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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

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Posts: 4197
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Post by Vanessa » Sun January 29th, 2017, 3:46 pm

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

On 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov - recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt - is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol.

But instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely.

While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, stripped of the trappings that defined his life, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.

My Review:

This captivating and philosophical story begins in 1922, spans over 30 odd years and is set, as the title suggests, in Moscow. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov has been tried and sentenced to remain indefinitely in the Hotel Metropol, not in his luxurious bedroom suite there but in an attic room, for the heinous crime of being an aristocrat.

This is not a plot driven tale, it's more character based. The Count meets many fascinating and memorable individuals, including a one-eyed cat and some absconding geese! I found it a slow burner at first as it took me a little time to become immersed in the story. There are moments of hilarity and amusement, but also times of sadness and poignancy. It's beautifully written, quirky and thought provoking, almost fairytale like in style. It has something to tell us about life, ourselves and the planet we live on. The descriptions of the Count's life in the hotel are wonderful. I almost felt I was there with him in his claustrophobic world and there is a great sense of time and place. It also has such a clever ending. I loved it!

Incidentally, I don't know much about Russian history but after reading this book, I feel I have gained some knowledge as I often found myself googling certain facts.

A fantastic piece of compelling and engaging historical fiction which I have no hesitation in recommending.

Many thanks to Lovereading.co.uk for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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