Lost Roses

Lost Roses

A Novel

Large Print - 2019 | First edition
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"It is 1914 and the world has been on the brink of war so many times, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia. But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia's Imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortuneteller's daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya's letters suddenly stop coming she fears the worst for her best friend. From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg to the avenues of Paris and the society of fallen Russian émigrés who live there, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways, taking readers on a breathtaking ride through a momentous time in history"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2019]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781524796372
Branch Call Number: FIC Kelly
Characteristics: 432 pages ; 25 cm

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t
tammygfarmgirl
Mar 28, 2020

I really struggled with this book. Possibly because of reading it in the middle of the covid-19 crisis; I'm having trouble focusing on anything! But I really feel the book was just too long, kind of boring, and while it had interesting parts and characters, it also had unrealistic parts and characters that made no sense. ( Varinka!) I loved Lilac Girls, so this was a bit of a disappointment.

c
cknightkc
Feb 19, 2020

While LOST ROSES is a prequel to the best-selling LILAC GIRLS, it can stand on its own. This work of historic fiction is mainly told from 3 alternating perspectives: Eliza Ferriday - American socialite and humanitarian, Sofya - Russian aristocrat and Eliza’s friend, and Varinka - Russian peasant and Sofya’s employee. Set during a pivotal and violent period of world history (1914-1920), the Russian Revolution and WWI strongly influence the plot and affect each protagonist’s life. Writer Martha Hall Kelly’s impeccable research brings to life the extreme class inequality and injustices leading up to and after the Tsar’s overthrow. I found the plight of the White Russians particularly poignant - something I was only vaguely familiar with before reading this book. The challenges faced by immigrants in this narrative are ones we’re still grappling with today. The Author’s Note at the end of the book reveals that, of the 3 leads, only Eliza Ferriday was a real person, however many of the locations do exist including The Hay, now known as the Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden in Bethlehem, Connecticut - a place I’d like to visit. I confess I didn’t enjoy LOST ROSES quite as much as LILAC GIRLS, because some of the plot twists seemed contrived. Despite this observation, LOST ROSES deals with serious topics worthy of discussion: friendship, family, loss, hardship, courage, perseverance, and resilience. It’s a page-turner and one I definitely recommend.

s
springclouds
Feb 01, 2020

Totally agree with comment below by Eli 1.

I found the book to be formulaic. The author took an interesting period of history, did some research, outlined a plot (making sure to include any exciting incidents she came across in her research) and added 3 stereotypical characters (the American savior, the aristocrat and the peasant) to write a book that, for all of her writing skills, was not only predictable but boring . I decided that life was too short to continue struggling to read the book and returned it after the first five or so chapters.

e
Eil_1
Nov 17, 2019

This was a so-so book, replete with next-to-impossible scenarios. I do have a problem with many American authors who wear blinders and consider themselves the sole saviors of the populations in Europe during WWI and WWII. They consistently overlook the fact that Canada played an essential role in both wars. For example, the movie "The Magnificant Seven" portrayed Americans as the 'heroes'; whereas it was Canadian soldiers who were the Magnificant ones. Who freed Belgium from the Germans but Canadians? These are but minute examples of how the World is indebted to Canadian soldiers for their valor and courage throughout the years. It's sad the Americans are so arrogant that they overlook allies who stood strong against common enemies. I didn't finish reading the novel.

l
LindaTCL
Oct 25, 2019

I like reading novels like this that give you a personal window into a particular historical era, but the CONFUSING FORMAT of this book just required too much concentration trying to: decipher the 1. content, 2. timeline, and 3. characters' identity. (The author didn't even NAME one of the characters in the first chapter, hence, I was the one who was "LOST " - see title of book!)
I struggled to get beyond the third chapter of this book - didn't know if it was because the thickness of the book made me realize the time commitment involved in reading it, or b/c the chapters alternated between characters and eras. Thankfully, I just noticed that previous readers made similar contents! I saw their positive referrals to the prequel to this book, and I now want to read it instead. With or without having read the "Lilacs" prequel, the "Lost Roses" is a laboring read.

m
MsMudcat
Aug 30, 2019

Only made it about a quarter of the way through. Found the behaviors of the characters illogical and unrealistic. So disappointing as I liked Lilac Girls very much.

j
JANMAYS
Jul 26, 2019

Just fair, somewhat predictable and vapid.

t
trickbag22
Jun 28, 2019

Although this is a prequel to the Lilac Girls, it can stand alone. Like the Lilac Girls, it is engrossing and a page turner. This gives the backstory on the Ferriday family and is set during WWI.

l
lilypad_1
Jun 21, 2019

I looked forward to reading this after "Lilac Girls" and it did not disappoint in the characters of strong women during the time of WW1 and especially what was happening in Russia. I really do not like reading chapters about one character and then the next but that seems to be popular now. I felt like I learned a lot about a different part of the war and the characters were very interesting, am anxiously awaiting the next book. I also am wondering why the Spanish flu was not mentioned since it caused such a dramatic loss of life and there was quite a bit of illness and nursing in the book. Each of the three main characters were so enigmatic I was sad to say good bye.

d
DT_kcls
May 26, 2019

I didn't feel as connected to 'Lost Roses' as I did to 'Lilac Girls' but that may be because I've read so much historical fiction about the Nazi death camps and World War II, whereas I knew little of the Russian Revolution.

I can't say 'Lost Roses' was a quick read for me. It did take a bit for me to get engaged with the story, however I think the title is brilliant and made more so by the way the author wove several references of the 'old' rose (flower) culture to the royal women lost in circumstances for which they are unprepared, and don't understand, and for the loss of the Russia they knew and loved before the revolution.

The one character whose story was the most baffling was the peasant girl, Varinka. While we easily know what the drive was behind the other women, Sofya, and Eliza, Varinka's story was muddled and very elusive until the very end, and frankly, even though her behavior was a mess of contradictions throughout the book, the explanation was even more unsatisfying.

As with 'Lilac Girls', Martha Hall Kelly does a magnificent job of drawing us into the horrors of the time, the lives of those affected, of those who perpetrated the horrors (to some extent) and the outside world which had a difficult time understanding it all, not seeing how it would change their world view as well.

I found it fascinating that in the 'Author's Note" Martha Hall Kelly mentions her next step backward in history with the strong, determined Woolsey women is to the Civil War, which loosely reminds me of Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles, only in reverse.

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cknightkc
Feb 19, 2020

“Your rose.’ She stood, leaned down, and breathed in its scent. ‘Mr. Gardner’s antique.’
‘When I went back to the house I found it in Agnessa’s ruined hothouse. Kept it alive since I left Russia.’
Luba stroked a petal. ‘Poor lost roses. Like us, I suppose.” - p. 370

c
cknightkc
Feb 19, 2020

“By doing nothing you condone it.” - p. 203

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