Book Review: Sashenka by Simon Sebag Montefiore

April 8, 2015

Sashenka by Simon Sebag Montefiore is a novel taking place in Russia before and after the Communist revolution. Mr. Montefiore is a historian, specializing in Russia, who also writes fiction.

  • 544 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416595554

Book Review: Sashenka by Simon Sebag Montefiore

My rating for Sashenka – 5

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More Books by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Sashenka by Simon Sebag Mon­te­fiore, a noted Russian historian, is a wonderful book weaving fact and fiction seamlessly. The book has the feel of a translated novel and much of it rings true to foreign ears.

The writing style changes as story moves on and the situation changes, from the Tsarist era, to the fear of the era of Stalin and after the glasnost. Mr. Montefiore captures the emotions of true Russian patriots, who manage to justify the purging of their own people as a necessity and even, somehow, understand those who turn on them.

As was in the previous novel I read of the author, One Night in Winter, he manages to weave fictional characters with historical figures seamlessly. I was happy to read that one of my favorite supporting characters from One Night in Winter, Her­cules Sati­nov, also plays a part in this wonderful book.

The novel read as if the author had access to old KGB files (maybe he did) deciphering the bureaucratic code used to hide atrocities and turn it into an amazing, gripping tale. Another outstanding work from an outstanding scholar which is well worth reading.

Sixteen year old Sashenka Zeitlin feels that she is making history. Daughter of a rich, Jewish merchant, beautiful and stubborn Sashenka plays a dangerous game with the Tsar’s secret police in 1916.

Grown up revolutionary Sashenka is married to a leader of the Red party and is happy with her Communist ideologies, her party affiliations and her two kids. Even though people around her are disappearing, Sashenka is content until a love affair destroys her life.

Decades later, a young historian is hired by an affluent family for a research project to find out about their roots. As she delves into the archives of the old regime she finds much more than she, or her employers, bargained for.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*

More Books by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I bought this book.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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