Book Review: Lost Roses

1914: Tensions are rising; war is in the air. It is during this uncertain time in history that Lost Roses, written by Martha Hall Kelly, begins. Despite the simmering unrest swirling through Europe, Eliza Ferriday, a New York socialite, travels to St. Petersburg, Russia to visit with her friends, Sofya and Luna Streshnayva, cousins of Tsar Nicholas II. All seems to be going well until, more than 1,500 miles away, something horrible happens, sending shock waves throughout Europe.

On 28 June 1914, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Archduke Franz Ferdinand—heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire—and his wife Sophie are assassinated by a Serbian nationalist desperate to end Austro-Hungarian rule of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Austria-Hungary is incensed and wants to strike back. However, because Russia is an ally of Serbia, Austria-Hungary appeals to Kaiser Wilhelm II, who on 5 July 1914, pledges Germany’s support. After securing this agreement, Austria-Hungary issues an ultimatum to Serbia. In response, Serbia mobilizes its army and asks Russia for assistance. Then, on 28 July 1914, exactly one month after the Archduke’s murder, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s countries collapses. Within a week, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Russia, and Serbia are pitted against Austria-Hungary and Germany. World War I has begun.

With this declaration of war, chaos erupts in St. Petersburg. As a result, Eliza is forced to return to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. Once the Streshnayva family reaches their estate, they hire several servants, including a teenager named Varinka.

On 8 March 1917, demonstrators, desperate for food, take to the streets of St. Petersburg. Striking industrial workers join them. For three days, they protest. Then, on 11 March 1917, the Tsar’s troops are sent to quell the uprising. Although the regiments kill several protesters, the resistance continues, and the troops begin to waver.

Consequently, on 15 March 1917, Tsar Nicholas is forced to abdicate his throne, and he and his family are placed under house arrest. Then, on 6-7 November 1917, revolutionaries, led by Vladimir Lenin, launch a coup d’état, overthrowing Russia’s provisional government. The Bolsheviks are now in control and begin attacking the wealthy and those who had held power.

Meanwhile, back in America, Eliza has begun assisting Russian émigrés who have escaped the ravages of revolution. However, despite the depressing circumstances around her, Eliza remains positive because she knows that Sofya and Luna are safe. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly cease, Eliza fears the worst.

Spanning from St. Petersburg to Paris to New York, Lost Roses follows the lives of Eliza, Sofya, Luna, and Varinka as they deal with the horrors and aftermath of war. Although very different people from very different backgrounds, their lives become entwined. The love between Eliza and Sofya and Sofya and Luna tugs at the heart, while the tragedy these women must endure and the contempt Varinka has for Sofya breaks the heart. A well-researched and well-written novel, Lost Roses is a must-read for both history lovers and lovers of a great story alike.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Ballantine Books, Penguin Random House through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Post navigation

One thought on “Book Review: Lost Roses

  1. Pingback: Crunching the Numbers, 2020 | Princes, Paupers, Pilgrims & Pioneers

Please share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

The Chiddicks Family Tree

Every Family has a story to tell..........Welcome to mine

The Handwritten Past

Tips, Stories, and Advice from Professional Genealogists

writing my past

in which I document my genealogical research adventures and explore the people and events from my family's history…

Deeper Roots Genealogy

~ Discovering Your Family's Past To Shape Your Future ~

The Wanderlust Genealogist

Bringing Your Past into Your Present!

Delving into the past

Here you shall find, my writings, about my family research, and general research into murders, and other people's ancestry, where I dig deep, and find all kinds of information about my family, whether it is good or bad, and my life itself in general, there are some sad, informative, facts here, which I hope, will get you guys blogging, so what are you waiting for? Get reading!

A Pennsylvania Dutch Genealogy

the genealogy & family research site of Kris Hocker

The Family Letter Blog

Connecting Generations

Discovering Yesterday

Preserving the history of ordinary people

Barb's GeNealogy Life

Combining two of my favorite addictive pastimes - family history and writing.

Skeletons In The Closet

Writing and Genealogy by P.D.Blake

Ascending the Stairs

Because each step tells another story of our ancestors

Our Lineage

Researching Family History One Ancestor at a Time - © 2012-2021 - Wendy Malinowski. All Rights Reserved

Past Presence

A site for genealogists and family historians

Julie's Genealogy & History Hub

Blog of Brass Oak Genealogy

The Family Kalamazoo

A genealogical site devoted to the history of the DeKorn and Zuidweg families of Kalamazoo and the Mulder family of Caledonia

From Shepherds and Shoemakers

Sharing musings, insights, resources and strategies as I discover my family history.

Its good to be crazy Sometimes

A view from the inside of going through the minefield of the British benefit system if you are disabled and the ups and downs of coping with mental illness

WORD!

Words of wisdom, inspiration, feeling

Rants, Rambles, Revelations, Remembrances

Because the voice in my head won't stay silent...

Genealogy for Children

How to engage children in genealogy and family history

Brumley Family Branches

A Genealogy Blog

GenTraveling

Collecting stories from family historians who are climbing their family trees and planning trips to where their ancestors actually lived!

Kindred Stories

Everyone has a story

OurGreatAncestors

Where Distant Family Become Close

Jill's Garden

Garden of Life

Chips Off the Old Block

A blog devoted to genealogical wanderings - dedicated to family near and far, through distance and time

Applegate Genealogy

Helping others discover their roots

Gary A Wilson Stories

10 Minute Adventures, Fiction and Coffee Breaks

Shaking The Branches

Sharing Stories From My Family Tree

Decoding the Family Tree

solving family history one branch at a time.

Bespoke Genealogy

UK and Ireland: Genealogy, History and Travel

The Letters

Louise Mabey

From Ballachulish to South Mississippi

Mississippi family history letters

Writer Within

The Efforts of a Writer Trying to Write

Myricopia

Exploring the Past to Improve the Future

Aquila's Place

An Eccentric Mix of Literature and Opinions

The Women Who Made Me

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

F Yeah History

History...but better

Amanda Bradburn

Author | Editor | Genealogist | Bookstagrammer

Winter-Maker

Actor, Writer, and Embroidery Artist seeking beauty and humour.

Today in History

"Tell me a fact, and I'll learn. Tell me a truth, and I'll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever." - Steve Sabol, NFL Films

Miner Descent

Tracing each branch back to their arrival in America

Empty Branches on the Family Tree

Genealogy Tips & Family History

%d bloggers like this: