Last night I finished the prequel to Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, Lost Roses. Like Lilac Girls, Lost Roses focuses on 3 women whose paths cross during pivotal points in world history. Lilac Girls took place during WWII and Lost Roses takes place during WWI and the Russian Revolution. I liked this book and gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. In fact, I fall in the minority of people who did not like Lilac Girls. I like Lost Roses much more. I could tell that this was the author’s second novel. The writing is better in this one.
The characters are well developed with the loving families surrounding them. They all come from different backgrounds. The character, Eliza, is American. Sophya is a relative to the Russian tsar and Varinka is a Russian peasant. It is hard to imagine how these 3 will cross paths, but they do and the story is fascinating.
I personally love novels that take place in Europe, especially early 20th century Europe. There was so much social and political change going on at that time, it provides a never ending supply of fascinating novels.
That all being said, I had a couple issues with the book. These characters were not always likable. Varinka was actually pretty horrible through most of the book. Her back story gives an excellent explanation as to why. But, it didn’t make it hard to truly dislike her. I didn’t care too much if she survived the revolution. Sophya was a very likable character. However, she was part of the tsar’s family and given what we all know about how the tsar treated the majority of Russians, I believed that it was appropriate for her family to be forced back to reality. They were in the end and she endured. Eliza, the American, for the most part was a likable character. But, her interactions with her mother and daughter often left me wondering how they were able to put up with her. She was also very spoiled and had very high expectations of what she be given. She came across as more spoiled than the Sophya.
The story had a happy ending and they were able to go forward with their lives, no matter how different they were pre war. This will be a great, easy summer read