Pearl, New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club

“Tender, passionate, and moving, Daphne Kalotay’s debut novel about ballet, jewels, love, and betrayal is also a delicious form of time travel. I loved it.” —Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us

“Kalotay writes about her characters-artists struggling to dream and survive within the constraints of the Stalinist regime-with sensitivity, humor and wisdom. I believed in these characters and cared about their fates. . . . A captivating and entertaining read.” —Oscar Hijuelos, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443453943
  • ISBN 10: 1443453943
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 03/28/2017
  • Pages: 560
  • List Price: 10.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: FICTION / General

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

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