Published August 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers
Source: my source courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for this review
St. Blessed Xenia of St. Petersburg, the patron saint of St. Petersburg, is said to have given all her possessions to the poor after her husband, Andrey Fyodorovich Petrov, died. After he died, tradition holds that Xenia became a fool for Christ who wore her late husband's uniform and wandered the streets of St. Petersburg. Her grave is in Smolensky Cemetery where an ornate chapel has been erected in her honor.
I have long had a keen interest in Catherine the Great (since reading a biography as a child) and this time in Russian history so I jumped at the chance to read this book set in that time. Dean did not disappoint, exploring what life was like in the courts of the time, with the politics and intrigue that come along with the wealth and privileges. The excesses of the wealthy juxtaposed against the extremes of want are both vivid as Dean takes us along on Xenia's transformation from a privileged young woman who attends court functions to a woman who gives away all of her worldly possessions, wearing nothing but the tattered remains of her husband's uniform. The Mirrored World is a novel primarily about passion and love that works on many levels, the love of family, the passion between men and women, religious passion. It is written beautifully with many passages that resonated with me.
"Whatever we know as children, this is the world, eaten whole and without question."Another passage gave me pause...and sparked an idea for something new I want to explore on Lit and Life. More on that later this week.
This is one book that might have benefited from being longer, a complaint I rarely have. Some story lines are not developed as fully as I might have liked. A son comes into Dasha's life late in the book and within pages is a grown man. I'm sure that the point Dean was making had been made merely by putting the boy in Dasha's life; but it seemed, to me, abrupt to skip on so quickly.
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