Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly: A Book Review

A few months ago, I requested about 15 books from the library.  Many of them were books that hadn’t been released yet, so there was a long wait.

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When I got the notice Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly was in, I couldn’t even remember what the book was about, but there were 95 people waiting for the book, so I knew I’d have to read it quickly and that it was probably a good one, which it was!

Although I’ve heard of the book Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, I haven’t read it yet.  Lost Roses, which begins in 1914, explores the life of Eliza Ferriday, the mother of the main character in Lilac Girls, Caroline.  Eliza is a wealthy woman living in the United States and married to Henry, the love of her life.  They have a child together, Caroline.

There are two other women in this story, Sofya Streshnayva, a wealthy Russian woman who is a cousin of the tsar, and Varinka, a Russian peasant girl who lives, along with her mother, with an abusive man.

Eliza is close friends with  Sofya, having met in Paris when they were younger.  Sofya comes to America with her family to visit Eliza, and then Eliza visits Sofya in Russia.  However, Eliza is frightened by the increasing violence in Russia, and ends up right when the political tensions start to erupt.  Eliza wishes she could bring Sofya and her family to America and safety, but, unfortunately, doing so is not that easy.

As the situation in Russia becomes more and more unstable, Sofya and her family retreat to their country home, but peace there is short-lived.  Sofya hires Varinka to be a nanny to her young son, Max, but this decision unexpectedly puts Sofya’s entire family in danger.

This story shifts between each women’s perspective and between the United States, Paris, and Russia.  I read this book in just a few days and enjoyed it thoroughly.  One of the worst parts was seeing Sofya’s interactions with her cousins, the tsar’s children, knowing what their fate would eventually be.

This story explores the Russian Revolution through a new angle and does an excellent job showing the political turmoil and what caused it.  Eliza is also an admirable women who stood up to the complaints of the wealthy women in her circle to do what she could to help the Russian immigrants who fled Russia and landed in America.

The author has quite a bit of information about her research and travel for this book, which I also found fascinating.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

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