BOOK CLUB: The Last of the Romanov Dancers

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Author: Kerri Turner
ISBN: 9781489256706
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 21st January 2019
Publisher: HQ Fiction
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

If you have read our Author Spotlight with Kerri Turner you know that she has a passion for the ballet, and that passion has been combined with her love of writing to pen her debut novel The Last of the Romanov Dancers, set in the first quarter of the 20th Century.

Valentina Yershova’s position in the Romanovs’ Imperial Russian Ballet is the only thing that keeps her from the clutches of poverty. With implacable determination, she has clawed her way through the ranks, relying not only on her talent but her alliances with influential men that grant them her body, but never her heart. Then Luka Zhirkov – the gifted son of a factory worker – joins the company, and suddenly everything she has built is put at risk.

For Luka, being accepted into the company fulfils a lifelong dream. But in the eyes of his proletariat father, it makes him a traitor. As civil war tightens its grip and the country starves, Luka is torn between his growing connection to Valentina and his guilt for their lavish way of life.

For the Imperial Russian Ballet has become the ultimate symbol of Romanov indulgence, and soon the lovers are forced to choose: their country, their art or each other…

A powerful novel of revolution, passion and just how much two people will sacrifice…

The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers is published by HQ Fiction and is available now where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HQ Fiction 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

I am really looking forward to reading what our members thought, and hanging out to get a minute to read it.

13 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Last of the Romanov Dancers

  1. I’ve got to say I’m not sure how much I really enjoyed ‘The last days of the Romanov dancers’ by Kerri Turner. Whilst I enjoyed it for the history aspect because it was interesting reading about how the ballet worked and the actual events that were happening in Russia at the end of the Tsar’s reign, I found many of the character names difficult to read and this constantly disrupted the flow of my reading. I also found that from time to time Kerri used Russian words that I didn’t know the meaning of, which again stopped the flow of my reading because I had to look them up. I know authors often do this with French words, but they are usually common words that I know the meaning of or words that I can guess the meaning of by the context, I found that I wasn’t able to do this with the Russian words though.

    Overall, I didn’t mind ‘The last days of the Romanov dancers’, but I guess my issue was that I wasn’t able to read it in my usual style. So if you don’t mind skipping over the correct pronunciation of words, or looking words up in the dictionary, then this story will certainly provide a interesting insight into the last days of the ballet in Russia.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for letting me review this book >:o)

  2. I loved The Last Days of The Romanov Dancers, I was transported back to a bygone era with Kerri Turner’s beautiful writing. I appreciated and enjoyed the well-researched historical references that provided me with an insight to the Revolution and the love story that was interwoven. The book cover is also breathtaking and added to a wonderful reading experience. I would love to read more of Kerri Turner and will look out for more of her books.

    Thanks Beauty and Lace and HQ Fiction!

  3. I really liked this book. I was worried I was going to be overwhelmed by the Russian names and the history – both of which I really don’t know enough about – but the author was skilful in both situations. I find authors impressive when they impart a bit of dramatic history, enable us to successfully grapple with names, and write a good story from an unusual perspective (Romanov’s Imperial Russian Ballet) in a novel. Well done Kerri Turner.

    Apart from this episode of tragic history, the perspective from the ballet dancer’s point of view was fascinating. I’ve always considered other balletic things, such as the costume, scenery, music and such – so this unique POV was completely novel to me. The warming up of muscles, the unconscious movements of a dancer, the need to move, the performance side of things – fabulous to read. I’ve discovered that Kerri Turner is a dance and ballet teacher as well as author, and it shows in this book. I’ve never danced. Now I’ve been able to experience it vicariously and I loved it.

    I’m also a bit vague on Russian history, and the way I was guided as a reader through several events in 1914 Petrograd and beyond was terrific. There was an ease of writing style here that helped me understand the history without being bludgeoned over the head with it. Terrible history, actually, and parts of the book are quite violent and intense.

    And, it was always going to be a love story between Luka and Valentina.

    Thanks to Beauty & Lace Online, Harlequin Australia, Beauty & Lace Books and Kerri Turner for the reading copy.

  4. Kerri Turner’s debut novel has the most beautiful cover, a glorious image that thankfully represented a wonderful book.
    I love historical fiction, and have read several books set in Russia, but this is the first I’ve read about the Imperial Russian Ballet.
    I loved how the author’s passion and first hand knowledge of ballet really shone through and gave such an insight into the world of ballet.
    The history of 1914 Petrograd was realistically potrayed, and the relationships of Valentine and Luka developed amidst this terrible time of unrest.
    I did find it difficult at times to warm to Valentina, but as the story went on, her motivations became clearer and her character softer. I loved Xenia, and of course Luka!
    The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and an impressive debut.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin books.

  5. “The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers” is a debut novel for Kerri Turner that enabled her to share her passion of dance and writing with the world. The beautiful cover engaged me instantly and I eagerly started reading this beautiful moving story set in Russia around the revolution.

