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The Last Russian Doll

by Kristen Loesch

The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch X
The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch
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There are currently 27 member reviews
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  • Dorothy M. (Broken Arrow, OK)
    A Look into the Past & Forward to the Future
    The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch is a story to move readers and take them into the Russian revolution as well as the present day. Readers will become immersed in a story of family, dysfunction and all. The use of Russian folklore enhances the story. The Last Russian Doll is a mesmerizing read.
  • Ashleigh P. (Round Hill, VA)
    Unique and masterfully crafted
    The Last Russian Doll is a masterfully plotted historical fiction novel that while reads a bit heavy like Russian fiction tends to do, will suck you from the start. Once you allow yourself to glide over Russian names (and not get so fixated on keeping everyone straight) this book will pull you in - by layering past and present, the author keeps you captivated, leaving you to want to piece it all together as you form attachment to the well-developed characters. For me, this was also a chance to learn more about a country I admittedly have read little about (other than some heavy hitting Tolstoy novels). This was much more digestible. The different storylines come together in a seemingly effortless way - though very evidently through tremendous thought. This was a much needed and unique addition to more recently published historical fiction.
  • Jan B. (Estes Park, CO)
    The Last Russian Doll
    I enjoyed The Last Russian Doll despite some difficulties in reading it. I felt that the author's style was engaging and targets a more sophisticated reader. I did have trouble at times following the events and the characters. A single character was called by multiple names which possibly would be alleviated by a list of characters and their relationships in the front of the book. I also had trouble at times following the events. I usually don't mind when a book jumps back and forth in time, but in this case it felt like just when I was following the plot then it jumped to something else. It may have helped it I had been able to read the book in just a few sittings, but I often had to set it aside for several days. I wish that I had kept notes while reading as I think that may have helped. By the end of the book though, I was engaged with the characters and anxious to see how the book ended.

    I think this book would appeal to someone who appreciates a little "heavier" book and has an interest in history.
  • Barbara P. (Mountain Center, CA)
    An excellent look into Russia
    It is not often that you find a book that wraps so many varied personalities and motivations into a compelling mystery of discovery and self-discovery. I had a difficult time getting into this book because I felt the frustrations of the characters in a very real way - the sign of a gifted writer who can pull us into relationship with characters that do not appear to have anything likable about them. By the end of the book I understood them and I liked them for who they were. This is a beautiful and frightening, personal look into the birth of Communism and the history of a nation that is a mystery to most Americans - many of which who have fallen for the propaganda. It shows us the lives of the people and how they suffered, and how they loved, and how they triumphed.
  • Janet H. (Utica, NY)
    Russian Dolls
    I enjoy novels with multiple timelines, Russian history, and mysteries so this book was a delightful read. When I saw the title I thought I would be reading about the nesting dolls common in Russia. While the dolls in the book are a different type, the story gave me the feeling of those dolls within dolls. There were so many surprising reveals and connections it was a matter of unpacking to discover the next part of the story. There were times the writing seemed a little simplistic, but the story kept me going. I'll be looking for more books by this author.
  • Lynne B. (South Lake Tahoe, CA)
    Everything You Want in Good Historical Fiction
    The Last Russian Doll will take you through the history of the Russian Revolution and into late 20th century Russia with well defined, believable and enthralling characters. You will meet also a modern day woman of Russian descent who is looking for information on her mother's past and ends up searching in Russian archives, meeting people from her mother's past and discovering much about herself. All of this presents a mystery which you will continually be trying to solve throughout the story, Bravo, Ms. Loesch for bringing it all together in one story, history, enthralling characters, and a great mystery to solve. This book is definitely for historical mystery lovers!
  • Rebecca
    Historical Fiction at its best
    The Last Russian Doll is a beautifully written but very complicated book. At times it’s difficult to discern what is happening and I felt when finished that there was so much unresolved. As historical fiction, it is outstanding. A captivating story with well thought and well researched history. I learned so much about Russias past history, especially the Gulags, the siege of Leningrad and the building of the White Sea Canal where so many prisoners died. The book begins with two story lines. In 1991, Rosie struggles with her mother's addictions, is engaged to marry. She answers an ad to help a former Russian dissident returning to Russia to finish some research. Her motive is to discover why her father and sister were murdered. This story line started a little slow for me.

    The other story line begins in early 1900 as a love affair between an outspoken Bolshevik and an aristocratic Russian princess in an unhappy marriage. This was much more appealing and what kept me reading. The storylines eventually converge and become one story that involves pain, hardship, heartache, love, discovery and hope. It’s well worth reading just to learn Russian history and the authors note about Putin’s Russia and his efforts to erase the ugliness of that history.

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