Saturday, September 7, 2013

The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne

image from LibraryThing
I seem to be on a history kick with my reading.  This is another book following two story lines. One in 1981 and one in 1917 - both following Georgy Jachmenev, a Russian peasant whose life changes with one moment of bravery.

As a young man, Georgy saves the life of the Tsar's cousin and finds himself Alexi, the Tsar's son's, bodyguard and confidante.  The second line of the story follows Georgy's memories as he deals with his beloved Zoya's diagnosis with cancer.

As a reader I guessed the connections early on. But, I am not a history buff and admit to being very shady on Russian history.  So, the story was able to take me on a historical ride of Russian history.  And because of that I had never heard of "The House of Special Purpose." 

Although the historical part of the novel is key - it was the love story that drew me in.  Catching glimpses of Zoya and Georgy as they move through the years was sweet and endearing.  This is a story of a couple facing the problems of post WWI Paris and WWII London as well as the death of their only daughter first and foremost. That they were also key historical figures seemed secondary.

It took me a little to get into this book.  The story of Georgy's early life did not hook me.  I didn't really care very much about his father or his sister. But as Georgy moved into life in St. Petersburg, I began to really care about his naive outlook on life.  And I am a sucker for royalty  - so the Romanovs were great!!

This was another great read!

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