    We are introduced to the world of ballet and two dancers inside the Romanovs’ Imperial Russian Ballet, Valentina Yershova and Luka Zhirkov. The novel transported me to the days of opulence but poverty that was Russia at the time, for these dancers the Ballet was the way they escaped and sought to better themselves. Valentina has had to not only rely on her talent but taken on influential men as protectors to claw her way up through the ranks of the ballet. This has given her riches and a place in society but it is Luka that steals her heart. He is also from an impoverished background and is dealing with the disappointment of his father by being a dancer and not a solider like his brother.

    Their love story is told within the backdrop of the civil war and the vast differences of the wealthy and the poor.

    Lovers of historical fiction, dance and the arts will enjoy this novel. Thank you to Fiction HQ and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book and review it.

  6. The last days of the Romanov Dancers was a great read. The love between Valentina and Luka takes us on a journey of struggles in a time of war . We discover some hard truths that widen the gap between poor and wealthy , and find out the cost of dreams is sometimes lethal.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin

  7. The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers was a beautiful yet tragic story of war, love and dance.
    The World War 1 historical events that were portrayed in the book made it a very interesting read.
    It would certainly appeal to those that have either danced in a ballet performance or watched it as an audience. Kerri Turner eloquently described the ballet dancers so well to the point you could picture them in your mind and certainly feel the emotion and passion. The main characters, Valentina and Luka both came from grief stricken poverty and yet their willpower to survive against all odds was powerful and moving. Finding each other and fighting through the turmoil which ignited into a love affair made it hard to put the book down. Well done Kerri Turner for an absolutely beautiful story that was thought provoking and triggered emotions to the core. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin.

  8. I’ve just finished reading The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers and while I did like it, I didn’t love it. It was a beautifully written, detailed love story but I did find it difficult to read at times.

    The storyline was sequential and really built as the story came to life. It’s one of the reasons I love historical fiction as facts are used to add depth to the story.

    I also enjoyed the ballet aspect a lot. I’m not a dancer but I really appreciate the art and work behind it.

    One of the things I found difficult was the use of Russian words to describe items within the story. A glossary at the back providing translations would have been useful so I didn’t have to put the book down and turn to google.

    I also found the divide between the characters difficult, although this was a personal objection as opposed to one with historical merit.

    All up it was a story of love that i did enjoy reading even though I found it difficult at times.

  9. I started reading this feeling it was going to be a story that’s quite sad especially around the time when there was such a massive divide between the rich and the poor in Russia.

    I found the historical elements fascinating. How the rich were still rich despite so many people starving and a war was going on. It was interesting to read about the difficulties of surviving in the Royal Russian Ballet and that having talent wasn’t the only thing you need but also a powerful protector.

    This is essentially a loves story between Luka and Valentina. Like other comments, I found the Russian a bit hard to get through as it was a bit difficult to decipher even with context.

  10. I can’t say that I loved ‘The Last of the Romanov Dancers’. The historical detail was obviously well researched and the information on the ballet was no doubt correct, but I didn’t fall in love with any of the characters. I really wanted to love the book as the cover is very appealing but I just felt that it lacked a depth of emotion. It would possibly appeal to ballet lovers for the history of the ballet but I would find it hard to recommend to my friends.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to review the book.

  11. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and HQ Fiction for the opportunity to review “The Last of the Romanov Dancers’.
    As a debut novel by Kerri Turner I particularly enjoyed the historical aspects of the Romanov reign and the authors obvious love of ballet.
    I have some past reading in this area as I find it a fascinating part of Russian history. My knowledge about ballet and dance is very limited but this book encourages me to consider attending a ballet performance and discovering more.
    The characters are credible in a rapidly changing Russia and show the struggle and inequity in Russian life. The author has nicely entwined history with a love story to create an enjoyable read.

  12. I enjoyed The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner.

    I really liked the combination of history, ballet and romance. It definitely kept me interested in reading the book.

    I don’t know much about Russian history and was saddened by the gap between wealthy and poor.

    I particularly liked the love story between Valentina and Luka and found the ballet element fascinating.

    I would recommend this book. Thank you Beauty and Lace Club!

  13. I am grateful to Beauty and Lace and HQ Fiction for the opportunity to read and review The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers.
    I love Russian history, especially the period around the revolution, so was very excited to read this book. It was very true to the era and I loved how Kerri Turner switched between poor and wealthy experienced this time in history.
    I did struggle though, as mentioned above by some other reviewers, with the way some Russian words and traditions were used without explanation. Being me and needing to know things, I then had to look them up on Google. If my phone wasn’t immediately next to me at the time I had to remember to go back later and do so.
    The same was the case with some of the ballet moves – my ignorance I know, but when the difficulty of some of the moves was mentioned for example I had to know what was taking place.
    In summary, I have more of an understanding of the behind the scenes of ballet now and may have to watch one to see if I can follow it more fully having had this experience.

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