Duane F. (Cape Girardeau, MO)
A book of fascinating times
"The True Memoirs of Little K" wound its way through one of history's greatest time periods. Fiction based upon history has a way of bringing cold facts the breathe of life necessary for us to live history not just observe it. Adrienne Sharp's attention to detail and lyrical voice made the turmoil of Russia's upheaval more meaningful and real. Often historical fiction can be melodramatic, but in this case her portrayal of Little K rings clear. Bravo, I loved it!
Lola T. (Broken Arrow, OK)
Little K's Memoirs
This is an enjoyable historical novel, but be aware that it is not fast-paced; it takes some reading to really "get into" the book. If you love Russian names and terms, you'll not be put off by the book. (I give Russian names nicknames to help smooth the reading, but there were so many character that I lost track of the nicknames!)
Characterization of K is wonderful, but some of the other characters were flat, almost interchangeable. I disliked much of K's feelings of entitlement and self-absorption, but realize that is what the author intended. That is simply the way she was; we do not have to love the main character/protagonist/subject of a well-written novel. The plot seems to plod through most of the book, and then it gallops to a stunning/sad finale. As with most historical fiction, I love learning about history through this novel; although Russian history seems to engender novels that are dense and wordy. It would be a great read for a book discussion group not afraid of reading a lengthy novel! I'd recommend it!
Andrienne G. (Azusa, CA)
How historical fiction should be written
I have to agree with the other reviewer who said that she didn't regret reading the book, but it wasn't a page turner. This book is heavy with information - probably too heavy -one might wonder if in real-life, an old woman would be able to remember so many details. But it served its purpose in taking the reader back in time.
Donna D. (Williamsville, NY)
Historical Novel With Potential
I was delighted to have the opportunity to preview this novel, written as the memoir of a prestigious ballerina who has a life-long affair with the last czar of Russia. The novel appears to have been very well-researched. If anything, I felt that Adrienne Sharp was overly ambitious in presenting so much detail of the history of the fall of the Romanovs. I really struggled through the first half of the book, which read more like a textbook than a novel. Things picked up in the second half, but the rather lifeless characters failed to rescue the novel.
Historical fiction presents the challenge of drawing the reader in without deviating too far from the facts, and Sharp was just not daring enough in giving her characters some personality. Once Mathilde becomes a mother, her ambition and love for her son breathes some life into her, and the reader is more drawn in. Sharp's portrayal of the city of Petersburg and the inner circle of the aristocracy are sometimes captivating. This was a novel with potential that just came up a little bit short in engaging my interest.
Pamela F. (Grants Pass, OR)
Historical Fiction that makes you want to read more...
I love historical fiction. I especially love it if something moves me enough to make me want to find out more about and event during that time. This book does just that. I have put it down a couple of times to read up on Bloody Sunday...to look at the described Faberge eggs online, to find pictures of Little K.
Fascinating book, fascinating woman, fascinating time in history. Well written and true to the character who is telling the story. This book is going to be a great Christmas gift for several friends.
Susan F. (Rabun Gap, GA)
A Historical Rollercoaster
A recent trip to Russia prompted an intense study of "all things Russian", particularly those final tragic years of the Romanov dynasty. What a clever and entertaining way to live those years through the eye of the impetuous "Little K", prima ballerina and mistress of Nicholas II.
I felt like I had been seated on a rollercoaster beside Miss K as she lived those absorbing years of St. Petersburg glitter, yet I also felt the darker brooding of the "rest of Russia", so ignored by the doomed court which would lead to the Revolution and its aftermath.
Many readers, particularly the history buffs, will find this a delightful way to absorb the pageantry of this remarkable era in Russian history. I highly recommend to all.
Judith W. (Brooklyn, NY)
True Memoirs of Little K
I enjoyed this book for the background information on the life of the upper classes and the Tsar and the world of the ballet. I had never heard of 'Little K' before and am inclined now to do some research and find out more about her. That said, it is certainly clear why there was a revolution - all that wealth concentrated on the few and supported by the misery of the many.